Last month, McCormick Gourmet Spices asked if I would be interested in becoming part of their dinner party chain. Since I’m a huge proponent of using spices and seasonings to add bold flavor to healthy recipes, I didn’t hesitate before I said yes. (Seriously, have you seen my spice collection lately?) If you want to join the dinner party chain yourself, be sure to check out McCormick’s Facebook page, where you can submit your own dream dinner party idea and be entered to win a fantastic kit to help make it happen.
So I invited a few neighbors over and cooked up three courses, each featuring McCormick spices. We started with roast chickpeas that I tossed with Tuscan seasoning. These chickpeas are always a huge hit, and – bonus – they can be made ahead of time. (I just have to make sure Shawn doesn’t eat them all before everyone arrives. He loves them so much that it’s very a real possibility.)
For the entree, I made this spicy pasta with corn and arugula from Martha Stewart. The corn gets pureed into a chowder-like sauce finished with a few pats of butter. I made it at the very end of last summer and have been waiting for corn to come back into season so that I could make it again. I’ve been dreaming of it all winter! I subbed out the Thai chili for easier to find jalapeno and added grilled chicken seasoned with Cuban seasoning to add a little extra protein and keep the “meat plus three” crowd happy. Again, big hit!
The highlight of the night was dessert. I had deliberated for days about what to make, before deciding that it was too hot to bake and that warm weather called for ice cream. I started with a vanilla base but about Galway through the freezing process I swirled in peaches that I cooked down to a sauce with cinnamon and a glug of bourbon. I have no words to describe this – it was simply divine! I’m actually going to go scoop myself a bowl full now….
- 5 Egg Yolks, beaten
- 1 cup Skim Milk
- 1 pinch Salt
- 1/2 cup Sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- 2 cups Heavy Cream (or Far Free Half and Half, if you must)
- 4 Peaches, peeled and chopped
- 1/4 cup Bourbon
- 1 Tablespoon McCormick Roasted Saigon Cinnamon
- Place the egg yolks in a bowl Heat the milk, salt, sugar, and vanilla in a saucepan. When the milk is warm, whisk some it into the egg yolks. Then whisk the warmed yolks and milk back into the saucepan. Cook! Stirring constantly, until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Place the cream into a bowl that’s set in an ice bath. Strain the custard into the cream. Stir to cool, then refrigerate for Several hours or until thoroughly chilled.
- While the custard chills, add the peaches, bourbon, and cinnamon to a saucepan set over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer 15 minutes, stirring frequently to help the fruit break down into a thick sauce (like applesauce). Chill.
- Freeze the custard according to the directions that came with your ice cream maker. Half way through the freezing process, add the peach sauce. Continue to freeze until done. For harder ice cream, scrape into a covered dish and freeze one hour.
Disclosure: I received a dinner party kit, complete with a collection of McCormick Spices, to help inspire this post and make my dinner party a reality. All opinions are my own.