Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Friday Night Dinner with Friends

The hubby and I had dinner guests on Friday

We started with 2 appetizers: Guinness Battered Shrimp and Apricot Chipotle Cream Cheese Dip with Crackers.

Guinness Battered Shrimp

2 cups flour
1 T baking powder
2 eggs
1 440 ml can of Guinness Beer
30 large shrimp (peeled, de-vined, tail on)

Mix dry ingredients.  Beat eggs and add them to the dry.  Add the beer and mix well.  Hold on to the tail of the shrimp and dip into the batter.  Fry in deep fryer or hot oil (370 F) until golden.

Apricot Chipotle Cream Cheese Dip with Crackers
(serves 4 people as an appetizer)

1/2 block of cream cheese
1/4 cup apricot jam (smooth - no chunks)
1 chipotle pepper in adobe sauce (1 single pepper, NOT 1 can)

Roughly chop the pepper and stir into the jam.  Heat in a small pot on the stove for about 3 minutes while stirring.  Remove pepper chunks from the jam and toss (they are just to flavour the jam).  Spread the cream cheese in a small oven-proof dish with a lid.  Cover it with the jam and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes.  Serve with crackers and enjoy!


This dip is SO good, and really easy to make!  Give it a try.

The second course was Pioneer Woman's cauliflower soup. I prepped this Thursday evening, and then warmed it up on Friday and served it in a tureen with a giant dollop of sour cream, some crisp bacon and loads of fresh parsley.

The main course was Italian Sausage Stuffed Shells, Spinach Salad and Focaccia bread with oil and vinegar.

Italian Sausage Stuffed Pasta Shells

9 x 13 pan sprayed with oil
1 box jumbo pasta shells (cook according to package)
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup bell pepper (any colour)
3 cloves minced garlic
1 small chopped onion
4-5 Italian sausages (remove from casings and chop finely)
Approx. 1.5 - 2 cups ricotta cheese
2 T milk
1/4 cup fresh parsley
3 T grated Parmesan cheese
jarred tomato sauce (any kind)

Heat oil.  Add garlic, onion, and pepper and cook until softened.  Add sausage, stirring to break up.  Cook until no longer pink.  Pour off excess fat.  Stir in ricotta, milk, parsley and Parmesan.  Remove from heat.  Stuff shells with approx. 2 T mixture.  Spoon sauce over.  Cover and bake for about 25 minutes @ 350 F. You can top with extra Parmesan before baking for a little extra love :-)

For dessert I got to try out the crème brûlée torch that the people at CSN Stores sent me to review.  It is a Bonjour brand chef's crème brûlée brushed aluminum torch with a fuel gauge.  We made vanilla bean crème brûlée and vanilla bean crème brûlée cookies.  The hubby did the torching.


He had a little too much fun!  The torch worked extremely well.  The flame came on strong and was bigger than I have seen on other torches.  It was easy to use, and it worked quickly.  It has a large base to stand on, and a comfortable grip.   

Torched Cookies:

I look forward to making many, many more decadent desserts with this torch, and I highly recommend it.

What should I torch next? 
Do you like things that taste a little burnt/ caramelized like the crust of a crème brûlée?
How was your weekend?  What did you do?


Tasha @ Voracious said...

WOW. Every single thing in this post looks scrumptious! I didn't think it could get any better than that perfectly battered shrimp, but then I saw the stuffed shells! Seriously, I'm coming to your house for dinner!

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Yum! That looks like a delicious dinner party. You are quite the host!

I love creme brulee. Mmm... Esp the little burnt crystals on top - that's my fave part!

My weekend was good. I had dinner at a friend's house on Friday, studied on Saturday, and went to dinner + a movie on Sunday.

Simply Life said...

you guys always do such a great job of entertaining!

Madeline - Greens and Jeans said...

Oh man, those stuffed shells look fantastic and I know Colin would be ALL over them!

Kat said...

You are such a great host!! I bet everyone loves your parties :) I had focaccia bread for the first time on friday and holy smokes. It is so so good!

Kacy said...

You seriously have the best party food. Yum! I've never torched anythign, but it sounds fun!

winkingannie said...

Everything sounds delicious! I'm so impressed with your menu.

nazarina said...

Did your guests even want to leave your delicious table?

Anonymous said...

Your dinner parties always look fantastic! My weekend was really nice and relaxing!

Jessica @ Dairy Free Betty said...

Wow... I'd like to come to a dinner party at your house... (and not be dairy free)!

I've never tried creme brule or anything like that before!! But it looks tasty!

Amber said...

YUMM!! What a feast! I want to come to your house for dinner :)

Unknown said...

I'm totally feeling that apricot cream cheese dip - I may steal the flavor profile for my oatmeal tomorrow ;) The idea sounds so incredible I don't think I can wait for dinner to roll around!

DessertForTwo said...

I love reading about what you cook for dinner parties. I never know if I'm not cooking enough or cooking too much for parties. We seem to have similar styles for entertaining. Aren't you exhausted after all of it, though?

Hope you're having a great day :)

Anonymous said...

It won't be long before you have the entire city lining up outside your house to get into a dinner party... you know that right?!

The cream cheese dips sounds so interesting and the cookies look fun! I've only had creme brulee once but I really, really enjoyed it... can't wait to see what else you torch!

Losing in the City said...

wow, the Guinness battered shrimp looks so good. I'm not a big fan of apricot but the dip looks very tasty. i think if i had that torch, i would start torching all my food....try cheesecake next :-)

Anonymous said...

It's just not fair! - I NEED to live closer to you so you can invite me to dinner :) Your food is always incredible...

Anonymous said...

seriously...i want to be your friend in real life so that you can cook for me all the are a foodie!! I love torched/burnt stuff!! make smores with the hubs!!

:Deliciously Healthy said...

Absolutely yummy!