Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

            Our 2nd Thanksgiving… in the books. Last year, we were in our house for, oh about, 1 month when we hosted 30+ family members. With boxes still unpacked and Hurricane Sandy effects lingering quite near, we opted to have all our family pretty much cater the entire day. I honestly don’t think we cooked a darn thing last year. We were there to show people around the new digs, preheat the oven, and keep the drinks cold. It was a great way to start our tradition of hosting Thanksgiving, even if I didn’t mix or stir one thing!

            This year, things were a wee-bit different. We were in charge of the appetizers while we let the Fam cater the Italian and Main Courses. I take baby steps, people. We had a smaller amount of company this year- around 28 in all, while the flippin’ freezing temperatures kept us all indoors nonetheless.

            Since we were in charge of the apps, Matt and I decided to make a few of our favorites to start the day. Him being the “grill master”, he also wanted to fire up the Weber and put it to use. Here are the highlights…

Cheese being one of our best friends, we plattered-up 3 of our usuals- Gouda, Manchego, and Asiago. They were well-received, especially with the fig jam accompaniment.

I made a summer appetizer that I knew would be a crowd-pleaser- Honey & Pignoli Nut Ricotta with grilled sausage over crostinis.

Matt thought sliders would be a new addition to the appetizer hour, so he grilled up some mini Kobe beef patties. My job here was to toast the buns, schmear them with Port Wine cheese and stuffed them with bacon pieces. Put that all together and what you have is a BBQ in November!


Fried raviolis were our last offering for this course and they went quicker than those Black Friday deals.  

            Needless to say, we all were decently full after the first hour or so. Matt and I, although full, were also relieved that our job in the kitchen was done. We let the pros take over and man, did they bring their A-games. From the meatballs, to the rollatini, to the ham, and of course to that darn turkey, we all kept on making more room for one more bite. I might have forgotten the biscuits and cranberry sauce, but gee-whiz- with all that food and priceless family around us, we certainly had much to be thankful for. I hope your day was delightful & delicious as well. J

In the coming weeks, I will be posting the recipes I shared but for now, I just wanted to share a little of our day with you.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Balsamic Glazed Brussels Sprouts

            I’ve set a record people! This might be my quickest time from going from pinning to blogging. Lauren, over at Lauren’s Latest, posted this recipe on Monday and I had it pinned, cooked, and blogged by Wednesday. That’s a quicker turn-around time than my laundry. J

            Needless to say, this had our names all over it. Hubby is obsessed with Brussels lately and I’m a sucker for anything roasted, glazed and green. In the past, I’ve tried a few glazes with balsamic, sugar, butter, oil, but this one is so far my favorite. Funny, it is the simplest- just balsamic, sugar and some patience.

            I usually don’t post so soon after eating things, but couldn’t resist as this would make a great addition to your Thanksgiving spread next week. It’s easy, quick, and most definitely a show-stopper. And those my friends, are 3 wonderful things to be thankful for. Enjoy…

Balsamic Glazed Brussels Sprouts
Source: Lauren’s Latest (I cut the recipe down)
Serves: 2

OBJ: TCW will be able to finally make that oh-so delicious sweet and savory sauce that glistens up any food it coats

1 lb (about2 Cups) Brussels Sprouts- bottoms cut off and chopped in ½
1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt
3 TBS Balsamic vinegar
1 ½ TBS sugar

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
2. Place sprouts on large baking sheet or jelly roll pan and toss well with oil and salt
3. Roast for 20-25 minutes, or until browned
4. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat balsamic vinegar and sugar over medium-low flame. Stir frequently and cook until thickened- about 5-10 minutes
5. Transfer sprouts to skillet and toss to coat
6. Enjoy

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A New Cheese on the Block

            So how many cheeses can you name? Mozz, Cheddar, Feta, Gruyere, Parmesan, Gorgonzola, Ricotta, and I’d say I could do about 5-10 more, but I think that would be it for me. I’m not speaking for all, but I think you’re in the same boat as me. You know your ordinaries, you know your loves, you know your boundaries and I’m sure you know your “no-way Jose” cheeses.

            And well, besides the basic cheeses, I rarely consume anything else. I find this kind of sad since the amount of choices out there in Curdland are endless. Take one walk around the “cheese island” at Wegmans  or stop by your local Italian Market- the varieties will amaze you. That being said, I think we should all resolve this year to try some new cheeses. I know it is only November, but why not kick start 2014 a bit early? I’m not asking you to begin training for a triathlon or give up white flour, I’m telling you to increase your cheese repertoire. I’m in, are you?

            And since I’m the driver of this cheese bandwagon, I have one cheese in mind that you should go out and get. Mielito, that is. Hubby bought this a few weeks back to add to our dinner salads. We are always trying to step up our salad game, but that is another blog post. Anyway, we figured it would be hearty enough to bulk up the greens while salty enough to season them. Well, we got hearty and salty-yes, but we also got creamy and nutty. Needless to say, the cheese was great. I did some googling research and I found out that the cheese is from the Veneto region of Italy and is made from cow’s milk that has a bit of honey added in. Doesn't that make you feel smarter?!?

            So there you have it, a new cheese that we tried and now you have to. Don’t stress about getting it on a salad though, I’d save that for another day- just get the goods, grab some crackers, and keep that treadmill all folded up! Enjoy...

Mixed Greens over Sliced Pears, Roasted Walnuts and Mielito
Serves: 2

OBJ: TCW be able to try a new cheese

10 thin slices of Mielito Cheese
2 C romaine lettuce, cleaned
2 C baby spinach, cleaned
¼ C roasted walnuts
1 Bartlett pear, sliced
¼ C Craisins
½ croutons
½ C cherry tomatoes, cleaned and halved
¼ C shredded or chopped carrots
S & P- salt and pepper
Honey Balsamic dressing- I recommend Ken’s Reserve

1. Divide the ingredients up into 2 bowls
2. Salt and pepper to taste
3. Add dressing to the amount you prefer




Thursday, November 7, 2013

Sweet & Salty Bananas

          Oh, overripe bananas, how you bother me so……you attract yucky flies, stink up my cabinet and sometimes get caught in my bag and make mush! Your only reprieve is that you make a delicious base for both breads and muffins and from time-to-time you make my oatmeal extra hearty and satisfying on a cold morning. But even with those little treasures, I still can only handle so much of your bread, muffins and oatmeal.

            Luckily, I’m pretty imaginative and have quite the chocolate-packed pantry so that you, my bruised buddies, will not find yourself in the trash. Oh no, I am going to portion you off, dip you in dark chocolate, roll you in salted peanuts, then freeze you for our next nighttime treat. Okay, that might not sound as appealing to you as it does to me, but oh well, I’m the cook- I win….

            Okay, enough with the banana-talk or should I say enough monkeying around! Hahaha…..oiy vey, I know I know- I’m a bit odd. I do try to contain myself with my quirky humor but sometimes I just go with it. Which is kind of like this recipe- I had no idea what it would turn out like but knew I just had to let it fly. And whattya know, it was a keeper……just like me! J Enjoy…

Sweet & Salty Bananas
Serves: 6-8

OBJ: TCW be able to use up her ripe bananas without using them in another darn banana bread or muffin!

3 overripe bananas, peeled and cut into thirds or about 3 inch pieces
1 C dark chocolate melting wafers, melted according to package directions ( I rec. Ghirardelli brand)
¾ C crushed salted peanuts, placed in a shallow bowl or plate
1 empty ice cube tray
6-8 tooth picks

1. Working with one banana piece at a time, stick it with a tooth pick ½ - ¾ way through. Roll or dip in melting chocolate, drip off excess. Roll in salted peanuts. Place toothpick side up in ice cube tray
2. Continue process with remaining ingredients
3. Freeze for at least 2-3 hours
4. Enjoy