I just joined a nifty women's book club yesterday. The 12 of us were treated to some wonderful refreshments by the host: among the stand-outs, a refreshing cool and sweetened beverage,Pineapple-Basil Tea,and a whipped cream, toasted coconut custard, pecan shortbread confection I am still swooning over. Seriously!
(And, then there was her home, decorated to the nines with amazing Christmas decor. But that's a subject for another message board.)
Who can share some of their VIP cold or warm refreshments (sweet and/or savory)that would be appreciated by a group of to 12 - 15 women. The meetings are held monthly, on Wednesday, from 2 - 3:45 p.m. Almost all of us are in our late 50's to late 60's: no health issues, from what I can discern. (I love to cook, but also don't want to spend an inordinate amount of time with prep; just like most of us.)
I don't know when I'll be called on to host, but I want to be prepared.
Whatever you can suggest would be much appreciated.This message has been edited. Last edited by: aychihuahua,
So it was a drink and a nosh? Did it follow the theme of the book (some book clubs do and I wondered since it was pineapple and coconut thought the book might be set in a tropical locale)
If the book determines the theme of the food, you might have to wait until you know when it is your turn but . . .
that being said -- some favorites of ours:
espresso shortbread (always cut them in hearts and dip in shortbread -- they have a crunch from the coffeebeans and the chocolate -- yum)
madeleines -- made with orange and rosemary or lavender -- they're a simple tea cake (and you need a special pan but they are really good especially if you fix herbal ones)
Ina Garten's bark (she does both white chocolate and chocolate) and it's outstanding with cashews, dried cranberries apricots, etc.
chocolate ganache cake (another of Ina's and so easy and so chocolatey) -- can be made in cupcakes as well as a single layer cake.
cinnamon iced tea
minty iced tea
(Probably now the wow factor of your hostess's drink)
If you're interested in any of the recipes, I will be happy to share.
View my blog:
Ay - I'd suggest warm Cranberry Wassail. Spouse and I just had some. Recipe from Oceanspray is below:
1 64-ounce bottle Ocean Spray® Cranberry Juice Cocktail
2 1/2 cups apple juice
1/4 cup sugar, optional
3 3-inch cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon whole allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Orange slices, garnish
Whole cloves, garnish
Combine all ingredients, except garnishes, in a large saucepan. Heat to boiling, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Strain punch to remove spices. Place in a heat proof punch bowl. Garnish with orange slices studded with cloves.
Makes 14 6-ounce servings.
For refreshment times when it's my turn, I like to start with a sweet item, pastry in the morning, maybe bars or cookies in the afternoon.
Then I add a bit of fresh fruit or vegetable, cheese or ice cream perhaps. It's also nice to have something salty like nuts or cracker.
Beverages I try to offer one that is low calorie, one hot, one cold, one no caffeine.
However it's not necessary to offer four beverages - coffee and punch or a hot fruit drink and ice water.
Aychihuahua will get a better feel for the usual refreshments as she gets more comfortable with the group. From her first outing it sounds like they keep it simple - snack and a beverage, not a full blown tea or anything elaborate.
The Wassail or warm spiced cider would be good if your turn comes in the winter. Otherwise a couple of tea options would be nice.
Something like pecan bars are a favorite treat also if heading towards spring, I love lemon bars.
Think about what you like to bake and serve that. No need to be overly stressed about the food.
Mini brie cups. In a mini muffin pan push a 4" square of puff pastry into the bottom of each muffin holder, put a chunk of brie into the bottom and top with Raspberry or Apricot Jelly, or a combination of both (pear jam also pairs well with brie). Bake at 375 for about 10-12 minutes, or until done. They're good warm or room temp.. One of our daughters made these at Thanksgiving and they were a hit, savory and sweet and very easy!
I knew you ladies would come through! Great, great ideas. I will steal them all!
An aside: regarding the subject matter of the bookclub, it does not lend itself too easily to food themes. It is a reading club that deals with faith in action and social justice issues.
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