I finally made time for a social life this weekend! Of course I multi-tasked and still managed to do a little recipe development and photography while having fun (try the cauliflower recipe below – it got a big thumbs up from my guests). I also mixed a little dessert with decor, when I created this floral centerpiece.

Flowers

Flowers

Mega thanks to Giorgi and Leo for bringing the real McCoys. The entire house smells divine, and seeing them so full and beautiful first thing in the morning certainly paints a grin across my lips! A special thanks to Wendy, Sundafu, and Tony too – for keeping everyone’s wine glasses full all evening. They know I have a one track mind when it comes to menu planning, so I’ll often forget to put wine on the shopping list!

Ready, set, table!

Ready, set, table!

What’s great about the menu I chose to serve was that 100% of it can be made in advance, and members have access to every recipe. Finding the time to entertain is much more manageable with make-ahead meals, plus the lamb and quinoa (substituted for couscous since one of my guests is gluten free) taste better when the flavors have a day or two to meld. That way I can fit making the various recipes around my crazy entrepreneurial schedule, and be relaxed in the knowledge that everything just needs a quick “heat to eat”, so I have the time to enjoy my own party too!

The Menu

Cream of Cashew Asparagus Soup

Apricot Lamb Chops
Roasted Green Beans
Curry Roasted Cauliflower
Toasted Almond & Apricot Quinoa

Pink Grapefruit & Rose Scented Cupcakes

The gang's all here

The gang’s all here

I’m pleased to report Daisy was on her best behavior and didn’t steal any cupcakes this time, even though she did stalk them all evening. Of course guests should beware, I do make make people sing for their supper! Well not exactly sing, but I did make Sundafu play the latest from one of his phenomenally talented young singers, and then Giorgi and Leo rocked it out of the park with their cover version of my all time favorite song! It couldn’t have been a more perfect evening – flowers, food, and such lovely, talented friends! How was your weekend? Did you entertain?

Roast Curried Cauliflower

Curry Roasted Cauliflower

Please do not be deterred by this quick snapshot of the Curry Roasted Cauliflower – It was my first test of the recipe, and I have not had time to photograph it properly yet. The natural sweetness that comes from roasting cauliflower until it caramelizes gets an exotic boost from the curry powder, a little kick of pizzazz from the chili flakes, and the perfect balance of textures from the crunchy toasted almonds. Since I was serving it with the Apricot Lamb Chops I didn’t want to add another dimension of chewy sweetness, but I would probably throw in some golden raisins when serving it with just a plain grilled protein of choice.

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 large cauliflower, cut into florets
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional or more to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt to taste
4 ounces slivered almonds, toasted
3 tablespoons golden raisins, optional

Directions:

1). Preheat oven to 400° F.

2). In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower florets with the curry, red pepper flakes, and olive oil to coat all over evenly. Spread out onto a sheet pan, and sprinkle generously with kosher salt to taste. Roast in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until tender and nicely browned.

3). While cauliflower is roasting, toast the almonds in a small skillet or sauté pan over medium heat, tossing or stirring frequently, until beginning to brown; then remove promptly from heat (nuts can go from toasted to burnt very quickly). Toss cauliflower with nuts and raisins if desired.

Serving: Serve the Curry Roasted Cauliflower hot, garnished with the toasted almonds and raisins, with any grilled, broiled, or slow-cooked protein of choice. I think it goes exceptionally well with lamb.

 

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