Screen shot 2011-05-21 at 8.16.36 AM.png
I don’t know about you, but I happen to love throwing parties. The only problem is, I have a bit of a phobia about cooking my own food and oftentimes buy entire spreads and dishes at my favorite gourmet supermarkets and then pass it off as my own. But thanks to Electrolux, the fabulous Kelly Ripa, who actually admitted that she’s not that proficient in the kitchen either, and Iron Chef extraordinaire Tom Collichio, I now have some incredibly simple recipes to dazzle my guests.
Kelly and Tom were on hand to share the latest news from and encourage consumers to take Kelly’s “Party Ready” Challenge. When you do, Electrolux will donate $1 to OCRF (the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund), as part of their $750,000 commitment to the cause. Participants can also enter for a chance to win the new Electrolux French Door Refrigerator – loaded with innovative features for entertaining like Party Ice and the Perfect Temp® drawer, which keeps all your party essentials at precisely the perfect temperature!
During the event, I got the chance to have an amazing chat with some of my favorite blogging moms, Jen Singer and Sarah Visbeek and we savored some incredible dishes. Plus, there were dozens of other incredibly fashionable bloggers who attended too. I noticed afterwards that I had slipped on brown pantyhose for the occasion while wearing a black dress. Note to self: Never get dressed in the dark.
I even got the chance to ask a question – although when I confessed that cooking chicken for guests scares me due to the salmonella vs. burn factor, Kelly tried to ease my nerves by advising I invest in one of those oven stuffer roaster pop up thermometers. Or, I could purchase a fabulous Electrolux oven – lucky for me, my stove/oven is on the fritz – here’s hoping there’s an Electrolux in my future.
The team at Electrolux was also on hand to unveil their new French Door refrigerator and I learned that if you don’t have a kitchen that can accommodate the size of that incredible fridge, they even offer smaller refrigerators that could fit in Manhattan apartments (or small suburban kitchens like mine).
So let’s get right down to it. If you’re getting ready to entertain friends or 10 of your neighbors show up for an impromptu get together, follow these recipes and you’ll be the hit of your block.
Antipasti: Cheese and Charcuterie Preparation
* Keep a variety of cheeses, cured meats and spreads on hand (or in your Perfect Temp™ Drawer!) to present as an easy antipasti.
* Tom used Scharfe Maxx, Gabietou and Monte Enebro cheeses along with Saucisson, Glenchall and Fennel sausage. The possibilities are endless!
* Even master chefs use prepared goods every once in a while! Don’t be afraid to use quality jarred olives, spreads and artichokes on your antipasti plate. Try jams, honey and relishes as well.
* Nuts and dried fruit add color and crunch.
* Let your friends have fun trying all the different combinations of tastes and textures.
Pair this dish with Vouvray, Domaine Huet Petillant, 2005, Loire Valley, France
Pasta: “One Pot Pasta” – Pasta with Broccoli, Garlic and Parmesan
* This “one pot wonder” is a breeze and requires only a few ingredients: store-bought dry pasta, broccoli rabe (or any vegetable in the refrigerator), garlic, black pepper parm!
Throw the pasta into boiling salted water. Add uncooked broccoli rabe, strain, add back to the pot with garlic and olive oil, and then finish with a bit (or a lot) of cheese and black papper.
* And there’s only one pot to wash when all is said and done!
* Pair with Grüner Veltliner, Högl, Ried Schön, Federspiel, 2008, Wachau, Austria
Entrée: Roasted Chicken with Roasted Pepper Relish and a Green Salad
* To create this dish in under twenty minutes, either roast a chicken ahead of time, or have a prepared chicken in your fridge. You can re-roast the prepared chicken quickly with olive oil and lemon or serve it room temperature with a cold relish and a fresh salad.
* To make the roasted red pepper relish, julienne an onion and caramelize in a sauté pan, add jarred piquillo peppers, julienned (or any kind of jarred red pepper) to the pan. * Soak golden raisings in warm water to plump, then add to onion/pepper mixture, add sugar until caramelized, then sherry or red wine vinegar. Reduce down to relish consistency and serve warm or cold.
* Serve dish with a side salad (arugula, romaine, spinach)–whatever is in season, dressed simply
* Pair with Pinot Noir, Au Bon Climat, La Bauge Au-dessus, 2007, Santa Maria Valley, California
Dessert: Biscotti with Whipped Mascarpone, Orange peels and Pistachios
* Biscotti are a great store-bought option that pair well with mascarpone whipped with sugar and vanilla.
* Soak orange peels in simple syrup.
* Top with pistachios or another crunchy pantry item, like slivered almonds or hazelnuts.
* Pair with Vin Santo, Castellare, S. Noccolo, 2005, Tuscany, Italy
For more great party recipes from Tom and to find out how you can support OCRF, visit