eatclean

Tips for Hosting a Successful Dinner Party

I recently held a backyard bbq dinner party to celebrate the changing of the seasons in partnership with Cascade Platinum #sparklingclean.

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I had the opportunity to put the product to the test and I must say, I’m impressed! Not only did it remove the hard, cooked on food residue, it left all of my dishes sparking clean!

In order to host a successful dinner party, there are a few rules that are important to follow in my repertoire.  I’ve hosted numerous parties, whether they’re fancy affairs or simple gatherings, it all boils down to a few essential steps and making sure you’re always prepared.  I share my views with fellow Chef, Michael Smith who offers a few essential entertaining tips below:

1. Spend Time To Save Time:
Prep as much as you can in advance, from setting the table to prepping food. This allows you      to spend more time with your guests entertaining, instead of being in the kitchen.

2. Make Your Guests Feel Special:
It’s important to go the extra mile in making your guests feel special.  I love to decorate the house with fresh flowers, music, lovely table setting and sparkling dishes.

3. Clean As You Go:
While cooking, load the dishwasher so that you don’t have to do all the clean up after. This saves time and with Cascade Platinum, you don’t need to worry about pre-rinsing.

4. Share The Work:
Lighten the load and enlist the help of your guests if possible, this will help ensure the party runs smoothly between courses.

5. Grand Finale:
End the evening with a bang! Perhaps with a spectacular dessert, sparkling Champagne or a little gift for your guests, making the night memorable.

Here are a few highlights from our delicious backyard bbq dinner party. I’m so happy that my cleanup was made easy with the help of Cascade!

Rhubarb Lemonade:
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Marinated Garlic and Rosemary Lamb:
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Roasted Potatoes:
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Papaya Chicken with Roasted Cashews:
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Roasted Vegetables:
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Mexican Corn:
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Fire Grilled Jumbo Shrimps with Cilantro and Chipotle:
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Fresh Feta Salad:
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Mint and Cilantro Gremolata:
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*This post was sponsored by Cascade. All opinions are my own.

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Almond Butter

Have you always wanted to make your own Almond Butter? Well now you can with a few simple steps + ingredients. It’s so delicious your first batch won’t last long! Enjoy! 🙂

Almond Butter Recipe:

1 cup of raw almonds (preferably organic)
1/2 tsp fleur de sel or Cyprian sea salt
1 tblsp almond oil (or coconut oil)
1 tblsp honey
1/4 tsp ground vanilla beans

*high speed blender such as a Vitamix or Nutribullet.

1 cup measure glass jar/bottle (such as a mason jar) sterilized, dry

Blend the almonds to a smooth paste, add the salt, almond oil, honey, and vanilla beans and blitz again until incorporated and completely smooth.
Transfer it to a sterilized jar and refrigerate.

Tastes great with toast, in your favourite smoothie or as a substitute for peanut butter. Healthy and delicious. Enjoy!

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Apple Pie

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For some, Autumn is a sad reminder that summer is over, but for me it is the pleasant and sweet smell of caramelized apples oozing out of the pie crust. Just as the leaves are starting to turn colour and start to fall to the ground; the orchards are filled with ripe apples to be picked and the air becomes cool and crisp.

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Autumn also reminds me of when I arrived in Paris at the beginning of a new adventure as I was about to start the fall semester at the Le Cordon Bleu. One of the first things I learnt to make at Le CordonBleu was an apple tart baked in a bottomless ring.

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Some of the simple techniques I learned  included how to properly peel and slice an apple; the perfect thickness of the slice and the most presentable size. So many miniscule details to make the perfect dessert.

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All of these things stay with you and sometimes when you bake familiar things, it evokes these wonderful memories and take your dessert to a whole new level.

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Last week I baked an apple pie with my 4 year old son,  Xander.  He loves to help in the kitchen and he has a soft spot for pies, especially in his tummy.  I’m so impressed that he’s almost mastered crimping the pie shell.  I hope he will remember and cherish these memories that we are creating together and I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do. :)🍏🍎

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Apple Pie Recipe:

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Pie Crust:

Makes 2 single crusts or 1 double crust

2 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tblsp sugar
1 cup butter
1/4 cup or less cold water

Pulse the flour, salt, sugar and butter. Slowly add just enough water until the dough is combined.

Flatten and chill until ready to use.

Blind bake at 400F for 20 min or until brown 
*Do not pre-bake for Apple tart or Apple Pie

Apple Pie Filling:

4-5 apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced (any variety but I generally use a mix of red + green)
1/2 cup sugar
3 tblsp maple syrup
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
2 tblsp flour
1 tblsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup butter, chopped

For the top:

1/4 cup cream (or egg wash)
Raw sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 425°F

In a large bowl, combine the apples, sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon,  salt, vanilla and flour.  Toss to evenly combine and layer into the pie dish.  Dot with the chopped butter.

Roll out your second pie shell and crimp the edges with the base layer overhang to create a sealed crust.  If you have any pastry leftover, you can make cutouts and decorate the top.

If you want to keep your pie eggless,  brush cream all over the pie crust (and edges) with a pastry brush and generously sprinkle the raw sugar over top.

With a sharp knife, make slits in a decorative pattern and bake in your preheated oven for approximately 40 minutes or until the crust is golden.

Let cool before slicing.  Enjoy! 

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Roasted Mushroom and Chèvre Tart

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Roasted Mushroom and Chèvre Tart Recipe:

1 sheet of Puff pastry (you can use store bought, thawed)
1 1/2 cups white mushrooms, rinsed and bottoms trimmed, (thinly sliced)
1 cup cremini mushrooms, rinsed and bottoms trimmed, (thinly sliced)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
350g goats cheese (Chèvre)
2 tblsp Olive oil
Fresh cracked pepper
Maldon sea salt or fleur de sel
Sprigs of fresh thyme
Flat leaf parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 425°F

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper

1. Roll out the puff pastry into a rectangle and place on parchment lined sheet.

2. In a small bowl combine half of the goats cheese and the crushed garlic and then spread a thin layer on top of the puff pastry.

3. Arrange the sliced mushrooms lengthwise (in approx 5 columns, as shown in the picture) on top of the goat cheese and sprinkle with salt, pepper, 1 tblsp olive oil and thyme.

4. Spirnkle the remaining goat’s cheese on top (in small dallops) and lightly drizzle the entire tart with olive oil.

5. Top with a few sprigs of fresh thyme.

Bake approx 30 min until puff pastry has risen and the tart is golden brown.

Just before serving, top with fresh, chopped parsley. Enjoy!

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Raspberry & Nectarine Oat Crumble

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Raspberry & Nectarine Oat Crumble

4 nectarines,  sliced
1.5 cups raspberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp kosher salt

3/4 cup oats
1/4 cup butter, chopped
1/4 cup Raw sugar

Toppings:

Raw pistachios, sliced
Roasted coconut chips

Preheat oven to 375°F

In a large ovenproof dish, add the nectarines, sugar, ground cinnamon,  and salt. Toss with your hands. Sprinkle the raspberries over top.

Sprinkle the oats overtop, covering the fruit.  Evenly place the chopped butter overtop and then sprinkle with the raw sugar.

Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes.   Uncover and bake until golden, about 10-15 minutes more.

Serve warm with some ice cream or cold with plain greek yogurt.
I like to add sliced pistachios and roasted coconut chips.  Enjoy!

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Chocolate Avocado Tarts with a Cashew and Date Crust (RAW)

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Chocolate Avocado Tarts with a Cashew and Date Crust (RAW)

4-6 small tart shells (with removable bottoms) or 1 – 8″ springform pan
(Line the bottoms with parchment for easy removal)

tart base:

1 cup raw cashews
5-6 medjool dates, pitted OR 8-10 small dates
2 tsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Pinch of fleur de sel or Maldon sea salt

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse.
Spoon nut mixture into tart bases evenly and level with back of a spoon.
Put the tart shells in the freezer to set whilst preparing the filling.

Filling:

1 ripe avocado
1/3 cup dark cocoa
1/2 cup raw sugar
1/4 tsp fleur de sel or Maldon sea salt
5 tblsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract or the seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth.
Transfer to a piping bag with a decorative tip and fill the tarts or spoon into the tart shells and level off the tops. Put them back in th
e freezer until ready to serve.

*remove the tarts from the freezer 5-10 min before serving