My little sister turned 21 in October and a few nights ago she cashed in on a promised birthday present: a fully catered party for her and her dozen or so friends. Guests arrived with a bottle of wine at her third floor apartment near Atwater Market and were welcomed with the smells of sizzling pancetta and freshly baked cheese straws.
It was a lot of fun. I found myself surrounded by college students who mostly exist on take-out and Kraft Dinner and they were gobbling up the food as fast as I could turn it out. This was a welcome change from catering stuffy rich people's parties where everyone is watching their weight and the food is picked over and half of it left untouched.
It felt like the beginning of the Christmas holidays as we munched canapés, sipped wine and kicked back, thoroughly enjoying a night 'in'.
Cherry Tomato, Basil and Bocconcini Skewers: as classic as a vodka martini. A reminder of summer past.
Chip Duo. Top: Baba Ghanouj on a Pita Chip with Kalamata Olive and Parsley.
Bottom: Southwest Blackbean and Grilled Corn Salsa on homemade Tortilla Chip, Sour Cream.
Honey Dates With Crispy Pancetta
Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Sushi
Endive with Havarti and Toasted Almonds
1 jalapeño pepper
1 red bell pepper
2 ears fresh corn, shucked
1/4 cup lime juice(about 2 limes)
1 fifteen-ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup fresh loosely packed flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Heat grill to medium hot. Place peppers on grill, and cook, turning, until skin is black all over, 5 to 10 minutes for jalapeño and 10 to 15 minutes for red pepper. Place grilled peppers in a brown paper bag; let stand about 10 minutes. Remove peppers from bag, and peel away and discard charred skin; rinse your fingers from time to time under cool running water, if necessary, but do not rinse the peppers. Remove and discard stems and seeds. Mince jalapeño, and transfer to a large bowl. Cut red pepper into 1/4-inch pieces, add to jalapeño, and set aside.
2. Place ears of corn directly on grill. Cook until brown and tender, turning often, about 10 minutes. Remove from grill, and let cool slightly. Use a sharp knife to cut the kernels off the cob; add to peppers. 3. Add lime juice, black beans, parsley, red onion, garlic, and olive oil to corn and pepper mixture, and toss well. Season with salt and pepper, and serve.