This post is going to be so much more about the pictures than about my writing on the fabulous event I hosted 2 weeks ago, right before I took off for Maya, Mexico. I hope.
If you read this blog and follow me on Twitter (@BrenHerrera), then you might know all about my monthly “Eat & Tweet” private soirées I’ve started to host in my home and soon enough at someone else’s place, because quite frankly, I’m busting at the seams.
It’s all about food, social media, good friends, wine, more food and a whole lot of prepping and cooking.
Two weeks ago, I put my hostess with the mostess hat on and entertained 20 new and old friends during an after-work indoor summer grilling dinner party! On the menu? Well, let’s just say it was basted and saturated with butter!
Who doesn’t love butter! Or anything of the like!?
In Cuba, butter (and mayonnaise) are just as popular as Coke is here in Atlanta. It’s in everything. Not so much because it’s so darn good, rather because it’s cheap and readily available while food is still being rationed.
In this case, butter ruled the evening because if you didn’t know, I’ve fallen in love all over with the smooth, creamy, sweet spread, which I had cut way back from my diet. You know, the spread that goes into just about everything and makes my hips quickly spread. More importantly, the spread that you simply can not cook without when grilling, baking and a litany of high-yum factor dishes. And, I wanted to share it with some die hard foodie friends.
Back in November, I became really good friends with the folks over at I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter when I shot this commercial using their reformulated spread.
(my right-hand man A, buttering up some chicken skewers for me)
Since then, I’ve really gotten into their product, not just because of the commercial, but because I like the idea of using a healthy substitute that is transparent about their nutrition and ultimately allows me to spread a little more than I would with conventional butter. In fact, while volunteering as a chef for Share Our Strength’s Operation Frontline program, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter offered and I gladly treated my class of 18, to lots of spread, recipes, and general information why switching up from Country Crock (what I used to swear by) might be a great idea.
And, so, in keeping with my mission to educate people on better eating habits and alternatives to fatty foods, I partnered up with them again to be the star of my June shindig. With 3 of their special summer grilling recipes and 3 additional ones I came up with that may or may not have requiredI Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, the evening got started with some unspiked punch and much talk about the new iPhone 4.
Most fun to prepare with my friend and chef April, were the rosemary orange chicken skewers which had fresh summer vegetables. For me, the eggplant was a winner and of course it was grilled, using I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. It was super fresh, had great color and popped with a bit of sea salt and black pepper.
All skewers were gone–with myself only able to enjoy one (see note below).
While some of the early guests started tweeting about our digs, I was sweating in the kitchen making sure I had enough rosemary and fresh oranges to squeeze over the uncooked skewers. Still trying to sneak a few off to side, with little luck.
Next on the summer grilling menu was garlicky parmesan toast. You know I like my Cuban bread, so I took it and loaded with more garlic than anyone at my place probably cared for. But that’s okay, because 100 pieces of toast were ghost at the end of the night! The parmesan naturally off-set the unimaginable amount of ajo that I used, so, in my opinion it was the perfect garlic bread to be paired with the fresh smoked salmon and capers I also offered.
As friends continued to pop up through out the evening and the tweeting ensued, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter tweeted me asking what our favorite dish was. Surely, it was going to the the pulled flank steak or garlic and cheese stuffed mushrooms, right?! Yeah, not so much.
Grilled corn. Yeah. Corn was the answer by 80% of my clearly-very-hungry friends…I wasn’t disappointed, because after all, I did make it, having husked every single one of those bad boys that morning at the market. And, we all know grilling corn has to be one of the easiest things to make, ever. But then again, food doesn’t have to be complicated to be good. It just has to be good.
Evidently, the corn was great and somehow, I didn’t have a single ear.
More food and wine.
Happy, happy and full-bellied and empty plate friends.
(my friend D on the bottom right joined Twitter that night ONLY because he didn’t want to miss out on eating what turned out to be fun and delicious summer foods)
Between April and me, the skewers were replenished every 15 minutes or so. And so were the bread and mushrooms, buttered all up with the spread. Oh yeah, and the corn, too!
More tweets, especially from the gals. The guys were off in mi oficina talking techie stuff… making cameo appearances when I’d come out of the kitchen with piping hot food.
Fab photog, Jenna snaps away as we bring food out. Yes, there were two photogs there and both captured the evening with a distinct different eye and I loooove that!
(remind me to have wardrobe assistant there next time. Bra exposure: not sexy)
I’m tweeting away, uploading pictures and complaining about not having a single ear of corn left to my name. My friends, on their 2nd and sometimes 3rd plate were completely blind to the fact. A shame if you ask me! 🙂
(gotta love the dining room wall mirror w/half the guests remaining!)
At the end of the night, and 3.5 hours later, all of my friends walked away having had a full out dinner with 6 menu items, to have them talking for days, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. At some point, they all inquired and learned about the nutritional value and changes the brand has made, including no hydrogenated oils, no trans fat and no cholesterol–all important factors we should consider when grocery shopping–things Megan Mullaly will sing to you about!
And, as things would go in a typical Cuban home, all left with a bag full of goodies. This time, butter spreaders, coupons, recipe books, magnets and plates with mere scraps! How else were we going to end the evening?
If you’re in Atlanta and are interested in joining me or the 3rd installment of “Eat & Tweet,” leave a comment stating so and I’ll send you an email! You’ll love it, no matter the food, theme or guests! Always a good time and good food to be had in abundance!
* huge and special thanks to my friend Mark of Leah & Mark Photography for sending their intern Jenna of Jenna Shea Photography for her awesome and glow-y shots of everything and to my girl Chieu of Chieu Lee Photography for always coming through for me and making everything pop! Both gals did an exceptional job of capturing the evening. I wish I could share all of the wonderful pictures they took!
* and, to I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter for supporting my latest engagement and providing me and my guests with so much food to dig into! “E” rocks! Please visit them at http://www.icbinotbutter.com for all the recipes I made and more!
- 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
- 1 small eggplant, cut into 1″ cubes
- 2 medium, red and green bell peppers, cut into 1.5″ squares
- 1 medium yellow squash, cubed
- 30 sprays of ICBINB Spray Original, divided
- 1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tsp. grated orange peel
- 2 tbsp. orange juice
- salt and pepper to taste
Spray chicken and vegetables with 15 sprays of ICBINB Spray, then toss with rosemary and orange peel, salt and pepper. Alternately thread chicken and vegetables on skewers*. Grill chicken and vegetables, turning once, 8 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked and vegetables and tender but nicely charred with grill lines. Arrange chicken and vegetables on serving platter. Spray with remaining 15 Sprays, then drizzle with orange juice. *If using wooden skewers, soak in water at least 30 minutes prior to use.
Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.