Hosting and Toasting - South Dade News Leader: Food, Recipes & Entertaining

Hosting and Toasting

Posted: Thursday, September 20, 2018 1:00 am

(Family Features) Whether you’re hosting a small weekend get-together, a large gathering or anything in between, entertaining friends and family will always provide an opportunity to create memories that last a lifetime. However, no host wants to miss out on the highlights because of an endless to-do list in the kitchen. With the right recipes and refreshments, it’s easy to throw a successful, enjoyable dinner party for both you and your guests.

One way to take the guesswork out of meal planning is by starting with the wine you’re planning to serve and working backwards. Chardonnay is a favorite varietal of many wine lovers, and Edna Valley Vineyard has crafted award-winning, food-friendly Chardonnay from California’s central coast for more than 35 years. Featuring bright layers of white peach and apricot alongside notes of pineapple and brown spice, this white wine is a sure bet to complement a range of dishes and elevate any meal.

One savory example that pairs perfectly with Chardonnay is Grilled Panzanella Salad – a quick and delicious dish that can serve a small group using a few basic ingredients and leftover bread. For a bright, decadent option that holds up well at room temperature, try a side of Orzo with Lemon, Brie and Toasted Pine Nuts. Last but not least, whip up this simple Chicken Thighs and Tomatoes recipe for a hearty entree to round out the meal and complement your wine selection.

Live a life in balance

Particularly during the busiest times of year, finding the right balance is crucial. With all the time spent on work and personal obligations, it is important to remember what matters most – family, friends and the things that make you happy. Here are three ways to prioritize your individual interests and live a life in balance:

For more easy entertaining recipes and ideas, visit EdnaValleyVineyard.com.

Orzo with Lemon, Brie and Toasted Pine Nuts

Serves: 8

  1. Prepare pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil to prevent sticking and allow to cool.
  2. In large bowl, toss pasta with remaining olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, Brie cubes, raisins, pine nuts and basil. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Garnish with additional basil, if desired.

Grilled Panzanella Salad

Serves: 4-6

Salad

Balsamic Vinaigrette

  1. Heat grill or grill pan to medium heat.
  2. For salad: Cut bread into 1-inch thick slices. Brush both sides with olive oil and season with salt. Grill bread on both sides until toasted and grill marks are present. When bread is cool enough to handle, rub garlic clove on both sides. Cut into 1-inch cubes.
  3. In large bowl, combine bread, peppers, tomatoes, olives, basil and cheese.
    For balsamic vinaigrette: In small bowl, combine balsamic vinegar and garlic. Whisk in olive oil in slow stream until combined. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. Toss vinaigrette with salad and serve immediately. Garnish with additional fresh basil and grated cheese, if desired.

Chicken Thighs and Tomatoes

Serves: 4

  1. Heat oven to 400° F.
  2. In cast iron skillet, toss tomatoes with pinch of pepper, kosher salt and light drizzle of olive oil and place in oven. Roast tomatoes for 20 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Heat skillet on stovetop. Once hot, sear chicken thighs. Flip chicken and sear bottom side for about 1 minute. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.
  4. With pan still hot, pour in white wine. Once wine has settled, add minced garlic. Add juice of one lemon. Return chicken thighs and tomatoes to skillet.
  5. Bake for 35-40 minutes.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (Chicken Thighs and Tomatoes)