The Leaving Party {the eats}

There is a lot of pressure being a food blogger when you’re hosting a party. Aside from the usual logistics of cramming lots of people into a tiny urban apartment, there’s this: people expect the food to be out-of-this-world good. And rightly so, I mean I write about this stuff all the time, I should be able to deliver, yes?

Well, I didn’t want to disappoint, but let’s be real. The party was just a few days after we got back from Hong Kong and in the midst of a friend arriving to stay with us for the week, a blogger meet-up, meetings with the consulate, and organizing a move.

If I was going to be able to deliver, we had to keep it simple.

Delicious, but simple..

With that in mind, we decided to go with a seasonal taco bar, full of our favorite fall stuffings and heavy on the roasted veggies. I mean, who doesn’t like tacos?!

{If you have no interest in throwing a similar shin-dig, I give you permission to skip this next paragraph. It might be a bit, eh, boring.}

Logistics wise, the prep really couldn’t have been simpler. The day before the party, I prepped the mole seasoning and made the steak marinade, salsa, a batch of quinoa, the oreo truffles, and the cake. If you’re organizing a shin-dig these thing could easily be done more than a day in advance. That is just how it worked out best for us. On the day, I roasted the sweet potatoes, crisped the quinoa, and iced the cakes. I was going to let early guest help out with the skewers, but I ended up having a bit of extra time so I went ahead and did it. The Kiwi whizzed together the guacamole and prepped the cheeses. Shortly before folks arrived I whipped up the cider {recipe below}, and as they were arriving, the Kiwi put the steaks on so they’d be nice and hot.

The whole thing ended up being a breeze to throw together which was exactly what we needed. We needed to have time with our friends. We needed to have more time to focus on the reason we were there–letting all these fabulous people know how special they are to us and just how wonderful they have made our time here in Munich

And, if I do say so myself, it was a huge, huge hit. Every last bite was  gobbled, and I say that’s a mark of success.

Thank goodness.

Fall Taco Party

{I’m the worst at remembering to take photos at parties, especially my own, so I didn’t get a single picture of the whole spread. Schade. Picture a white tablecloth with craft paper runner, cutlery in mason jars, moroccan bowls, white china, these precious little place cards for the mains, and labels for the toppings scribbled in sharpie on the craft paper. It was beautiful while it lasted. All of these photos were taken at another time.}

for the starter
date, prosciutto and baby mozzarella skewers {kiwi+peach}

for the mains
mole roasted sweet potatoes and crispy quinoa {naturally ella via a house in the hills}
carne asada, for the meat lovers {kiwi+peach}
…with freshly pressed tortillas  and tortilla chips from the mexican grocery down the street.

Fall Taco Party from Kiwi and Peach

for the toppings
roasted tomato salsa {naturally ella}
guacamole {kiwi+peach}
spinach
sour cream
goat cheese, crumbled
feta, cubed
aged cheddar, shredded

for the sweets
oreo truffles {recipe from my friend Caitlin, remind me to tell you this story later…}
mini whiskey carrot cakes with cream cheese icing {the kitchn}

Mini Whiskey Carrot Cakes from Kiwi and Peach

for the drink
Augustiner beer {a Munich must}
Hot Caramel Apple Cider with dark spiced rum for spiking {recipe below}

Hot Caramel Apple Cider from Kiwi and Peach {recipe}

Hot Caramel Apple Cider

The Cider
2 liters apple juice
2 Tbsp mulling spices

The Caramel
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
2 Tbsp cream {we use soy cream}
pinch of sea salt

Place a large pot on medium low heat and pour in the apple juice. Tie the mulling spices up in a bit of cheesecloth and drop it in the pot. Let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until its properly warm.

In a separate pot on medium heat, melt your butter. Whisk the brown sugar in and then add the cream and sea salt. Continue whisking constantly for about 5 minutes or until the sugar has completely melted and the caramel just begins to thicken.

Remove the mulling spices and whisk the caramel into the cider.

Serve as is, or spike it with some nice spiced rum if you’re feeling festive.

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Gorilla Pull Apart Bread {aka Jesus}

I acknowledge that is an incredibly sacrilegious title. Please don’t break out the pitchforks or stones just yet. Wait until I’ve shared the recipe.

Once upon a time, my college roommate told me about this episode of Paula Deen where she cooked for Jimmy Carter. {This is all pre-scandal, mind.} One of the things she made was Gorilla Bread. So going based on my roommate’s memory of what was in it, I whipped up this magical concoction that we henceforth called Jesus because it makes you say “Jesus Christ! That’s the best thing I’ve ever put in my mouth!”

{commence stone throwing}

Despite it’s slightly sacrilegious name, it really is the best. thing. ever. Definitely not healthy, but that’s why you had the fried egg and tomatoes last night right? This is really a great something something to whip up if you have house guests and want to impress them with a great breakfast! So let’s get to it shall we?

Kiwi+Peach: Gorilla Bread {aka Jesus}

Gorilla Pull Apart Bread {aka Jesus}

The Caramel
1/4 cup cream {or soy cream}
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup pecans, slightly chopped

The Bread
1 Tbsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp sugar
biscuit dough {or a can of the pre-made stuff}
8 ounces of cream cheese

This recipe can be as simple or as labor intensive as you want it to be. If you’re looking for a super quick and impressive breakfast then by all means, use the canned biscuits; use pre-made caramel. Really. It will still be delicious. However, since the Kiwi and I are trying to eliminate highly processed connivence foods {like canned biscuits} from our diet, I decided to be a glutton for punishment do it the slightly harder way.

If you’re making your own caramel, heat all of the ingredients in a pot on medium low heat. Whisk gently for about 8 minutes and then transfer to a bowl. Mix in the pecans and pop it in the fridge to thicken up while you’re getting the rest done.

If you’re making your own biscuit dough, I highly recommend using the Kiwi’s recipe. I whipped up the biscuit dough according to  his fabulous instructions {substituting 1/2 the flour for whole wheat}, but stopped following his instructions after I got the dough made. Then I rolled it out and used the 3 in biscuit cutter to cut out my biscuits.

At this point, the rest of it is the same whether you’re using pre-made or you’ve just made it from scratch.

Preheat the oven according to your biscuit instructions. {450°F/225°C if you’re using the Kiwi’s recipe.}

Go ahead and grease your baking dish. I used a 6 inch pie dish this time, but I’ve had success with loaf pans and with bundt pans too. Use what you got.

In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon and sugar and mix well.

Spoon a good sized dollop of cream cheese in the middle of a biscuit and fold the biscuit around the cream cheese. Roll it into a smooth ball. Roll it around in the cinnamon sugar until it’s completely coated and then transfer to the baking dish.

Repeat for the rest of the biscuits.

Once they’re all in the pan, pour the caramel over the top. Really cover it. Then pop it in the oven to bake according to your biscuit instructions. {20 minutes for the Kiwi’s recipe.} Be sure to put a cookie sheet or something to catch drips underneath just incase the caramel decides to get unruly. Check it occasionally as well. If it starts smelling like burning sugar, take it out. Nothing worse than burnt caramel. That wouldn’t be a good way to start your day!

When it’s finished, let it cool for about 5 minutes and then plate up and enjoy!


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TheKitchn Small Cool Kitchen 2013: Lauren's Tiny Yet Airy Kitchen

Mini Apple Hand Pies with Salted Caramel

Happy 4th of July friends! In honor of celebrating our independence from those fun Brits who wanted us to drive on the left side of the road and favored the letters ‘S’ and ‘U’, I thought I’d share one of my most quintessentially American recipes. It doesn’t get much more American than eating apple pie and homemade ice cream. Am I right?

Kiwi+Peach: Mini Apple Hand Pies with Salted Caramel

These pies are the perfect dessert for cookout because you can just pick them up and pop them in your mouth. No cutlery needed. Plus they are precious, yea? Everything is cuter in miniature.

Kiwi+Peach: Mini Apple Hand Pies with Salted Caramel

Mini Apple Hand Pies with Salted Caramel

{adapted from Just a Taste, makes 8 little pies}

The Dough
1 cup whole wheat flour + some for flouring your work surface
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup plain yogurt {or sour cream}

The Filling
1 granny smith apple
1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp whole wheat flour
2 tbsp caramel sauce
sea salt

The Wash
1 egg
1 Tbsp water

In a medium sized bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Cube your butter and toss it in there. Go ahead and measure the yogurt but don’t add it yet. Using your hands, work the butter into the flour. Then mix in the sour cream and transfer to a well floured surface and knead it a bit. The dough will be pretty wet, so as you are kneading, slowly add more flour until it’s not sticky anymore. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out into a rectangle and then fold it into thirds. Roll it out and fold into thirds again. Then wrap it up in Glad wrap and stick it in the fridge while you work on the filling.

Preheat the oven to 450°F/225°C.

Peel your apple and chop it up pretty small. Put your little pieces of apple in a bowl. Douse it with the lemon juice and sprinkle with the brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour. Mix it up and let it sit for a bit.

Grab the dough from the fridge and turn it out on a well floured surface. Roll it out pretty thin. Use a 3 inch biscuit cutter {or a glass} to cut out you circles. Keep re-rolling it out until you’ve gotten as many circles as possible.

Spoon the apple filling onto half of the circles and top each with a generous 1/2 tsp of caramel sauce. {I used a sauce that came in a jar because I have had ZERO luck making my own caramel here in Germany. Something to do with the fact that their brown sugar isn’t real brown sugar.} Sprinkle with sea salt and then top with the other half of the circles. Press the edges together and then using a fork, really press them closed. Cut three slits in the top of each pie. In a small bowl, mix together the egg and water to make your egg wash. Brush the tops of your pies with the egg wash and pop it in the oven for 15 minutes. When they are finished let them cool for a quick minute and then plate them up for your cook out!