Thursday, April 27, 2006

More Party Fare + My Tray!

I had to snap this picture for you not so much for the food, but because I just love the serving tray!

For all the cooking I do, my kitchen is not stocked with fancy gadgets, or even dishes that are functional, colorful, or in a few cases very good quality! You may be surprised to see how pathetic my collection of eating utensils is (mismatched forks, knives, oh - and spoons that are overly bent from my ice-cream habit and not having patience for it to melt... I really should post a pic of this some time)!

Anyhow, I knew I wanted a basic crudite for the party with my Creamy Hummus from Vive. Adults and kids both enjoy picking at different veggies and having some hummus to dip them in, or to have along with chips or breads. Usually, I try to arrange the veggies around a large plate and put the hummus in a smaller bowl in the center... which doesn't work the best.

I thought I'd check one store - just one. If I found something funky and great there, then I'd pick it up. So, a the day before the party I popped to Winners (a Canadian chain of stores), and found this very cool tray. What I love best about it is that the smaller trays all fit together into a larger base tray. So, rather than try to find room in your fridge for this whole (quite large) tray, you can pop the smaller pieces here and there in your fridge, and then remove them just before serving and assemble in the base. So practical! I love it! Plus, it's colorful, and easy to clean!!

Next time I may put two different dips in the centre trays. I just had one hummus made, so I filled the other tray with olives. They complement the hummus fabulously, and were quickly polished off!

Oh, and don't you just love those easy, 'meant to be' shopping experiences? I really don't have the patience (or time, really) to shop around and around to find the right thing at a decent price. This day, this tray was waiting for me!


juliehasson said...

What a great looking tray Dreena! Just be glad that you don't hang around with me. I am a terrible influence when it comes to kitchen gadgets and dishes ; ) It's in my blood. My kitchen is bursting at the seams.

I'm with you though. I don't like to shop but I LOVE finding bright colorful fun dishes. Especially for a party.

Glad to have you back! Love the new posts for entertaining. By the way, how did the cone cupcakes come out? I noticed last week at Williams Sonoma that they now carry a cupcake pan where the molds resemble ice cream cones (I wasn't shopping, really :)


Vicki said...

whata cheerful, colorful picture, dreena! (i love seeing pics of food from your books) and thanks for the definition for crudite - i was scratching head saying "hmmm?" i would have been hovering shamelessly over this dish until empty!

EatPeacePlease said...

I love lazy susans. I got one at Costco and I love it.

By the way, you are not the only one with mismatched plates and silverware, in fact, I prefer it that way. Why would I want 8 of the same plates? Boring. Plus, I have a favorite bowl, cup, spoon, plate, etc...

Most of my spoons (special ice cream spoons by the way...) are bent too! I know how we both keep ice cream in the house *at all times*.

Melissa said...

what a pretty tray! I like Winners, I always go not expecting to find something, and something always ends up calling my name!

Michelle said...

thanks for the flour tips, dreena. i would use some white flour if it were a super special occasion, but not for muffins :) anyways, i made some pumpkin muffins with half whole wheat pastry and half spelt. worked perfect! i think spelt is my new favourite flour.. tastes similar to white when used in cookies, but it's so much healthier!

Michelle said...

oh, very pretty tray by the way, i'll see if i can get to winners some time soon. i love pretty cookware and serving pieces :)

Anonymous said...

As one of the priveliged party attendees......I can say that this cute serving tray was even cuter when it was empty (with the bulk of it being in my tummy!)!!!! The lemon herb tofu was amazing, as were the other dips (I think the spinach artichoke one was my favourite!)!!! As always, Dreena outdid herself. If I remember correctly, she did have to replenish the baked goods tray (again, the bulk of those went in my tummy too!)!!

By the way Julie, the cupcakes were incredible!! My son and daughter loved them!! What a cute idea....Dreena had mentioned you when I asked about them!!

Mmmmmm, the memories of that party have made me hungry!!!!

Thanks Dreena!
Love Vicki

Julie said...

Pretty tray!

When I brought the Creamy Hummus to a Superbowl party (earlier this year) it quickly vanished too!

Kristie said...

That tray is super cute -- it's like a crudite bento!

Dreena said...

Hi Julie!! I think I'd love shopping with you, actually... but I would most likely spend too much on things I don't really need!! Okay, that cupcake cone pan sounds ideal! I made the cones, they turned out adorable, and I will be posting them - maybe tomorrow. I tried to 'reinvent the wheel' too much with the batter, so I worked the recipe more than I needed I do think! I am still shocked that the cones don't burn or even really brown - amazing! But, a cone pan would be helpful, because they are a little unstable in a regular muffin pan going in and out of the oven, as I'm sure you've found too. I must check that out online - thanks!

Hi Vicki... you know, I rarely use that term!! It's just a little hoity toity for my everyday use and grammar, but I know it is used to describe raw veggies with dip, so I figured I'd be a little 'proper' for the post, you know, just for you guys! :)

Ok, Leslie, that is funny... we are definite ice-cream hounds, aren't we?! We should both post pics of our spoons to compare!

Melissa, I have a true love/hate relationship with Winners! I can go in and find something immediately, or spend an hour + just "trying" to find something for a gift or otherwise. Then, I might find the article, but not the size, etc. Can drive me bonkers... but days like this one, it's a sweet place to shop! :)

Oh, I'm glad the subs worked out for you, Michelle!! :) I agree, no need for white flours for muffins and day to day baking/eating. I really love spelt too. It doesn't have any distinctive flavor to throw you off, and the texture is lovely. I like barley a lot too, though I do find it is just a wee bit coarser.

Vicki, my ego-boosting dear friend, you keep me in good cooking and baking spirits... thank you! I couldn't be happier that you loved all the food - esp the artichoke dip because it was a newbie and tough to put that stuff out for people to try the first time! The baked good *did* disappear fast, actually - though I managed to store away a few extra brownies for you, because I have to pay you off in some way for being such a fan!

Hi Julie! Thanks... how great to know that your party-goers enjoyed the hummus! :) :)

KaiVegan said...

Hi, Dreena. I'm enjoying all these new posts and the birthday stories.

All the colorful veggies in the pretty tray look awesome. I have one were you could put the base in the freezer for a time before you put the veggies, and it's neat to carry along with the dome cover, locking handle and everything, but yeah- it's boring WHITE!

I also made the creamy hummus today and packed half of it for my sis-in-law when she stopped by to drop off her kids (yes I have 5 kids altogether here and blogging).

I got her a store-bought hummus and pita when we came over and the hummus got a cold treatment, but I remember she liked this one so I made sure I have it before she came:)

KaiVegan said...

Ooops, and sorry for typos:)

Catherine said...

That tray looks incredible! I think it's neat that all of the inner containers come out and can go in the fridge independently.

Nancy said...

Dreena - what a find! My dh gives me a hard time because I have so many colorful bowls, platters etc that I've collected when we travel, yet I almost always take pictures on my plain white Ikea plates. :-) I'm glad you're back blogging...

juliehasson said...

Thanks Vicki! I'm so glad that you liked them. I can't wait to try Dreena's version. _and, I can't wait to try her new spinach artichoke dip that you were raving about!

Dreena, the pan might not work with actual ice cream cones. It looked like it bakes the cake batter into ice cream cone shaped cakes (without the cones). So you get the effect of the cone, without the cone.


krispycheks said...

I love those kitchen finds. I was just at IKEA last night and I couldn't help but buy a melonballer and a citrus reamer. They were inexpensive and cute and I know if I hadn't, the next time I needed one or the other I would have been angry with myself. I am still debating whether I need to go back to Tuesday Morning to buy a yogurt maker I saw there. It was really reasonable, but I'm not sure if it would work with soy milk... Ah, kitchen toys... :)

Dreena said...

Hi Kai, thanks! I bet I could pop the base in the freezer too - not that it is intended for that and it probably wouldn't hold the cool as your base does, but it would help keep things chilled. That's a good tip! You are very considerate to make hummus from scratch for your sil - very much so!! How was your daughter's b-day celebration, btw?

Thanks, Catherine! (and it's great to see a pic of you!!) :) :)

Nancy, that's funny. But sometimes, white IS best, isn't it? Nothing to interfere with the food colors. White is what all the restaurants use to beautifully 'present' their dishes, after all! But, when I take pics on white, it just makes the food look too bright - something I'm doing with the camera obviously! (thanks, btw)

Hi again Julie... ahh, I get what you are saying. Thanks for clarifying!

Hi Krispycheks! I just realized I don't have a melonballer (as I said, I don't have wads of gadgets). I love IKEA, but I find it such a trip to go there that we rarely ever shop there! Too bad, they have fun stuff. You should pose the question about the yogurt maker on the freak forums - I bet someone could answer that for you!! :)

KaiVegan said...

My dd's party went well. Thanks:)

Speaking of IKEA, I always see Canadian car plates at the parking ramp everytime we go. I assume most of them are from Winnepeg, but it amazes me how far ppl would drive for these kinds of stuff!(We're in MN)

Carrie™ said...

I'm in Burlington, Ontario and we have an IKEA store here. For me, it's the opposite kaivegan. On Saturdays the lot is full of cars with NY plates, Ohio, Michigan.
There is also a Winners here (and a new one opening closer to me) and believe it or not, I've never shopped there. Almost anytime I comment on something someone is wearing, they say "Oh I got it at Winners". I'm really going to have to go.