Saturday, June 29, 2013

Bar Party Bonanza

Well, we had the bar party last month, and it was awesome!!  The theme was purple, since that is the official academic color for law.  We even had purple crudite, with purple cauliflower, purple peppers and eggplant, purple cocktails, pulled pork from a whole roasted pig and a bunch of other yummy things!  I'm sorry to say that I have no photos of any of the food, as I was so awash in all the excitement that I completely forgot to take any!  But I did not forget about you dear readers!  Below are some of the most requested recipes from my guests.


As with most things I make, I did some research online and pulled elements from several recipes and then added my own twist.  This is what I came up with.  I made this to throw on tortillas with pork, but it's so universal that folks were dipping veggies and anything else they could get their hands on into this stuff!  We had a fair amount left over, and that's when I discovered it goes well in omelets, on burgers - you name it!  No wonder this is considered Peru's version of ketchup!

2 bunches fresh flat-leaf parsley (that curly crap is a garnish, NOT food!)
2 bunches fresh cilantro
1-2 C fresh oregano
1/2 C fresh thyme leaves (no stems, they are too woody!)
1 C fresh mint
1-2 C fresh basil leaves
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled or the equivalent chopped amount
4 medium size shallots, peeled
1/3 C red wine vinegar
1/2 C lime juice
1/2 to 1 tsp red pepper flakes
2-3 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 C olive oil

Essentially you want to throw everything into the food processor and blend, but it will not all fit at once, so you need to blend, then add more, then blend again, etc.  Add the garlic and shallots whole and let the machine do the work.  I added the vinegar straight away to allow for some liquid to help emulsify.  The olive oil and lime juice should go in last, after everything is good and chopped up. 

You want to let this sauce sit overnight to blend all the flavors.  It would also make an awesome marinade for a brisket or pork roast!


I adapted this recipe from one I found in the official Game of Thrones cookbook.  They put it on roasted chicken, but it also goes extremely well with any poultry or pork.

1 C apple cider vinegar
2/3 C honey
1/2 C dried fruit (I used raisins, but feel free to use currants, chopped apricots, dried cranberries, etc.)
1 tbsp unsalted butter

Put everything in a saucepan and simmer until the sauce reduces to about half (warning, serious vinegar smells will attempt to choke you, but soldier on, the sauce is worth it) and the dried fruit plumps up.  Then pour over roasted meats or serve on the side as a gravy.  Leftovers can be stored in the fridge, but it needs to be reheated to use again as it becomes thick like plain honey.  This sauce keeps indefinitely as it is made mainly from vinegar and honey, two things that literally never go bad.

Big drink dispensers - that's a lot of vodka!


3 oz vodka
1 1/2 oz. cranberry juice
1/2 oz blue curacao
1/2 oz sweet and sour mix
1/2 oz Sprite
ice cubes
purple sugar - for garnish

Blitz everything in a blender and serve in a martini glass with purple sugared rim for individual cocktails.  I mixed it in BIG batches and had large drink dispensers set out with cups and sugar for folks to serve themselves.

Spiced CarrotSpread 

This was a big hot with guests as well. It's meant as a dip for corn chips or pita wedges, but again, dipping raw veggies into it, or using it as a spread on a sandwich seemed to work for everyone.  It's reminiscent of Indian cuisine with the cumin and cardamom.  Next time I might even be tempted to add a dash of garam masala to it.
  • 6 medium carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 small garlic clove, chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger (or powdered)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and fresh pepper

Seta steamer basket in a saucepan with 2 inches simmering water. Add carrots.Cover and steam until tender, about 12 minutes. (I boil until they are mushy with a pinch of salt.) Transfer to a food processor, along with garlic, cumin,ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cayenne pepper, tahini, and lemon juice. Seasonwith salt and pepper. Process until smooth, about 1 minute, adding up to 2 tablespoons water if necessary.

This party was a long time coming, and I am so glad that so many friends and family came to help me celebrate passing the Texas bar exam!  That exam is just one more step to converting me from a Yankee to a Southern gal!