A semi-homemade dinner party
The holiday season brings joy through the little things like sitting around the fire wrapped up in a blanket drinking hot chocolate and decorating the house for the holidays. The season also brings joy in big ways like parties, dinner parties, work parties, charitable parties, cookie parties, white elephant parties, we-like-to-party parties, etc.
If you’re looking to host a dinner party with special touches and homemade dishes but are wondering how you’ll have time… try this semi-homemade OCNJ-inspired fete. It’s all about pairing house made items with store bought appetizers and take-out entrees, for a fabulous fiesta without a ton of prep work. Parties are awesome… but they are usually a full-day affair for the host. With our half homemade theme, you’ll be fresh and ready to party with your guests when evening comes.
Below are three recipes from local OC restaurants: a signature cocktail by Agave Mexican Kitchen, a special sauce from Hula Restaurant and Sauce Co., and a dessert by Island Grill. All three are made at least one day in advance, freeing you up for day-of fun (or cleaning, as it were).
Pair the horchata drink with store-bought appetizers or take out apps from your favorite restaurant for cocktail hour. Since the horchata is made in advance, it’s the perfect cocktail for our theme. Just pour into a mason jar or any fancy glass of choice when ready to serve… and say cheers! You can easily spike the horchata with rum or Kahlua also.
For dinner, select an entrée with a protein (Hula recommends fish tacos, salmon or mahi mahi) from your go-to take-out spot, and drizzle the poblano sauce on top before serving. You’ll bring a punch of freshly made flavor to dinner with minimal stress.
For dessert, we suggest serving the key lime pie with a local coffee. Ocean City Coffee Co. coffee and Harry and Beans coffee is available online or in person. Both roast their own beans, making a rich cup of joe.
To give your dinner party even more detail, get tableware from your favorite shop (In OC, try Spotted Whale and P. Francis, 944 Asbury Avenue), and a bouquet from The Flower Company, 48 Tuckahoe Road, Marmora, or Spinning Wheel, 858 Asbury.
Horchata by Agave Mexican Kitchen
Tools • Blender
• Fine Mesh Strainer
• Large Mixing Bowl
• 500 ml Water
• 2 Large Mexican Cinnamon Sticks (optional, but makes a big difference)
• 250 grams Rice Flour
• 500 ml Heavy Cream
• 500 ml Half and Half
• 1 8 oz Can of Sweetened Condensed Milk
• 3 tbsp Vanilla Extract
1. In a blender combine water, cinnamon sticks and rice flour. Blend until cinnamon is well pulverized (about 90 seconds).
2. Transfer blended mixture to a large mixing bowl and combine with the remaining ingredients.
3. Stir well and refrigerate. Allow mixture to sit and infuse for one day or 12 hours minimum.
4. Strain through a fine mesh strainer to remove the cinnamon pieces.
Keep Horchata refrigerated. Shelf life of five days. Can be extended to 10 days by replacing heavy cream with more half and half.
Roasted Poblano Sauce by Hula Restaurant and Sauce Co.
• 4 poblanos charred on the
grill then steamed in a bag and
• 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
• 2 cloves garlic
• 2 tbsp honey
• 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
• 1/2 cup olive oil
1. Add peeled and steamed poblano to a Vitamix or food processor with all ingredients except the oil.
2. Slowly add oil so that you get an emulsified sauce.
Super versatile and very tasty!
Key Lime Pie by Island Grill
• 1 9” graham cracker pie crust
• 7 egg yolks
• 3/4 cup lime juice (Nellie’s and Joe’s)
• 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
• 21 oz. sweetened condensed milk
1. First place egg yolks, condensed milk and cream of tartar in a food processor. Mix on high for one minute then add lime juice and mix for two more minutes.
2. Place mixture into pie shell and bake for five minutes at 350° degrees. Let cool and place in the freezer for six or more hours.
3. Take it out of the freezer 15 minutes prior to serving. Garnish with fresh whipped cream and a slice of lime.
Yields 8 slices
Find this and more in our November/December issue
By Stef Godfrey and Megan Antosy.