FOODIE: Dinner Party Supergirl!

I had another weekend on the dinner party circuit. My girl Sharese is producing a documentary called Off and Running about an 18-year-old black girl adopted by two Jewish lesbians in Brooklyn. Yes, a very New York story. Sharese invited the family that is the focus of the documentary and the whole crew to dinner on Saturday night. I’d had a pretty hard week and I wanted to decompress by doing a little manual labor. There’s nothing like using your hands to quiet your mind.

So I showed up at about 5pm to help her prep for a 7pm dinner party. I love my girl but I can’t say this dinner prep was a shining example of organization. The menu was only a hazy notion in her mind, with only about 2 out of 15 possible dishes completed. Unlike in real life, I could actually be a super hero. I took the next few hours to organize and cook my way through about ten dishes and a couple were real winners.

I kept the natives restful with a bowl of creamy spinach and parmeean dip which literally took about four minutes to make and since it is almost Super Bowl time, check this recipe. The ‘Cook-Down Chicken’ was also a hit. It’s chicken simmered stove-top with onions, peppers, mushrooms and tomato, almost like a Caribbean chicken cacciatore – really perfect on a cold night.

Creamy Spinach and Parmesan Dip

1 12oz. package frozen chopped spinach

¼ c flour

¼ c salted butter

1 c half and half

1 c parmesan cheese

1 bag of lightly salted tortilla chips

Defrost and drain spinach thoroughly. Set aside.

Heat butter over medium heat until melted. Add flour and combine to form a roux. Cook over medium heat for about 1 minute to eliminate raw flour taste. Whisk in milk slowly to avoid lumps. Once the milk is thoroughly combined, add the parmesan to the milk sauce. Add the drained spinach to the parmesan sauce and combine. Serve with lightly salted tortilla chips.

Cook-Down Chicken

1 whole cut up chicken

2 medium onions diced finely

1 pint white or crimini mushrooms sliced

1 red bell pepper diced finely

½ green bell pepper diced finely

1 anaheim pepper diced finely

1 whole habanero pepper

1 14 oz. can diced tomato

½ c ketchup or 2 tbl tomato paste

¼ c sugar

juice of 2 lemons

juice of 1 lime

5 sprigs thyme

5 cloves of garlic smashed

salt and pepper to taste

2 tbl olive oil

Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper. Add oil to 4-quart pot, heat until smoking lightly. Brown chicken in batches, do not overload the pot. Remove chicken once it is brown and set aside.

Add onion, peppers, mushrooms and garlic to oil and sauté until lightly browned and translucent. Add browned chicken, thyme, tomato, ketchup, lemon and lime juice to the pot with the onions and peppers. Simmer covered on medium heat for one hour. Serve over steamed rice.

-Tell us how yours turns out!

Like Foodie? Check out the rest of Parlour’s recipes from both J’alla and Nichelle here.

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