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Archive for the ‘recipes’ Category

Recipes – Kicked Up Nachos and Pioneer Woman Brisket.

My contribution to the Super Bowl festivities included two tried and true recipes that I have used for parties through the years.

The first is Kicked Up, No Bake Nachos from Emeril. It’s a more intense queso recipe where Velveeta need not apply. Yesterday it ended up being eaten straight from the pot. Whatever works.

Then I used Pioneer Woman’s Brisket that is also always a hit. I highly recommend this recipe because it’s really hard to screw up. The time is always dead on depending on the amount of meat you are cooking. Another highlight of the meal is that it’s inexpensive to make and feeds a crowd.

My sister brought pico de gallo and she made jalapeno poppers. I loved the pico.

I didn’t take any pictures of yesterday except of the meat. I really don’t know what I was thinking. Somewhere I decided it would be a good idea to post pictures of what it is like to buy an untrimmed brisket from Wal-mart and what its like to trim and break it down after you cook it.

Yeah, no. When I came to my senses today I realized the post would be more Walking Dead worthy than pretty and attractive. And no body wants bloody gore on a Monday afternoon.

Yesterday afternoon it had finally come to that point where I was through with my to-do list and felt it was time to open the champagne. That pop of the cork coming out is one of my favorite sounds in the world. After I poured myself a glass I went back upstairs to finish my makeup. This is when I realized I had forgotten to clean the tile in the shower for the week.

I felt a lot like this when I was on my hands and knees scrubbing except without the helpful mice. Those mice needed to refill my champagne glass sitting on the counter.

Recipes – Rosemary, Roasted Cauliflower

I used to hate cauliflower. I think it was because of the color. Reminded me of a banana and I LOATHE bananas. A year or two a go I found that I liked fried cauliflower dipped in ranch. But who wouldn’t like a vegetable fried in onion ring batter and doused in ranch dressing? Then I found I liked cauliflower as a substitute for mashed potatoes. But once again I kind of missed the health point but mixing in butter and parmesan cheese. Oopsie.

But third time is the charm for the cauliflower Goldilocks. Behold, rosemary roasted cauliflower.


All it is is 1-2 heads of cauliflower cut up, drizzled with olive oil, chopped rosemary (to taste) and little bit of salt and pepper. This round had no pepper and only a little bit of salt since B made it. Put the tray on the top rack of your oven and roast at 450 for 20-25. I like the outsides a bit crispy and the insides soft. This is so, so good.

This is what I ate during the sad, sad Falcons game on Sunday. But my stomach wasn’t sad nor did get bloated or fat from fried food or dairy. I highly recommend this as a snack, side or if your are desperate to for something tasty that won’t blow your diet.

Cocktail Culture – the demise of the dinner party

The New York Times published this article today regarding the demise of the dinner party and in the same breath the demise of good manners. I would hope that the dinner party isn’t going to way of the hand written note and men holding the door for women. But as we know I’m old fashioned.

I think a lot of people get caught up in the idea that a dinner party has to be a five course extravaganza that includes great expense and clean-up. In an Internet and all about me world this is a common misconception that feeds into many women and mom’s thinking they have to be “perfect”. Perfect is not being June Cleaver. Perfect is being a good host, sharing a meal with your friends or family and feeling good about yourself when it is over. My belief is you can still entertain in a traditional way even in times like these. People will appreciate the salad and entree you provided. And even more importantly, they will appreciate you, your family and your kids.

The famous New York hostess Nan Kempner used to have famous Sunday Suppers that included spaghetti with red sauce she cooked herself. The entree of spaghetti was her signature. Uber chic, right?

Always so chic

So find a signature dish that is yours. It doesn’t have to be something you thought up. It can be your favorite dish or the favorite of your spouse. Get good at it, tweak it, make it your own. And then cook the hell out of it, add a salad and wine and you are good to go.

Personally, I always enjoyed the Basil Chicken Hash from Barefoot Contessa. I’ve blogged the recipe in the past but it translates to most people’s tastes. I served a salmon dip and salad with it. That’s it. No big deal. The entree makes a lot of food, tastes great and every one is happy. Plus, how chic is it that the recipe is a take on the chicken hash served at Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball?

My friends complain that they never get to go anywhere because of their kids. I always repeat the stories of my parents having dinner parties at home after we went to bed. These parties occurred specifically so they could have a social life without us. Smart thinking. Good time management. No baby-sitter needed.

You can still entertain at home and it not be a burden. You can use the china and the crystal on a weeknight if you want too. And even if you are still wearing jeans and a sweater when your guests arrive, nothing is chicer than having a wonderful time in your own home after NOT sweating in the kitchen.

Recipe – Special K Loaf

Sounds totally weird, right?

Looks kind of weird too.

A vegetarian delicacy

I’ve mentioned before that my extended family are Seventh Day Adventists and I was raised a vegetarian. Obviously, there have been some detours for me since I’m a recovering meat eater and now a Presbyterian. One of the remnants of that life are these recipes that no one has ever heard of before that I absolutely love. Special K is just a casserole that me and my sister have to have on Thanksgiving and eat with relative frequency during the rest of the year.

The casserole is vegetarian but its not healthy. It’s like how in the South macaroni and cheese is a vegetable. You might as well be eating bacon when compared to this recipe. But goodness, its good.

4 eggs

4 cups Special K cereal

1 large container of cottage cheese (1 lb 80z)

1 medium onion finely chopped

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

1 stick margarine, melted

2 teaspoons soy sauce

3 packages George Washington Golden Seasoning

Mix thoroughly and bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

The only thing you really have to pay attention to is making sure the pecans and the onion are finally chopped because it really affects the flavor of the casserole if you don’t.

My fiance and my sister’s husband both like the casserole (relatively) for meat eaters. I think its definitely an acquired taste for people who didn’t grow up in a non-meat world. But if vegetarian is your bag and you want something that doesn’t taste ultra-healthy like many vegetarian dishes can taste then you might like this.

Cocktail Culture – Bar Apps at Home

I like to go out and I go out a lot. But let’s be real, restaurants are getting more expensive, schedules are packed and sometimes you just want to be at home. All my friends have small children now and times are different. So, the question is how to still re-create some of your favorite restaurant items at home so a glam time can still be had by all?

Well, my favorite involves a bag of Kettle Chips and a block of bleu cheese.

I LOVE chips and bleu cheese. The first time I ever had them was years a go when I first moved to Atlanta and began going to the Buckhead Diner. This appetizer is kind of retro now. But it’s still decadent and treat and I think a welcome respite from puffs and mushy carrots for some of my lovely friends.

Here’s what you do. It’s rocket science, trust. ;) Buy a bag of Sea Salt Kettle Chips and a block of bleu cheese. In this case I bought a block of Publix brand cheese but we all know Maytag or Cowgirl would be so much better.

Spread the chips on a plate and heat them to the point where they start to sweat a bit in the microwave. Just heated a bit but not soggy. Soggy will come with the cheese.

Then heat the block of cheese in the microwave. It doesn’t take much and you want to still have some chunks.

I pour the heated cheese all over the chips and go from there. But me and my friends can be little piggies. You might be more lady-like and dip. But what’s the fun in that?


(Sorry for the iphone pics. Doesn’t do it justice.)

The chips are good with chopped tomato and green onions. Another friend like bits of bacon on hers.

Add every Mom’s or (childless Aunt’s) favorite, white whine, and you have got a lovely play date. Or a fun cocktail hour appetizer to share between you and yours.

I definitely love my two minute appetizer that gives me the feeling of a good restaurant while being at home.

Recipes to Love – Ham and Cheese in Puff Pastry

The following recipe I used at the couple’s shower S. and I thru for C. last weekend in Nashville.

It is a recipe from Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa) on her latest Cocktail Party show.

I have to say it was a massive hit. The first thing gone for sure. I doubled the recipe and probably could have made one or two more and they would have been eaten too.

A couple of things.

1. I substituted swiss cheese instead of gruyere. I think gruyere is overpriced and don’t care for it that much either. Swiss was perfect.

2. The cooking time was under half of what Ina said it would be. I had to watch these like a hawk.

3. I don’t eat pork but did taste. They were delish.

4. I think a turkey and pesto combo would be good too.

1 package (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted (recommended: Pepperidge Farm)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 pound black forest ham, sliced
1/2 pound Swiss Gruyere cheese, sliced
1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place a piece of parchment paper on a sheet pan.

Lay 1 sheet of puff pastry on a floured board and carefully roll it out to 10 by 12 inches. Place it on a sheet pan and brush the center with the mustard, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge. Place a layer first of ham and then cheese, also leaving a 1-inch border. Brush the border with the egg wash.

Place the second sheet of puff pastry on the floured board and roll it out to 10 by 12inches. Place the second sheet on top of the filled pastry, lining up the edges. Cut the edges straight with a small, sharp knife and press together lightly. Brush the top with egg wash and cut a few slits in the top to allow steam to escape.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until puffed and golden brown. Allow to cool for a few minutes and serve hot or warm.

Recipes to Love – Emeril’s Hot Dog Chili

Thanks to my Aunt M. for this recipe. I made it on Saturday for the game along with queso for nachos.

The chili was the right consistency for hot dogs. It was not to chunky.

The only thing I added was hot sauce and left out the sugar. Not enough kick for our tastes.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
2 cups chopped yellow onion
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons Essence, recipe follows
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 (15-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, broken in pieces, with juices
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups water

Make the chili: Heat the oil in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the meat and stir with a long-handled wooden spoon to break up the pieces. Cook, stirring, until the meat is brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, chili powder, Essence, cumin, salt, and pepper, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the squeezed tomatoes, tomato paste, and water to the pot. Stir well and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the chili from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.

Cocktails to Love – The Economic Boost

The Economic Boost

Put the party into politics with VF Daily’s Capital Cocktails. Come November, we’re all going to need a stiff drink! Today’s recipe was created by Damon Dunay, the beverage director at the New York City restaurant and bar Delicatessen (54 Prince Street, 212-226-0211).

The Economic Boost
1 1/2 oz. Grey Goose La Poire vodka
1/4 oz. absinthe
1 1/2 oz. Red Bull (or Delicatessen’s own sugar-free energy drink)

Add to a shaker filled with ice and shake. Strain into a cocktail glass.

Both the Red Bull and the absinthe provide a boost!

via Vanity Fair.com

Tidbits – Recommendations and Other Things

Last night I told E3 about a pseudo-event I had forgotten about. The kick-off for Stone Brewing Co. in Atlanta hosted at Taco Mac Metropolis. We headed out at the last minute. I was already in shorts and a tank for the night and had to change back. Honestly, it was any other night at Taco Mac Metropolis. Just add home brew geeks everywhere. I had the Stone Pale Ale which was very good. However, there were two incompetent, oblivious bartenders and service was terrible.

Fox Bros BBQ is a great place to take someone when they are hung over. I took someone there and they loved it. And I loved the collard greens. Brought the rest of my food home to E3.

Decorated for Halloween in a glam-ish, skull kind of way.

Hated almost every outfit from the Emmy’s that I saw on People.

Bobby’s Pimento Cheese from Paula Deen is the best pimento cheese you will ever eat. Even better as a grilled cheese. I made it for out of towners who had never had it over the weekend and they could not stop eating it!

1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup grated sharp cheddar
1 cup grated Monterey Jack
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon House Seasoning, recipe follows
2 to 3 tablespoons pimentos, smashed
1 teaspoon grated onion
Cracked black pepper

Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth and fluffy. Add all of the remaining ingredients and beat until well blended. It can be used as a dip for crudite or as a sandwich filling.

On Thursday, Sandpiper is having the stylist from J Brand come to town. 10-1 at City Walk. 2-8 at Vinings. Unless, something unfortunate happens, I am going. Even though, unless your name is Rachel Zoe, I don’t need your help. :)

Going to go get my ass kicked at yoga tomorrow night. Again.

Recipes to Love – My Big Salad

I get a lot of questions about the big salad that I make and eat all the time. It is just a chopped vegetable salad, but somehow the mix really works and is very tasty. The salad is also user friendly due to buying a few pre-chopped vegetables. The salad will last for approximately 5 days. I eat it at lunch and dinner and it is great with chicken. You will notice there is no cheese, croutons, nuts or seeds in it. Because that would defeat the purpose of the chopped vegetable salad.

1 – large head, green leaf lettuce
1 – tiny head bibb lettuce
1 – tiny head raddiccio
1 – red bell pepper
1 – yellow bell pepper
1 – largish cucumber, skin removed
1 – container precut tomatoes
1 – container sliced mushrooms
1 – bag matchstick carrots
1 – most of 1 large celery
optional – broccoli

I chop the above ingredients rather finely. I dislike salad bars and how large all the ingredients are. Bite size is preferable and easier to eat.

The mix of color and textures makes this salad a winner and never boring to eat.

For dressing I prefer Kraft Fat Free Italian or Fat Free Caesar. I do cheat with Naturally Fresh Lite Peppercorn Ranch sometimes too.