Mar 29, 2010

Now I Feel Like a Grownup

So to ease the pain of not being able to run the half marathon yesterday- (my shin splints are killing me every time I run more than eight miles), I had a little family dinner party Saturday that's been a long time coming.  Our dear family friends, the Smiths, who had not seen the condo since it looked like this-

Oh, the absolutely disgusting bachelor pad.  There was carpet everywhere else, which had never been cleaned.

Thank goodness it now looks like this-

I have tons of recipes for y'all today!  First up is an extremely simple appetizer which I created on the fly.  They might not look very pretty, but they are super tasty.

Fig-Gorgonzola Nibbles-
Take one sheet of thawed puff pastry
Lay in on a lightly floured surface, and brush with melted butter
Cut the puff pastry into squares
Spread with a fig jam or spread (if you nuke the jar for about 20 seconds it makes it far easier to spread)
Top the square with Gorgonzola crumbles
Bake at 350 for about 20- 30 minutes, until puffed and toasty.

Some Parrano, nuts, and nibbles on the coffee table.

My brother and his lovely lady, Em, both of who had just returned from Barcelona Friday evening.  Brother did run the half marathon (finishing at 1:56 with jet lag in the rain!).

Everyone eating and listening to a story my brother is telling  about his tacky neighbors.  It was a good one.

Mama and Brother.

Em, Daddy, and David

So, I forgot to take pics of our food- but you can see it on people's plates.  I have been waiting to use this recipe for a while, but I always get nervous trying a recipe for the first time with a big group. 

Chicken Marbella ( recipe and notes from the Silver Palate cookbook)
This was the first main-course dish to be offered at The Silver Palate, and the distinctive colors and flavors of the prunes, olives and capers have kept it a favorite for years. It's good hot or at room temperature. When prepared with small drumsticks and wings, it makes a delicious hors d'oeuvre. The overnight marinating is essential to the moistness of the finished product: the chicken keeps and even improves over several days of refrigeration; it travels well and makes excellent picnic fare. Since Chicken Marbella is such a spectacular party dish, we give quantities to serve 10 to 12, but the recipe can be divided to make smaller amounts if you wish.

Servings: 10-12 servings

4 chickens, 2 1/2 pounds each, quartered
1 head of garlic, peeled and finely pureed
1/4 cup dried oregano
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup pitted prunes
1/2 cup pitted Spanish green olives (I added another 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup capers with a bit of juice (I added another 1/2 cup)
6 bay leaves
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white wine
1/4 cup Italian parsley or fresh coriander (cilantro), finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl combine chicken quarters, garlic, oregano, pepper and coarse salt to taste, vinegar, olive oil, prunes, olives, capers and juice, and bay leaves. Cover and let marinate, refrigerated, overnight.
Arrange chicken in a single layer in one or two large, shallow baking pans and spoon marinade over it evenly. Sprinkle chicken pieces with brown sugar and pour white wine around them.
Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, basting frequently with pan juices. Chicken is done when thigh pieces, pricked with a fork at their thickest, yield clear yellow (rather than pink) juice.
At this point I removed the chicken and took off the bone, because I HATE eating chicken on the bone (unless it's fried) at dinner parties.  I think it's difficult to cut and eat in front of others. Yes, I realize that I am a touch neurotic.  I mixed the chicken pieces back in the sauce, covered it and put back in the oven until we were ready to eat at 300 degrees.

With a slotted spoon transfer chicken, prunes, olives and capers to a serving platter. Moisten with a few spoonfuls of pan juices and sprinkle generously with parsley or cilantro. Pass remaining pan juices in a sauce boat.
I served with cous cous and had my guest spoon the chicken and sauce over the cous cous to soak up all the delicious sauce.  Yum!

Leftovers are even better, so you could easily make this the day before and have a completely relaxing dinner party day, beautifying yourself and your home in anticipation of your guests.


  1. Okay!

    1. Love your curtains.
    2. Love your table-- especially the mint julep cups and the Juliska. Oh, we're already Juliska pals and now we can be Le Creuset pals.
    3. Thank you so much for the recipes!

    The only thing needed to make this post perfect is a picture of Samma Faye in the kitchen.

  2. Ummmmm OBSESSED with your artichoke candle holders... must know where you purchased! Food looks delish, per usual!

  3. I agree, the artichoke candle holders are fab.

  4. Looks like it was a smashing success! Love your china, btw. Just lovely!

  5. Love chicken marbella! My mom used to make it for dinner parties when I was a little girl. Your table looks so are lovely.

  6. Such a pretty table! Everything looks amazing.

  7. Isn't it so much fun using all your new wedding gifts and such? So fun that you have this blog to look back on years from now. The table looks beautiful. Chicken Marbella is our all time favorite go to recipe for guests. It is also great cold for picnics.

  8. have the same juliska pattern, isn't it the best? thanks for all the new recipes, can't wait to try them!! Your table looks amazing, I'm sure it was a great night!

  9. I want to lick my computer screen, and that would be in fact gross. I suppose I'll have to instead go and grab these ingredients and get to work. You are my new hero. You're like Martha but better, down to earth. It looks like so much fun, I can't wait to one day have my own dinner parties.

  10. Love your curtains and your table setting--everything! So lovely, as always.

    So sorry to hear your shins are still bothering you, but, I'm glad you're taking care of YOU and that you didn't try to run 13.1!

  11. The flowers and mint julep cups are BEEYOUTEEFUL!

  12. 1. Love your decor - those curtains are fab.

    2. Table centerpieces are equally fab! The simplicity of the candles and julep cups are so gorgeous!

    3. Looks like it was a wonderful night for you all - I can't wait to get my crap together and start hosting grown up dinner parties!

  13. LOVE your home! And that table is stunning! The flowers are great. My table never looks that fancy. And yum to anything with puff pastry!


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