Food Blogger's Welcome Dinner

If I could have all the food bloggers over for dinner, what would I serve? A daunting question. For even if I have never met a nicer bunch of people, to cook for a group for whom food is an all consuming passion is, well, a prospect that is liable to keep me up for a couple of nights…recipes and scenarios running through my head like mad chickens.

That being said, I would also be beside myself with excitement at the thought of meeting all these terrific people who I have shared this corner of the blog-o-shere with. We have exchanged recipes, cyber-laughs, and virtual-hugs, and I must say at this point: Food bloggers rock! A more enthusiastic and supportive community I would be hard pressed to find. So, despite quaking in my heels, I will roll up my sleeves, batten down the hatches, and fix up a Food Bloggers Welcome Dinner…a project put together by one of the sweetest bloggers out there, Angelika of The Flying Apple.

(Cyber-laughs? Virtual hugs? Enthusiastic, supportive, a food blogger that rocks? Angelika is a prime example!)

I though long and hard about what I would serve. I am by no means an accomplished cook. Nor have I a lifetime history of growing up in the kitchen, cooking at my mother’s elbow. As such, my repertoire is neither expansive nor impressive. And although I would be sorely tempted to try some new and magnificent sounding recipes, I think we would all be better off with the tried and true. Simple fare, but dishes I would be confident enough to serve to a group of discerning bloggers.

To start:
- Marinated Olives: I marinate my own because the ones they sell here that are any good are also ridiculously expensive.
- Quezo Manchego and Idiazabal: Two of my favorite cheeses, especially Idiazabal!
- A variety of cold meats like jamon jabugo, chorizo Pamplona, vela de lomo, and salchichon iberico: My aunt imports a selection of Spanish products here so I have a steady supply :)

Mixed greens with tiny cherry tomatoes still on the vine, topped with local goat’s cheese, with a balsamic vinaigrette – I love these tiny tomatoes that I found in the market! And with beans as part of the main event I wanted something very light.

- Roast Chicken with herbs de provence, stuffed with lemon and garlic: Has never failed me yet!
- Roasted new potatoes: Tossed in olive oil, sea salt, and rosemary, and roasted with the chicken.

- Fabada: My specialty :) A humble bean stew but so satisfying! I make it with chorizo bilbao, Morcilla, and thick slabs of bacon. I also make the stock myself (with the bone of a jamon serrano if I can find it) really makes a difference. For a little kick I toss in some mild green chilis (sili pangsigang). It's not very photogenic...

- Baguette with garlic paste: Baguettes from my aunts who run and professional bread making business and whole garlic that has been roasted with the chicken. I usually press all the garlic out, mash in a bowl, then drizzle with some good olive oil.

G√Ęteau au chocolat fondant de Nathalie: I have made this before and it is always well received. It’s one of those almost flourless chocolate cakes that is rich and dark and packs quite a chocolate punch.

Coffee or tea: I love coffee and I love my coffee cups of white porcelain with pewter handles. So we can cup these in our hands and wind down and chat about anything and everything...

You would all be invited...Hope you enjoy this! Thanks Angelika for thinking up of such a fun project (even though I am so very late) and for being the sunny person that you are! :)