Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Party on a Budget

A friend sent me a group text: Happy hour on Friday at Cafeteria 15L?!?!?

At first I was all in, and then remembered: There is $13 in my bank account.  Even at happy hour, that's not going to go very far.  So instead I responded, "Love to, but I'm broke - happy hour at my house?"


It was only after the fact that I realized I had just invited six or seven people to my house to drink all my wine.  With some creative use of items on hand combined with nine dollars in Target vouchers, I was able to throw a party for... $1.

First I took a look at everything in my cabinet - I knew I could make a decent cannellini bean dip with some leftover herbs I had on hand, but a single bowl of dip seemed like a meager offering for a "party."  With the discovery of a jar of roasted red peppers, I had a double dip plan!

I took my vouchers to Target and picked up a couple cans of beans (only .84 cents each, what a steal!), a bag of baby carrots, and a bottle of Barefoot Brut Cuvee.  This came out to around $10 and I parted with my one dollar.

Back home I whipped up the following in my cocktail shaker and food processor, respectively (luckily I was able to borrow a lemon at the St. Germain from my sweetheart).  I recommend making the dips the night before for the best flavor, and substitute with whatever you have on hand.

Ask your guests to bring the tortilla chips and you're set.  Enjoy!

Double dip the chip.

St. Germain 75s

Two ounces gin
Two ounces St. Germain (elderflower liqueur)
The juice of one whole lemon
Lemon peel, for garnish

Combine the gin and St. Germain in a cocktail shaker; chill until guests arrive.  When ready to serve, peel a strip of rind from the lemon and garnish each cocktail glass or champagne flute.  Shake the liquor with ice and strain into the glasses, then top with champagne.

Romesco Dip with Feta

1 8 ounce jar roasted red bell peppers
3/4 cup walnuts (almonds or cashews may be substituted)
1 clove garlic
1 tsp smoked paprika

1 splash red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil (as needed)

In a food processor, combine everything but the olive oil.  Slowly strain in the oil a little at a time, until well blended.  Taste for seasoning and chill until ready to use.

When serving, garnish with feta cheese.  Serve with tortilla chips or crackers.

Mint & Canellini Bean Dip

1 can white beans
1 handful mint leaves
3 ounces goat cheese
2-3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
Juice of one lemon
Salt and pepper
Fresh dill, if you have it
1 cup kalamata olives, chopped

Combine everything but the oil and olives in a food processor.  Blend until very smooth.  Taste for seasoning.  Chill until ready to use.

Before serving, garnish the top with kalamata olives (or fold them in if you like).  Serve with baby carrots and tortilla chips.

Minty fresh.

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