A friend of mine started a fun dinner group: a group of women, as indicated by the title of this post, who will take turns hosting a monthly dinner in. The job of the hostess is to “feed and liquid” the guests, and share some recipe ideas so that we can all walk away with some new ideas to use in our own kitchens. This month it was my turn to play hostess, and I chose to focus on appetizers and desserts. Here are the concoctions I prepared:
The liquid of my choice was hot mulled cider (1/2 gallon cider, 2 cinnamon sticks, 4 peeled slices of fresh ginger, 10 cloves) with an optional kick (butterscotch schnapps and/or bourbon added by each guest to her own liking). This seemed to work out well, as there was only one cup of hot cider left for my husband when he got home!
Crunchy Garbanzo Beans make a nice nut-like snack, or can be used to top a salad.
White Bean Dip with veggie sticks makes for a healthful appetizer with lots of flavor. I like this recipe because the bean flavor is mild, but there’s a nice kick of spice from the crushed red pepper and garlic, a slightly sweet/sour flavor from fresh lemon juice, and a surprising hint of rosemary.
Artichoke Dip with crusty bread and/or tortilla chips is a nice easy appetizer, though not quite as healthful as the bean dip. This dip was sort of an experiment. I had made a large batch around the holidays, and froze some for future use. It turns out that this recipe freezes well–just prepare, freeze, thaw overnight, and bake just before serving. I noticed no difference in flavor or texture, and the dish was nearly empty at the end of the evening, so I’m guessing it was well-liked by my guests.
Spinach Squares can be made ahead, or easily prepared just before serving. This is an easy appetizer or brunch item. I like it as a side with soup or salad.
Asian Coleslaw is not like traditional coleslaw. It has a tangy peanut dressing, and is made with lots of colorful fresh veggies. I really liked this recipe, and will likely make it again soon. Adding cubed grilled chicken, and a few cups of black rice could make it a one dish dinner for a warm summer night.
Turbo Veggie Soup is one of my favorite soups to make since it is so easy to prepare, and the ingredients are loaded with nutrition. I usually prepare this soup a day in advance, then put the pot of soup in the fridge overnight so the flavors can mellow (or marry, as my grandmother would say). Then it’s a really easy dinner–just put the pot of soup back on the stove about half an hour or so before you want to eat!
Garbanzo Bean Chocolate Cake is a flour-less (gluten free) chocolate cake. I like to add a few sprinkles of cayenne and chipotle powder to give it a little bit of unexpected heat. Cinnamon is also a nice addition.
Molasses Cookies are my favorite. Sadly, I have tried so many recipes, and have experienced failure (flat, crunchy cookies) enough times that I was prepared for this batch to be a disaster, hence the reliably good garbanzo cake on deck. I was pleasantly surprised that this batch of cookies was soft and chewy, even four days after they were baked! I cannot say how much longer they would stay soft and chewy, as there were none left after four days, though I think another batch is in order.
Giffords World’s Best Chocolate ice cream… It’s not a girls’ night without ice cream, right? I probably didn’t need to buy the half gallon sized container though, since I have been indulging most evenings since our gathering.