I struggled with whether to call this a "COVID-19 Edition" as even though the pandemic isn't over, the foods in this post are from a small gathering where I was able to hug my loved ones.
For my father's birthday, my parents and I invited my grandparents and my uncle, who we've previously had social-distanced gatherings with for the holidays, over for lunch and dessert. We've all been vaccinated and have passed the two weeks of full effect. It felt like a sigh of relief and a weight off our shoulders. When my uncle first arrived, I didn't hug him until my grandparents arrived and started hugging. It just didn't cross my mind that I could hug the people I love. For the first time, I fully hugged my grandparents. Writing that sentence just makes me want to cry.
The pandemic is still not over, but being vaccinated and being able to safely meet with family is the biggest blessing.
Now, onto the food.
We made a couple of appetizer-like food - though they were served at the same time as lunch - and salad and chicken for the meat-eaters, and dessert at the end.
First appetizer - Spring Herb Cream Cheese Appetizer Cups
These were to die for... honestly, these "cups" were so delicious. We bought frozen phyllo cups and baked them day of. The herb cream cheese filling we made the day before and piped it in like frosting the day of. We also cut asparagus, cucumber and tomato to place inside. Honestly... I could've eaten them all myself.
Second appetizer - Lemon and Herb White Bean Dip
We chose these two appetizers as we wanted to prepare something easy and light - a spring appetizer. I found this recipe for a bean dip as I wanted something hummus-like but hummus is too difficult to make, in my opinion. You make it as it's read - we made it the day before - although, we didn't include as many tablespoons of garlic as was listed. We are garlic lovers, but we put in about 4 tablespoons of garlic and tasted it and thought it was good enough. Four tablespoons more and we'd be giving a good enough mile radius between us and the vampires. Dipped into this bean dip was corn chips, bell peppers, cucumbers and roasted carrots, broccoli and cauliflower.
Dessert - Berry Tiramisu
These days, when I go to make a dessert, I go to King Arthur Flour's website or to their massive recipe book that I own. In my opinion, King Arthur Flour recipes are tried and true and don't have any flaws. If they have flaws, they are corrected and so many people bake them that they offer advice in the comments. When I set out to find a recipe for a dessert for my father, I was searching for something light and spring-like - aka a fruit dessert. This berry tiramisu is basically a tiramisu made with berries.
The cream and syrup can be made a couple of days ahead, and that's what I did. I made the sponge cake one day ahead and assembled day of. To make a tiramisu, or berry tiramisu, you take one sponge cake and brush it with syrup - which they said to use half of the syrup and I thought that was too much so I used a quarter of the syrup on the first layer and a quarter on the second layer. If I make this recipe again, I am halving the recipe for the syrup as I had to dump the rest - I couldn't think of what else I could use it for. Next step is to place sliced strawberries on the cake and spread the cream over top. The recipe only stated to do the strawberries and cream once in the middle, but I then placed another layer of strawberries and cream before placing the next sponge layer on top. I repeated the syrup process with the cake and then slathered cream on the top and finishing with another layer of strawberries.
This dessert was very good. I received some nice compliments from my family as well. It's perfect for spring/summer and was nice and light. We served it with some Talenti Vanilla Gelato.
Yum! Happy baking (and cooking)!