Foodbuzz 24×24: Cross Country Dinner Party from California to Baltimore
Posted Jun 26 2011 1:13pm
It’s been one week since my husband and I moved into our new apartment in Baltimore. It feels surreal being back in my hometown neighborhood after four years of living in Santa Barbara, California. Two cities that couldn’t be more different from one another. Baltimore’s urban hustle and bustle is a stark contrast from Santa Barbara’s laid back beachside living. But, they do have one thing in common: a love for good food.
When I got the email for Foodbuzz’s 24×24 monthly contest I immediately knew the kind of dinner party I wanted to throw: a festival of food to celebrate how much both cities have impacted our lives and our tastebuds. Hearing the news my submission got accepted I instantly called up our family to invite them over for our California to Maryland: A Cross Country Dinner Party!
The great thing about all the dishes was the easy cooking. I don’t know about you but I hate to be slaving over a hot stove while my guests are arriving. I get really flustered, my makeup starts running, and something eventually burns. Yeah it’s not fun for anyone. But with this menu you can prep everything before the party and just pop it in the oven once they arrive. Easy as cake, a crab cake that is!
Cheese Stuffed Mini Bell Peppers
(makes about 40)
To make the cheese mixture combine 3oz goat cheese, 3oz shaved Monterey Jack, 2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil, 2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives.
Slice open 20 mini bell peppers and remove the seeds. Fill each half pepper with cheese filling.
Pop in the preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.
These cheesy bites combined with the yummy salsa and guacamole my sister-in-law brought over were a huge hit with everyone. In the words of my brother-in-law, “Lindsey, this is going to be the appetizer I’m going to request you bring to every dinner party from now on.”
I love when those kind of statements start a party!
Maryland Crab Cakes
(makes 8 crab cakes)
Get 2 lbs of fresh lump (or jumbo lump) crabmeat from your local grocer. Make sure to look for shells! No one wants a crab claw in his/her meal.
Shape into 8 patties and place on baking sheet. Broil for 5 minutes each side until golden brown.
Oh crab cakes how I’ve missed you out west! The Old Bay seasoning really makes these taste out of this world. Honestly I could eat these every day of the week. Believe me when I say don’t even try an imitation seasoning. Old Bay really is the only way to go.
Sweet Corn on the Cob
A Maryland meal wouldn’t be complete without some sweet local white corn on the cob. Corn is super easy to cook. Just boil a big pot of water, throw in the corn, and cook for about 10 minutes. And don’t forget the butter and salt n’ pepper slathered on top! Mmmmm, the taste reminds me of childhood….except not those years I had braces. Corn didn’t treat me so well then.
Mix together 8oz baby romaine lettuce, half an avocado chopped, handful sliced grape tomatoes, sliced cucumber, half bell pepper chopped, 1 oz goat cheese and 2 Tbsp Sunflower Seeds.
For the dressing I used Good Seasonings Italian Mixture. You simply combine 1 packet of their Italian Seasoning, ¼ cup Balsamic Vinegar, 3 Tbsp water, and ½ cup Olive Oil.
(I have to give a shout out to my friend Jen who made this salad for me many a times in Santa Barbara. It is my hands down favorite flavor combo!)
If there is one thing Santa Barbara taught us it was how to pick good wine. Before living in wine country I would drink any old white or red because to me they all tasted the same. Now a days I’ve become a bit of a wine snob, something I’m not too ashamed of.
For tonight’s meal Mike and I decided to go with 2 whites: Cupcake Chardonnay and Susan Fields’ Rubeckia White Blend . Both were light and summery with a hint of melon and citrus. For the reds we picked Four Vines Zinfandel and Santa Barbara Winery’s ZCS blend . Both paired really well with the crab cakes (yes reds and seafood can go well together!) and are fruit forward with an easy finish. All in all great wines to be enjoyed for any occasion!
My favorite part to every meal! I was going to attempt to make my own dessert but since a lot of my baking supplies got lost or broken in the move cross country I decided to leave it to the experts, Baltimore experts that is!
We of course had to have Maryland’s infamous Berger’s cookies . If you haven’t tried one before, watch out they are addicting! It’s basically a sugar cookie topped with a slab of delicious chocolate fudge.
Dessert didn’t stop with just cookies (my family doesn’t believe in one dessert choice), my mom brought over an apple and blueberry pie from Richardson Farms , a local farmer’s market, and some Maryland organic ice cream from Keyes Creamery .
Oh. my. goodness. I’m in love.
And I think it’s safe to say both mine and Mike’s family were quite happy that night as well…
There was just a good vibe in the air. Perhaps it was the delicious food, the tasty wine, or the devilishly good desserts that had us laughing and chatting into the wee hours of the morning. Or maybe that’s just what comes from being back home with the ones you love.
Cheers from Maryland all the way to California, from my family to yours bon appetite hon!