Wednesday, July 03, 2013

salads and tapas housewarming party - sponsored by Dole and Schnucks!

I'm Baaaaaaack!!!! Did you miss me? I missed blogging! I missed you! Sincerely! Well, I'm back with good news...I bought a house! I am in love with it and slowly getting settled in. With impeccable timing, Dole and Schnucks' social media teamed up to offer to give me everything I need to host a house party... I couldn't say "no" to this generous offer because... well... FREE HOUSEWARMING PARTY! So, before I start let me clarify that I work for Schnucks, and that Dole and Schnucks gave me free stuff and grocery money for this post. And I am very thankful to them! Now, on to the fiesta.

Shopping for lettuce with someone else's green.
Sweet Paprika Almonds (recipe below)
Dole's big promotion for their bag salads this year is "Taste of Spain" so for the house parties they encouraged a Spanish theme. I made a couple of Spanish-inspired salads and some tapas. And SANGRIA, duh. They have recipes on their website and they gave me a tapas cookbook, and I also relied on the world wide web for research and ideas. Several of these party dishes can be made a day or 2 ahead, making my housewarming a bit less hectic, so I could enjoy giving proud tours of my new digs. 

It was a good party... my little house survived a couple of rain showers and a few dozen people with minor casualties (dirty floors, broken lawn chairs, clogged drain). The food was fresh and tasty and the family and friends truly warmed my home. Thanks to everyone who could come, and to Dole and Schnucks for giving me the opportunity to have this party on someone else's dime :)

Thanks for the salad, Dole!

The Salads:

Baby Greens with tuna, potatoes and roasted red peppers (pictured at the beginning of the post) 
-1 bag of Dole® Baby Greens
-1 red bell pepper
-1 can olive oil packed tuna
-1 russet potato, boiled until tender
-1/4  red onion, sliced thin
-handful of capers
-1/4 cup high-quality olive oil
-juice of 1 lemon
-salt and pepper to taste 
Char the red pepper over a flame or under a broiler. Remove the seeds and stem and slice into strips. Put the baby greens on a platter and top with the pepper and the rest of the ingredients. Serve.

Salad with Pepitas & Raisins 
-1 bag of Dole® Salad greens of your choice (I used butter blend and baby greens combo)
-1 carrot, peeled and sliced
-1/4 of a red onion, sliced thin
-1/3 cup salted pepitas (roasted pumpkin seeds)
-1/3 cup raisins
-1 Tablespoon pumpkin seed oil (can sub with 1/2 Tbsp sesame seed oil)
-3 Tablespoons olive oil
-2 Tablespoons fig balsamic vinegar (or regular balsamic)
-2 Tablespoons fresh orange juice
-salt and pepper to taste 
In a splash/leak-proof container, shake together the pumpkin seed oil, olive oil, balsamic and orange juice. Place the greens in a bowl and top with the rest of the ingredients, including the vinegreiette.
The Snacks:

Marinated Olives: Orange and Herbs 
-1.5 cups pitted olives
-zest of 1 orange
-1 sprig rosemary, stripped from stem
-2 sprigs thyme leaves, stripped from stems
-1 Tablespoon Walnut oil 
Stir everything together and marinate overnight, up to 2 weeks. 

Sweet Paprika Almonds  (pictured above)
-2 cups unsalted almonds
-2 Tablespoons paprika
-1/4 cup sugar
-1 teaspoon salt
-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
-1 Tablespoon olive oil
-1 Tablespoons water
-1 Tablespoon honey 
Spread the almonds on a cookie sheet and bake at 400ºF for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, making sure they don't get too brown. Meanwhile, mix the paprika, sugar, salt and cayenne in a medium mixing bowl and set aside. When the almonds are toasted, heat the olive oil, water and honey in a large skillet until just heated through. Add the almonds and toss well so that the almonds are coated. Dump the almonds in the bowl with the spices and sugar and toss well. Spread back out on the cookie sheet to dry for at least 30 minutes. Serve or store for up to 2 weeks.

Spinach Garbonzo Bean Tapas (not pictured) 
-1 Tablespoon olive oil
-1/2 red onion, chopped
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-2 cans garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
-3 bags Dole® Baby spinach
-Salt and pepper to taste
-toasted bread to serve 
Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onions and cook until soft. Add the garlic and beans, cook about 5 minutes. Add the spinach in batches (don't worry, it will wilt down and eventually all fit). Once all the spinach is wilted down, remove from heat. Serve hot, warm or cold on toasted baguette slices.

Spicy Garlicky Marinated Olives 
-1.5 cups pitted olives
-6 garlic cloves, grated
-1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
-1 teaspoon chili oil
-1 Tablespoon good olive oil 
Combine everything and let marinate at least overnight before serving.

Spanish Cheeses, of course. MANCHEGO!! (I love shouting that...)

Last but not least...


I made 3 sangrias! 3!! All were different, and all were great party drinks.

Peach & Ginger White Sangria 
-2 peaches, sliced
-1-inch knob of ginger, sliced
-1 bottle dry white Spanish wine
-1/4 cup Big O Ginger liqueur
-ginger ale to finis 
Combine all ingredients except the ginger ale. Refrigerate for 3 hours up to overnight. When ready to serve, pour in the ginger ale and stir. Serve over ice.

Strawberry Lime Rosé Sangria 
-1 pint strawberries, stemmed and quartered
-1 lime, sliced
1 bottle dry rosé
-1/2 cup tequila
-lemon-lime soda to finis 
Combine all ingredients except the soda. Refrigerate for 3 hours up to overnight. When ready to serve, pour in the soda and stir. Serve over ice.

Red Wine Sangria 
-2 apples, sliced
-1 orange, sliced
-1 teaspoon cinnamon
-1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
-1/4 cup Pernod or other anise-flavored liqueur
-club soda to finish 
Combine all ingredients except the club soda. Refrigerate for 3 hours up to overnight. When ready to serve, pour in the club soda and stir. Serve over ice.

6 pack of wine? YOLO.
Shopping tip! Buy your sangria wines at Schnucks on Wednesdays (or as they have dubbed them "WINEsdays"), as they are 15% off when you buy 6 or more bottles! Cha-ching!

I also made some BALLS tapas, of course, but I'll save that for another post. Thanks to everyone who came back after my 2-week blog hiatus! And thanks again to my family and friends who came to my party and helped me make this house a home. Thanks, of course, to Dole and Schnucks for sponsoring my housewarming party and helping me learn about Spanish cuisine! Happy summer everyone! 

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