Earlier this year, I told you about some things I was doing to be more adult. Well I left out one VERY important one that I’m here to tell you about…hosting dinner parties! SO adult.
Starting when I was little, I began helping my mom with her dinner parties. They are always so elegant – whether it’s a Christmas party for 20 or a special dinner for eight, she always makes it magical. A few days ahead of time, we collaborate on the menu – carefully crafted around the theme of the evening – and then we write out our grocery list and check things off as we drop them in our cart at the store. On the day of the party, we put together a loose game plan, and just go! Regardless of any hiccups along the way, they always come together beautifully and everyone has a smashing good time!
So that’s a little taste of my continuing education chez Le Petit Artichaut. But there’s something so uniquely adult about hosting a real dinner party on my own, in my twenties…with the help of another twenty-something expert cook, Elizabeth. Y’all remember my first attempt at a dinner party? It was delicious and everyone had fun, but I can’t say I nailed the timing – that’s where my co-host balances me out :) While I’m too relaxed, she’s too worried, so we end up like Goldie Locks.
Elizabeth and I hosted a UCLA Alumni Dinner for 12 Strangers – a really cool UCLA tradition where current Bruins and alums sign up to attend a dinner in their area, and everyone meets at dinner! We decided to go with the theme, “Summer in the Mediterranean,” embracing the September summer in DC. We put together the menu:
-Roasted red pepper and sundried tomato feta dip
-White bean tapenade
For the main event:
-Heirloom tomato galette with homemade oregano crust
-Roasted eggplant, zucchini, and onion orzo salad
-Arugula salad with artichoke hearts, grapefruit, cucumber, and sweet & spicy toasted almonds in a lemon honey Dijon dressing
And wine all around!
The table was set outside with sunflowers and tea lights galore. Everyone loved the dinner and met a few new Bruins in the neighborhood :)
Here’s what we did:
Heirloom Tomato Galette
*slightly adapted from Helene at tarteletteblog.com
For the oregano crust:
In a food processor, pulse to combine:
-1 1/4 c. flour
-1/2 tsp. salt
-1 tsp. dried oregano
Then add in, and pulse just until the dough begins to resemble small peas:
-1 stick cold butter, cubed
Stream in until just incorporated:
-1/4 c. icy cold water
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and lightly and briefly kneed the dough to pull it all together (don’t overwork the dough or it will result in a tough crust). Shape the dough into a 2-inch thick disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight before you roll it out.
For the ricotta filling:
Mix together in a bowl:
-1 c. whole milk ricotta
-1 garlic clove, finely minced
-1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh oregano
Slice and lay on a paper towel to absorb some of the excess moisture:
-3 or 4 heirloom tomatoes (all different colors)
On a floured surface, roll out the pastry dough to a 10-inch circle – the dough should be a little less than ¼ inch thick. Using the rolling pin, carefully roll the dough loosely onto the pin, and unroll it back onto a floured and buttered cookie sheet.
Spread the ricotta filling on the dough, leaving a 1-2 inch boarder. Layer the tomatoes on top, alternating colors. Fold/pleat the edges of the dough over the tomatoes.
Brush the dough using a pastry brush with:
-1 egg, beaten
Bake for about 40 to 50 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. Sprinkle with some fresh oregano, slice, serve, and enjoy!
French phrase for fun:
Je suis un Bruin jusqu’au bout des ongles!
I’m a Bruin through and through!