Saturday, April 24, 2010

Friday Night Dinner Party

A few of my friends from Marist came for dinner on Friday night, we had such a blast, as always. I love having people over and trying new recipes. So we started out with shrimp scampi on garlic toast. The recipe is designed as a main course so instead of serving it in individual bowls I served it all in one dish. It was really easy and quick. I provided the recipe for separate servings below. For the main course I decided on a simple rosemary chicken and potato dinner with a homemade pesto caesar salad and garlic cheese bread on the side. I doubled the recipe and cooked it in a dutch oven instead of the skillet as the recipe suggests. The chicken wasn't as crispy as I had hoped but I think if I had browned 4 pieces first then removed them, then brown the second 4 pieces of chicken it would have been crispier. For desert I decided to try a molten lava cake with vanilla ice cream. It needs to be served warm so I was able to make the mix before everyone arrived and let it sit. While we were finishing dinner I pre-heated the oven and threw them in for a few minutes when we were done. The recipe calls for mint but I am not a fan so I substituted semi-sweet chocolate bits, next time I want to try caramel. The only thing I wish I had done differently is to grease the ramekins better. They didn't come out as pretty as I had hoped, because they stuck a little, but they still tasted great!

  • Shrimp Scampi with Garlic Toasts
  • Pesto Caesar Salad
  • Skillet Rosemary Chicken
  • Black Angus Garlic Cheese Bread
  • Molten Chocolate Cakes with Vanilla Ice Cream
Shrimp Scampi with Garlic Toasts
Food Network Magazine
Serves 4


3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
Kosher salt
Pinch of red pepper flakes
8 1/2 slices crusted bread (I used a round french loaf and used 8 pieces)
1 1/4 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails intact
3/4 cup dry white wine or low sodium chicken broth (I used wine)
Grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon, plus lemon wedges for serving (I didn't serve with lemon wedges because I changed the way it was served)
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/3 cup chopped fresh chives


1. Preheat the broiler. Heat olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the red pepper flakes and cook 1 to 2 minutes; remove from the heat. Brush both sides of the bread with some the garlic mixture and arrange on a baking sheet. Broil the bread until toasted, about 1 minute per side. Divide the bread among 4 bowls.

2. Place the skillet with the remaining garlic mixture over high heat. Add the shrimp and toss to coat, then stir in the wine and lemon zest and juice. Transfer to the broiler and cook until the shrimp are pink, about 4 minutes. Transfer the shrimp with a slotted spoon to the bowls.

3. Return the skillet to high heat and boil the cooking liquid until slightly thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the parsley and chives. Whisk in the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and simmer 1 to 2 more minutes; pour over the shrimp. Serve with lemon wedges.

Pesto Caesar Salad
Cooking Light Magazine
Yields 6 servings (there was definitely enough for 8 servings)


3 ounces French bread baguette, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Cooking spray
2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup organic canola mayonnaise, such as Spectrum
3 tablespoons refridgerated pesto
4 teaspoons water
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)
1 garlic clove, minced
12 cups torn romaine lettuce


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2. Place bread in a large bowl; drizzle with oil. I used a large zip lock baggie to coat and I also added a little garlic powder too. Arrange bread in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes or until golden, turning once.

3. Grate 2 tablespoons cheese; shave remaining cheese to equal about 6 tablespoons. Set shaved cheese aside.

4. Combine grated cheese, mayonnaise, and next 8 ingredients (through garlic) in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Combine croutons and lettuce in a large bowl. Drizzle mayonnaise mixture over lettuce mixture; toss to coat.

5. Place 1 1/3 cups salad on each side of six plates, top each serving with 1 tablespoon shaved cheese.

Skillet Rosemary Chicken
Food Network Magazine
Serves 4


3/4 pound small red-skinned potatoes, halved, or quartered if large
Kosher salt
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, plus 1 tablespoon leaves
1 clove garlic, smashed
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Juice of 2 lemons (squeezed halves reserved)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts (6 to 8 ounces each) I bought larger pieces and had the butcher halve them for me
10 ounces cremini mushrooms, halved


1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Cover the potatoes with cold water in a saucepan and salt the water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until tender, about 8 minutes; drain and set aside.

2. Pile the rosemary leaves, garlic , 2 teaspoons of salt and red pepper flakes on a cutting board, then mince and mash into a paste with a large knife. Transfer the paste to a bowl. Stir in the lemon juice of 1 lemon and the olive oil. Add the chicken and turn to coat.

3. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken, skin side down, cover and cook until the skin browns, about 5 minutes. Turn the chicken; add the mushrooms and potatoes to the skillet and drizzle with the juice of the remaining lemon. Add the rosemary sprigs and the squeezed lemon halves to the skillet; transfer to the oven and roast, uncovered, until the chicken is cooked through and the skin is crisp, 20 to 25 minutes.

Black Angus Garlic Cheese Bread
Serves about 12


1 baguette French bread
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup shredded Monterary Jack cheese
1 cup shredded Asiago cheese
1 cup mayonnaise
1 bunch of whole scallions, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced, and mashed to a paste with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Split the French bread loaf in half horizontally. Make several lengthwise slashes into the surface of the cut side of the bread.

2. In a medium bowl, mix together the butter, cheeses, mayonnaise, scallions and garlic until well blended.

3. Use a flexible spatula to spread the mixture on to the cut sides of the bread, working some into the slashes.

4. Bake cut sides up until the cheese mixture is melted, 6 to 8 minutes, then place under the broiler until bubbly, 2 to 3 minutes longer.

5. Cut the slices and serve.

Molten Chocolate Cakes with Vanilla Ice Cream
adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine
Serves 6

1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, 6 ounces chopped for cake mix, 2 ounces chopped for inside of the cakes
3 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 1/2 tablespoons flour
14 ounces of ice cream, such as Haagen Dazs


1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Grease and flour 6 ramekins. In a double boiler, melt the butter and chocolate over simmering water, whisking until smooth. Remove the insert from the pan.

2. Using an electric mixer, beat the whole eggs, egg yolks and granulated sugar at high speed until pale and very thick, about 8 minutes. Whisk in the chocolate mixture, then the flour until just combined.

3. Divide the batter among the prepared ramekins and submerge 4 tiny pieces of the semi-sweet chocolate. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake until slightly jiggly in the center, 12 to 14 minutes.

4. Invert the cakes onto plates, wait 20 seconds and remove the ramekins. Top with ice cream and serve immediately.

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