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Follow-ups: shrimp dish, flavored oil, Italian wine, advance pizza(long)

danna | Aug 16, 200410:29 AM     1

Thanks again to everyone who offered help for my Italian-themed dinner party this weekend. Here's how everything went.

Hors d'ouerves:

Olives - ordered them from Murray's, warmed just slightly in a sauce pan w/ some orange zest and fresh bay leaf. Here in Greenville SC (food wasteland) many people have never had a decent olive. Several people were amazed.

Figs w/ goat cheese and honey/lemon/herb dressing served on a plate w/ fig leaves ( I couldn't help myself).

Pizza - Made the dough on Thurs. Made the small pizzas on Fri and baked them individually on the pizza stone until just solid on the bottom, tried not to bubble the cheese. Refrigerated on cookie sheets until 30 minutes before guests on Sat, through them in a 550 oven for a few minutes to finish cooking. They were pretty good. I froze half the dough in balls for house guests next week. Hope it's decent.

Drinks - Bellinis. Fresh peach purre w/ a little sugar and a little orange juice to help hold the color. Mixed w/ Prosecco(Zardetto). Good, but not fabulous. The peach purre alone WAS fab. Also FAB blended w/ a little vanilla ice cream for the world's best peach milkshake. Guests missed out on that one. I think to make a better cocktail the purre should have been a bit sweeter and a bit thinner.

First course:

Caprese Salad - Note to self: August is too late to plan a meal around tomatos. I had 1 beautiful Mr. Stripey and 1 beautiful Brandywine. All the rest of my crop was gone and I had to fill in w/ bought tomatos from a veggie stand that sucked.

Ordered the mozz from Murrays. The regular fresh mozz was FANTASTIC. They get it from Joe's Dairy. It was the best I've ever had, and not pricey. The Buffalo Mozzerella tated sour to me, I didn't serve it. My husband and I debated whether it was supposed to taste that way or if it was turning. The texture was mushy, so I'm voting for turned.

Melon and Proscuitto skewered on rosemary branches - Proscuitto from Murrays was very good. Made a really nice pressentation, but DON'T try to save for leftovers. soggy proscuitto is icky.

Wine - Vermentino. AFter the great responses I got from hounds, that was the only suggested wine i could find. Can't remember the maker, paid $10-$15, I give it an "OK".

Bread & oil - Ciabatta from a bakery I considered myself lucky to drive to the next state for. My mint/rosemary oil never cleared much, but tasted fine, and no one died.

Main Course - Shrimp & pasta

By chance, husband started the grill long before I would have. When I threw the skewered "collossal" shrimp (marinaded in EVO,garlic,honey) they seared like mad. Tasted better than preliminary testing - I'll remember to grill shrimp very hot from now on.

I tossed my baggie of previously frozen tomato sauce into a big pan on the grill's side burner, warmed it up, pitched in the halved cherry tomatos and previously roasted yellow peppers. Big pot had been simmering in kitchen during 1st course, dumped in 3-min-cook-time fresh pasta. Tossed w/ sauce, added fresh basil leaves, dumped in platter and topped w/ shrimp skewers. Very quick, and since I was able to do most of it on the grill out on the terrace, I was never far removed from my guests. Thanks especially to the people who helped me with this one. (but I forgot to separately salt the cherry tomatos. Rats)

Wine - Again, I could find none of the suggested wines. I served a Nozzale (sp) Chianti Classico and a Primitivo. Both OK.

Dessert - Yellow layer cake w/ lemon/peach curd topped w/ a mound of whipped cream , peach slices, and raspberries. Followed by tiny, dense, brownies topped w/ a choc covered espresso bean. I think that was the hit of the evening. It's good to go out on a high note :-)

Thanks for reading, and thanks to everyone who chipped in advice.

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