West African Cashew Soup

Over a Bottle of Wine, Many a Friend is Found

Over the weekend I hosted an intimate dinner party. I had my cousin Anna over and Michael’s old roommate Shoe joined us too.

I love hosting dinner parties!! Michael isn’t as excited about them right now because our kitchen has been in a state of remodel for a few years now. He’d prefer we wait til the kitchen is 100% done but….sometimes you just have to live life as it is, right?

Saturday morning I worked out hard at the gym and felt like I was amped up all day long. I cleaned the house like the Pope was coming over for dinner, went grocery shopping for last minute dinner supplies and then started the prep. Thankfully I had Twitter for some last minute questions!


I got as much prepped as I could before our guests arrived! Shoe brought two really nice bottles of wine to go with our dinner.


I liked the Bogle a lot. It was fairly mild and just lovely to drink. The Earthquake Syrah was a punch in the face. It was intense, strong, smelled like “burning” (as Michael put it) and tasted like Earth but it was also really good. Intense, but good.

Appetizers

Salami Roll – I took slices of salami and other Italian meats and spread a thin layer of  cream cheese on it, rolled it up and then stuck a toothpick through it. The salami and capocolo worked great, the prosciutto was just too thin and kept ripping.

Some were topped with black olives, some without. I also chopped up some carrots and added some cheese munchies.


It was simple and fast to make. And let’s be honest, everything tastes better with cream cheese. 😉

 

Main Dish

For the main dish I made my favorite signature dish: West African Cashew Soup. This is one of my favorite soups I’ve ever made. I love the variations you can have with it–the zucchini and yellow squash are not part of the original recipe but I loved the addition. You can tailor it to your comfort level for the spice, too.

I like extra spicy but not everyone can handle that. If you don’t like spicy at all, you can leave the red pepper flakes out and it’s still really good.


It’s also a pretty decadent soup–for very little calories! You would think that with the cashew soup it would be really high in calories but it’s not. I calculated this soup recipe with the ingredients serving 6 people. So obviously that number is a little higher or lower depending on how you serve it up.

The soup goes best with a crunchy bread. This time I got a wheat baguette with some seeds and grains in it, but in the past an olive ciabatta has been great too.

Because of the cashew butter, the soup is really thick and creamy–decadent and delicious.

Dessert

For dessert I made something simple and delicious I will call Honey Pears. First I cored and quartered some fresh pears and sliced them lengthwise. I spread a little mild goat cheese on the pears. Then I drizzled them with honey and some with Agave.

I topped the pears with some chopped and toasted walnuts.

Ta-da! A healthy dessert alternative. I loved this dessert. It was so easy to make and it tasted really good. I wondered if the goat cheese would be strange with the honey but it was awesome. I would totally make this dessert again!


And what dinner party is complete without board games?!


I love game nights.

“Over a bottle of wine, many a friend is found.” –Yiddish Proverb

QUESTION: Have you ever hosted a dinner party? What was on the menu?

Chicken Two Ways

Saturday Michael and were lazy bums. We spent pretty much the entire day watching Season 1 of Damages. I felt like a sloth but it was needed. I’ve been feeling run down and exhausted the last few days.

Dinner was simple on Saturday night. I used my new rice cooker to make rice while I made Michael a salad and steamed carrots for me.

His salad was baby spinach leaves, tomato, chopped celery and green onions.

I topped my carrots with some Goddess Dressing. I had picked up a Rotisserie Chicken from the store.

It was a good, filling dinner that took less than 10 minutes to make. Protein, carb, veggies, fat. The perfect dinner.  The rotisserie chicken wasn’t as savory as it has been in the past (a little on the dry side) but most of the time it’s great.

I also had ulterior motives for getting a chicken from the store. I wanted to have leftover chicken for Sunday night’s dinner.

Sunday night Michael and I had some friends over for dinner. I made my new favorite recipe: West African Cashew Soup. You can find the recipe and directions here.

Our friends brought a loaf of Roasted Garlic French Bread to go with the soup.

Michael’s old roommate Shoe gave us a bottle of champagne last year for Christmas and we decided it was time to enjoy it!

The soup was a hit! I am so glad it turned out just as delicious as the first time I made it since we had guests over. The champagne was really nice too. We each had a glass and the bottle was finished.

Michael was really sweet and said that this recipe was by far the winner of 2010. 🙂

It was a nice dinner and I’m glad we were able to hang out with our friends. They brought their baby (who is now 6 months old or so) and she’s the perfect baby: very content and happy.

QUESTION: What are your favorite ways to use leftover chicken?