Dinner parties…Oh how I miss them. For two years in Florida my gal pals and I would have monthly dinner parties. I’ll forever cherish those memories. A fire broke out twice in one girl’s kitchen; she resorted to oven baked appetizers…being reprimanded out at the hot tub for having too much fun…after dinner drinks & dancing via a golf cart I snagged. It was during this time that I really understood what it took to throw a fabulous dinner. Pre-planning, a beautiful table setting, music, the right mix of company, candles and the FOOD!
So now having moved to Chicago, I longed for those memorable dinner parties and jumped at the occasion to attend one at Mike & Matt’s home in Pullman. The minute I walked in, I knew it was a night to be cherished. Cosmopolitans greeted us immediately. Pea shoots appetizers were expertly filled with a goat cheese mixture and a homemade tapenade..I was doing the happy dance. Votive candles, fresh flowers from the backyard, and the perfect music playing softly in the background. Mike gave us a brief history of Pullman and a tour of the their beautiful home. Dinner was on the horizon.
Raw shaved asparagus salad, grilled chicken (marinade recipe to come), couscous with dried fruit and nuts, and haricot verts. Man o man…
The coup de grace at dessert were the chocolate martinis!
Here is the Peanut/Cilantro Marinade or as I like to call it…M & M Marinade. This works great on chicken (had it this week) and would think shrimp too.
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter (no salt or sugar)
1/2 cup peanut oil
1/4 cup white or red wine vinegar
1/4 cup Tamari (soy sauce)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
4 garlic cloves, minced
10 cilantro sprigs, minced
2 teaspoons dried red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger
Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend to mix. Then cut boneless/skinless chicken breasts into big 1″ – 1 1/2″chunks (this mixture is good for about 3 – 4 whole chicken breasts / 6 – 8 half breasts)
Marinate in covered bowl, stir occasionally. Thread onto bamboo skewers. Broil on a high flame for about 6 min per side.
*Martini photo from http://girlsjustwanttoohavefun.com*