Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Dinner Party! {and my fav cookbook from my Junior League days}

I know I have not been keeping up with shopping and outfit posts very well lately... truthfully it's been such hot, busy summer that I am just throwing on the thinnest, lightest little dress or some-such that I can - and wearing flip-flops, with a ponytail - so nothing interesting enough to even get a quick snap... plus the weather is making me a little crabby, I will admit. Once we cool off a bit I will be back to thinking about clothes & shoes & accessories & jewelry...

On a fun note though, we had a little dinner party last week with some friends and I made two of my favorite recipes from my all-time-favorite-cookbook (and I love to buy cookbooks) St. Louis Days St. Louis Nights.

But back to the cookbook: truly, just some of the best recipes: Southern Prize Shrimp Dip, Honey-Almond Brie, Apricot Chicken Divine, Carrot and Zucchini Casserole...

For this dinner, I made JLSL's Crostini with Roasted Red Pepper Spread and Peppery Shrimp. Super easy and delish... my interpretation here of the recipe for the shrimp isn't so exact but it doesn't need to be - variations have all turned out fabulous for me:

Crostini with Roasted Red Pepper Spread

14-15 oz jar roasted red peppers - drain and arrange on paper towel to dry. While they're drying, combine 2 Tbsp olive oil, 2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, 2 tsp capers and a smashed and peeled garlic clove in a food processor bowl and process very fine...

add in the peppers and coarsly chop with on/off pulses... you can store this mixture in the fridge up to five days!

now make your crostini - cut a baguette into about 1/4 inch slices (mine tend to turn out thicker - I have a hard time with this... but it really is good to have them thin so they get nice and crispy)... brush with olive oil and bake about 10 minutes...

take out of the oven and spoon on some pepper mixture, then top each piece with a fresh basil leaf...

and, voila:

Now, the Peppery Shrimp:

5 lbs of unpeeled shrimp (I used 3 lbs), a pound of butter, 16 oz to a bottle of Italian dressing, some pepper (recipe calls for 2 oz - but I usually use less), and lemon juice (recipe says from 4 lemons - I just squeeze in from the little yellow bottle until it seems about right) It is also a nice touch to add sliced lemons on top

yes, this is a lot of butter but it is worth it - just don't make it every week - melt it in a saucepan and then add the remaining ingredients and pour over the shrimp in a big roasting pan

Bake at 350 for 30 to 45 minutes and you're done! Serve with French bread to soak up all the yummy sauce and a big green salad.

Happy Wednesday night!


  1. we have that shrimp at my house every once and a while and i LOVE it!

  2. Looks delicious! I think I'll make the crostini for my next get together. Is it really 102 there? How unusual! It probably means you should go shopping and enjoy the AC in the mall. ;)

  3. it seriously feels like air from an oven out there... we are so unprepared for this kind of weather! it is 87 inside my house already at 7 am... it's got to rain soon, right?? This is Seattle for crying out loud! :) Mall AC is a great idea.

  4. okay! That looks amazing. You've always been a great cook!!

  5. Thanks for the wonderful recipes!

    I'm sorry for all of you in Seattle's heat wave. I still remember when I was looking at apartments there and asked one landlord if the apartment had a/c. He looked at me as if I was crazy. True that most of the time you don't need it...but on the days that you do, ugh!! (maybe take the kids to a movie?)

  6. It's hot and humid here (in 90's!) in MA----so ive also been wearing light, easy dresses!! It's funny you said "i haven't been shopping or posting outfits" because i was just thinking how much i miss those posts!! But i know how it is!!
    Yummy looking appetizers!!!

  7. I have been reading your blog for a little while but this is my first comment-- hello! I have recently moved back to STL and am attending a Junior League welcome/info meeting in a few weeks. Since you were a member I was hoping you could give me a little glimpse into what it's like here? I'm familiar with a few of the New England JL Chapters and I get the sense things are a little different here.

    And those dishes look fab!

  8. YUM! I am going to try that shrimp recipe.
    So funny to me that you don't have AC up there--but I guess you don't really need it. My AC is on 11 months out of the year. I guess I could really get by without a heater. :)

  9. it is everlasting - It has been awhile... about 15 years so I am sure that things have changed at JLSL as well as in St. Louis. We really enjoyed living there (we were in Clayton) - so many great restaurants & fun things to do. JLSL was the only Junior League I've been involved in - did my tablewaits & all there - so I don't know how it would compare. The building was beautiful and I recall a lot of enthusiasm and involved members. Please feel free to email me on my profile page if you have any specific questions! :)

  10. I can't wait to try the roasted red pepper crostini! They look so fantastic! The shrimp look amazing too.....oh, and the delicious delicious butter. :)

  11. The shrimp look delicious, I might try them tomorrow night as a welcome back to hubby who's travelling for work.
    I'm amazed by your food photographying skills and at how neat your kitchen looks. When I cook it's a mess, I could never take pictures and show them on the blog!

  12. im going to try that shrimp recipe for my parents when they come over tomorrow night.....

  13. Can I just tell you that I made that shrimp dish, along with a salad and bread, and it was SO delicious!!!!! THANK YOU for such a nice, quick dinner recipe!!

  14. Lori - I saw the comment you were going to try it and meant to ask you to let me know how it went! I'm so glad you liked it!!! It is one of my "go to" recipes when I want something a little special without a lot of effort. so easy! Thanks for letting me know it worked for you too!! :)