The week before finals in December, you would find me, Reams, TRog, TheLoj, Braids, L-Merc, April, and all the rest of my Pi Phi sorority sisters sitting in the dining room of the Pi Phi house in our flannel pj bottoms, long sleeve Songfest t-shirts, and slippers. We'd be surrounded by stacks of books and we'd be studying. Maybe. Or more likely, we'd be eating study snacks. Study snacks was a time-honored sorority tradition where our house mom made us a bunch of junk food and set it all out on the counter to eat while studying. I think the real reason why they did it was because it drew boys from all over the neighborhood. They came to "study" too.
Flashforward: 2011. Norwood house.
This last Sunday, we hosted dinner for Brent's study group here at Duke. Every MBA student is put in a study group of six people. This is the group the study with, work with, and do all assignments with. Let's just say they are going to get to know each other really well! Brent has really liked his group, and he wanted to have them over for dinner. I did the calculations in my head: six people, two wives, that makes 8 people total including two vegetarians. Issue: our dining room table only seats 6, and what could I make that would satisfy both meat eaters and vegetarians? I pondered it for a few days, and then it hit me: Tapas. Kind of an all-grown-up version of study snacks!
Now if you know me, you know I'm a little crazy. I tend to take things to the extreme. So what began as a harmless tapas party turned into a full blown, all day Sunday prep, eight dish meal. Somehow, we pulled it off.
Now this study snacks session did not have "puppy chow", slice & bake cookies, pretzels, giant bags of potato chips, or ranch dressing. It did, however, have mushroom Gruyere tarts, bacon wrapped jalapeno shrimp, bite size caprese salads, summer fruit salad, Greek quinoa, crab cakes, apple & pancetta pizza, and turkey meatball sliders.
My, how times have changed...
Bite Sized Caprese Salads (vegetarian): Thread a cherry tomato, marinated mini mozzarella ball, and basil leaf on a toothpick. Drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt.
Crab Cakes: Purchase from Whole Foods. Cook in a skillet :-)
Apple Pancetta Pizza - so good! A Sandra Lee recipe. Pre-bake a thin pizza crust until lightly browned. Top with apple butter (found on the jam aisle), mozzarella, thinly sliced apple, sliced pancetta, and thinly sliced sweet onion. Yep, you read that correctly. Bake at 400 until cheese is melted and toppings are browned and crispy.
Turkey Meatball Sliders: Make my turkey meatball recipe found here. Simmer meatballs in store bought marinara for 10-15 minutes. Place each meatball in a mini potato roll.
Here's the spread! It was quite a lot of prep work, but the last dish went on the counter as the first guest arrived, so it was nice that I didn't have to do ANY cooking while people were here. People just ate in the living room and at our breakfast table - very casual. Fun times!