Tuesday, November 16, 2010

First Real Dinner Party

Last night I hosted my first real dinner party. We recently got a new couch, dining table, 6 chairs, china closet, corner peice, and buffet so I wanted to break it in with some nums.
I just got my girl Ina's new cookbook "How Easy Is That?" so I decided to try a few out of there.

The first one I tried was the Lemon Chicken Breast

It was pretty easy to prepare and cooked up nice.
Here is what you will need:
1/4 cup good olive oil
3 tablespoons minced garlic (9 cloves)
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1½ teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 boneless chicken breasts, skin on (6 to 8 ounces each)
1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Warm the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, add the garlic, and cook for just 1 minute but don’t allow the garlic to turn brown. Off the heat, add the white wine, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, thyme, and 1 teaspoon salt and pour into a 9 X 12-inch baking dish.

Pat the chicken breasts dry and place them skin side up over the sauce. Brush the chicken breasts with olive oil and sprinkle them liberally with salt and pepper. Cut the lemon in 8 wedges and tuck it among the pieces of chicken.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken breasts, until the chicken is done and the skin is lightly browned. If the chicken isn’t browned enough, put it under the broiler for 2 minutes. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and serve hot with the pan juices.
Yes i just copied and pasted from that website ha.  I didn't get to take any pictures though and I won't steal the one from her website.  The chicken turned out very moist and flavorful.

Next up I made Cous Cous with Roasted Pine Nuts
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
2 cups chopped yellow onion (2 onions)
3 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade (eff that hoe)
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups couscous (12 ounces)
½ cup pine nuts, toasted (watch out, you can burn them in apprx 4 seconds)
½ cup minced fresh parsley

First note not from Ina- pine nuts are super expensive now for some reason and I know this would still be delish without them so feel free to leave them out. 

Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook over medium-low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned. Add the chicken stock, salt, and pepper and bring to a full boil. Stir in the couscous, turn off the heat, cover, and allow to steam for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork, stir in the pine nuts and parsley, and serve hot.
I seriosuly could have eaten all this cous cous myself it was THAT good. I highly reccomend it- bitch was right,  it was easy!

Finally for dessert I made a pretzel chocloate pie with homemade chocolate pudding that I adapted from Foodess!
It was really easy and a great way to use up extra egg yolks....in fact I might go home and make more tonight :)

Pretzel Crust

To crush pretzels, use a food processor or seal inside a large freezer bag and crush with a rolling pin. Crush about 1/4 cup extra for sprinkling on top of pie.

1 1/2 cups coarsely crushed pretzels
1/4 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine crushed pretzels with sugar and melted butter. Press into a 9 inch pie plate. Bake for 10-12 minutes until browned. Cool completely.

Dark Chocolate Filling

  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp cocoa
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup cream (you can use 10% or heavy cream)
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips 


Whisk together sugar, cornstarch and cocoa in a medium sized pot. Add yolks and whisk to combine. Place the pot on the stove over medium heat, and whisk in the milk and cream. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until pudding thickens and bubbles begin to form. ( It takes a little bit but you will definitaley notice) Reduce heat and continue cooking 3-5 minutes, continuing to stir. Try not to bring the pudding to a boil or you might scramble the egg. (However don’t panic if this happens by accident, you can strain out the egg bits).

Remove pudding from heat and stir in chocolate until melted.  Cover pudding with plastic wrap, pushing the plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding – this prevents a skin from forming on top. Transfer pudding to fridge, and chill for at least 2 hours.

Top with remaining pretzels and favorite whipped topping!


  1. oh my goodness! these all sound amazing! YUM!

  2. Those all sound great! Hope you dinner party was a success!

  3. The pretzel chocolate pie sounds like heaven, I totally want to try the recipe. Thanks for sharing :)

  4. I love Ina!! I just wish someone would give her a new wardrobe. I am tired of her blue button ups.