Wednesday, July 1, 2009

My First Party!!

I am delighted to say that, after nearly 5 months living in Switzerland, I had my first house party. Technically it was an apéro that I invited a handful of guests to attend before heading to the annual jazz festival in my new hometown. Implicit in the invitation was that my new friends would a) make the 40 minute trip out of Zürich to my flat and b) that they'd drop an extra 40 francs to see the show. Despite the heavy rain that morning, most of the invitees did indeed make it out, plenty of wine in hand. In fact the sun came out and we were able to move the party to my patio where we talked and snacked for about 5 hours :))

Of course it was very fun to play hostess, and I made sure the hors d'oeuvres were worth the trip. I made four types of dip from scratch (feta yogurt with pine nuts, black bean, eggplant purée with sesame seeds, and spinach and quark). I also had the standard olives, which I mixed with fried halloumi cheese, nuts, gluten free crackers, and some brie and camembert. To finish, I made sme banana brownies and my dear Allyson brought olive bread. My other guests brought 8 bottles of wine! And last but not least, the two things that disappeared the quickest: for the dipping I made two types of almond crackers (recipe below) and my signature farinata, a savory chickpea flatbread gifted to the world from northern Italy (recipe below).

Almond Crackers

Discovered from a great paleo blog, these crackers are so incredibly quick, easy, and dangerously addictive. You were warned! (In the image below, mine are the two square crackers in the foreground.)

1 cup of almond flour
1 egg white
salt to taste
flax seeds (optional variation)
parmesan cheese (optional variation)
2 sheets of parchment paper & rolling pin

  • Preheat the oven to 325 Fahrenheit/160 Celsius

  • In a bowl, combine 1 cup of almond flour (ground almond meal, which is harder to find in the States but Whole Foods sells it). At this point, if you're using the flax seeds or cheese, reduce the amount of almond flour appropriately.

  • Crack in one egg white and mix quickly, coating the mixture until it comes away from the sides of the bowl

  • Press the mixture in a mound onto the parchment paper, cover with a second sheet and roll thin

  • Remove the top sheet and cut into squares as you like (I usually get about 24)

  • Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes, watching very carefully especially if you incorporate the parmesan! You may want to remove the outer crackers as they cook first and keep the center in a little longer.

  • Cool, break the squares along the lines and EAT! These keep incredibly well btw.

Chickpea Farinata
This flatbread is best served straight from the oven. Plan ahead as the batter needs to rest for at least 4 hours..

1 cup of chickpea flour
1.25 cups of warm water
4 T olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon of dried rosemary (or 2 t fresh)

  • Whisk 1 cup of chickpea flour slowly into the water

  • Add half (2 T) of the olive oil mixture and let batter rest for >4 up to overnight

  • After rest, stir salt and rosemary into batter

  • Preheat oven to 500 Fahrenheit/260 Celsius and heat baking dish (at least an inch deep) for 10 minutes

  • When the dish is warm, add remaining 2 T of olive oil and carefully swirl to coat

  • Pour in batter and bake for 20 - 25 minutes until golden and crisp, watching carefully

  • Cut into 12 slices and serve warm
You may want to make two bowls of batter, these go very quickly! You can also add other Italian herbs, onion, and olives. There is a similar dish in France, socca, with a more crépe-like consistency. I'll need a few more tries to execute that one correctly ;)

More posts from the party soon...~x

1 comment:

  1. Your almond crackers were delicious! Thanks for making them (and lots of other yummy things) for us when we came to Switzerland!