I’m old fashioned. I like dinner parties where we eat in the dining room and I use my good china and utensils and cloth napkins. It’s feels so lavish, a really nice break from the every-day stuff, and all the more welcome because I don’t do it very often.
I don’t mind the work. And in fact, the food I cook is mostly easy stuff I can prepare in advance, so that when the guests come (never more than 6 people), I can spend the time with them rather than fuss in the kitchen and miss all the conversation.
So, next weekend, when 4 of my friends will be at my house for dinner, I plan on serving a vegetable cream soup — maybe with fresh summer tomatoes — that I’ll make on Thursday and the main course will be a cold, poached salmon served with cool vegetables vinaigrette (all cooked by Friday, late afternoon).
Desserts are usually simple too, but I wanted to be a bit whimsical this time, so I started early and already have some of it stored away in the freezer: almond cookies from an old recipe that I molded into muffin tins (it could have been brioche molds or mini-tart pans) until they held their shape. I also made ginger ice cream, to fit inside those cookie cups.
It’s all done but for the garnish: a few snips of fresh mint from my garden (but you could add a sauce or some whipped cream or mashed fresh berries).
Just a few quick hors d’oeuvre and I’m done. All ahead of time.
Almond Cookie Cups with Ginger Ice Cream
the Cookie Cups:
4 ounces unsalted butter
6 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup ground toasted almonds
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 egg whites at room temperature
1/3 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 1-2 minutes at medium speed or until well blended. Add the almonds, vanilla extract, egg whites and flour and blend them in thoroughly. For each cookie, spoon some of the batter onto the cookie sheet and spread with the back of a spoon into a thin circle about 3-inches in diameter. Bake for 6-8 minutes or the edges have browned. Carefully and quickly remove each cookie and slip into a muffin tin or brioche mold. Let cool for 5 minutes, then place on a cake rack to cool completely. Fill with ice cream and serve. These may be frozen. NOTE: for best results and to make it easy, bake 2 cookies at a time. Makes 12
Ginger Ice Cream
4 cups half and half cream
1/2 cup sugar
4 large egg yolks
3/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
1/4 cup ginger liqueur (or 2 tablespoons liquid from preserved ginger), optional
Heat 2 cups of the cream over medium heat until bubbles appear around the edges of the pan. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the sugar and egg yolks at medium speed for 3-5 minutes or until light and thick. Gradually add the heated cream and blend the ingredients for about one minute or until smooth. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 5-6 minutes or until thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Strain the mixture into a bowl, pour in the remaining cream and blend it in thoroughly. Refrigerate until cold. Stir in the vanilla extract and the ginger. Freeze in an ice cream freezer according to manufacturer’s directions. When the mixture is almost completely frozen, pour in the liqueur, if used, and freeze completely. Makes about 1-1/2 quarts
P.S. I am part of a group called The Kosher Connection, which includes kosher food bloggers throughout the world. This recipe is a first in a series of a monthly “recipe challenge.” You can follow all the recipes on Twitter with #kosherrecipes.
For other fabulous recipes from our team see:
Forbidden Black Rice with Cherries
Chocolate and Vanilla Twist Pops
Frozen Chocolate Crunch Cake
Bourbon Peach Milk Shake
Raspberry Avocado Sorbet
Cornflake Crunch Ice Cream
Iced Cappuccino Baked Alaska
Dairy Free Halvah Pistachio Ice Cream
Black Forest Kulfis
Peppermint Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches