Thursday, July 26, 2012

Cocktail Party!

When culinary minds meet like they did at my house last Saturday, big things happen.  By big things I mean this kick-ass cocktail party we orchestrated. Get excited.

The day started out as awesomely as it began; with a hike around Cranberry Lake preserve.  Behold the wonders:

Now on to the food!  The only thing we made that had an actual recipe was this peach crumb pie a la Pat and Gina Neely.  I love making a Neely recipe because it allows me to say "brown suga" about a zillion times, without irritating anyone I can assure you.

The peach filling and the crumb topping.

Pre and post-baking.

We also had a peach flavored cocktail.  Where we took this opportunity to finish some flavored vodkas we had lying around the liquor cabinet.

On to appetizer number one: jalapeno poppers in won-ton wrappers.  The filling was cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and canned chopped jalapenos.  We fried these in a pan and they were the talk of the town.

Moving along to appetizer number 2, polenta cakes.  These polenta rounds were topped with yellow squash, red onion, black beans, salsa, and cheddar cheese.  That massive bowl is filled with some guacamole.

Appetizers number 3 and 4 were brie en crute (that an attractive yet unbelievably tasty looking stuff to the right) and stuffed clams (these were of the frozen variety).

What an evening it was!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Spinach Lemon Orzo Soup

Soup in July seems like lunacy, I know, but Friday was such a yucky cool day I thought it was what we all needed.

Spinach lemon orzo soup sounded a bit summery to me so I used the recipe I found here.  The only changes I made was that I increased the ingredients a bit haphazardly because I know that when a recipe says it feeds 8, that they don't mean 8 of my family members.

And now I shall feature some highly unattractive photographs, get excited!

I think just about every soup starts out like this: onions and garlic sauteing in the pot.

Then in went some frozen spinach and orzo (uncooked) along lemon zest and lemon juice.

I added some shredded rotisserie chicken and Parmesan cheese for the grand finale. 

If we get another icky fall-like summer day I highly suggest you make this soup.  The lemon and the orzo go so nicely together.

Oh! and other news: Smashburger opened up and I had a fantastic lunch there where I took this gorgeous photograph.

Smashfries, and a New Yorker, veggie frites and a spicy baja burger. So good, can't wait to go back!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Pretzel Crusted Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart

First off I'll apologize for my lack of blogging lately.  I have been enjoying a little stay-cation at the moment.  I did however have time to make this little dessert for my brother's birthday that is going to knock your socks off.

For starters it has a pretzel crust.  Yea that's right a crust made out of pretzels!  I used this recipe for the crust seen here.

I was so excited to finally use my tart pan!

For the filling I used the recipe that I found here.  Now prepare yourself for some killer action shots!

The chocolate part of the filling is just making a ganache (equal parts cream and chocolate).

The peanut butter is just simply peanut butter I melted in the microwave.  Could this be any easier?

Swirl it all around with a sharp knife and voila! Ain't she a beauty?

I know you were dying for a dimly lit inside shot, so there you have it.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Red White & Blue BBQ!

Some of you may recall last year's Fourth of July burger bash.  For this year's bbq I decided to attempt to cook with things that are red, white, and blue.

I got real bold with the first dish: pasta salad.  For the white, I used cauliflower.  For the red, I used cherry tomatoes.  For the show stopper blue, I dyed the pasta!

I put blue food coloring in the pasta water as it was boiling.

It may or may not have repulsed people...

I also made a salad that might just be my new favorite thing in the whole wide world.  Spinach with strawberries, blue berries, goat cheese, almonds and a poppy seed dressing.

Unfortunately, my computer is choosing to laugh in my face by not allowing this photo to be aligned correctly.

We're going to start of this next dish by apologizing.  I served under-cooked potato salad! Good God I can't even handle the embarrassment.

For dessert, I made a red velvet cake with coconut frosting and decorated it with blue berries and some patriotic sprinkles.

To drink, I made a white wine sangria with strawberries and blueberries.

Some awesome people helped me out too.  By making me a watermelon feta salad.

And a buffalo chicken dip.

And a popcorn flag cake that sadly didn't get photographed.

Thanks everyone for coming! I hope you had as much fun as I did!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Buckeye Brownies

I am still dreaming about these brownies.  I wish I had them all to myself they were so damn good.  I got the recipe for buckeye brownies from cookies and cups who also specializes in terribly unhealthy foods much like myself.

These are made with brownie mix (score, shortcut!).  The recipe makes the brownie mix into a dough (with peanuts in it!!!) so you press half the dough down into the bottom of the pan first.  Then you pour on the peanut butter/condensed milk mixture on top.  I might note that this mixture is delicious on its own.  I could totally drink an entire glass of it.

Then you sprinkle the other half of the brownie dough on top like so.

All finished! Ugh sooooooooooooo good. Trust me, you need to eat these. And I need to eat them again and again and again.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Bacon Crackers

It's tough to call this one a "recipe" because it's so ridiculously simple.

The ingredients list: bacon, crackers, Parmesan cheese.

Let it be no surprise to you that this was a Paula Dean recipe that can be found here.

Paula has you cook the crackers on a cooling rack over a sheet pan, but I'm not sure if my racks are oven safe so I just cooked them on parchment paper.

And that's that.

The End.