Thursday, May 3, 2012

Parties, Projects and Plants 1- Game Night!

We have a great group of friends who we get together with regularly. Friday night was our turn to host game night with friends. We're a bit informal, meaning we don't actually start playing a game until at least an hour after everyone has arrived. That meant we opened the house at 6 and started playing Bananagrams around 8:30 after conversations about new books, a showing of youtube videos and general catching up.
I tried a couple of new-old recipes for game night which were a hit so I thought I'd share. I did Tomato-Basil Brushcetta with French Bread and goat cheese and Southwest Chicken Puffs (and you can too!).

Tomato-Basil Brushetta with French Bread

French Bread
Original Recipe Here
My Version
3+ cups of flour
.25 oz (1 packet) instant yeast
3/4 tsp. Salt
1 c. hot water
Cornmeal for dusting
1 egg white
1 tbsp. water

Mix 1 c. flour, yeast water and salt in your stand mixer bowl fitted with a dough hook. (or regular bowl if you're doing it by hand.)
Let sit 5 minutes until bubbling.
Add the rest of the flour while mixing on low until dough pulls away from the sides and forms a ball. More flour may be needed. Kneed for 2-4 minutes with the mixer. Hand kneed in the bowl to achieve a smooth dough using flour hands
Turn dough into an oiled bowl and let rise 20-40 minutes in a warm place until doubled.
Punch dough down and divide in half. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Cover, and let rest for 10 minutes. 
Roll each half into large rectangle. Roll up, starting from a long side. Moisten edge with water and seal. Taper ends.
Line a baking sheet with parchment or baking mat. Sprinkle with cornmeal. Place loaves, seam side down, on the prepared baking sheet. Lightly beat the egg white with 1 tablespoon of water, and brush on. 
Preheat Oven to 375
With a very sharp knife, make 3 or 4 diagonal cuts about 1/4 inch deep across top of each loaf. Cover with a damp cloth. Let rise until nearly doubled, 20 to 40 minutes.
Bake in a preheated 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) oven for 20 minutes. Bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until bread tests done. Remove from baking sheet, and cool on a wire rack. Mist oven with water every 10 minutes or so to prevent over-crusting.
When cool, cut loaves into slices, brush with olive oil and broil for 3-4 minutes until toasted. Don't walk away since these will burn quickly.

Tomato Mixture
5 roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped (instructions here)
2 tsp. dried basil or 2 tbs fresh basil
1 tbs. balsamic vinegar
generous pinch of salt
fresh cracked pepper to taste
~3 tbs. olive oil

Mix all ingredients together adding olive oil until the mixture gets to the desired consistency. Serve with french bread toast and room temperature goat cheese.

Then I made "Chicken puffs" using an old egg puff recipe from mom's Betty Crocker cookbook. Since it's their recipe, I'm not going to reprint it but I will say I made smaller puffs than originally called for so I could do more appetizers but the process is the same.

Betty Crocker Puffs

I stuffed the puffs with a Southwest Chicken mix which was super easy. So here's that "recipe"

Southwest Chicken
1 block cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. of your favorite salsa
1 c. shredded chicken

Blend cream cheese and salsa until smooth and add chicken. Cut the tops off the puffs, dig out any dough in the center and fill.
I had more puffs than I had chicken so I filled the remaining ones with chocolate pudding for a sweet treat.

I hope these ideas get you started on some easy game night foods that can be made ahead of time and are sure crowd-pleasers!


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