14 June 2009

United Way Happy Hour at Big Island

For the Land O'Lakes United Way campaign last fall, a co-worker and I auctioned a private, gourmet event at her family ‘cabin’ on Big Island in Lake Minnetonka. We actually did a similar event a year ago. For that one, our boss brought fresh fish and seafood from the Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle. This time, we decided to do a happy hour and boat cruise around the island.

Even though this wasn’t a dinner, I don’t think anyone left the island hungry. You can see the menu in the photo on the left. Lydia made the grilled shrimp with Gianni dipping sauce and the guacamole. I made two kinds of quesadillas and the vegetable tray. Since this was a ‘happy hour,’ we also did a couple of signature cocktails – Cosmopolitans and Sidecars. (After the party got going, one of the guests also mixed up a couple of Singapore Slings.)

I made two kinds of quesadillas. One was pesto, fresh mozzarella, and roasted red bell peppers. The other was inspired by a Minneapolis restaurant, now defunct, called Nikki’s Café. Several years ago, on one of the three-day weekends (I can’t remember if it was Memorial Day or Labor Day), we went out of town and came back on Sunday afternoon (to avoid the holiday traffic jam on Monday). We were feeling pretty stressed and decided to go out. At the time, we’d never eaten at Nikki’s, but we knew it had live music on Sunday night, so we went there.

We had a Nikki’s pizza – chicken, walnuts, and goat cheese. (At least, that’s how I remember it.) We loved the pizza, the drinks were great, and the music was fantastic. Nikki’s became a regular favorite for us, and it was a sad day when it closed.

So my Nikki’s-inspired quesadilla was pesto, chicken, walnuts, and goat cheese. I heated them on a gas grill. It’s the first time I’ve ever made grilled quesadillas. They turned out great. With the leftover ingredients, I made them for my son and his wife when they came to our house for dinner the next day. He said they were the best quesadillas he’s ever eaten. (That’s saying something because he’s no slouch in the kitchen himself.)

No comments: