June 14, 2011 § 1 Comment
My family had never seen me go into full-blown party panning mode until this Mother’s Day- as a present to my mom I offered to not only style the party she hosted for my giant army of aunts/uncles/cousins, etc. but also do all of the cooking and baking.
Chalkboard paint put to good use.
The best part was the slider bar!
The guests loved being able to try different combinations of gourmet toppings without the commitment of an entire burger.
Grilled pineapple, caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms, cheddar, and blue cheese.
Spreads in mason jars- I loved the idea of using clothespins for the labels. Avocado, barbecue sauce, teriyaki sauce, mayo and ketchup.
And yes, it may take some hunting but some of the fancier grocery stores actually sell slider buns- brioche is a good alternative and there’s always dinner rolls.
My little creations.One grilled pineapple/onion/mayo/teriyaki sauce. The other sautéed mushrooms/blue cheese and bbq sauce. SO good.
June 3, 2010 § 1 Comment
After pouring over the blogs I finally ventured out to have my own glamping adventure and boy was it a lot of work!! Granted most of my supplies had to be bought and I learned some good lessons, the next time around should go much smoother.
Vintage wine goblets- check. And this genius invention they sit in was created for the sole purpose of staking wine glasses and a bottle into the ground for picnics and camping- Picnic Stix-$12.95 They were well used over the weekend.
And I can’t leave out all of the amazing meals we had- caramelized onions cooked on the propane stove (my secret to to-die-for onions: fry them in equal amounts of butter and vegetable oil)
Some of the lessons I learned- planning the menu beforehand is key but next time I will try to plan meals that use the same ingredients or use all of the ingredients. MOST of my little car was filled with groceries- 70% of which came back with us because I only used a little bit of everything. Another option would have been to measure out what I needed beforehand- only packing what I needed.
Also- check in on your campgrounds to see if it will be a good spot for glamping. Our spot had a building with flush toilets, electrical plugs, and showers but last year all we had was a honeybucket. Make sure your site is plenty secluded from the others- we had to buy earplugs due to our rowdy (and potty-mouthed) neighbors that sat a mere four feet from our tent- not cool!
Most important- music! As much as I loved listening to my neighbor’s country music it would have been great to have our own soundtrack to the weekend. I will definitely be sure to pick up some good portable mp3 speakers before we go again.
Thanks so much to my friend Mandy for being such a good sport and going along with everything. Man we sure got some stares from the neighbors!
April 23, 2010 § 1 Comment
This is my current go-to pasta dish because it is so fresh and delicious and yet takes less than 20 minutes to make. It is also really healthy- I can’t tell you how many calories because I live life according to Weight Watchers points but I can tell you it is five points and packed with fiber, yay! Wait- add two points for the honkin’ glass of red wine.
I started by roasting the red pepper and starting a pot of salted water to boil.
Roasting peppers is way easy- just preheat your broiler and set the oven rack close to the top, place a pepper half on a baking sheet, skin side up and spray with olive oil, then broil until it looks like this- black and bubbly. As soon as it’s ready, transfer to a bowl, cover and let it sit there for 5-10 minutes to cook some more.
After it is done (your water should be boiling so put in the pasta and set to 7-10 minutes or until it is to your preferred al dente) you should be able to pull off the blackened skin with your fingers. Do that, then cut the pepper into tiny chunks and mash with a potato masher or a fork to extract the juices.
Funny side note- I’m new to the whole food photography and being a perfectionist it took me forever to get the pictures right. I ended up having to pop the pasta in the microwave because it got too cold! I just finished eating said pasta and it was sooo good!
- 1 cup whole wheat pasta
- 1/2 large red bell pepper
- spray olive oil
- 2 tbsp light sour cream
- dash of cayenne pepper
- salt and pepper to taste
- preheat the broiler to 550 degrees and move the rack closest to the top. Bring a pot of salted water to boiling
- on a baking sheet, set pepper skin side up and spray with olive oil
- broil the red pepper until skins turn black and bubble- about 10 minutes
- when water reaches boiling, add pasta and cook 7-10 minutes or until al dente
- after red peppers are done cooking, remove and immediately transfer to a bowl and cover for 10 minutes
- remove pepper skins with your hands, shop into small bits, then mash with a fork
- combine pepper, pasta, sour cream, cayenne, salt and pepper and enjoy!
January 14, 2010 § 1 Comment
I love mushrooms- especially wild mushroom soup. I searched far and wide for this recipe after lunching at the inconspicuous French bakery Belle Epicurean in downtown Seattle and had their mushroom soup puree- so delicious! I was (and still am) such a klutz I accidentally knocked my soup over and spilled half of it on my new sweater. You know it’s a good soup when you’re more upset about losing the soup than having soup all over you! I got over it.
Serves 6 for a first course or 3 very hungry guests
- 5 tblsp unsalted butter
- 12 oz wild mushrooms (Chanterelles, Winecap, Portabella, Shiitake) chopped coarsely into bite-size pieces
- 2 shallots finely chopped
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup Dry Sherry
- Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 tsp Tarragon, chopped
- 1 tsp Chives, chopped
- Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Sweat shallots in pan.
- Add mushrooms. Coat mushrooms with butter and stir occasionally until they begin to express their juices.
- Remove 1/3 of the mushrooms allow to cool a bit and purée them. Lower heat on remaining mushrooms.
- Meanwhile, in a stock pot, add veggie stock, and sherry. Bring to a slow, rolling boil for about 10 minutes, allowing stock to reduce a bit.
- Lower heat to a simmer. Add mushroom purée and continue simmering for about another 10 minutes allowing the flavors to marry.
- Add the remaining mushrooms, season soup with salt, pepper to taste, blend well.
- Add milk, taste soup and season to desired flavor
- Add fresh chopped herbs.
- Just before serving whisk in 2 tablespoons of cold butter. Serve.
- Garnish with full sprigs of herbs.
- Serve with fresh popovers or french bread
- This recipe was not the purée I loved from the restaurant- next time I’ll thicken by adding less liquid (milk and broth) and blending everything to a chunky pulp.
- After adding the milk I poured up one bowl of soup then kept the stove on high and stepped away for a few minutes. When I returned to the pot the milk was all clotted and separated (it still tasted good!) Next time I’ll make sure to take the soup off the heat before adding the milk or at least lower the heat.
- To make the soup prettier next time I’ll slice a couple of button mushrooms lengthwise and saute, then place a couple on top of each soup for a mushroom garnish.
Love mushrooms like I do? Here’s another great recipe: Wild Mushroom Pizza with Yukon Gold Potato, Arugula, and Rosemary
July 16, 2009 § 1 Comment
One of my favorite followers, Michelle recently sent me a blog request and wrote:
“I have tons of chicken legs, corn and potatoes left over from a weekend BBQ. Any idea on how to use the leftovers for another dinner party?”
Michelle, I have three awesome recipes that will put your leftovers to good use and still be mouth-watering to serve to your dinner party guests! I am keeping the recipes in line with the BBQ/southern cooking style to give a nod to the roots =) On the menu: Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwiches, Corn Fritters, and Cajun Roasted Potatoes. Make sure to note that these recipes assume the ingredients are uncooked, so adjust the cooking time to account for this.
If you have a blog post request, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Pulled Chicken Sandwiches
- 2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 pound)
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2-1/3 cups barbecue sauce
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- Hot pepper sauce
- 4 kaiser or French rolls, split
- 3 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese (about 1-1/2 cups)
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper and place in a heavy pot with the onion, garlic and just enough water to cover (about 1 cup). Add the barbecue sauce, vinegar and a few drops hot sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Remove the chicken from the sauce and shred with two forks.
- Boil the sauce, skimming occasionally, until reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the shredded chicken and heat through. Spoon the mixture onto the rolls and top with the cheese.
Source: Everyday with Rachel Ray
- 3 ears fresh corn, kernels removed from cobs
- 3 x eggs
- 3 tbsp flour
- 3 tbsp cornmeal
- Salt and pepper
- 2 x green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- Whisk corn and eggs in a large bowl.
- Add flour, cornmeal, salt and pepper and mix well.
- Stir in green onion and cheddar.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over a medium heat then add batter by the spoonful and flatten to form a pancake.
- Cook until golden, flip and cook other side.
- Serve with sour cream or butter
Source: Food Network (Canada)
Roasted Cajun Potatoes
- 2 1/2 pounds medium red potatoes
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 shallots, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- Cut each potato lengthwise into eight wedges. In a large bowl, combine the oil, shallots, garlic, salt, paprika, cayenne and pepper; add potatoes and toss to coat. Place in greased roasting pan.
- Bake, uncovered, at 450 degrees F for 45-50 minutes or until tender and golden brown, turning every 15 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley.
July 13, 2009 § 1 Comment
I came up with this recipe today! I was inspired by two pizzas at the trendy Tom Douglas restaurant Serious Pie, instead of replicating each one- I made a seriously healthy hybrid of the two. Serves two.
- 10″ frozen pizza crust (I like Whole Foods’ Spelt Pizza)
- cooking spray
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1 tbs truffle oil (optional)
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 2 yukon gold potatoes
- 1 tbs fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped
- 1 1/2 lbs wild mushrooms (chantarelle, shitake, portabello), chopped
- 1 cup arugula
- sea salt
- fresh ground pepper
- preheat oven according to pizza crust instructions
- boil the potatoes until it is soft when pierced, remove and run under cold water until cool to touch
- Slice the potatoes crosswise into 1/4 inch medallions
- spray a pan with cooking spray and crisp potatoes on med heat, about 5 minutes. Add a dash of salt
- meanwhile in a larger pan sprayed with cooking spray, sautee garlic and mushrooms until tender, about 6 minutes
- spread olive oil on pizza crust, then follow with rosemary
- layer arugula, potato, and mushrooms on the pizza. drizzle with truffle oil and season with salt and pepper to taste
- bake according to pizza crust instructions
May 26, 2009 § 1 Comment
As promised- here is the menu to accompany yesterday’s picnic gear post. Believe it or not a couple of these are interpretations of Weight Watchers recipes- I’m watching out for you during swimsuit season! And according to my wine and cheese pairing guide, the goat cheese in the sandwiches is paired best with a Gewurtztreminer. Recipes to serve 2 below.
- French Baguette Sandwiches with Grilled Zucchini, Portabello, and Herbed Goat Cheese
- Dill Potato Salad
- Grilled and Chilled Asparagus with Roasted Red Pepper Dip
- Chocolate Covered Strawberries
French Baguette Sandwiches with Grilled Zucchini, Portabello, and Herbed Goat Cheese
- 2 tbsp dry sherry
- 2 tbsp shallot, (about 1 large)
- 1/4 tsp table salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
- 1 1/2 tsp olive oil, divided
- 6 oz portobello mushroom, sliced
- 2 small zucchini, thinly sliced lengthwise
- 1 loaf/loaves French baguette bread
- 1/2 cup(s) semisoft goat cheese
- 1 tsp fresh thyme, diced
- 1 tsp fresh rosemary, diced
- 1 large tomato, thinly sliced
- Combine first 4 ingredients; stir well with a whisk.
- Heat 11⁄2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Place mushrooms in a single layer in pan; sauté 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until liquid is almost absorbed. Remove from pan and place in a large bowl. Cover and keep warm.
- Add 1 teaspoon oil to pan and place over medium heat. Cut zucchini slices in half crosswise. Place half of zucchini slices in pan; sauté 7 to 9 minutes or until zucchini is lightly browned. Repeat with remaining zucchini and 1 teaspoon oil. Remove from heat and place in bowl with mushrooms. Drizzle with sherry mixture and remaining 1 teaspoon oil; toss gently.
- Preheat broiler.
- Cut baguette crosswise in half; cut each piece in half lengthwise. Place slices on a baking sheet, cut sides up, and broil 1 minute or until toasted.
- Combine goat cheese, thyme and rosemary; spread evenly over toasted baguette slices. Layer toast slices evenly with 1⁄2 of mushroom mixture and tomato slices. Top with remaining baguette slices.
Dill Potato Salad
- Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then turn heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain, cool in an ice water bath until cold, about 5 minutes. Leaving skins on, cut into bite-size pieces, and place in a large mixing bowl.
- Combine mayonnaise, sour cream, dill weed, and green onions in a bowl and stir until blended. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour mayo mixture over potatoes and toss to coat evenly. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours, or overnight.
Grilled and Chilled Asparagus with Roasted Red Pepper Dip
- 1/4 pound fresh asparagus
- 4 oz roasted red peppers, packed in water, drained (about 3/4 cups)
- 1/4 cup fat-free sour cream
- 1/8 cup basil, fresh
- 1/8 tsp garlic powder
- salt to taste
- black pepper, freshly ground to taste
- Grill asparagus until slightly tender, about 5 minutes. Refrigerate 30 minutes up to overnight.
- In a blender, combine roasted peppers, sour cream, basil and garlic powder; puree until smooth. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
Chocolate Covered Strawberries
You can purchase ready-made microwavable chocolate, or if you want to do it like a real chef, follow below.
- 16 ounces milk chocolate chips
- 2 tablespoons shortening
- 1 pound fresh strawberries with leaves
- Waxed paper
- Insert toothpicks into the tops of the strawberries.
- In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and shortening, stirring occasionally until smooth. Holding them by the toothpicks, dip the strawberries into the chocolate mixture.
- Set the strawberries on waxed paper to cool.