Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Chicken Party

The spouse is mildly addicted to the House Party website. It's kind of a weird site, where commercial companies offer stuff if you host a party to promote their products. There are a limited number of each party, so you apply, and you might get chosen, or you might not. The spouse has won a few, including one from Werther's, where they sent us bags and bags of candy, and now one from Foster Farms.

Luckily, they didn't mail us chicken. Instead, they gave us two $25 coupons, fourteen reusable shopping bags, a cookbook, and a chef's jacket. Amazingly, the jacket fit me almost perfectly. So, I added a picture of me in it to the blog. To pay for all the swag, however, you have to hold, and document, an actual get together.

So, the plan by the spouse was to have people over, and do lots of little dishes. We ended up settling on eight courses. Now, we both have been enamored of the concept of a tasting party for some time. The little dishes are really cute, and the spouse found some on sale cheap. Seemed like a good thing to try. We did a few old favorites, a few from the recipe book they sent, and few made up on the fly by me.

My goddaughter did yeoman duty as sou chef all day. She was a joy to work with, and I couldn't have pulled it off without her help. The spouse chipped in, as well as doing the bulk of scullery work keeping the pans clean throughout the day.

 For the first course, we went with a favorite cold dish; chicken, dried cranberry, and hazelnut salad. It has a great blend of tastes and textures, with chicken, dried cranberries, celery, nuts, yogurt, mayonnaise, honey, and herbs. I've done variations on this many times, and it works well with walnuts or almonds. You can also add a little diced granny smith apple, instead of the celery, for a little more tang.

I garnished it with a little micro basil from our CSA.

For the second course, we made a cold Asian chicken noodle salad. The chicken is marinated in the dressing, which has fresh ground peanut butter, fish sauce, soy sauce, chilies, garlic, and lime juice.  The chicken is then stir fried, and chilled. It's added to cold rice noodles along with fresh pea pods, and carrots. The noodles are dressed with the same sauce as the chicken was marinated in. It was garnished it with scallions, basil, and chopped peanuts.

For the third course, we made eggplant parmigiana with chicken Alfredo sauce. I had some beautiful white eggplant from my CSA. It was very firm, and quite mild. I breaded it with a mix of fine bread crumbs, shredded Parmesan, and Italian herbs. It was fried in very hot oil until brown and crisped, then placed in a 200 degree oven to keep warm. The goddaughter made the Alfredo sauce. It was a mix of butter, heavy cream, cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, and garlic with shredded grilled chicken. It was garnished with micro basil.
For the fourth course, we made pulled chicken in hoisin barbeque sauce with pickled cucumbers.and red onion. The chicken was cooked in a crockpot, then shredded. The BBQ sauce has hoisin sauce, garlic, apple cider vinegar, and soy sauce, The cucumber and onion are pickled in lemon juice and cider vinegar, flavored with clove, allspice, black pepper, and chili powder. It's served on a toasted Hawaiian sweet roll.

For the fifth course, we served hazelnut-sage chicken with ravioli.We used a mini ravioli. The chicken was sauteed with sage and lemon zest, and then tossed with the ravioli. It was garnished with chopped hazelnuts. The consensus among the cooks was that we should have used more zest, as the lemon just didn't come through.

For the sixth course, we made bacon wrapped chicken skewers with maple-pomegranate glaze with a pepper-zucchini slaw. Hard to go wrong with bacon, and the pomegranate molasses and maple syrup, with a hint of ginger, had a great sweet/sour thing going. The slaw, is a red wine vinaigrette, was garnished with pomegranate flavored dried cranberries. The acid in the slaw helped cut the fat of the bacon and the sweet of the glaze. I'm most proud of this one. I feel it was my most original of the day.

The seventh course was a miniature version of the lime marinated grilled chicken soft tacos I made earlier. We used mini corn tortillas here, and diced things smaller in proportion.

The final course was an old favorite, green chili chicken stew. A friend developed this recipe, and it is classic. Chicken, celery, carrots, and green chilies, with cumin just works beautifully. usually served over corn chips, I instead garnished it with fried tortilla strips. It was additionally garnished with shredded cheddar cheese.

Since this post is getting soooooo looong, I will end here, and post the recipes in a separate post.

Happy Eating!

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