Ah, the classic dinner party – it’s a cool idea, but how do you pull it off?
The tablecloth, music, and candles are totally doable, but the food might have you feeling a little off kilter. Sure, cooking doesn’t come naturally for some of us, but that doesn’t mean you have to stress.
We’ve put together a three-course meal you can make in a jiffy. With a quick trip to the grocery store to grab the ingredients, these recipes are party pleasers that take little time to prepare.
Get ready to unleash your inner chef. Daily Hive teamed up with the dairy alternative beverage, Almond Breeze to put together this sumptuous three-course meal that’s sure to have your guests coming back for more.
In a large flat pan or baking sheet, salt the eggplant cubes generously on all sides, toss to coat evenly and hold for 30 minutes to release excess moisture and bitterness.
Drain and rinse the eggplant and toss into a large mixing bowl. Add in the tomatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, garlic and onions. Generously drizzle the vegetables with olive oil and season with salt, and pepper, stir to coat. Transfer the vegetables to an ovenproof pan lined with tin foil. Roast the vegetables in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes or until soft, caramelized and fork tender. You can stir or flip the vegetables about 10 – 15 minutes into the roasting process to avoid sticking to the pan. Remove the pan from the oven and set aside.
Meanwhile, rinse and drain the farro with water in a colander over the sink. Add the farro to a 3-quart (3L) saucepot and add in the Almond Breeze. Season with a pinch of salt and a drizzle of olive oil. Bring the liquid to boil over medium high heat, and then turn down the heat to a low simmer to avoid spilling over. Simmer the farro for 20 minutes with the lid to the pot cocked to one side to let out steam. Turn off the heat but leave the pot on the stovetop and close the lid. Steam the farro in the pot for another 5 minutes or until the farro is soft but slightly chewy in the center. Remove the lid and fluff with a fork.
When ready to assemble the dish, combine the cooked farro with the vegetables in a large serving dish and gently toss to mix. Whisk together the olive oil with the balsamic vinegar and drizzle over the farro salad. Toss to coat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lemon. Serve warm.
When ready to serve, transfer a portion of the warm noodles into individual bowls and carefully ladle hot soup over them. Garnish the bowl with scallions, cilantro and toasted sesame seeds and serve hot. Remaining raw enoki mushrooms can be arranged on the side as an additional fresh garnish.
Third course: Chocolate cake with chocolate frosting
¼ cup (50 mL) Almond Breeze Vanilla almond beverage
2 tbsp (30 mL) coconut oil, melted in liquid form
1 cup (250 mL) icing sugar
Preheat oven at 350˚F (180˚C).
Line an 8” (20 cm) round or square cake pan with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, sift together all the dry ingredients. Mix until well incorporated.
Add in the Almond Breeze and coconut oil to the dry ingredients and whisk until incorporated. Then add in the vinegar and keep whisking until smooth. Transfer the batter to the cake pan and bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until cooked all the way through; when a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Over medium-high heat, bring about an inch of water to boil in a 2-quart (2L) saucepot. Set a medium sized bowl on top of the pot to set up a double boiler. Place the chocolate chips into the bowl to melt. Stir with a spatula until smooth. Slowly mix in the Almond Breeze until incorporated. Then mix in the coconut oil until well combined. Carefully remove the bowl from the heat and add in the icing sugar, half cup (125 mL) at a time. Whisk together with a hand mixer or by hand until smooth. This icing is best kept at room temperature or made just before you are ready to frost the cake. If the icing solidifies before the cake cools, heat it over a double boiler again and stir until it is soft and malleable.
Once the cake is cooled, pour the frosting on top and spread it over the cake to smooth out. Decorate with fruit, extra powdered sugar and chocolate shavings, or enjoy as is.
Use these recipes and you’ll pull off your dinner party like a natural. Not only this, but you’re sure to get compliments on what others deem to be a professionally cooked meal.