As promised, here are the recipes for each menu item from my Galentine’s Day Party. If you try any of the recipes, please let me know how they turn out in the comments section.
Mini Chicken and Waffle Sammies
For the waffles, follow Marion Cunningham’s Raised Waffles recipe which can be found online here. Please note, the waffle batter calls for yeast and needs to rise overnight (but still works if you only have 5 or 6 hours, like I did).
Ingredients // Serves 8 dinner portions or 12-16 party portions
Waffles (see above)
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups canola oil
2 tbsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. freshly cracked pepper
2 tsp. smoked paprika
2 tsp. cayenne pepper
In a medium mixing bowl, combine buttermilk, 1 tbsp. kosher salt, 1 tsp. freshly cracked pepper, 1 tsp. smoked paprika, and 1 tsp. cayenne pepper, whisking for a minute or two. Rinse chicken thighs under cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. Trim most, but not all of the remaining fat off the chicken thighs. Cut thighs into smaller pieces (3 to 4 pieces per thigh) and place into bowl of buttermilk brine, stirring to make sure all pieces are submerged. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, and up to overnight.
Once you are ready to start frying the chicken, prepare the last step of the waffle batter recipe and have your waffle iron set up and turn on to medium-high heat. In a large skillet, heat canola oil over medium to medium-high heat. In a small mixing bowl, combine whole wheat flour, 1 tbsp. kosher salt, 1 tsp. freshly cracked pepper, 1 tsp. smoked paprika, and 1 tsp. cayenne pepper, either whisking or stirring with a fork to mix well. In another small bowl, crack two eggs and stir with a fork until whites and yolks are combined. Using your hands, take a piece of chicken from the buttermilk brine, letting the excess drip off, and pat into the flour mixture, making sure to cover both sides of the chicken. Dip chicken into egg on both sides, then dip it back into the flour, making sure it is completely coated in flour. Place into oil. Repeat these steps for 2 or 3 batches of chicken frying at a time. You don’t want to overcrowd the skillet with all of the chicken at one time. Fry chicken for 3-5 minutes on each side, paying attention to how brown the coating is. Set up a baker’s rack with 2 layers of paper towels on top and once out of the skillet, place chicken on rack to cool a bit.
While your first batch of chicken is “cooling” (it won’t really become cold, this step is mainly to absorb excess oil and ensure the chicken isn’t too hot for biting into) you can start making waffles. The cute, mini heart-shaped waffle iron I used was a gift from my second mother (who I aspire to be half as fabulous a hostess as one day) which you can find online here. A great thing to do, if hosting a party, would be to make the fried chicken and waffles about an hour before guests arrive – then put them on a baking sheet and keep in the oven on the warming setting. This was originally my plan, but I ran out of time and needed the oven on full blast for making pizza. Moving on, once you have amassed a good amount of chicken and waffles, place on a serving platter, with maple syrup near by, and have guests build their own sammies! Fun!
Pizza with Fresh Mozzarella, Yellow Tomatoes, and Pesto
For the pizza dough, follow Suzanne Lenzer’s Quick Pizza Dough recipe which can be found online here.
Ingredients // Serves 8 with party portions
Dough (see above)
1 large ball of fresh mozzarella
1 large yellow tomato
1/2 cup fresh basil
2 tbsp. freshly grated parmesan
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp. pine nuts
Preheat oven to 550 degrees. To make the pesto, combine in a food processor the basil, parmesan, 2 tbsp. olive oil, 1 clove of garlic, and pine nuts, mixing until smooth. You may need to add a little more of one of the ingredients, so taste as you pulse together. Pesto is super easy and intuitive, so trust yourself and make it how you like it best.
Slice tomatoes in 1/4 inch slices and pat dry with clean kitchen towel or paper towels to remove excess moisture and seeds. Remove fresh mozzarella from water and place on clean kitchen towel or paper towels and pat dry, as well. Slice mozzarella into 1/2 inch slices, but no need for great precision. If you have access to a local restaurant or Italian market that makes fresh mozzarella in-house, definitely buy it there instead of at the grocery store. Homemade cheese is stupid good! My go-to spot for fresh mozzarella and burrata (and prosciutto sandwiches!) is Mozzarella Fella, which is luckily only minutes from my home. The quality of their mozzarella is fabulous, the owners are very nice, and there are always a few cute, bad-boyish looking yet polite guys in their early 20’s behind the counter. I can never decide if I want one of these guys to be my boyfriend (but I gave up bad boys a while ago, lolp) or my cousin (because I know he’d probably punch someone who was rude to me (but I don’t actually advocate for violence, fyi)). Either way, the fact that I have that same thought every time I go there makes me giggle upon leaving.
Back to the pizza! Once the dough is stretched and on a cornmeal dusted baking sheet, brush 1 tbsp. of olive oil and 1 glove of chopped garlic on top. Spread pesto on top of the pizza dough then cover with mozzarella slices. Top with tomato slices and put into oven for 6-8 minutes, or until desired crispness.
Belgian Endive Stuffed with Beet Hummus and Carrots
4 or 5 heads of Belgian Endive
small bag of shredded carrots
2 cups chickpeas
1/2 cup tahini
3 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
1 tsp. kosher salt
freshly cracked pepper to taste
warm water, if necessary
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Wash and remove greens and ends from beets. Cover beets with aluminum foil and place on baking sheet then into oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove beets from baking sheet and let cool slightly for 10 minutes, still covered in foil. Unwrap foil and use a pairing knife to peel skin away. Cut into quarters. Set aside.
In a food processor, combine chickpeas, tahini, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, mixing until smooth. Taste as you go and make adjustments accordingly. If the hummus is too thick you can add some warm water, 1 tbsp. at a time, until it reaches your desired consistency. Next, add the roasted beets and mix until smooth. Tasting and adjusting again.
Wash and dry the endive leaves. Using a table knife or spoon, spread beet hummus along the inside of the endive then sprinkle with shredded carrots. Arrange nicely on a platter.
Pomegranate Guacamole with Tortilla Chips
5 ripe avocados
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1 to 2 limes, juiced
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 cup of fresh cilantro leaves
kosher salt to taste
Scoop avocados into a medium mixing bowl, mashing with the back of a spoon. Add lime juice, garlic, cilantro, and salt, stirring to combine. Adjust salt and lime juice to your taste preferences. Add most of the pomegranate seeds to the guacamole bowl, reserving some for a garnish on top, and stir well. Transfer guacamole to serving bowl then sprinkle more cilantro leaves on top and put a few spoonfuls of pomegranate seeds in the center of the guacamole, which looks beautiful. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips.
Pink Lemonade Vodka Slushies
Please note, you will need several hours for the slushie mixture to freeze. Also note, once you go boozy slushie, you will never go back! This was my favorite menu item from the entire evening and not having a photo of these cute, pink, boozy slushies kind of kills me, alas, I’ll surely make them again soon and will remember to snap a pic!
4 cups store bought lemonade, such as Simply Lemonade brand
2 cups vodka
2 big handfuls of raspberries
Using a large mixing bowl, combine 1 cup of lemonade with raspberries and use a potato masher to muddle the raspberries, turning the lemonade pink. Pour in remaining lemonade and vodka, stirring well to combine. If you have ample time (let’s say 5 to 6 hours) you can cover the large mixing bowl with plastic wrap and stick it in the freezer as is. If you are trying to make boozy slushies in 2 to 3 hours, split up the lemonade mixture into several smaller bowls then cover with plastic wrap and stick in freezer – as this will help it freeze faster.
After several hours, the pink lemonade vodka mixture should be of slushie consistency. Remove bowl(s) from the freezer and stir with a large spoon. When you are ready to serve, pour or ladle slushie mixture into a glass pitcher. I served the slushies with fun yellow and white polka dotted and striped straws, which contrasted nicely with the pink color of the slushie. You could also garnish with one raspberry on top of each slushie or a lemon wedge on the side of the glass. Up to you!
Even though I toyed with the idea of baking two desserts, the tightness I felt in my chest at having too many menu items to make myself and only being one woman, I decided dessert would simply be bowls of candy. I put peanut m&m’s, jelly bellies, and sour patch kids in various heart-shaped bowls on the dining room table and in the living room for guests to nosh on whenever. Best decision of the night!