Sunday, January 10, 2010

New Year's Eve Party (Part 2 of 3)

So here we have another set of foods but they're heavier. And they entail some more work. I wanted to make some meatballs this year. But I wasn't feeling the whole Italian marinara thing. So I decided to make lamb meatballs Greek style. I started by making the tzatziki dipping sauce. Here I have some chopped garlic, mint, and cucumbers. To that, I mixed in some Greek yogurt, salt, and lemon juice. I let this sit overnight in the fridge to make sure everything melds together. And now the meatballs. I mixed some ground lamb, red onion, garlic, cilantro, salt, and pepper together. Here, everything is mixed together and ready to be shaped. I formed small meatballs (about 1 inch in diameter) and place them in an oiled sheet tray. I baked them in the oven for about 10-15 minutes until browned. These were a crowd favorite but it left everyone with pungent burps. Haha! And of course, I served them with the nice and garlic-y yogurt sauce. To lighten things up, I decided to make a couple of vegetarian dishes. The first was a vegetable tart. This was my take on stuffed mushrooms. So of course, there are a lot of mushrooms in this dish. I chop them up finely and saute them in a pan with oil. Salt to taste. I do the same with some fennel. And some red bell peppers. Here I have a nice mixture of cooked mushrooms, fennel, red bell peppers, onion, and garlic. To this, I add bread crumbs and pecorino cheese until the mixture starts binding together. These phyllo tarts are really handy for parties. The can be kept at room temperature. This is what they look like in the package. I took each tart and fill them with the vegetable mixture. Then I baked them in the oven until golden brown. Nice and light but so incredibly flavorful. I also decided to make another vegetarian dish but this one is heavy: spinach dip. I started by sauteing some chopping onions. To that, I added defrosted frozen spinach that had the moisture squeezed out. Once the mixture is cooked and cooled, I added cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, and dijon mustard. I mix and season to taste. A little lemon juice really helped the flavor. And some homemade pita chips for the dip. I just took some whole pitas and cut them into smaller triangular wedges. With some olive oil, I toasted the pita in the oven until they browned and became all crispy. And here's the spinach dip with pita chips. These were pretty good. And lots of people picked at the food. The last part involves more mains and a dessert.

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