I have to take a moment to brag on my friends in the Culinary Arts Department of the Fort Worth Junior Woman's Club. My friend (and former co-worker) Lindsay and I serve as co-social VP's for Culinary, and in that capacity we serve on the social committee for the club proper. Since our department is food-related, it was our gig by default to handle the food for the club's opening. Rather than hire it done, in a moment of mutual insanity Lindsay and I decided that we would just make everything ourselves. Now, in a lot of organizations, it's like pulling teeth to get folks to volunteer time and effort over and above their existing commitment. In Culinary, it's like swatting flies. The only "stress," as it is, is in answering the numerous "I'd love to help - when and where?" e-mails that pop up in your inbox in rapid fashion. Anyway, we put out the all-call, a group of women showed up at my house the day before the event, braving the rain that spun off from Ike, and over several batches of sangria we: speared sundried tomatoes and marinated mozzarella with little sprigs of rosemary; mixed massive quantities of hummus; and laughed loud and often (particularly over the appearance of the edamame feta dip - our budget was tight, one of our members had a metric ton of edamame that she donated to the cause, and we found a recipe that tasted great . . . but when prepared it looked like a giant bowl of wasabi mustard!). In less than three hours, we generated enough food to feed a couple of hundred women. The clubwide theme this year is art, so we planned the food and table decor around Arcimboldo's "Summer" (shown above). As we were not adventurous enough to try to mold a man's head out of vegetables, we settled for arrangements of red-stemmed Swiss chard surrounded by radishes, cauliflower and broccoli. (I am now sold on decorating with vegetables - they're striking, cheap and pretty much arrange themselves. Produce: It's the other floral arrangement.)
Anyway, the whole thing turned out fabulous, and word got back to me after the event that inquiring minds want to know if Culinary would consider going into the catering business. We certainly do make a good team . . . but the sangria expense would negate our profit margin.
Here's one of the recipes from the event - adapted from a Whole Foods recipe, and definitely worth making again:
BLEU CHEESE AND PECAN BRUSCHETTA
Mix crumbled bleu cheese with spreadable (tub) cream cheese to taste, reserving some of the bleu cheese. Slice baguette (white or wheat) into thin slices and brush with olive oil. Toast baguette slices in 350-degree oven until golden-brown. Spread cheese mixture on toasts and top with reserved bleu cheese crumbles and toasted chopped pecans. Drizzle with chestnut honey (an Italian honey - hard to find and kind of expensive, but a little goes a long way).