I haven't really practiced hospitality (outside the confines of my immediate family) in a long time. I have always loved to entertain in the past, but as the kids got older and I was working and going to school, I fell out of the habit. Oh, that was a bad habit to break.
I really enjoyed the whole process of making things just right, planning the menu, and looking forward to the guests arriving. It was a very fulfilling endeavor. The bonus -- we had a lovely time filled with lively conversation that stimulates the mind and forges the bonds of friendship. This quote from Scripture seems to sum it all up:
Be hospitable to one another without complaining. As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God's varied grace. (1 Peter 4:9-10)When we practice hospitality we nurture the gifts that God has given each of us. We help each other grow closer to Christ.
So, here is the fare I made for the coffee, along with the recipes: Chocolate Dipped Strawberries on a snowy bed of Powdered Sugar, Cucumber Sandwich Bites on Honey Wheat Bread, and Spinach, Ham and Cheese Quiche. The stats and the verdicts will be a little different this week as grown women at a coffee don't tend to reject much of what is offered, but eat everything with careful moderation!
**Please leave a comment and let me know what you think of these recipes and the posts, in general. It would be nice to know that they are "serving" a purpose in your world.**
Chocolate Dipped Strawberries:
1 lb of fresh strawberries, rinsed and thoroughly dried (this is important)
1 container of Dipping Chocolate like Dolci Frutta -- follow package directions for melting
1/8 of a cup of powdered sugar
1 generous sheet of waxed paper for cooling the strawberries after they are dipped
Rinse and dry the strawberries, gently patting them in paper towels or a soft cloth -- they can stain material if you use a cloth. Set each aside to air dry a little further while you rinse and pat dry the remaining strawberries. (When you start the dipping process remember to begin with the first strawberry you dried to get the best results)
Heat the dipping chocolate according to package directions and place on a trivet. Make sure to stir it well and keep the spoon in the chocolate to help remove the strawberry after dipping.
Take a strawberry by it's stem and gently swirl the berry in the warm chocolate. Bring the spoon underneath the berry and lift it from the chocolate. Place the strawberry on the waxed paper.
**Important** if you notice that there is any moisture on the strawberry, dry it again and let it sit until the end of the dipping process. The moisture from the berry can seize the chocolate and leave clumps in your dipping chocolate.
Allow the strawberries to dry for about 10 min on the waxed paper; sift powdered sugar over the bottom of your serving tray; arrange berries on the tray and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Cucumber Sandwich Bites:
1 pkg of Honey Wheat Bread
1 small tub of veggie cream cheese (allow to soften a bit)
1 garden cucumber, peeled and sliced paper thin (I use a mandelin slicer to do this)
Remove the crust from the bread (do not throw the crust away, cut into small squares to fry in some butter and garlic for croutons on salad -- yum!); spread each slice of bread with the veggie cream cheese; place 3 - 4 slices of cucumber on one slice of bread, then top with another slice. Cut in half creating two rectangle pieces of sandwich; then, cut each rectangle on the diagonal to creat the triangle shaped pieces of sandwich.
These are super easy and very delicious.
Spinach, Ham & Cheese Quiche:
1/3 cup of milk
8 oz of cooked, cooled and strained chopped spinach
1/2 cup of ricotta cheese
1/2 cup of cheddar cheese
4 slices of honey ham deli slices chopped
salt & pepper to taste (I used 1 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp pepper)
1 ready made refrigerator pie crust
1/2 small onion finely chopped -- optional (I didn't use this ingredient this time -- for a morning event, the onion can be a bit over powering, so I opted to leave this out)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl whisk together eggs, milk, salt & pepper, add the ricotta cheese, cheddar cheese, ham and spinach. Roll out the pie crust into a 9" pie pan, with a fork pierce the bottom of the crust 6-8 times in a random pattern, then flute the edges of the pie crust by pinching pieces of the together all the way around; add the filling and bake for 50-60 min. until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and dry.
Allow to cool for about 10 min. before serving.
5 out of 5 women enjoyed the offerings, and brought treats of their own to add to what I had made.
I will most certainly do this, and make these recipes again. It was such a pleasure to entertain again. I hope they had a wonderful time -- I hope I have inspired you to open your homes to friends and family to share these brunch type recipes with them.
Remember: Blessed are you who are now hungry, for you will be satisfied. (Lk 6:21)
Because I had the unexpected hospitalization of my son this week, I was not able to get the Mr. Linky up and running. We'll try again for next week.