I love this time of year. I love the colors, the music, the hub-bub of activity and I especially love the food.
I was very excited that I was hosting the December neighborhood Kaffee Klatch and so started looking through cookbooks and magazines that I had collected over time. I found a few but always like to try new recipes when having company so off to the store I went to look for new magazines. For many years I collected Good Housekeeping, McCalls and Family Circle. Now I tend to collect Southern Living, Cooking Light, Taste of Home, etc.
Collecting of recipes done I started working on putting the menu together. I like to prepare a mixture of savory and sweet dishes and a salad to the menu. After reading many recipes this is the menu I decided on:
My savory dishes:
Southern Egg Casserole Christmas at Home
Roasted Red Potato Bites Christmas at Home
Tomato Bacon Cups My Library
For a really nice combination of the two I chose:
Taste of the South Dec/Jan 2011
I decided a really nice fruit salad would be wonderfully refreshing so I chose:
Ambrosia Salad My Library
For the sweet side of the menu I chose the following:
Blueberry Crumb Cake Barefoot Contessa at Home pp. 230
Cranberry Orange Scones Food Network Ina Garten 2006
Red Velvet Peppermint Cake Southern Living 1998
I repeated two recipes (Tomato Bacon Cups and Ina Garten’s Blueberry Crumb Cake) from an earlier coffee because they were so popular.
All the recipes were really quite simple and all food items were easily found at the local market. I made everything the day/evening before because I like to have everything fresh when people come to visit. The egg casserole I put in the oven an hour and a half before everyone arrived so it was nice and warm. I also put the potatoes under the broiler for about 5-6 minutes before so they too would be warm. The last thing I did was drizzle the balsamic syrup over the crostini in order for the toast not to become soggy.
Erica who started the coffee oh so many years ago, comes the night before and sets up her wonderful dual coffee machine, extra filters filled with wonderful coffee and dispensers so that all the host has to do is push the on button about an hour before guests arrive. I think that is quite wonderful!
With the house decorated, food nicely displayed on the counter and Christmas music playing in the background I opened the door. Twenty plus neighbors came that day and enjoyed a pleasant morning get together.
We all live such busy lives that it is easy to lose track of your friends and neighbors. This monthly coffee has become one of my very favorite events here at Spruce Creek because it gives all those who attend a chance to catch up with one another in a casual setting. I love it.
As the ladies were leaving and we said our goodbyes and shared holidays wishes I held out a bowl filled with individual packets of Nescafé limited edition Peppermint Mocha with a miniature candy cane tied to it. It was just a little parting gesture to say thank you for coming and have a wonderful holiday. I would love to credit myself for this idea however, my daughter Kristine, who just loves to entertain, thought it would be a wonderful finishing touch to a great afternoon of coffee, food and fellowship and it was!
I was unable to link the recipe for the roasted red potato bites so I added them at the bottom of the post. I actually found several of the roasted potatoes and while they were similar they were off an ingredient here, and ingredient there.
I will share just a few words about each recipe. The egg casserole had mixed reviews. Most of the ladies enjoyed it plain without the salsa and chips. Genny tried the eggs both ways and found that she preferred them plain also.
The roasted red potatos were a hit. Biting into one of the potatoes was heavenly as you had the smooth texture of the potato mixed with the crunchy filling. YUMMY!@
The tomato bacon cups were a hit at both of the coffees I hosted this year and they are so easy to make and you can make them the night before and just heatt a bit the day of the party.
The crostinis were a nice taste treat. The crunchiness of the toasted baquette, the smooth sweet cream cheese, sweet strawberries and balsamic reduction was just right. Kristine made a wonderful suggestion saying, “Instead of drizzling the syrup ahead of time put a small bowl next to the tray and let the guests drizzle a little themselves. This way the toast stays nice and crunchy”.
The Ambrosia fruit salad I have been making for at least 30 years. I love the combination of pineapple, bananas, red and green seedless grapes and maraschino cherries all bathed in the wonderful liquid combination of pineapple juice and fizzy ginger ale. And, every once in a while you catch a piece of white, delicate, sweet, crunchy coconut. A taste delight!
I love the blueberry crumb cake so much I have made it over and over again this past year and all my guests love it too. Carol asked me if it was a ‘buckle’. I answered that I had no idea what that was. I learned that a buckle is a dessert which combines fresh seasonal fruit, a rich cake batter, and a streusel topping. The result is a rich, dense cake with a moist crumb which is sometimes compared to coffee cake very popular in New England.
Ina Garten’s cranberry orange scones were wonderful. These scones do not need anything else added to taste great although I did have a bowl of fresh whipped cream available. Even my husband loved them. I asked him what he like about them and he said, “I like the texture. It is light and airy, not a cake and not a biscuit but just right. I also like the icing on top. Very nice”.
The red velvet peppermint cake is just wonderful for presentation! I place it at the end of the counter and cut a slice out so all who entered the house could see the beautiful white and red swirls of cake inside. Everyone was ooing and ahing and asked, “Did you make this from scratch?” I answered, “Oh, yes but it is so easy because the base is cake mixes. How wonderful is that?”
I made one recipe for each food and it was plenty and had very little left over. Actually just enough to share with my husband that evening and a few pieces of peppermint cake with neighbors who were unable to attend. It really was a nice morning coffee.
Roasted Red Potato Bites:
12 small red potatoes (about 1 1/2 or 2 pounds)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese blend
1/2 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cp minced green onions
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh or 2 teaspoons dried basil
Rub potatoes with olive oil, and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 45 minutes or until tender. Let cool. Cut each potato in half crosswise; cut a thin slice from bottom of each half, forming a base for potatoes to stand on, if necessar. Scoop out pulp, leaving at least 1/4-inch thick shell; reserve pulp.
Stir together reserved potato pulp, 1/2 cup mayonnaire, 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese blend, and next 3 ingredients in a large bowl. Spoon or pipe mixture evenly into each potato shell. Place on lightly greased baking sheet.
Broil potato bites 5 inches from heat 3 to 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve warm.
Note: Filled, unbroiled potatoes may be covered and chilled up to 2 days. Let stand at room temperature 15 minutes; broil as directed.
Bacon Tomato Cups:
1 (10 ounce) can refrigerated flaky biscuits
5-6 slices bacon cooked and crumbled
1 tomato chopped and well drained
1/2 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup Swiss cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon basil
Heat oven to 375°. Separate each biscuit into 2/3 thinner biscuits. Dredge in flour on one side. Top down into muffin pan. Mix all ingredients together. Using a small scoop fill cups. Bake 10-15 minutes until brown. (20-30 appetizers)
2- 13 1/2 ounce cans pineapple chunks
5 medium navel oranges
2 fully ripe bananas
2 cups seedless grapes, halved (I use a combination of green and red seedless)
1 3-1/2 ounce can flaked coconut
1 cup ginger ale
Whole maraschino cherries
Drain pineapple, reserving syrup. Pare oranges with sharp knife; remove sections by cutting close to membrane, reserving juice. Peel bananas, slice, and place in orange juice. Place half of each fruit in bowl, sprinkle with half of coconut; top with remaining fruit.
Pour reserved pineapple syrup over all; chill thoroughly. At serving tme, pour ginger ale over. Sprinkle remaining coconut and dot with whole maraschino cherries.
Happy Holidays and a very Happy New Year to everyone!!!!!