The other week I helped a friend out with a birthday party. You might say it was my first real catering gig. However, since cooking is my escape from the daily stresses of life, I considered it to be fun. The locale: a privately rented studio in downtown Seattle, very classy. The theme: a dressy black and white motif. The food: Chicken souvlaki skewers with tsatziki sauce, BBQ steak skewers, bacon wrapped dates, hummus, stuffed mushrooms, olive tapenade, and then some.
This sausage mixture can be made into stuffed mushrooms as seen here or just added to a tomato based pasta for a great dinner on the fly. I prefer fresh sausage for this, not cured.
Now it’s ready to be stuffed into the mushrooms. There was an abundance of leftover sausage, so that was destined for pasta.
Chicken Souvlaki skewers were tangy and vibrantly flavored with lemon, oregano, and greek yogurt.
Perhaps the most impressive feature of this party preparation was that we grilled ALL of the skewers in this little panini grill. I had asked about a grill, meaning and outdoor barbecue, and my friend told me he had one. When I arrived, he busted this thing out and I thought “we are not seriously doing this”. After about an hour and a half of using this grill, he realized that he had a BBQ grill outside and after some laughing, we fired that grill up and just made it to the event.
Bacon wrapped dates are incredibly simple to make, yet so darned flavorful.
Sizzling away…almost done with the chicken!
The beef was marinated in a simple teriyaki sauce and grilled. I used flank steak and sliced the beef about 1/8″ thin, so cooking was a breeze.
Here are the mushrooms in the back, the bbq steak to the right, and some caprese skewers to the left. Matt’s wife, Meredith deserves credit for the wonderful displays and overall appeal to the dinner table.
Chicken souvlaki with tsatziki sauce turned out to be a bigger hit than I originally thought.
It turned out to be a great party. People were in “cocktail mode” so food was an afterthought, which led to an excess of food leftover. Leftovers become dinner so that was acceptable to my friends. It was a fun event squeezed into a busy day, and it was all worth it in the end.
12 oz spicy turkey italian sausage
12 oz mild turkey italian sausage
1 (8 oz pkg) 1/3 fat cream cheese
1 punch italian parsley, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
In a large heavy bottomed pot, heat to medium high. Add sausage and brown thoroughly on all sides. It’s preferable to use loose sausage here rather than in casings. Towards the end, reduce to medium and add the garlic and some parsley. Stir for a few minutes. Remove from heat and add cream cheese and the rest of the parsley. Stir well. The heat will slowly melt the cream cheese. From here, chill in the refrigerator or stuff mushrooms right way.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Remove stems from mushrooms (I used white mushrooms, although you can use Portobello as well). Place a spoonful into each mushroom (or triple for Portobello). Bake 10-15 minutes. Top with grated Parmesan cheese if desired.
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