Friday, July 11, 2008

A Dinner Party!

Being a teacher I get to have summers off. Last summer I was swamped with wedding planning and grad classes and didn't have time for much else. This summer I attempted to get a part time job, but didn't come up with anything. Luckily, Annabel is also off for the summer with her new baby! Being that we both have time to fill, we've committed to a few projects, one being a weekly cooking adventure.

For our first menu we planned:

Spinach Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette
Shrimp Ceviche Tacos
Fiesta Rice
Classic Spanish Sangria
Lemon Berry Trifle

Everything went off without a hitch and all who attended our little dinner party seemed to enjoy their meal. Here are the recipes for the Salad, Tacos, and Sangria. Sadly, we didn't get any photos of the salad, but it really was delicious.

Spinach Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette
Recipe courtesy of Giada DiLaurentiis, Everyday Pasta


  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped **we left this out
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Spinach Salad
  • 1 bag of spinach **we used baby spinach
  • 2 oranges, cut into segments
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted **we used walnuts
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine all the ingredients for the Citrus Vinaigrette in a jar or a tight-sealing plastic container. Shake to blend. Combine the spinach, orange segments, almonds, red onion, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Toss with Citrus Vinaigrette.

Seviche-Style Shrimp and Avocado Tacos
Recipe courtesy of Cooking Light

  • 3 limes
  • 1 cup chopped seeded tomato
  • 1 cup diced peeled avocado (about 1 avocado)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound cooked peeled medium shrimp
  • 12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • I also added: 1 finely diced jalapeno pepper and some finely diced red onion
Finely grate rind from limes to measure 1 tablespoon; juice limes to measure 1/4 cup. Place rind and juice in a large bowl. Add tomato and remaining ingredients except tortillas; toss well to combine. Cover and chill for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Heat tortillas according to package directions. Spoon about 1/2 cup shrimp mixture down center of each tortilla; fold in half. Serve immediately.

Classic Spanish Sangria
Recipe Courtesy of Lisa on All Recipes


  • 1 lemon
  • 1 lime
  • 1 orange
  • 1 1/2 cups rum
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 (750 milliliter) bottle dry red wine
  • 1 cup orange juice
Have the fruit, rum, wine, and orange juice well chilled. Slice the lemon, lime and orange into thin rounds and place in a large glass pitcher. Pour in the rum and sugar. Chill in refrigerator for 2 hours to develop the flavors.
When ready to serve, crush the fruit lightly with a wooden spoon and stir in the wine and orange juice. Adjust sweetness to taste.


Joelen said...

What a great menu! Everything looks wonderful :) You could even submit your sangria recipe to the Sangria/Tapas blogging event I'm hosting this month (and maybe even win the giveaway prize too!) Details are in my blog :)

Cate said...

The whole meal looks great! I really want to make the salad soon.

That Girl said...

I really wish I took better taco pictures!

WebDrops said...

I specially liked the “Spinach Salad”... I guess its not all that difficult to make ... I will definitely give it a shot... thanks for sharing :)