Sunday, July 20, 2008

Tapas Dinner

Last night we went to my parents house for dinner. When I called my mom to ask what we were having she said so many things had looked good at the farmer's market and the grocery store that dinner had turned into a kind of tapas party. She asked if I'd mind helping get everything ready when we got there, and of course I had no problem with that.

During the week I'd gotten some beets at the farmer's market near my office, so I made a beet and goat cheese salad:


... with a shallot and lemon vinaigrette over spicy arugula. The bitterness of the arugula paired nicely with the sweet beets and tangy goat cheese. My mom got beautiful tomatoes from her local farmer's market so she cut them up with some fresh mozzarella and basil for a simple salad:


Next up were some baby red and Yukon gold potatoes, which we halved and put in a cast-iron pan to cook slowly until they were tender and slightly caramelized. I seasoned them with thyme from my garden and rosemary from my mom's garden, along with salt and pepper:


My step-father got a pound of gorgeous fresh-caught shrimp at the local seafood market. Lately my parents have loved cooking shrimp in anchovy butter so that's what I did:


The shrimp were perfectly cooked until bursty, with a fantastic salty nuttiness from the anchovies. We had a few on toothpicks while we sat out on the deck with our cocktails before coming inside for the rest of the meal. My plate, starting at the top and going clockwise:


...potatoes, half a queso tamale, beet salad, tomato salad and anchovy shrimp. My step-father also grilled some burgers for sliders (mini hamburgers):


I had mine with just ketchup and mayo and it was perfectly cooked, with just the right amount of char to let the flavor of the beef shine through. For dessert I'd made cupcakes:


We all know I'm not a baker, so in the interest of full disclosure these were made with Duncan Hines boxed cake mix and frosting. I have to say, though, that these were some of the moistest, lightest cupcakes I've made in a long time. I always buy whatever cake mix is on sale, which is rarely Duncan Hines, but I think I prefer this brand. Everyone said how much they loved the texture and flavor. Quite impressive, for pre-packaged ingredients.
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8 comments:

  1. Oh, that looks yum! I love having these mixed up dinners (though in my household they tend to be made up of things to use up in the fridge). Do you recommend cooking anything else in anchovy butter?

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  2. What a fabulous dinner! Everything looks so fresh, colorful and healthy!

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  3. Wow. The beet salad looked interesting. I've had beet salad but never with goat cheese. It looks pretty good. Oh, don't feel bad about using a boxed cake mix. I've used those a lot when I don't have the time to make homemade cake and no one ever knows the difference. Kind of makes me regret spending so much time and energy on homemade cakes but whatever. ;)

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  4. Su-Lin - Thanks! It was a lot of fun. I think anchovy butter would be great with seafood - shrimp, scallops, lobster, maybe white, flaky fish. I've never had it with anything other than shrimp, though.

    Joelen - Thanks!

    Jessy - Really? Never had beets with goat cheese? I always thought that was a classic combination. It's so good...you should definitely try it!

    I actually prefer boxed mix since I've never been much of a baker. It's the one prepared/prepackaged food I don't feel guilty buying because homemade (in my case) would never be any good.

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  5. Ahhhhh!!! It all looks so good I'm trying to shake the screen to get some out of there. YUM!!!

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  6. Beet salad looks awesome! I love beets!

    I could see the anchovy butter on a steak...really.

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  7. I've never had beets and goat cheese either. Not so sure about beets. And I already don't like goat cheese very much. Once in a blue moon, there IS a food/meal that kind of isn't for me. It's rare, but they exist.

    Love everything else though. I like the anchovy butter idea.

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  8. Katie - LOL! Did anything come out?

    longhair - I didn't know you liked beets! I think they're fantastic, especially in salads. Mmmm...anchovy butter on steak would definitely work.

    Melissa - No kidding! Beets are really good and goat cheese is amazing. I never buy it since it's expensive, but we love it with beets.

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Thanks for commenting!