I had several friends over last night for a housewarming (apartment-warming, whatever) party, and we had so much fun! We talked, we ate, we drank (tea and lemonade,) and we played "Apples to Apples" and "Taboo." Woooo! Low-key, definitely, but that was what I was after. :)
Here's the spread I prepared . . .
Tons of local veggies from the Farmer's Market, with Red Lentil Hummus:
The veggies (summer squash, kohlrabi, radishes, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, and sugar snap peas) were awesome, of course, and all local. I wasn't totally jazzed by the hummus . . . mine turned out a little runny, (maybe I didn't choose a large enough sweet potato?) and I found the flavor good, but not awesome. Oh well! Everyone else seemed to enjoy it, and many went back for seconds.
Kalamata olives, roasted (local) green beans, rosemary and lemon marinaded white beans (with local rosemary and scapes!), home-roased red peppers, local provolone, garlic-stuffed green olives, marinated artichoke hearts, Marinated Mushrooms (SO delicious!), and local fresh mozzarella. I have been dreaming about this antipasti platter for weeks, and it turned out as tasty and gorgeous as I had imagined! Look at all of those colors! :) (This was pretty much decimated by the end of the evening, save for a couple of lonely artichoke hearts . . . must have been good!)
I looooooooove deviled eggs, and had a request for them, so this was a no-brainer choice. :) (And there were only four left . . . they must have been good!) Peeling a dozen (local and gorgeous) eggs is kind of a pain; the only drawback, in my opinion. I sat and peeled eggs over a bowl between my knees while listening to jazz; that seemed to make the process more bearable.
Yogurt Cheese with Za'atar:
This is seriously the simplest, most popular party dip I've ever made. (Dan's brother, Ryan, goes crazy over this stuff!) Buy some plain yogurt, (I used low-fat, local yogurt this time, although whole milk yogurt makes quite the treat,) dump it in a coffee-filter lined strainer over a bowl, stick it in the fridge overnight, stir in some salt, top with za'atar and a little olive oil, and that's it. :)
My recipe for za'atar: 2 parts white sesame seeds, 2 parts dried thyme, 2 parts ground sumac, and 1 part kosher salt; grind in a coffee grinder until a fine powder consistency is achieved. This is also great sprinkled on rice/other whole grains, or used to top homemade focaccia/flatbreads.
Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce:
I looooooove the peanut sauce recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance, although it ended up being a little thin for a dip this time round. I'd use half the amount of water next time, or even less. :) Spring rolls were stuffed with bean thread noodles, local mint, local Thai basil, local cilantro, local green onion, red bell pepper, and shredded carrot.
Gluten-free crackers (Blue Diamond Almond Nut Thins -- thanks for the recommendation, Liz! These were a hit with everyone!), Holy Land Deli whole-wheat pita, Wedge bakery organic baguette, and some Back to Nature Harvest Whole Wheats. Just say "yes" to carbs! :)
Two unsweetened iced teas (I'm loving the Celestial Seasonings cold brew teas this summer!) and Lavender Strawberry Lemonade, made with local strawberries. Please also admire the flowers Courtney bought me for a housewarming present!
I also made two different kinds of homemade popsicles for dessert, (vegan chocolate fudge pops and Lemon-Buttermilk Ice Pops) but they weren't consumed by all. Hardly anyone saved room for dessert! (I have made the fudge pop before, and was pleasantly surprised by the Lemon-Buttermilk Ice Pops -- another recipe keeper!)
Even though preparing all of this food in advance was a considerable amount of work, it was SO worth it! (Plus, it was fun! I love big kitchen projects like this.) Once I had everything set out, I didn't have to think about the food at all -- everyone just helped themselves, and I just reminded people about the popsicles a couple of times. Easy! Tasty! Healthy! Fun!
What are some of your favorite party foods?