On Tuesday night, with merely one day’s notice, I made up a yummy menu to serve for a small dinner party with Husband’s work colleagues. Each of these dishes was in it’s own a culinary treat, yet the entire ensemble came together in very little time. I especially loved the soup, as good Asian fare is hard to come by in my area. The Thai chicken soup has many wonderful layers of flavor, including warm notes from the rich coconut milk and the zing of ginger. I loved it, and so did the guests. The appetizers couldn’t have been simpler to prepare, and the deviled eggs really won my heart. I have very fond memories of deviled egg making, as my best friend and I once spent an afternoon preparing a plate of them, each one with a unique filling derived from ridiculous variations of refrigerator condiments. The roasted pepper spread is an idea Rachael Ray once mentioned as a quick-fix pleaser, and the dessert (unfortunately unpictured) was a caramelized banana filled crepe topped with butterscotch sauce and walnuts. Divine!
Zesty Deviled Eggs
8 eggs, hardboiled, peeled, and halved
2 T. mayonaise
3 T. mustard
1 t. vinegar
1-2 t. sugar
1 T. zesty chile sauce of choice
salt and pepper to taste
In a medium bowl, mash yolks smooth with a fork (or toss into a food processor). Combine remaining ingredients in same bowl and mix until smooth and uniform. Taste and adjust seasonings a su gusto. Fill egg white “bowls” with a spoon or using a pastry bag. Top with chives and sprinkle with Cajun seasoning. Maintain covered and refrigerated until serving time.
Roasted Pepper Dip
2 red sweet peppers
1-8 oz. package cream cheese
salt and pepper
Place peppers on a greased baking dish and broil on high. Turn peppers every 5 minutes to blacken evenly (not all parts will blacken..that’s okay.) This should take about 15 minutes. Remove peppers and immediately place in a brown paper bag and fold it shut. After 15 minutes the pepper skins should be easy to remove. Do so, and then remove seeds and stems. Chop finely or process. Mix into cream cheese and add seasonings to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with pita chips, Club crackers, tortilla chips, veggies, or bagel chips.
Thai Chicken and Rice Soup
Adapted from California Home Cooking, by Michele Anna Jordan; a great book I won from Warm Olives
1 small chicken
salt and pepper
5 c. chicken stock
3 T. peanut oil
1 small red onion, diced
8 scallions, green and white parts, sliced thin
6 garlic cloves, minced
4 serrano chiles, sliced thin I omitted these
3 c. coconut milk
2 stalks lemon grass, bruised and cut diagonally into 1-inch-long pieces Omitted because I could not find it
1 2-inch pieces galanga or ginger, grated
1 t. minced lime zest
Juice of 2 limes
3 T. fish sauce
5 c. cooked rice
1 c. cilantro leaves, chopped
*Additional 2 carrots, 2 onions, 2 celery stalks, bay leaf, s&p if opting to make homemade stock
Remove skin from chicken and season the outside with salt and pepper. Place in slow-cooker along with 1 c. water and cook until done (high for 3 hours or longer on low). Remove meat from bones, chop into small pieces and refrigerate. Place carcass back into the slow cooker along with carrots, celery, onion, bay leaf, salt and pepper to create a stock (This step may be skipped and replaced with pre-made stock). Cook on high for 5 hours.
Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion, and saute it until soft and transparent, about 7 minutes. Add the scallions and cook 6 minutes. Add garlic and serranos, and saute for 2 minutes more. Add stock, coconut milk, lemon grass, ginger, & lime zest. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, covered for 15 minutes. Stir in chicken meat, lime juice and fish sauce. To serve, divide the rice among serving bowls and ladle the soup over. Top each portion with some cilantro, and serve immediately.
Cook 5 sliced bananas with 2 T. butter and 2 T. brown sugar until soft and caramelized. Turn oven to very low heat and place the banana mixture, covered into oven, along with a baking sheet.
Simultaneously cook butterscotch sauce and crepes.
Cook crepes, one by one, and place them into the oven on the baking sheet until all are finished.
To serve, spoon banana mixture into the center of each crepe and roll up. Drizzle with butterscotch sauce and sprinkle with walnuts. Divinely delicious!