2014 Solstice Party Menu and Reflections

We had a much bigger crowd planned this year – expecting up to 70 people. I think we got about 60 in the end.

Cheese straws – staple of our parties – this year with trader joe 6-year aged cheddar and some of their four cheese blend (parmesan, asiago, fontina and I forget) plus cayenne. Came out beautifully. Best ever maybe.

Roast almonds – three flavors – lemon/rosemary.chilli, barbecue and tamari. Grace made them so I have little insight but she used Mark Bittman’s recipe from How to cook everything.

GF crackers for the cheeses – I made them – cup GF flour, tablespoon olive oil, enough water to bind a dough. Not entirely successful and the trick is to add more water and make them looser I think- more a smear than something to roll out. Sprinkle with salt and sesame seeds.

Beet chips – a new one. Mandolin beets as evenly as you can. toss with olive oil and salt and set out completely separated one by one on parchment and roast until starting to dry. These were GREAT.

Usual crudite stuff. Tried making a sauce from premade beet hummus mixed with the ottolenghi tahini sauce (see below) which was great.

olives, cheese plate – normal

drink – we made a nice champagne cocktail. drop about 1/4 teaspoon of muscovado sugar in bottom of a champagne flat (NOT flute) and add a couple of drops of bitters. splash (1/2 jigger) armagnac and fill up with champagne – it was very good.

roast lamb – pretty standard – smeared with rosemary, garlic, salt, pepper crushed together in the mortar

vegetarian patties – we had a lot of vegetarians coming so I wnated something substantial for them. I slightly overcooked 4 cups of quinoa, seperately sauteed onions and jalapeno. Mixed together with a cup of almond butter, whole bunch of parsley finely chopped (stalks as well). Red pepper very finely diced. 12 colves garlid inced. 2 cups flaxseed meal. Teaspoon real liquid smoke (natural hickory made by bubbling hickory smoke through water). 1 cup GF flour. Mic all together and let sit so flaxseed meal can get a bit slimy and bind. Then heated up some skillets with oil and made into 2-inch patties about 1/2 inch thick and cook dark brown on each side. sprinkle with more slat if needed (I did). Serve with ottolenghi tahini sauce. These came out great. Very protein rich and ‘meaty’

Ottolenghi tahini sauce. 1 cup tahini, 2/3 cup water, 1/3 cup lemon juice, six garlic cloves, 2 tsp salt. Blend. adjust seasoning. THis was FANTASTIC! And went with just about everything. I actually made close to three batches.

pork tenderloin with green tomato chutney. Sous vide pork in a marinade of lots of garlic and oregano. Keep as needed and then sear outsides in skillet. Slice into rounds and top each one with chutney. Can’t give recipe for chutney – made it a month ago and it has so much stuff in it that I can’t tell.

Flank steak, endive and horseradish. Sous vide flank steak 24 hours with miso, garlic, pepper. Sear. slice thin and serve on endive spears with a dab of horseradish sauce. Horseradish sauce. Grate a whole root as finely as you can, mix into 2 cups sour cream. Salt a little to taste. Also fantastic.

Carnitas tacos with pickled onion.

Slow cooked 2 pork shoulders (boneless) on grill or 5 hours or so (rubbed with a standard rub). Shredded it. In large pot sweated onion, garlic, jalapenos, cumin. then added pork, can of crushed tomatoes got it all hot and tipped onto large baking sheet and roasted again at 500 until top getting dark brown and crispy. Turn and keep going until turned side also brown and crispy. Reshred into bowl. Black beans made with cumin, garlic, jalapeno, bay leaves. Rice. Pickled red onion made the day before- finely sliced onion, fill container, mix apple cider vinegar (2.5 cups with 4 tbsp sugar, 2 tbsp salt) and store in fridge. tacos made of little rice, beans, carnitas and pickled onion. Should have also had cilantro and a spicy salsa – but didn’t – next time.

Roast root vegetables (carrot, sweet potato, parsnip, beets)

Baked fried chicken with cilantro sauce. Made the chicken pieces smaller – a mistake – better bigger and then cut them up

ice cream sandwiches. Bought TJ GF gingersnaps. Made cinnamon sour cream ice cream. made custard from double cream, 4 egg yolks. Tons of cinnamon (5 tsps?). Some sugar. stirred in 2 cups sour cream. Froze. These were FANTASTIC!!!!


Grace made 2 pies – pumpkin and cranberry with streusel. Both superb.

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