By Katia Protsenko
Politics & Culture Editor
Being in college and cooking don’t exactly mix.
In this weekly column, I hope to teach you a little something about the world of food. Having food — and cooking food — is a useful skill. We college students should have our cake, and know how to bake it too.
Throwing a dinner party is no easy feat.
Chefs, caterers and event planners have crafted careers out of throwing a seamless dinner party. Worry not. With a small reality check, a game plan and some good wine, you can also pull off the best dinner party your friends will attend in college.
The trick to a successful dinner party is to not serve dinner.
Instead, give tapas a shot. Tapas is a general Spanish term for a wide selection of appetizers that are usually served with wine. This is the essence of a good time: wine and tasty snacks.
About 700 years ago in the Andalusian mountains, the first tapas were just pieces of toast used to cover glasses so fruit flies wouldn’t get into a person’s sherry. Eventually, some creative chefs started putting snacks onto the bread. Before we knew it the tapas became as important as the sherry.
In our day and age we don’t have to worry so much about fruit flies, so modern-day tapas don’t have to come on a piece of toast.
Include an assortment of tapas for a variety of tastes and dietary restrictions. Pick up a veggie platter, some frozen meatballs, and hummus with pita chips for a good base of appetizers that will please any college student’s palate.
Once you have your wine and a few staple appetizers, feel free to experiment.
Baked Brie is tasty, easy to make, and makes for a dramatic show of culinary prowess. Pick up a small wheel of Brie, pre-made pie dough, apricot jam or honey, and some pecans. Lay the pie dough on a cookie sheet, and place the Brie in the center. Cover it with the jam or honey and pecans, and gather the dough like a pouch. Place in a preheated 400-degree oven, bake for 20 to 30 minutes, and serve warm with crackers or toast.
All you need now is dessert, which is an area where I am not as skilled. If you feel like splurging, swing by a bakery and purchase an array of tasty, bite-size treats. Otherwise, you can make my tried-and-true yogurt dip.
Purchase some vanilla yogurt, honey and cinnamon. Add honey and cinnamon to the yogurt until it is sweet enough for you, and garnish with some crushed nuts — slivered almonds are especially nice. Serve this dip with fresh fruit, amaretto cookies and sliced-up pound cake. It’s a fast and healthy dessert.
Great dinner parties are not necessarily about the food but the people you share it with, so let your guests be your priority. Throwing a small party with your closest friends and some inexpensive wine and tapas is sure to provide you with an evening of good food, good friends and good memories.