I may have mentioned that my friend Melissa and I have been taking cooking classes at The Learning Kitchen in West Chester. What a blast! We’ve learned to make things like Hollandaise and fresh pasta, and can wield large, sharp knives fearlessly (well, relatively) and have become filled with the confidence of holy-crap-we-can-do-this!

So what are a couple of classically untrained gals that love to cook gonna do?

Our first toe in the water was making homemade ravioli for a dear friend’s wedding shower – four kinds of homemade ravioli including a dessert ravioli for 25 people.  Flush, we did a spaghetti and meatball lunch – with homemade pasta, sauce and meatballs for 65 people – as a fund-raiser for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society at work (hey, we netted over $500!).

With two unpaid jobs under our belts, we were ready to hit the streets. On Friday, we provided finger foods for a Halloween cocktail party for 25 (for money!). Below are our twists on traditional party hors d’ouevres.

Grape truffles: sweet, juicy red seedless grapes with a tangy goat cheese coating rolled in pistachios

BLT skewers: chunks of herb focaccia slathered with a basil aioli, orange grape tomatoes, romaine and thick cut bacon

Veggie Platter: roasted butternut squash, blanched asparagus, baby carrots, roasted baby potatoes and red, orange and yellow peppers marinated in a garlic vinaigrette served with an onion horseradish dipping sauce

Boar’s Head Bavarian ham, brie and whole grain mustard on a six pound loaf of pretzel bread from Servati’s

Peppery Cheese Puffs: savory puffs flavored with black pepper and Dijon are baked then stuffed with cheese and rebaked.  Thanks to my mom, Grace Chiarella, for this crowd favorite recipe!

Dipping Bar: apple and pear slices, whole strawberries, pretzel crisps and waffle cookies for dunking in melted chocolate and/or warm caramel

So where will this road take us? Hopefully somewhere sweet and savory.

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