My Personal Favorites Go-To Dinner Party Menu

ON THE MENU: 

Endive, Blue Cheese and Walnut Salad
Cilantro and Lime Baked Shrimp
Rhubarb Compote with Custard and Cream

Cilantro Lime Baked Shrimp Image 1

BLUEPRINT: The endive, blue cheese and walnut salad can be completely prepped just needing tossed and plated prior to serving. The rhubarb compote, custard and cream can all be made earlier in the day assembled in beautiful stemmed glasses and left to chill in the fridge right before your guests arrive. You can make your rice ahead keeping it warm in a bain marie. Your shrimp can be completely prepped and ready to pop in the oven. Use the Kitchen Moxie Worksheet to work out timing and remember to heat your plates.

Grocery List:

  • Fruit: 1 large lime (or 2 small), 6 cups rhubarb
  • Produce: 4 endive lettuces
  • Fresh Herbs: 1 bunch cilantro
  • Meat & Fish: 2 1/2 lbs large raw shrimp (peeled, deveined, tails off)
  • Dairy: 1 cup crumbled blue cheese, 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • Frozen: n/a
  • Staples: 3 tsp garlic puree, 3/4 cup olive oil, 2 tbs cornstarch, 1 can chopped tomatoes (approximately 14 1/2 oz)
  • Baking: 1 cup chopped walnuts, 2 tbs confectioners’ sugar , 3/4 cup sugar
  • Spices: salt, pepper, 1 tbs red pepper flakes
  • Other: 1/3 cup white wine, Birds Custard

 

Endive, Blue Cheese and Walnut Salad

What you need: paring knife, chef’s knife, cutting board, large mixing bowl, small bowl or ramekin, measuring spoons/cups

Serves: 6

Take any bruised outer leaves of the endive lettuces. Chop about ¼ inch off the bottom.  Carefully peel four of the remaining leaves from each endive – yielding 16 leaves. Take the remaining endive and chop. Toss chopped endive, chopped walnuts and blue cheese in the Kitchen Moxie Vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper.

Tip: I like to put a few scoops of salad into a small single serving bowl or ramekin and then turn it upside down on the plate to create a dome of the salad.

To Serve: Divide salad evenly on six salad plates and add three whole leaves to each plate.

 

Cilantro and Lime Baked Shrimp

Who knew baked shrimp could be this good? This recipe is an adaptation of Hung Huynh’s Olive-Oil Baked Shrimp served at NYC hot spot Catch. It’s a perfect dinner party dish with few ingredients & quick preparation. I gave it a little Mexican flair by replacing parsley with cilantro and lime juice for lemon. 

What you need: measuring spoons/cups, paring knife, chef’s knife, cutting board, mixing spoon, large baking pan

Serves: 6

  • 2 1/2 lbs of large raw shrimp (peeled, deveined, tails off)
  • 3 tsp garlic puree
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes (approximately 14 1/2 oz)
  • 3 tbs chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 tbs freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbs red chili flakes
  • 2 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 cilantro sprigs for plating

For the Shrimp: Preheat oven to 375˚F. Peel and clean the shrimp and set aside. (Pop them in a fridge in a Ziploc to add to the sauce later if you are not making the dish right away). Place all the ingredients (except for the shrimp) in a baking pan. Stir to combine. (You can cover the baking dish with foil or saran wrap and keep in the fridge until you are ready to bake.) Add in the shrimp, making sure to coat them evenly with the cooking sauce. Bake for 15 minutes or until the shrimp are cooked through.

For the Rice: Place 3 cups of water in a heavy bottom sauce pan. Add 1 tbs of butter and 1 tsp of salt. Bring to a boil and add in 1 1/2 cups of rice. Bring back to the boil & immediately lower the heat until the water is at a low simmer. Place the lid on top and cook for approximately 20 minutes. Don’t peek in the pot during the cooking time & make sure to let the rice sit off the heat for about 5 minutes. Fluff up with a fork.  Season with additional salt & pepper to taste.

To Serve: Divide the rice evenly between six warmed dinner plates or bowls. Place a generous scoop of the shrimp on top. Finish with a sprig of cilantro. Serve immediately.

Rhubarb Compote with Custard and Cream

What you need: measuring spoons/cups, cutting board, chef’s knife, medium heavy bottomed sauce pan, stand-alone (or hand held) mixer, six individual stemmed glasses (wine, martini or margarita)

Serves: 6

For the compote: Place the rhubarb, sugar, 1/4 of water and 2 tbs of cornstarch in the pot. Cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, the rhubarb starts to soften and sauce starts to thicken (about 20 minutes). Take off the heat and let cool.

For the Cream: Place the heavy cream in a cold mixing bowl and whip (I put mine in the freezer for about 5 minutes before I use it).  Add in 2 tbs confectioners’ sugar and continue whipping until soft peaks form.

For the Custard: follow packet directions. Let cool.

Tip: When you make the custard, make sure to press some saran wrap right on top of the custard before putting it in the fridge. This will help ensure that a “skin” doesn’t form on top.

To Serve: Once cooled, place a scoop of the rhubarb compote in the bottom of each of the six stemmed glasses (holding back enough for one little spoonful on top once you top with custard and cream). Top with custard and a dollop of fresh cream.

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