Thursday, April 3, 2014

Relief Society Social

I was so excited to be asked to work with the Relief Society for the annual birthday social. Because we were inviting so many sisters and young women, I was asked to plan on feeding 175. They wanted to have finger foods/appetizers and desserts instead of a sit-down dinner. They wanted the sisters to be able to walk around, work on projects and visit while eating and not have to worry about utensils, etc. I hadn't ever done an entire meal this way, but I was excited for the challenge.

I came up with 6 different appetizers and asked my ward sisters to help by bringing some mini desserts of some kind. Sadly, I underestimated the amount of desserts the sisters (and especially young women) would go through, and we ran out of them quickly. I need to remember to double those next time! The desserts were amazing and I wish I would have taken pictures of all of them!

We were so lucky to have this joint service activity with the three wards that meet in our building (Oakton, Oak Marr and Vienna). Each ward helped by doing amazing invitations, gorgeous decorations, and got everything we needed for the projects. Even though I wish I could've helped with the fantastic service projects everyone was busily working on, I was happy to serve the sisters and young women yummy food. I'm grateful to so many who helped me prepare, serve and clean-up. I wouldn't have been able to do it without all of them! It was so much fun to get to know sisters outside of our ward and I hope we do an activity together again soon!

Many have asked for the recipes, so I wanted to put them on my recipe blog so they were in one central location. Sorry about the pictures - just quick shots with my camera phone before everything was gobbled up - I sadly missed getting a shot of some things. The adorable Kate Harrison did the table design and wrote the names of the items on colored butcher paper, which I thought was brilliant!

BBQ Pork Sliders
Ellen James
Makes about 100 sliders or 40 large sandwiches

1 large pork butt or shoulder roast
1 lg. bottle of ketchup
3 T. yellow mustard
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. dried onion
slider buns

Cover roast with salt and pepper. Cook roast all day, or overnight, in a crockpot until it is tender. Remove roast from pan, making sure to get any pieces of meat that have fallen into the juices. Cool meat slightly so you don't get burned. Discard all fat and juices. Shred, or cube, the meat and put back into the crockpot. Add the ketchup, mustard, brown sugar and onions. Cook for another couple of hours, until the meat has absorbed the BBQ sauce and is very tender. Serve on slider buns (found at Wegmans next to hamburger buns) or kaiser rolls that have been toasted. 

Large quantity tips - I estimated 4 large pork roasts for 200 sandwiches. I had SO much meat left over that I really could have used only 2 roasts and it would have been perfect for that many sliders. The meat does freeze well if you have a lot of leftovers or you want to make ahead of an event. 

BLT Canap├ęs with Basil Mayonnaise
Recipe courtesy of America's Test Kitchen
Makes 33 appetizers 

2 c. fresh basil leaves, plus 1/4 c. chopped fresh basil
2/3 c. mayonnaise 
4 t. lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt & pepper
11 slices white sandwich bread
11 slices bacon
6 ounces cherry tomatoes

Process basil leaves, mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic, and 1/4 t. salt in food processor until smooth, about 1 minute, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Transfer to a bowl and season with salt to taste. Put it in a squirt bottle, if you have one. (Basil Mayo can be refrigerated up to 4 days.)

Adjust oven rack 6 inches from the broiler element and heat broiler. Using 2-inch round cutter, cut rounds out of bread slices (3 rounds per slice), avoiding crust. Spray both sides of bread rounds with oil spray and arrange on rimmed baking sheet. Broil until golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes, flipping bread halfway through broiling. Let toasts cool completely. (Toasts can be held at room temperature for up to 6 hours.)

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange bacon in single layer on rimmed backing sheet. Bake until crispy and brown, 10-12 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking. Transfer bacon to paper towel-lined plate and let cool completely. Break each bacon slice evenly into 3 short pieces. (Bacon can be held at room temperature for up to 1 hour.)

Cut tomatoes into 1/3 inch thick slices. Season tomato slices with salt & pepper to taste. Spread basil mayo over 1 side of each toast, then top with 1 piece of bacon and 1 slice of tomato. Sprinkle with chopped basil. 

Canapes can be held at room temperature for up to 1 hour before serving.

Savory Palmiers
Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten
Makes 50 hors d'oeuvres 

1 package frozen puff pastry (with 2 pastry sheets)
1/4 c. prepared pesto (I like Costco)
1/2 c. crumbled goat cheese
1/4 c. finely chopped sun-dried or oven-roasted tomatoes, drained
kosher salt

Defrost puff pastry according to package directions. Lightly flour a board and carefully unfold one sheet of puff pastry. Roll the pastry lightly with a rolling pin until it's 9 1/2 X 11 1/2 inches. Spread the sheet of puff pastry with half the pesto, then sprinkle with half the goat cheese, and half the tomatoes. Sprinkle with 1/4 t. salt.

Working from the short ends, fold each end halfway to the center. Then fold each side again toward the center until the folded edges almost touch. Fold one side over the other and press lightly. Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry and the remaining ingredients. Cover both rolls with plastic wrap and chill for at least 45 minutes (can be chilled for 1 day).

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the prepared rolls of puff pastry into 1/4 inch thick slices and place them face up 2 inches apart on sheet pans lined with parchment paper. Bake for 14 minutes, until golden brown. 

Palmiers can be held up to 6 hours before serving.

Caprese Bites
Ellen James

refrigerated cheese tortellini
cherry tomatoes
Castelvetrano olives (at Costco in large jars)
marinated mozzarella balls (at Costco)
basil leaves
olive oil
balsamic glaze
kosher salt

Cook tortellini according to package directions (follow suggested cooking time closely), drain and immediately drop in ice water bath to chill; drain. Layer tomato, basil leaf, tortellini, olive and cheese on kabobs. Once plated, drizzle olive oil and balsamic glaze lightly and top with a bit of salt.

Can be made ahead and refrigerated up to 3 hours before serving.

Veggie Cups with Greek Yogurt Dip
Recipe for dip from

1 t. chives
1/2 t. dill weed
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. onion powder
2 t. parsley
1/2 t. black pepper
1/4 t. salt
1 1/2 c. Greek yogurt
assorted vegetables, cut into small sticks
(cherry tomatoes, put on the end of a toothpick)

I chose to use fresh herbs and had to double or triple amounts because of it. Also, I had to use a lot of extra seasonings to taste. The fresh herbs gave the dressing a green hint, which I liked. I used large shot glasses from a party store to put the dressing into before adding the veggie sticks. Can be assembled and refrigerated for up to 6 hours.

Fruit Kabobs
Ellen James

purple grapes
green grapes
mandarin oranges

Assemble fruit on kabobs and arrange on the try to form a rainbow. Refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 6 hours.

Please click on links above for recipes and directions. Coconut directions have been updated for a more fool-proof cookie shell. If you'd like to read how to whip your egg whites, refer to that one.

Made by Donna Nelson
Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis - click on the link above for recipe.

Root Beer Cookies
Recipe from Malerie Bourne
Makes 3-4 dozen cookies


1 c. butter, softened
2 c. packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 c. buttermilk
4 c. all-purpose flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt

Preheat oven to 375.  In a mixing bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in buttermilk and root beer extract.
Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl and gradually add to creamed mixture.  Drop by tablespoons (I do a larger amount) onto ungreased baking sheets.  Bake 10-12 minutes (I have done 10) or until lightly browned.  Remove to wire racks to cool.  Frost and serve.


4 c. powdered sugar
¾ c. butter, softened
3 T. milk
1 t. root beer extract (I do a little extra)

In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients.  Beat until smooth.

Coconut Lime Snowballs
Recipe from Kylee West

Butter Cookie Dough

2 ½ c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 t. grated lime zest
¾ cup superfine sugar
¼ t. table salt
16 T. unsalted butter (2 sticks), cut into sixteen 1/2-inch pieces, at cool room temperature
2 t. vanilla extract
2 T. cream cheese, at room temperature


1 T. cream cheese, at room temperature
3 T. lime juice
1 ½ c. confectioners' sugar
1 ½ c. sweetened shredded coconut, pulsed in food processor until finely chopped, about fifteen 1-second pulses


1. FOR THE COOKIES: In bowl of standing mixer fitted with flat beater, mix flour, lime zest, sugar, and salt on low speed until combined, about 5 seconds. With mixer running on low, add butter 1 piece at a time; continue to mix until mixture looks crumbly and slightly wet, about 1 minute longer. Add vanilla and cream cheese and mix on low until dough just begins to form large clumps, about 30 seconds.

2. Use hands to roll dough into 1-inch balls. Place on parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake one batch at a time in 375-degree oven until lightly browned, about 12 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

3. FOR THE GLAZE: Whisk cream cheese and 2 tablespoons lime juice in medium bowl until combined and no lumps remain. Whisk in confectioners' sugar until smooth, adding remaining lime juice as needed until glaze is thin enough to spread easily.

4. Dip tops of cookies into glaze and scrape away excess, then dip into coconut. Set cookies on parchment-lined baking sheet; let stand until glaze dries and sets, about 20 minutes.

Chocolate Friands Cookies
Made by Kim Godard 
Recipe from Tartine, by Prueitt and Robertson

Kitchen note: You can use a pastry bag or tiny ice-cream scoop for filling the paper cups or wells, in place of the measuring cup. If you can find 1 1/2-by-1/2-inch [#105] glassine cups (or any similarly sized cups like those used for holding candies), you can use them for baking the friands, and they can be served in them as well. Friand is French for "small mouthful."


6 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups + 1 Tbsp sugar
3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
4 large eggs


4 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2/3 cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line up 24 mini-muffin-cup paper liners on a baking sheet, or butter and flour 24 mini-muffin wells, knocking out the excess flour.

To make the batter, place the chocolate in a large mixing bowl. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat until very hot. Pour the butter over the chocolate and whisk or stir until smooth. In a medium mixing bowl, combine sugar, flour, cornstarch, and salt and mix well. Add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture in three batches, whisking well after each addition. Add two of the eggs and whisk until combined, and then add the remaining two eggs and whisk until incorporated. Be careful not to overmix the batter.

Transfer the batter to a liquid measuring cup for pouring, and fill the cups three-fourths full. Bake until the cakes just start to crack on top, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack, and then unmold them if you baked them in a muffin tin and let cool completely. If you baked them in paper cups, just let them cool in the cups.

To make the ganache, place the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl. Bring the cream to just under a boil in a small saucepan. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let sit for a minute or two. Stir gently with a rubber spatula until the chocolate is melted and smooth.

Make sure the friands are cool before dipping them in the ganache. Holding each friand by its sides, dip the top into the ganache and then shake gently to let the excess run off the side. Return the friand to the rack and let the ganache set up in a cool place for about one hour. I don't recommend putting the friands in the refrigerator to set up if your kitchen is hot because condensation will form on the tops when you take them out, ruining the smooth look of the ganache. The only way to avoid the condensation is to place them in an airtight container before putting them in the refrigerator and then to leave them in the container when you remove them from the refrigerator until they come to room temperature, or to serve them right away.

Serve the friands within a day of making, or store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Meyer Lemon Meringue Tarts
Chocolate Mousse Tarts with Raspberries
Recipes by Julie Mudrick

Sweet Tartlet Shells 
Makes 48 tartlet shells

2 1/4 sticks (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter
3 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. confectioners' sugar
1/2 t. salt
3 large egg yolks
3 T. ice water
1 t. vanilla

Cut butter into bits. In a bowl with a pastry blender or in a food processor blend or pulse flour, confectioners' sugar, and salt until combined well and add butter, blending or pulsing until mixture resembles coarse meal. In a small bowl whisk together yolks, ice water, and vanilla until combined well and add to flour mixture, tossing with a fork or pulsing until incorporated. Form dough into a ball and divide into 2 pieces. Form each piece into a ball and flatten to form disks. Chill disks, wrapped separately in plastic wrap, at least 1 hour and up to 1 week (If you don’t have much time you can also put them in the freezer for 15 minutes).

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Form 1 dough disk into twenty-four 1-inch balls, keeping remaining disk wrapped and chilled. Press dough balls into bottoms and up sides of twenty-four 1/8-cup mini-muffin cups (about 1 3/4 inches across top and 1 inch deep). Trim any overhang with a knife and prick bottoms of shells with a wooden pick. Chill shells 15 minutes, or until firm. Bake shells in middle of oven 12 minutes, or until golden, and cool in cups on racks. Gently loosen shells with a knife and remove from cups. Repeat with remaining dough.  Once cooled, fill with lemon curd or chocolate mousse and raspberries. 

Chocolate Mousse Tarts with Raspberries
(Fills about 24 tarts)

8 oz. fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened)
2 c. heavy cream

Chop chocolate and in a heavy saucepan bring cream just to a boil. Reduce heat to low and add chocolate, stirring until mixture is smooth. Transfer filling to a bowl and cool slightly. Chill filling, its surface covered with plastic wrap, at least 4 hours, or until completely cold, and up to 3 days.

Put tartlet shells on a tray. With an electric mixer beat filling 30 seconds, or until pale and thickened (do not overbeat or it will become grainy). Transfer filling to a pastry bag fitted with 1/2-inch plain tip (or other fluted tip) and pipe chocolate into each shell filling it.  Add a strawberry on top.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  

Lemon Meringue Tarts

Mini Meringues:
2 egg whites at room temperature

1/2 c. sugar

1/2 t. vanilla

Put the egg whites in a large, clean bowl and whisk until soft peaks form (I use my electric mixer). 

Add the sugar, one tablespoon at a time, whisking well after each addition. Continue whisking until eggs are stiff and glossy. With a rubber spatula, fold in vanilla and additional flavoring, if you are using. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Put meringue in a piping bag and pipe little star shaped dollops about 1 inch across, and 1 inch apart. Bake for 5 minutes, then turn temperature down to 250 degrees. Continue baking until firm to the touch, 10-15 minutes. Cool completely before removing from parchment paper. 

**You can make up to this point two days in advance. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. 
Place on top of the lemon curd just before serving. 

For the Lemon Curd: (you can use regular lemons or Meyer lemons)

Lemon Curd

adapted from Barefoot Contessa

4 lemons at room temperature 

1 1/2 c. sugar 

1/4 lb. unsalted butter at room temperature 

4 extra-large eggs at room temperature 

1/8 t. salt

Remove the zest of 2 lemons with a vegetable peeler or zester, being careful to avoid the white pith. Squeeze the lemons to make 1/2 cup of juice and set the juice aside. Put the zest in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the sugar and process for 2 to 3 minutes, until the zest is very finely minced. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter with the sugar and lime zest. Add-- the eggs, 1 at a time, and then add the lime juice and salt. Mix until combined.
Pour the mixture into a 2-quart saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 10 minutes. The lime curd will thicken at about 175 degrees F, or just below a simmer. Remove from the heat and set aside.
 Place in fridge to let set (30 minutes). Spoon curd into tarts.  Refrigerate.  Before ready to serve top with meringues. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for all the recipes! It looks like you had a successful night!