Friday, April 29, 2016

mafia dinner eats

as much fun as the actual party was, i was equally thrilled with how amazing the food was! all of the courses were recipes that were new to me and were typical of 1930s cuisine. the greatest part was that they were tried and true sicilian recipes. how great is that?

and as much as i love food, i felt these dishes needed their own post in order to truly do them justice.

[all the cured meats and cheeses]

[sweet wine-marinated apricots]

[pistachio ice cream]


so, the recipe said i needed to make a cassata which if you've never tried it, it's a little like an ice cream cake. the idea is to use a small metal bowl to create a thick layer of gelato. then, you fold egg whites and powdered sugar into whipped cream until combined. lastly, before filling the center of the gelato layer, you fold in candied fruit. since i'd never done it before and felt the most stressed about it, i made a deconstructed version of it. so, i made pistachio ice cream, layered whipped cream on top, and added sweet wine-marinated dried turkish apricots. it was for sure the right call in my book, and was the cherry on top of an already amazing night. 

[prepping the meats]

[table and glassware prep]

the dinner:

i don't think we've ever used or cooked so much eggplant. i figured it would play a big part since it is so common in italian recipes, but phew! i feel like we have officially mastered the art of frying it. 

since this was my very first time preparing a multi-course meal, let alone six, i knew coming up with a game plan would be my best bet. so, by thursday, we made sure to purchase all ingredients needed, friday, we started the prep work of cutting veggies and i studied the menu, and saturday, we really got to work. thankfully, T cut all the onions for me and spared me the awkward tears. 

[delicious sauce 'a bubbling]

to make sure we could actually enjoy the party and wouldn't get stuck cooking the entire time, we made what we could earlier in the day. all pastas had been cooked in advance to mix in, sauces had simmered, and each pasta recipe was prepped to be reheated in the oven when the time came. the only one we didn't do in advance was the pan-seared swordfish with tomato sauce. swordfish is too delicious to be ruined by reheating. plus, it would be an easy cocktail interlude :)

[drooling so much]

[sauteed squid with herbs]


to kick the night off on the right foot, we made the included prohibition cocktail. it was a stout drink, but such is the case when alcohol was had to get your drinks in, and get them quick!

so we added lemon garnishes, and greeted our guests at the door with their beverages. but, you can't have an italian dinner without wine so we asked our guests to bring themselves and a bottle (or two) of wine. as an added surprise we grabbed a sweet wine as an added treat, and it was quite the hit.

[hunky godfather]

[drinks ready for our guests]

the setting:

since this was to be a long dinner, we kept the table settings simple. i really love to create intimate table settings. i feel they are perfect for making a cozy night all the more intimate. plus, it's perfect for helping keep the conversation flowing. that, with our homemade seating cards and florals jana brought over the day before, made for a gorgeous arrangement. 

[each couple checking out their menus]

[first course - prosciutto-wrapped cantaloupe]

[second course - baked pasta with cheese; my personal favorite]

[third course - pasta with eggplant and ricotta salata]

[fourth course - spaghetti with squid in ink sauce]

this course in particular was the most exciting to make. i'd always wanted to experiment with squid ink since it makes pasta taste all the more delicious. and now i finally had my chance. 

unrelated note, i may or may not be on the hunt for more recipes to use squid ink...including homemade pasta ;)

[fifth course - swordfish with tomato sauce]

[sixth, and last course - my version of a cassata]

this with T's sweet toasts to my efforts as well as our amazing friends in attendance made for a lot of happy bellies. 


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

mafia dinner party

last weekend, T and i had the pleasure of hosting our friends for a themed dinner party. some time ago, my dad gave me a dinner party kit with the theme being 1930s mafia. between the character cards, invitations, and food menu, i couldn't wait to host it! so, we asked some of our couple friends to come enjoy a night to remember. 

[of course T was "The Godfather"]

[mr & mrs lansky]

[bonnie & clyde]

[prohibition cocktails]

[first cheers of the night]

[clyde "the champion" barrow]

once T and michael got our '30s tunes going, we were ready to greet our guests with pre-dinner cocktails and a retro meet 'n greet. i loved how much everyone got into their character and honestly felt like we had gone back in time for the evening!


[johnny "the fox" torrio, and anna torrio]

then, the greatest thing happened, our friend daniel brought a disposable camera to capture the night! i wish i could explain how excited it made me to see one of these. i mean, i haven't used one religiously since middle school/mid-high school. so, it brought up all kinds of feels, and made the night feel all the more special. 

[gorgeous gals]

[all the 'gents]

[and the gals]

once all the photos and cocktails had been taken, T and i directed our guests to their seats to start the dinner. 

[menu reading]

once we explained the theme of the food (post to come), we kicked off the first of six courses!


each course was more delicious than the last, and continued to wow us all. truth be told, i was a bit nervous as these were all new recipes. but, i am very happy to report they were all a hit. 

then, we had another cocktail break before the last two courses. i mean, after all that pasta, we needed to stretch our legs and catch our breath (in the best way :) ). 

[ain't she cute?!]

while T and i prepped the fifth course, we of course stole a smooch. seriously, none of this dinner would've been possible with out my partner in crime. 

[hey al capone]

[dessert and wine]

once dinner had finished, we did the only thing we could think of...ballroom dancing! 

a huge thanks to our friends for being amazing and getting into our dinner party theme. they really are the best, and made the night even better than i could have imagined. 

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