I've been MIA on here for a while now. I always debate writing a post and then wonder if the world really needs another food/lifestyle blogger sharing information with the world. I start to write but then get analysis paralysis, wondering what should be the first thing I share, what could be that important?
In the past 8 months I've taken on new projects both professionally and personally and have tried to create more space for growth at work and at home. I've considered sharing the journey but second guess myself. The idea for this post came to me yesterday when my girlfriend and I hosted a lunch for 50 ladies of La Feliz Guild, an organization that I joined last year and am still figuring out my newbie roles and responsibilities. I was quite nervous to prepare the food for this group of women that I just became a part of. As I gingerly sat down to join the group at lunch, glancing at plates to see if they were empty, someone yelled out, "We need the recipes" and at that moment I could relax and take my first bite. Phew, it was a success.
Let's be clear, I do not cater, but have found myself "catering" several events for friends and colleagues over the past year. It is something I love to do but get nervous still every single time. Which I guess doesn't say much because I still get nervous before every single class I teach and I've been teaching for 8 years now. I love preparing food, I love sharing how to prepare food, and I love seeing people get excited about food. Food means community to me and our food community here in Fresno is growing and it's incredible to both see and be part of the excitement. I get several messages and texts asking for recipes, so I am pledging to be better about sitting at the computer and typing them up so you can easily find them. Lately I've taken to writing them solely on my Instagram posts but I now realize that can make it very hard for someone to track down.
So, back to the recipes at hand. The luncheon was for 50 ladies. When contemplating what the menu would be I wanted to make sure to include a variety of colors, textures and flavors. I made Grilled Chicken and Veggie wraps for the protein and main part of the meal. This Lemon Chicken marinade is a favorite of mine that I usually make on skewers. I included an Orzo Salad because I love the combined flavors of the kalamata olives and sundried tomatoes, because it's easy to scale up fo a large crowd and it can be prepped in advance. For a sweeter serving I mixed up a Berry Salad. The berries at Costco have been gorgeous lately and a reasonable price to boot. The Italian mother in me always worries that there will not be enough food so in a last minute freak out, I added a Shaved Greens salad after prepping the other dishes. Do you also always worry that you will run out of food? I am glad I added it as it was the first bowl empty. The best part about this dish is that the main part is the Sweet Kale Salad mix from Costco that I gussy up. Assuming you aren't going to make a lunch for a group of 50 the recipes here are paired down but are all relatively easy to scale up if you need to.
Grilled Veggie & Chicken Wraps
(yields 8 wraps)
2 Chicken Breasts (Lemon Chicken Marinade)
2 zucchini, sliced lengthwise
1 bell pepper, sliced
feta cheese crumbles
1. Filet the chicken breasts by slicing each in half lengthwise. Stack the 2 pieces and slice the chicken into 3/4 inch strips. Put sliced chicken in a baking dish and marinade. Let rest in fridge for a minimum of 1 hour up to over night. Bake chicken in the oven at 350º for 30 minutes.
2. Slice zucchini and bell pepper, coat in olive oil and salt and pepper and grill on a cast iron skillet. (When prepping for a large crowd, I put the zucchini in the oven but still prepared bell pepper on the skillet to reach desired consistency.) Remove the cooked veggies to a platter.
3. Place tortillas on a flat, clean surface. Spread on a heaping tablespoon of hummus onto one half of of the tortilla, make sure to leave an inch border.
4. Layer on a handful of spinach.
5. Place 1/4 of grilled zucchini and bell peppers on top of the spinach followed by cooked chicken and sprinkle with the feta crumbles.
6. Roll the wrap by folding in the 2 sides first, then tuck the corner of the 1/2 of the tortilla with the food on it tight around itself, continue to roll the tortilla. Place a toothpick on each side and slice it in half at a diagonal.
7. Store prepared wraps in an air tight container until it is time to serve them.
The day before your event, grill the veggies, marinade and cook the chicken so that the day of all you have to do is wrap it up, skewer, slice and plate.
Shaved Greens Salad
1 package of Eat Smart Organic Sweet Kale Vegetable Salad Kit from Costco
1-2 Cara Cara Oranges, supreme and slice
1 avocado, chopped
1/2 cup feta crumbles
1/2 cup diced pecans
1. In a large bowl, layer the shaved greens with the avocado, cara cara orange, feta, pecans, and the content of the salad kit (dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds).
2. Toss with the poppyseed dressing.
The day before the event supreme (remove pith) and slice the oranges and store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Chop the pecans. You can even roast them, if you want to add the extra step.
The day of slice the avocado and mix it all together.
Strawberries, cut in 1/4's
Fresh Mint, chiffonade
a sprinkle of sugar
1. Wash and mix all fruits together in a bowl and let sit in the fridge over night. A few hours before serving, I tasted the combination for sweetness. I decided to sprinkle on a light coat of sugar and stir to let the fruits macerate.
2. Right before serving, chiffonade the mint and sprinkle on top, gently toss to combine.
So I like to make the food I serve, I know where it comes from, what's in it and it's made with love but some things are better to be outsourced. I am not a baker, so I gladly outsource desserts. We found these scrumptious goodies all at Costco. You can't go wrong with a platter of varying desserts, some with chocolate and some without.
Of course I over prepped and had plenty of leftovers. In that case who doesn't love to be sent home with yummy food and you have lunch ready for the next few days.