Families First FamiliesFirst FebMar2017 : Page 6

Premier Floral Design and Gift Emporium BE THE CHURCH Protect the environment! Care for the poor. JoiN uS E mbracE divErsity . for worship Reject racism. 11am Sunday Forgive often. Love God. Morning Fight for the powerless Share earthly and spiritual resources. Amanda Kruk An enchanting convergence of quality and creativity. Make your next event fabulous with centerpieces from Premier Floral Design & Gift Emporium. 231-947-1167 • 800 Cottageview Dr. In Building 50 at Grand Traverse Commons Classically trained Mezzo-Soprano for Wedding Ceremonies, Baptisms, Anniversaries and Events. An OpEn And AffiRming CHURCH Email for more information info@amandakruk.com of the United Church of Christ 231-386-5801 • 103 N Warren St, Northport • PASTOR : Phil GarriSoN Whoever you are, wherever you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here! Trinity Church C Fresh Party Planning A green TwiST -Make your celebration green by using and re-using with purpose. Compostable dinnerware, utensils, and cups are sturdy and guilt-free. Use mason jars out of your cupboard for glasses and vases. Use wood cut-ting boards as rustic serving platters. Send fun, animated e-vites instead of paper invitations. If you have time, gather your own wildflow-ers for centerpieces using old wine bottles or bowls. Designate bins for both recycling and compost. Find fun alternatives by repurposing your favorite décor from other rooms in your home or space to liven up your table and create conversation. Don’T ForgeT THe Fun -Plan some special surprises for your celebration. Have guests tell jokes, guess how many items (can-dies, golf balls, etc.) are in a jar, or give funny advice, and offer door prizes to winners. Set up a fabric backdrop or giant picture frame for guests to take selfies and group shots to share. Rent a karaoke machine. Play musical chairs. And don’t forget dessert—have a make-your-own-sundae or s’mores bar, or set up a “Candy Bar” for all ages to enjoy. At the end of the day, if you bring together good people in good spirit, your soiree is sure to be a success. Just make sure you allow yourself some time to enjoy the festivities too. Below you’ll find one of my favorite, adapt-to-all-seasons recipes to get you started. Let the party season begin! Crostini with seasonal toppings rostini are small, thinly sliced pieces of toasted or grilled bread, usually made from a baguette. They are endlessly adaptable and make a terrific party appetizer. You can top crostini with just about any-thing—cheeses paired with fruits and veg-gies, pesto, bacon, prosciutto, avocado, eggs, raw and cooked toppings, creamy spreads. Crostini can be savory, spicy, or sweet. Top them with whatever sounds good to you. To make the crostini toasts: Heat oven to 375 °F. Cut an Italian baguette into half inch slices, at least 12. Brush the slices lightly with olive oil, arrange on a baking sheet, and bake for 6 minutes. You could also lightly grill the crostini until they have grill marks. Topping SuggeSTionS Braised Kale 4 garlic cloves, minced 1 pound kale, stems removed, chopped 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes 3 cups chicken or veggie broth Sea salt and pepper to taste Romano, Parmesan or Asiago cheese, shaved Heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat in a large pot. Add garlic and pepper flakes and stir for a few seconds. Add kale and broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cook for 15 minutes or until kale is tender. Season with salt and pepper. Drain in a col-ander and top toasts with kale. Top each slice with some cheese shavings. pear, Blue Cheese & Honey ½ cup crumbled blue cheese 2 ripe pears, unpeeled, halved, cored, sliced honey for drizzling Divide the blue cheese evenly over the baguette slices and bake at 350 °F until the cheese starts to melt, about 4 minutes. Remove crostinis from oven and place on a serving platter. Place one or two slices of pear on each crostini and drizzle all lightly with honey. Cherry Jam & Brie 1 jar cherry jam, or any flavor jam you like 1 wheel brie cheese Slice the brie and place slices on toasts. Place a dollop of jam on top of the brie and bake at 350°F until brie starts to melt, about 5-6 minutes. Serve immediately. Caprese – Tomato, Mozzarella and Fresh Basil 2 – 3 ripe heirloom tomatoes 2 fresh, large mozzarella balls 1 bunch fresh basil olive oil balsamic vinegar Slice the mozzarella into ¼ inch slices. Place a cheese slice on each crostini. Top with a slice of tomato and coarsely chopped basil. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with salt and fresh cracked pepper. Herbed Cheese Asparagus 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed 1 container herbed soft cheese Brush the asparagus spears with olive oil and grill over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Turn and grill another two min-utes until cooked and grill-marked. Cut spears in half or thirds. Spread cheese on crostinis and top with grilled asparagus. Luise Bolleber is the Outreach & Marketing Specialist at Oryana Community Co-op. Oryana is located at 260 E. 10th Street in Traverse City. Find more great recipes at www.oryana.coop. W ant to host a party this year that everyone will talk about for months to come? From graduation celebrations to weddings, birth-day parties, family reunions, and everything in between, your party will be a success with some basic planning and the freshest food you can find. Here are some ideas to keep in mind for a memorable celebration with friends and family. Menu plAnning -Think about what’s in season and build your menu around fresh, sea-sonal foods. Although you may be able to get asparagus in January it won’t be as fresh or good as it would be in June. What kinds of foods are currently available at your farmer’s market or locally-owned grocery? For example, for a late summer gathering, think tomatoes for salads, fresh pasta sauces, and rustic galettes. Thinking seasonally keeps your menu simple, which not only makes it easier to prepare, but will appeal to most everyone. The freshest local whitefish paired with marinated, grilled vegetables in season would make a simple yet fantastic meal. MeAl prep -Do as much as you can ahead of time. Some foods can be chopped or cooked the day before or if you’re serving a casserole, it can be made days in advance. Have all beverages, tableware, tablecloths, etc. ready to go several days before the event to save stress and avoid last-minute dashes to the store for more napkins. Except for fresh flowers, have your decorations ready the day before. Create a checklist to stay organized. 6 • Families First Monthly • February/March 2017

Fresh Parties

Want to host a party this year that everyone will talk about for months to come? From graduation celebrations to weddings, birthday parties, family reunions, and everything in between, your party will be a success with some basic planning and the freshest food you can find. Here are some ideas to keep in mind for a memorable celebration with friends and family.

Menu plAnning - Think about what’s in season and build your menu around fresh, seasonal foods. Although you may be able to get asparagus in January it won’t be as fresh or good as it would be in June. What kinds of foods are currently available at your farmer’s market or locally-owned grocery? For example, for a late summer gathering, think tomatoes for salads, fresh pasta sauces, and rustic galettes. Thinking seasonally keeps your menu simple, which not only makes it easier to prepare, but will appeal to most everyone. The freshest local whitefish paired with marinated, grilled vegetables in season would make a simple yet fantastic meal.

MeAl prep - Do as much as you can ahead of time. Some foods can be chopped or cooked the day before or if you’re serving a casserole, it can be made days in advance. Have all beverages, tableware, tablecloths, etc. ready to go several days before the event to save stress and avoid last-minute dashes to the store for more napkins. Except for fresh flowers, have your decorations ready the day before. Create a checklist to stay organized.

A green TwiST - Make your celebration green by using and re-using with purpose. Compostable dinnerware, utensils, and cups are sturdy and guilt-free. Use mason jars out of your cupboard for glasses and vases. Use wood cutting boards as rustic serving platters. Send fun, animated e-vites instead of paper invitations. If you have time, gather your own wildflowers for centerpieces using old wine bottles or bowls. Designate bins for both recycling and compost. Find fun alternatives by repurposing your favorite décor from other rooms in your home or space to liven up your table and create conversation.

Don’T ForgeT The Fun - Plan some special surprises for your celebration. Have guests tell jokes, guess how many items (candies, golf balls, etc.) are in a jar, or give funny advice, and offer door prizes to winners. Set up a fabric backdrop or giant picture frame for guests to take selfies and group shots to share. Rent a karaoke machine. Play musical chairs. And don’t forget dessert—have a make-yourown- sundae or s’mores bar, or set up a “Candy Bar” for all ages to enjoy.

At the end of the day, if you bring together good people in good spirit, your soiree is sure to be a success. Just make sure you allow yourself some time to enjoy the festivities too. Below you’ll find one of my favorite, adapt-to-allseasons recipes to get you started. Let the party season begin!

CROSTINI WITH SEASONAL TOPPINGS

Crostini are small, thinly sliced pieces of toasted or grilled bread, usually made from a baguette. They are endlessly adaptable and make a terrific party appetizer. You can top crostini with just about anything— cheeses paired with fruits and veggies, pesto, bacon, prosciutto, avocado, eggs, raw and cooked toppings, creamy spreads. Crostini can be savory, spicy, or sweet. Top them with whatever sounds good to you.

To make the crostini toasts: Heat oven to 375 °F. Cut an Italian baguette into half inch slices, at least 12. Brush the slices lightly with olive oil, arrange on a baking sheet, and bake for 6 minutes. You could also lightly grill the crostini until they have grill marks.

TOPPING SUGGESTIONS

Braised Kale

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 pound kale, stems removed, chopped

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

3 cups chicken or veggie broth

Sea salt and pepper to taste

Romano, Parmesan or Asiago cheese, shaved Heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat in a large pot. Add garlic and pepper flakes and stir for a few seconds. Add kale and broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cook for 15 minutes or until kale is tender. Season with salt and pepper. Drain in a colander and top toasts with kale. Top each slice with some cheese shavings.

Pear, Blue Cheese & Honey

½ cup crumbled blue cheese

2 ripe pears, unpeeled, halved, cored, sliced honey for drizzling

Divide the blue cheese evenly over the baguette slices and bake at 350 °F until the cheese starts to melt, about 4 minutes. Remove crostinis from oven and place on a serving platter. Place one or two slices of pear on each crostini and drizzle all lightly with honey.

Cherry Jam & Brie

1 jar cherry jam, or any flavor jam you like

1 wheel brie cheese

Slice the brie and place slices on toasts. Place a dollop of jam on top of the brie and bake at 350°F until brie starts to melt, about 5-6 minutes. Serve immediately.

Caprese – Tomato, Mozzarella and Fresh

Basil

2 – 3 ripe heirloom tomatoes

2 fresh, large mozzarella balls

1 bunch fresh basil

olive oil

balsamic vinegar

Slice the mozzarella into ¼ inch slices. Place a cheese slice on each crostini. Top with a slice of tomato and coarsely chopped basil. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with salt and fresh cracked pepper.

Herbed Cheese Asparagus

1 bunch asparagus, trimmed

1 container herbed soft cheese

Brush the asparagus spears with olive oil and grill over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Turn and grill another two minutes until cooked and grill-marked. Cut spears in half or thirds. Spread cheese on crostinis and top with grilled asparagus.

Luise Bolleber is the Outreach & Marketing Specialist at Oryana Community Co-op. Oryana is located at 260 E. 10th Street in Traverse City. Find more great recipes at www.oryana.coop.

Read the full article at http://digital.zoompubs.com/article/Fresh+Parties/2703119/380864/article.html.

Amanda Kruk

Using a screen reader? Click Here