Friday, April 30, 2010

Dinner Parties

I have learned a lot about entertaining from two women I highly respect My mom and her friend, Diane. I have learned that you should plan ahead- way ahead. YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT WILL HAPPEN between now and the time the party should start. Both women, when they are throwing parties plan incredibly well and set up the rooms a week ahead of time. The following dinner party was my fourth time entertaining in "our home", my second dinner party.

On the Menu this evening:

hulled strawberries
purple grapes
Onion souffle dip
served with
toasted pumpernickel bread
wheat thins
corn chips

Citrus and rosemary roasted chicken
Mediterranean salad
roasted carrots
spinach pies made by my friend (a guest)

strawberry rhubarb pie/crumble
vanilla ice cream

I set the table a week before :)

close up

table setting

I love pie; well, I love HOT pie served with COLD ice cream.
So for dessert, I had planned a Strawberry Rhubarb pie/crumble.

I used store-bought pie crust, it tastes great! Rolled it out and put it in my Emile Henry pie plate.

gathered my rhubarb and strawberries

got rid of the stringy bits

This rhubarb was green, I looked it up and green rhubarb should not affect the taste of the rhubarb, it is just another type of rhubarb. I bed to differ. I think that it is a bit more potent than the red rhubarb I have am used to using/eating.

added some sugar to macerate!

next up, strawberries, GIANT strawberries

macerate those as well.

After about 10 minutes, add the rhubarb to the strawberries.

(without the rhubarb juice)

add to the pie crust

ingredients for the crumble part of the pie/crumble

ready to sprinkle

ready for the oven. or refrigerator. I made this Friday morning, then put it into the refrigerator until I was ready to bake it after dinner.

To go with my popovers, I served butter, raspberry jam, and strawberry jam.

To make the butter look beautiful, I used room temp butter and an icing tip, what else?


ingredients for the mediterranean salad

sliced then drizzled with evoo and balsamic vinegar then sprinkled with kosher salt, pepper, garlic, and goat cheese.

My sweet friend's spinach pies

The chicken...
My mom uses this recipe on one of our turkeys for Thanksgiving, it is my favorite- so I decided to try it on chicken and I LOVED IT!
Drizzled with evoo and a blend of lemon zest, rosemary, and kosher salt! If you get some under the skin, it makes it even better!

perfect temp!

perfect coloring!

The inside is stuffed with lemon wedges and rosemary sprigs

The spread

The pie is ready!

Dinner was a success and fun was had by all!

Monday, April 26, 2010


Oh the joys of settling into a new home! You can't find anything. T and I are still making our house our home, as we bought yet another piece of furniture yesterday. We are still decorating, finding a home for everything, etc. I have not found a place for all my cords/chargers and because of that I can't find the usb to my camera = I can't upload pictures. In the meantime, I cannot blog haha. Which works out ok since two of my/our best friends are getting married this weekend and T and I are both in the wedding.

Look forward to a posts on the following: gouda and saffron lobster risotto, a dinner party with friends, blueberry muffins, and more!

oh and tonight is one of my favorites! BBQ chicken nachos with jalapenos, light on the sprinkled cheese, yum!!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

life as a hunter's wife, part II

This meal was created for the following three reasons:
1. I can't stand to waste ingredients, I had portobellas and fromage blanc in my refrigerator
2. We had a cold front come through which in our part of the country means we had spring like weather. Our seasons are distinct, but they do not last long. We have freezing summers and blazing hot winters which are quite long; however, our days of spring and summer are VERY short. BUT very pleasant. So it was one of those spring like days, not an 80 "spring" day.
3. Due to my work schedule, I used a slow cooker :)

Because my husband is a hunter, I am to find ways to use the copious amounts of venison he brought home. (which I do not mind at all, it is fun) I looked in the freezer and looked through the various cuts of meat and came across a package labeled pot roast. I wondered what that "meant", I'd never seen beef labeled that way. You just know which cuts work well for braising or slow cooking. I thought I would try this cut since I wanted the beef I mean venison to be flavorful. I knew that since I'd be working, this method would allow for that. So after the "pot roast" of venison had thawed out, I placed it in the slow cooker with a chopped onion, the portobellos, red wine, dijon mustard, worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, chicken stock (didn't have beef), dill, and parsley. I thought about adding both tomato paste and some veal demi glaze, but I opted out of that. I put the slow cooker pot in the refrigerator with the hopes of being able to stop in around 10 to put it in the slow cooker. It almost happened the way I had planned, an hour and a half later, (8:30) I was back home to start the slow cooker. (on low)

I called my sister, who is in college, she graciously agreed to stop by my house at 5 to switch it to "keep warm" so that our dinner was not a lump of coal when we got home that evening.

Upon my arrival home, I boiled some egg noodles while I began my inspection of the venison stroganoff.

I found this lovely bone.

and this

I think it looks prettier like this.

one of the instigators to this experiment.


mixed and sprinkled (with parsley)

This was the best venison stroganoff I have ever had, not to mention the only. The venison was incredibly tender! I think that I, in fact, adore cooking with venison. Stay tuned, I have about 4 tenderloins, 2 pot roasts, 10 ground "hamburger", 5 ground "sausage", and some other oddly named cut? I love life as a hunter's wife. That is, of course, is contingent upon the fact that the hunter be T!

Friday, April 23, 2010

life as a hunter's wife

Thanksgiving day, T went hunting and brought home LOADS of venison. I'd had venison at his parents before, but I have never cooked it. I wanted to find some great recipes. I found one by Bobby Flay that I have yet to make. Getting home at 7 at nights doesn't create the best situation for a creating the Pan Roasted Venison with Crushed Blackberry-Ancho Chile Sauce and Sweet Potato-Toasted Pine Nut Polenta. We'd probably eat at 11:19 p.m. if I made that on a work night.

I love brie! What does that have to do with this post? I love brie, with apricot preserves, croisants, and filet or tenderloin. so I thought, why not substitue venison tenderloin. It was FABULOUS, to say the LEAST.

I like to keep beef simple, so I carried that over to the venison. I seasoned it simply with salt, pepper, and parsley. I seared it in a frying pan with evoo and a litle butter, when it was almost done- I put it in the oven for a few minutes. Meanwhile, I sliced the croisants in half, put the brie and preserves on one side and broiled it until it was all melted and bubbly- yum! I put mayo on the side that didn't have brie on it then topped it with mixed greens and sliced venison.

IT WAS SO GOOD! This was so good that I originally was going to eat half and give T 1 1/2, but I stole part of his. If you know me, you know I am a food thief! This was worth stealing :) You should try this at home, if you are "fresh out" of venison, a good cut of beef will work just fine.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

southern classic

I AM in search of the perfect red velvet cake recipe. I usually use a Martha Stewart recipe, but it is a bit dry. So I pulled out one that I had been wanting to try for awhile.

I bought this cookbook around 2 years ago and have loved what I have made out of it. so far. I thought this recipe would be great because butter wasn't it's primary source for fat. I have found that cakes with only butter tend to be more dry than those that call for oil. I usually prefer cakes that call for oil.This recipe calls for crisco and butter.

I think the reason I didn't like it as much was because you do something very odd. Well, not odd, but I've never done it before. You put the cocoa and the red dye in boiling water. It made the cake taste sort of like hot chocolate. It was more chocolaty than any other red velvet cake I have ever had.

Here is the batter.

Here they are in cupcake form, naturally.


their close up

the icing

the final product


taste test

Like I said, not my favorite Red Velvet. It was a little too dense for my liking, too chocolaty, sort of fudge like. I was disappointed with the cake, but the icing was great. I was making the cupcakes for a friend who LOVES red velvet so I didn't use the icing that was in the book. I made an icing I knew was fabulous!

I will post the recipe for the cake and icing when I get off of work. And I will continue my search for the PERFECT Red Velvet Cake, until then....

Friday, April 16, 2010

Per Request

One of my friends, a fellow foodie, told me today that I MUST post about my granola because it is a part of my life, everyday. I wish it were a part of my life everyday, but I'd have to work out for 2 hours a day instead of 1 to work off all those calories. I am not a calorie counter, but I am well aware of the content calorie of every food item.

My husband grew up eating granola and after getting married and grocery shopping for 2, I found granola to be quite pricey. I understand the price, due to the ingredients. I knew I could do better....
So I set off to concoct the perfect ratio of nuts to oats, etc. After a couple of batches I found one that T loves. (more than any other granola he's EVER had) The problem is, I don't have a recipe, It's just sort of something you have to play with the get the taste you like. The honey & brown sugar determine the sweetness while the cranberries and raisins bring a chewy & tart contrast to the freshly toasted nuts.

First, I pour oats out on to a baking sheet

Then add chopped nuts/seeds of your choice(sans salt). T likes pecans, walnuts, almonds, and sunflower seeds

add oil, cinnamon, salt, brown sugar, and stir!

Put the granola in the oven at 350 for about 10 minutes.

Then add these, to your hearts desire

bake until golden brown

After cooling, I put it in T's "cereal box"

mission accomplished