Friday, May 30, 2008
Speaking of Jordan & Adam, Andrea and I try to call each other once a week so the kids could talk. Last night it was so cute seeing Tristan on the phone having what seemed to be an adult conversation. After a few minutes, Tristan says with a serious expression "Adam, put Jordan on the phone now." I guess that's better than his usual "ok, i done talkin to you now."
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (17-ounce) package frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
2 large tomatoes, diced
1 large avocado, peeled and diced
1 small onion, diced
1/8 to 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a large bowl. Cover and chill overnight. Taste and add salt, pepper, or more lime juice as necessary. Serve as appetizer or with chicken breast as a main meal.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. When the hash brown crust is ready pour the egg mixture over it and return to the oven.
Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for about 30 minutes until the quiche is light golden brown on top and puffed. I had to cover the edges at some point so hash browns didn't get too brown. I didn't dollop with sour cream but next time I sure will!
Friday, May 23, 2008
Thursday, May 22, 2008
WARNING: About 6 years ago I didn't realize touching the inside of the peppers was dangerous so there I was taking out all the seeds with my fingers in a rush. My fingernails were just digging away. It wasn't long before I knew something was terribly wrong & I was going back & forth to the kitchen sink rinsing them under cold water. After an hour, I felt like my hands were being forcefully held 3 inches from an open flame. The only reason we didn't go to the emergency room was because I didn't want to take my hands out of the pans of buttermilk for a second. Plus, we kept hoping the pain would go away. There I was with my hands in the pans a couple of hours later trying to rest my head on the table to get some sleep. Eventually, while Terry fell asleep I managed to get my hands completely covered in buttermilk soaked washclothes & put them in ziploc baggies to keep the moisture in. And there I lay on the bedroom floor so as not to soak the bed. I still remember what I was wearing to this day. I woke at 4am still in severe discomfort but noticing an improvement. It wasn't until 6am, nearly 12 hours later, that the pain totally subsided. NEED I SAY - do not use your fingers to seed the jalapenos. Use gloves or just chop up with a knife and throw it all in the dish.
8 oz cooked linguine (I would like to try this with whole grain whole wheat pasta)
2 cans (6 1/2 oz) minced clams, drained with liquid reserved
1/4 cup olive oil
3-5 garlic cloves
1 can 28 oz whole Italian style tomatoes, drained and chopped
1-3 small red jalapenos, seeded and finely chopped (I use up to 8 with seeds for the dish but that's HOT)
1 tblspn parsley
1/2 tsp salt
Heat oil. Cook garlic in oil, stirring frequently until soft. Stir in tomatoes and jalapenos. Cook for 3 minutes. Stir in clam liquid. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Stir in clams, parsley and salt. Cover and simmer 30 minutes (if short on time, you can cut this time in half). Pour sauce over linguine.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
You can steam the potatoes, whole, for 20 minutes, until they are still firm yet easily pierced with a fork but I just microwaved them in segments of 5 minutes and also turn them over, just until I could pierce with a fork like the recipe states.
Brush the tops of the potatoes with the oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper (maybe even some garlic powder) and bake until crisp and golden, about 20 minutes.
Monday, May 19, 2008
(1) sheet puff pastry defrosted
(1) 6 inch round Brie
1/2 cup green olives
1/2 cup parsley leaves
1 clove garlic
1 tblsp olive oil
1/2 cup spinach leaves (I always leave the stems on)
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Friday, May 16, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008
I always read the reviews on the Food Network because they tend to screw up on the written recipe so I was thankful when some people caught the mistake that instead of 1/2 lb shrimp printed in the recipe Paula actually used 1 1/2 lb. Big difference! I also added some garlic and hot sauce to the cream cheese mixture because some said it was bland.
3 cans chicken broth
1 1/3 cups quick cooking grits
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/2 tsp salt
2 tblsp butter, melted
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tblsp half and half
1/2 cup grated Italian cheese blend
1 tsp chopped parsley (I did not use fresh)
1 1/2 lb shrimp, cooked, peeled, deveined and chopped
Garlic powder and a couple dashes of hot sauce (my additions)
1/2 cup grated cheddar
Pre-heat over to 400. Bring broth to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in grits, return to boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes or until thickened. Stir occasionally. Stir in parmesan and salt. Remove from heat. Spoon grits into a greased 9 x 13 dish. Cover and chill 2 hours or until firm. Cut out circles, 1 1/2 in to 2 in wide. I didn't have a cookie cutter so I used one of Tristan's insulated sippy cups. Brush a large jellyroll pan or baking sheet with melted butter. Place grit rounds on pan and bake for 15 minutes. Turn grits and bake for 45 minutes more. Set aside. Up to this point, you can make this ahead of time. I baked the grit toasts and then put them in a baggie in the fridge until later. There should be anywhere between 45-60 rounds. I had halved the recipe and made about 30.
In large bowl, combine cream cheese and half and half, stirring until combined. Stir in cheese, parsley, shrimp and the garlic powder and hot sauce. Top each grits toast with some shrimp mixture, then top with a little cheddar. It does stay on top nicely. Broil for about 5 minutes or until lightly browned and heated through.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup sliced yellow onion
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1/4 pound mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
4 ounces oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups half-and-half
1/2 cup grated Gruyere
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Pillsbury Pie Crust
3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a large skillet melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and zucchini and cook, stirring, for 6 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until the liquid is rendered and the vegetables are wilted, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, basil, and thyme and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and let cool. In a bowl, beat the eggs and half-and-half together. Add the salt, pepper, grated Gruyere, and crushed red pepper. Spoon the vegetable mixture into the prepared piecrust, pour in the egg mixture, and crumble the goat cheese on top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until set. Remove from the oven and let cool for 30 minutes before serving.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Mother's Day was amazing!!!!! It was everything I wanted it to be & more. All the hard work paid off & everyone had a great time. Thanks to my husband, we have lotsa pictures to capture the day. Now that it is over I can divulge the special things I did. First, I want to say I was very honored that our friends & family chose to come to our house so I wanted to make them feel extra special. I took quotes about moms by some famous people, then decorated & placed them on cardstock & put them everywhere - in the bathroom next to some flowers, by the bar area & the food, even hanging from some plants. I showed my geekness when I fell in love with.....paper easels which held my quotes up on the tables. There were bunches of flowers & each Mom received a corsage when she arrived. I also made up gift bags for each Mom which included a little bottle of wine, a candle I bought from Publix & then decorated differently, a Starbucks gift card for $5, a package of gift tags, & a chocolate bar. We also had a raffle to give away a bouquet of flowers, a bodyworks type of package with lotion & bath soap, & a gift bag of flowers.
We all just had a wonderful time. The weather was beautiful, everyone was feeling great & the food and cocktails were in abundance. Enjoy the pics.....
All the ladies had a corsage waiting for them when they arrived.
My Mom & Terry's Mom - We surprised them with a Harry & David mixed bag of things plus our first ever professional family photo of me, Terry and Tristan.
Tammy & Me - we enjoyed this day even more because this was right at the end of our very successful buddy weight loss challenge. She was my motivator & on this very day I got below my goal weight, so I surprised her with a gift card to a spa.
Nice large spot of water right before everyone came. I remember being frantic at finishing up last minute details. While I have stupid smile on my face & my lips have all but vanished I was happy I fit into this dress I wore on my honeymoon 5 years prior.
Flowers were placed everywhere as well as the quotes I decorated & placed on cardstock.
These paper easels from the craft store were just what I needed.
The 3 quotes above were my favorite that I decorated & placed on cardstock. Click to enlarge & see the beautiful sayings.
Above: I put a little bouquet of flowers in a small vase & then placed it in a gift bag. I also loved how this purple quote turned out.
I actually played around with the bar area for at least 2 weeks prior to the day. The Key Lime Martini was the featured drink so I had a little note propped up with directions on what to do so guests wouldn't have to wonder.
The menu - grilled pork tenderloin, fried asparagus, eggplant parmigiana (made by mom Gloria), potato gratin, mediterranean quiche from Emeril, tomato mozzarella salad, spinach dip, artichoke dip and onion pepper relish dip. For dessert - white chocolate raspberry tart, banana pudding (made by mom Sandy) & a chocolate fountain below. I labeled little tags so everyone wouldn't have to ask what was being served.
The kids really enjoyed it all!
Above are the pastel gift bags which I filled with an assortment of cutsies for the Moms to take home.
I actually decorated this plain brown gift bag & loved how it turned out. Very simple!
I was elated at this point to actually sit down & enjoy some of my food at my new bistro table I had bought just a few days prior! It was an awesome day!!!!!
Thursday, May 8, 2008
2 bottles of dry white wine **
3/4 cup brandy
1/2 cup triple sec
3/4 cup simple syrup ( equal amounts sugar and water heated until dissolved)
1 cup peach nectar
A bunch of fruit you like - I use a carton of strawberries, sliced thick like little hearts, lemons and oranges both sliced in rounds, and once I tried cantaloupe which was very good. I also use green apples. The colors look very nice.
Combine all ingredients. Refrigerate, covered, 2 hours or up to 2 days. You can serve over ice.
** For the first couple of years I was buying $8 bottles of wines but this got expensive with the amount I make so this past year I actually bought the big jugs of wine by Carlo Rossi, the name is Rhine white wine. It was a fraction of the price and everyone enjoyed it as much as before. I didn't have a problem taking a risk here because my hubby who has expensive taste in everything else will ONLY drink the Burgundy red wine by Carlo Rossi in the big jug. He loves it.
We finally found a perfect 3 gal tub to fit the wine but this year I may have to get one of these. I found the picture on a fellow blogger's site and loved it. I found out there is one at Sam's Club. How pretty does this look?
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
BEST I EVER HAD!!!! Some may not be gratin or scalloped potato people but this is not as rich as some similar dishes. It's just right!!!!!!!
2 lbs baking potatoes, peeled and sliced thin
2 cups heavy cream
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
Leaves from 4 fresh thyme sprigs
3 tblspns chopped fresh chives plus a little for garnish
1 cup grated Parmigiano cheese
Sea salt & pepper
Pre-heat oven to 350. In large bowl combine all the ingredients tossing to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Place in a casserole dish, flatten a bit with a spatula and bake for 40 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with a few more fresh chives.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
2 yellow squash, cut in circles
2 zucchini, cut in circles
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and ground pepper
Leaves from 3 fresh thyme sprigs (use 1 tsp of ground if not fresh)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese or Parmesan-Romano or any variation you like
1 cup Panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
1 stick of butter (unsalted and melted)
Pre-heat oven to 350. Toss squash and zucchini with all ingredients except butter. Put mixture in casserole dish and drizzle with melted butter. Bake for 40 minutes until golden and bubbly.
Saturday, May 3, 2008
1 oz premium vodka
1 oz cold espresso (I buy mine at Starbucks and just refrigerate it)
1/2 oz Tia Maria
1/2 oz Kahlua
Pour ingredients into a shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into a martini glass. This makes one drink.
Friday, May 2, 2008
4 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise
1 tblspn olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 1/2 cups of feta cheese
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
Pre-heat over to 475. Using a tablespoon, scoop out zucchini centers to form "canoes," leaving a 1/4" border. Roughly chop centers and set aside. Arrange zucchini cut sides down on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and pepper and cook, stirring, until soft for 3-5 minutes. Add chopped zucchini, cook and stir until most liquid has evaporated, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Fold in feta and tomatoes.
Fill zucchini boats with vegetable-feta mixture, and bake until top is lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Lift with spatula and serve.
Thursday, May 1, 2008
(1) 12oz pkg pork sausage
(2-3) green onions (scallions), diced (I use a bit more)
(1) tblspn soy sauce (1) tblspn hoisin sauce
(1/2 tsp) minced garlic (I use 1 tsp) LOVE GARLIC!
(24) square wonton wrappers
(1) small bowl of water
In bowl, combine all ingredients except wrappers. Mix well. Place a few wonton wrappers on clean surface and brush edges of water or use fingers. Place a little more than a tspn of filling in center of wrapper. Recipes call for 1 tbslpn but I find this to be too much. I use less so it makes more than 24 wrappers which works out because the packages usually have more than 24 anyway. Gather edges of wrapper together to make a pouch. I don't totally enclose the filling but some recipes say to. It reminds me of a little pouch at the end of a stick carried by a little boy who was planning to run away. Used to see this in cartoons all the time.
Place a collapsible metal steamer rack in a large wide pot. Fill pot with 1/2 inch of water. Spray steamer rack with nonstick spray. Bring water to a simmer. Working in batches, arrange dumplings on rack an inch apart. Cover pot with lid and steam dumplings until cooked thoroughly, about 8 minutes. Watch the water level and add more as needed. When I did not have a steamer I would just use a large pan and place a cookie rack or toaster oven rack across the pan and then cover with tin foil.
Serve with soy sauce, hoisin sauce, chili garlic sauce (my fav) or hot chinese style mustard.