Dinner Party inspired by some of my favorite chefs

It was my turn to host my missional community from church. I love hosting dinner parties and I thought I’d look up a couple of recipes from some chefs that have inspired my cooking over the years. I made chicken parmesan with steamed asparagus and garlic bread. I also made a cherry clafouti and zucchini bread for dessert. Everything turned out great (aside from slicing my finger and getting stitches) and I ended up having 12 people over.

This is a simple marinara recipe I like to use from Giada De Laurentiis’ book. It’s cool because you can use it as it is or add other ingredients to make other types of sauces like vodka sauce. I used it for my chicken parmesan.

Directions

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 small onions, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 stalks celery, finely chopped

2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes

2 dried bay leaves

In a large casserole pot, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and 1/2 teaspoon of each salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper, to taste. (The sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, then cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium heat before using.)

For Julia Child’s 100th birthday celebration this week, I thought I tackle one of her French desserts. This is her Cherry Clafouti recipe.

Ingredients

    1. 1 1/4 cups milk
    2. 2/3 cup sugar, divided
    3. 3 eggs
    4. 1 tablespoon vanilla
    5. 1/8 teaspoon salt
    6. 1/2 cup flour
    7. 3 cups cherries, pitted
    8. powdered sugar, for garnish

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Using a blender, combine the milk, 1/3 cup sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt and flour, and blend.
  3. Lightly butter an 8-cup baking dish, and pour a 1/4-inch layer of the blended mixture over the bottom. Set remaining batter aside.
  4. Place dish into the oven for about 7-10 minutes, until a film of batter sets in the pan but the mixture is not baked through. Remove from oven (but don’t turn the oven off, yet).
  5. Distribute the pitted cherries over the set batter in the pan, then sprinkle with the remaining sugar. Pour the remaining batter over the cherries and sugar.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 to 60 minutes, until the clafouti is puffed and brown and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
  7. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve warm.
  8. Servings: 6-8 for dessert, 4 for breakfast.

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