Friday, July 5, 2013

4th of July Fun - Kitchen Sink Cookie Bars + Marinated Veggie Skewers

Yesterday was another busy day! I went into work for a bit - took advantage of no one else being around. Sometimes it's nice coming in when it's just me - I feel like I can be more productive. I worked until ~2, and then came home to get things prepped for the two parties we were going to. Joey basically did everything - I just gave him instructions :)

The first party was being hosted by someone in his office. His girlfriend is out of town, so we figured it would be mostly beer + meat. We brought some corn for the grill, a bottle of white wine, and kitchen sink cookie bars. It was smart that we brought those things, because when we got there, there were no other desserts, and definitely no wine. The host was making mint juleps though, so the wine wasn't opened. We stole it back from the fridge and just brought it to the next party! I was surprised though by how many vegetarian things were there - all brought by other guests who happened to be vegetarian as well.

At the next party, we brought marinated veggie skewers as well as the wine and corn that were not used at the first party. We knew there would be a ton of food there, and also a lot of vegetarian friendly food. Someone brought fake sausages, a pasta salad, and there was grilled peppers and pineapples (probably my favorite thing I had yesterday). There were also a lot of drinks, including a toxic looking bright blue punch! Because of this, the corn and wine were untouched yet again, so we snuck them back home haha. I know it's technically bad form to bring something back home, but oh well.

Everything was a lot of fun! I played ladder ball - something I've never done before. I'm usually self conscious about doing new things in front of people, but it was actually a lot of fun. It didn't hurt that I wasn't half bad :) At the second party, they lit a bunch of mini firecrackers and sparklers. Then we came home and watched Dogma while I did a bit of work. All in all a pretty good day, even though I went into work for the first half.

Here are the recipes we used!

Recipe: Kitchen Sink Cookie Bars
Adapted slightly from: Two Peas and Their Pod
Yield: 24 cookie bars

12 tbsp unsalted butter (1.5 sticks), melted
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar2 cups + 2 tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups chips/mix-ins of choice (we used a combination of mini chocolate chips, mini m&ms, and cinnamon chips; nuts would also be a great addition)

Preheat oven to 325 F. Line a 9x13 baking pan with foil or parchment paper, and give it a light spray with non-stick cooking spray.

Pour the melted butter into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the sugars and mix until combined. Wait a few minutes for the mixture to cool down a bit.

In a separate bowl, mix the flour, salt and baking soda.

Once the butter/sugar mixture is warm (not hot), add the egg, yolk and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Slowly add in the flour mixture, and mix on low until mostly combined (still some flour left). Add in the chocolate chips and mix until just until there are no streaks of flour left.

Dump into the prepared pan, and spread out with a spatula until all of the corners are filled, and the dough is even.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until top is light golden brown, the edges have started to pull away from the sides of the pan, and the center is set but still a little jiggly.

Cool on a wire rack to room temp. Definitely wait until it's cool (and solid) to cut. For quick cutting, cool on a wire rack ~15 minutes, then stick in the freezer for ~10 minutes. It'll slice perfectly then.

Cut into desired number of slices - we did 4x6 to give us 24 rectangles.

Recipe: Honey Mustard Marinated Veggie Skewers
Adapted slightly from: Naturally Ella
Yield: 6 large skewers - enough for a crowd as a side

1/4 cup dijon mustard (recipe called for spicy brown, but we didn't have any)
1 tbsp honey
1/4 cup greek yogurt
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne (we added this to make up for the lack of spicy mustard)
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
Assorted veggies of choice, sliced or chopped in pieces that will easily fit on kabobs - we used 1 zucchini, a handful of button mushrooms, 2 green peppers and 1 white onion

Mix together all ingredients except for veggies. Taste to check seasoning. Put the chopped veggies in a large ziploc bag and pour the marinade over, close the bag and shake it so everything is covered. Put in the fridge for several hours.

Put the veggies on skewers.

This picture was taken in the car, while driving over. 
I was afraid I would forget to take a picture later!

Add to the grill (it's much less messy if you put foil down on the grill) and rotate every 3-4 minutes, getting a nice char on the veggies.

I did forget to take a picture later!
This was taken at the end of the night, once most of the veggies were gone.