You might think that this is an awful lot of photos for a single dinner party – and you might be right – but honestly, I think I have hit on the single most perfect dinner party menu for summer-time and it required some serious documentation.
Basically I was looking to host a small backyard dinner party that wasn’t a barbeque and could take a couple of food intolerance issues into account (I don’t eat wheat, and two of my guests can’t have dairy). Also I don’t like having to spend a lot of time in the kitchen once guests arrive – and I wanted to use at least some of the fresh produce from the garden even though I don’t have a ton of any one thing. So – given all these factors – tapas became the obvious choice.
With an emphasis on dips and dishes that could be prepped in advance – this is what I came up with:
Opening Cocktail: Bing Cherry Mojitos
Appetizer Tapas: Pita breads with Baba Ganoush, Marinated Feta & 2 kinds of olives.
Cold Tapas: Salad skewers, pickled asparagus, green bean salad with hazelnuts
Warm Tapas: Tortilla Espanola, Meatballs with Ouzo & Mint (served with a yogurt/dill dip), Crab Cakes with fresh guacamole
Dessert: Chocolate Gelato (non-dairy) with raspberry coulis
Not only was the meal a fabulous array of small bits and flavours – it had all the visual appeal that a summer meal in the garden should:
This was a somewhat elaborate affair – and yet still, prep time was only 3 hours, and cooking time right before serving was about 15 minutes. Total cost for the dinner: Seventy-five dollars which works out to $12.50 a person – not bad for what turned out to be a truly special meal. Because the tasks were small and varied in the preparation, this was a joy to put together. Lots of kitchen puttering without any single large task. I got all the prep done in the morning which meant a whole afternoon of lounging around in the backyard. Not bad!