Category Entertaining

Food Trend Alert: Beer Jelly and Jalapeño Marmalade

One of the greatest pleasures in life is relaxing with a hot cup of tea while munching on toast and jam. Growing up, my mother was always buying new jellies and marmalades to slather on our bread. I’m pretty sure we never had less than four open jars in our kitchen at a time. Berry jellies were always my favorite — particularly blueberry and Mom’s homemade raspberry jam. Still, I’m up for trying just about any flavor. I spent this past spring semester studying in the UK, and while wandering the streets of Cardiff I came across a delightful grandfather jelly vendor who made a berry jelly with jalapenos. This find demanded a taste test, and I was not disappointed! I loved the initial sweetness and the subsequent heat of the jalapenos. I couldn’t help but buy a jar, and to this day I’m on the quest for unique jelly flavors.

When I recently came across Potlicker‘s beer jelly in Scoutmob, I was pretty excited. Beer jelly is becoming quite the trend, particularly in cities with a booming beer industry. How have I not tried this yet?! While in San Francisco, I’ll have to see if I can find a jar or eight to sample. In the meantime, a classic Parties That Cook appetizer recipe with Jalapeno Marmalade has piqued my interest, reminding me of my UK days. I can only imagine the kick that this marmalade adds to menus at our summer corporate cooking events!

Mini Arepas with Oaxaca Cheese and Jalapeno Marmalade

3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup milk
1 1/4 cup masa harina
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups Oaxaca cheese, grated, divided–half for dough and half for garnish
1/2 cup canola oil

Jalapeno Marmalade:
6 large jalapenos, stems and seeds removed
2/3 cup white vinegar
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups sugar

Cilantro for garnish

Make Arepa Dough: Preheat oven to 300°F. In a small sauce pan; melt the butter and the milk over moderately high heat. In a large bowl, mix the masa, sugar, salt, and half of the cheese together. Add the milk mixture and mix until a smooth dough forms. Cover and let the dough rest for 5 minutes.

Form Arepas: Roll the dough into little balls about the size of a large marble. Lightly flatten the balls between your palms to about a 1/4-inch thick. The flattened dough should be about the size of a silver dollar. Transfer the rounds to a sheet pan.

Fry Arepas: In a large sauté pan, heat canola oil until hot. Working in batches, add arepas to the pan (do not overcrowd pan) and cook over moderate heat until golden on the outside but moist within, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the cooked arepas onto a cooling rack placed over a sheet pan. Place in the oven to keep warm until ready to serve. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Make Marmalade: In a food processor, puree jalapenos, vinegar, and salt until smooth. In a small saucepan, heat jalapeno mixture on high heat and add sugar. Bring to a boil and let boil for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Allow mixture to cool briefly and then transfer to a small bowl.

Assemble: Remove the arepas from the oven. Spoon a dollop of marmalade into each arepa. Top with a little grated cheese and a tiny sprig of cilantro.

Makes about 24 arepas

Parties That Cook Hosts Passport to Cook: A Customer Appreciation Event

When we set out to give a BIG thanks to our fabulous event hosts in San Francisco, we decided to try something different. Not only had many hosts already attended a Parties That Cook event, but we wanted a way to showcase a few of our great vendors as well. The brainstorming began, and several lengthy meetings later, a new event format was born! This event was sure to be a blast, and we were all excited to see if how all the pieces would come together.

Customer Appreciation EventHow it went down: On the big day, San Francisco’s Ferry Building was buzzing with Parties That Cook chefs, servers, and office staff. Yes, it was all hands on deck for our Customer Appreciation Event appropriately dubbed Passport to Cook! Upon checking in, guests were each handed an apron and a “passport”. The goal was to get a sticker from each of 10 unique interactive stations set up throughout the venue. (BIG thanks to Abbey Party Rentals for their generous rental donations.)

Customer Appreciation EventStations run by PTC staff included pasta making, knife skills, home-made ricotta, sushi-rolling, pizza-making, and hand-made tortillas. Passports were rounded out by stations from outside vendors. We had honey tasting by Marshall Farms Honey, wine tasting with Domenico Winery, more wine tasting by Brix26, and latte art with Ritual Coffee Roasters. In addition to our passport participants, our good friends at Mumm Winery and Thomas Fogarty Winery were kind enough to donate wine.

Guests, vendors and staff were all encouraged to sample the delicacies at every station, though only guests were allowed to enter our raffle. That’s right – if guests completed all 10 stations, they were then eligible to receive an awesome prize! I could tell everyone was vying for the prizes by the amount of bribes, hints, and pleas put forth as guests submitted their completed passports. A couple of lucky guests won an apron, wine, coffee, honey or a gift certificate. At the end of the event, one name was picked from the basket overflowing with entries, and one woman walked away with a brand new Le Creuset pot among other things!

Customer Appreciation EventAfter having such a great time throughout the event, you could tell the loss was more sweet than bitter for the other guests. They graciously applauded the winner, and many congratulated her on the coveted win. We allowed guests a bit more time for mingling and chatting with vendors. Even as the food disappeared, our coffee and wine vendors remained popular. It wasn’t until the last guest left that we had our team powow and we reflected on just how successful this event was.

Customer Appreciation EventThe next steps: We now have the fun task (no sarcasm here!) of turning this one-time celebration into a regular offering for our clients! We love how customizable the stations were, and how free-flowing the format was. Keep an eye out for more information on our newest event type!