Showing posts with label Party Ideas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Party Ideas. Show all posts

Friday, February 15, 2013

“Colors of the Caribbean” Lemonade with Passion Fruit Cognac

Once again another blast from my past as I reprint a recipe from an old food blog.  I've been trying to move over some of my favorites.  This not only tastes FANTASTIC, but has fond memories for us as this was served at a LARGE neighborhood BBQ event in my back yard!

The Cul de Sac is where it's at and the my back yard is the place to be!

Enjoy!




Well, good news for me, great news for the Cul de Sac... the now annual neighborhood BBQ party an dget together is now history.  Last year, over 50 people came... this year, There were a few stragglers that came by after I stopped counting at 73.  But 73 is a pretty good number.


But, the bad news, I was serving up pulled pork, dishing the side dishes, even wrote out a couple of recipes when asked, and just got too busy to take photos.  At one point I remember going into the house to hunt for my camera, couldn't immediately find it and decided hosting the party had to take priority over hosting the blog.


So in addition to a mild hangover, I now have to type this up, knowing that I let you all down.






But, I didn't let the Cul de Sac down... The gods and stars were shining on me, I selected the pig that lived a good and virtuous life, I learned from my past cook sessions, using my now famous Raspberry Chipotle Mop and finishing sauce to make a Carolina style Pulled Pork.


Spice Mixes I Love!I also used a rub of my own.


I used the formula for my "Big Easy in a Jar" Cajun Spice Mix, add Brown Sugar to the mix (2 parts "Big Easy in a Jar" to 1 part brown sugar).





I followed my three simple steps to a perfect BBQ, select the best meat (For pork shoulder, no large lumps of hard fat, nicely marbled fat, without large veins of fat running through, never frozen if possible), keep the meat moist (Mop every hour for the first 5 hours, every 3 hours after that), and the long and slow cook session.  Cooking at 225, it took 20 hours for the meat to get to the right temperature (195 degrees).


And it did not disappoint.  Compliments all around, techniques asked for and explained (although the time frame to get it right did seem to intimidate less enthusiastic cooks), but mostly, I was very pleased to serve up the absolute best pulled pork I have ever made.


The party started at 4 pm, plenty of food, plenty of fun.  We met new neighbors, renewed friendships we had missed while gone this year and was able to connect names and faces with the folks we wave to all year round without ever meeting.  The kids and the parents with kids stayed for a few hours, got a few games going ("Dads have to bat left handed whiffle ball" was very competitive, with the kids winning (but I think the dentist through the game in the 9th)).  By about 7, there were a dozen folks left sitting round the firepit.  A nice cool evening (in the 60's) was perfect for a night of laughs and stories.


Like I always say, the suburban Cul de Sac is the place to be, and my backyard is the place to be!


It was a huge success.  I highly recommend the party idea to everyone.  A little bit of work, but well worth it.




But, as a peace offering for not taking any photos, let me give you an incredibly simple recipe for what became a very popular drink yesterday.  So popular, one of the guys made a liquor run just to pick up a bottle of Alize Blue...



This has become my wife's favorite drink.  I posted this once as a guest post on OUR KRAZY KITCHEN, but it is worth the extra posting.


we wanted to have a theme drink to serve our friends while we bored them with our stories and photographs.



Like this one…






See that beautiful color of the ocean. This photo was taken in “the Baths” in Virgin Gorda, of the British Virgin Isles. I just fell in love with the colors of the Caribbean waters, and wanted to recreate this color in a drink.

So, I give you the “Colors of the Caribbean” Lemonade

Start with 1/2 a pitcher (about 5 cups) of your favorite Lemonade
Add 1 cup Blue Alize Liqueur (blue Alize is a French Cognac mixture with Passion Fruit, Cherries, Ginger and other exotic fruit juices).
Fill with ice
Garnish with Lemon Slices
Serve in tall Collins size glass, and garnish with Lemon Slices

Like I said, a huge hit at the party.  We went through two bottles of the blue Alize.  This is the recipe most asked for.  I have a feeling we will be seeing this around the neighborhood again.


Can a whole Cul de Sac have a signature drink???

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So,  I am pleased to list this as one of my Growing list of  "52 Grilling Time Secret Extras" or "52 Ways to Cook BBQ and Grilling Recipes"!!!

Well over 52 recipes actually as I just can't stop... Over 100 in one grilling season (I love to grill!). But not just leat... Drinks, Condiments (LOTS of different BBQ sauces), Drinks, Desserts... even specialty items like GRILLED Pizza, and fun shaped Watermelons.  Easy and these ideas will make you the MASTER of your Backyard Domain!

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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Roast Pork in Milk (Arista in Latte)


OK, we are getting down to the star of an American table, the main course (the meat course, called the Secondo at an Italian dinner).  Most folks have heard that meat is considered a luxury item and served sparingly in most of the world.  Think about sausages... Meat with fillings.  If you have been reading along over the last few days, following a large platter of Antipasto meats and cheeses, a Tomato Bruschetta, a Pasta and a Salad served as the Primo, A potato dish and a cooked Swiss Chard salad dish served as Contorno (side dishes, vegetable dishes).  By the time the platter of meat was served, it was not the star of the show... Simply a balanced course served as part of a single meal.  All the parts were coming together!

So recapping, this week I am posting recipes and thoughts behind a large (for me) "formal" Italian dinner party for 8 people. 5 courses, 7 separate dishes (plus a drink) all cooked fresh, served in a timely manor and of course, tasty and delicious.
I have already covered the Antipasto course (2 "party" Trays (Cured meats and Cheeses) and a plate of Bruschetta) ...Italian antipasto - Antipasto all'italiana. Then yesterday I posted the first of two Primo courses (the first course, appetizer, starter course), a wonderfully unique Fennel and Blood Orange Salad. All of that was especially easy as there was no cooking involved, The Antipasto was set up before the guests arrived. The salad was simply brought out of the marinade and put into a serving platter to pass. I did start to cook a bit when i made pasta, cooked it, made a sauce and mixed the pasta in the sauce (not as hard or time consuming as it sounds, as it took less than 10 minutes to make the Pepper Pasta With Brown Butter Sage Sauce! Remember, Mise en Place and prep work is your friend as you want everything to run like clock work. I planned to make 2 different Contorni (Side dishes or the vegetable course). Once again, as with the Primo (pasta and salad course) I chose the dishes for a variety of reasons, but center stage was the ease of cooking. I had made a , Potatoes in a Pouch (Patate al forno in un sacchetto). This simple potato dish has several advantages for a party platter. First, they are very tasty. Simply baked in a pouch with sage and olive oil. The extra kick is the raw bacon that cooks and seeps bacon fat into the potatoes as they cook. But the big advantage is that they are another no mess no fuss dish. All you have to do is open the foil, pour them in a serving platter and enjoy.  The second Contorni side was a beautiful colorful Swiss Chard with Tomatoes , Pine Nuts and Olives (Bietole con Pomodori, Pinoli e Olive)!  It does sound like a lot, and it was.  but again, proper planning got everything organized, dishes served timely with a gap of only about 10 minutes between courses.

And serving this was no exception.  The Secondo (meat course) and the Contorni (vegetable side dish course) were served at the same time.  But the meat was cooking throughout the early part of the dinner.  This is a wonderful dish to prepare as it spends most of it's time in a milk bath (well, HOT hot tub really).  The only "cooking" that needs to be done is to remove the meat when it reaches the proper internal temperature (please cook this with one of those new fangled CHEAP battery operated remote temperature probe that you insert and watch for th proper temperature... I never have dry overcooked meat cause I do not cook by time, just temperature... But I digress).

Once out of the milk bath, the meat MUST rest for 10-15 minutes before you slice it.  This keeps the juices inside the meat making it fork tender and juicy.

As to this beautiful sauce, the milk forms almost a yogurt consistency while it cooks the loin.  A quick whisk, a little flour and you have a mustard gravy that was the hit of the evening.  In my cooking career I have spent more than my fair amount of time grilling meat.  I love it and it tastes great.  BUT it does require attention from the cook.  Very little time for the whirling dervish that is serving up multiple dishes for a multiple course meal.  Cooking the loin in milk for a long amount of time gave me a luxury of time to have everything hot and ready to serve all at the same time.

So, tender, full of flavor and simply amazing... And the timing is a cook's friend.  Perfect Secondo for my party...




Roast Pork in Milk 
(Arista in Latte)


Ingredients
  • Two 1-1/2 to 2 lb. Pork Loin, Center Cut
  • 4 TBS Whole Grain Mustard
  • 1 TBS Salt
  • 2 TBS Freshly Ground Pepper
  • 4 TBS Butter
  • Up to 3 Cups Whole Milk
  • Sprinkling of Flour for the gravy
Cooking Directions
  1. Allow your pork to come to room temperature, remove from the refrigerator 1 hour before beginning to prepare.
  2. Generously rub the mustard on the outside of the pork.
  3. Season with the salt and pepper
  4. Over your stove top, on Medium high heat heat a heavy bottomed large skillet (I use my cast iron frying pan for this dish), but you will need a lid, so the largest heaviest pan you have with a lid,
  5. Once hat, add the butter and sear all sides of the loin. Some (most) of the mustard will char and not remain on the meat and that is fine. It is there to season the gravy as much as the meat.
  6. Sear each side for only 2 minutes each.
  7. Once the sides are browned, REDUCE THE HEAT TO JUST ABOVE LOW. You want to slow cook the pork in about 225 degree liquid.
  8. Add the milk to the pan. This will help lower the temperature of the pan. You want the milk to rise to just a bit above half way up the meat.
  9. Insert the temperature probe and cover the pan.
  10. You are going to cook to cook until the internal temperature reaches 120 degrees. Then turn the loin so the part that was out of the milk is now in the milk, reinsert the temperature probe and cook until internal temperature in the thickest part of the meat reaches 140 degrees.
  11. Remove from the bath, allow to rest on a cutting board for at least 10-15 minutes. The meat will continue to cook for awhile so the internal temperature of the thickest part of the meat is 145 degrees.           My total cooking time was about 1 hour 15 minutes, but will vary according to how hot the milk is, type of pan, etc.  Cook with a thermometer)
  12. While the meat is resting, make the gravy. You only want to use about 1 cup of the liquid, but be sure to spoon the thick globules of yogurt that form on the top in that cup. Also all of the mustard and seeds from the whole grain that were chard during the first step should be fished out. There is GREAT flavor in the roasted mustard seeds.
  13. Add this cup to a small sauce pan and whisk until smooth. If you need to thicken, add a tsp of flour at a time and whisk for a full minute with each tsp.
  14. After the meat has rested, slice and arrange on a serving platter. Pour the gravy on the slices and ...
  15. Serve HOT and ENJOY!

FANTASTIC... the gravy adds a huge flavor to the pork.  But the pork on it's own tasted wonderful.  Fork tender, juicy throughout and with that sweet hint from the milk bath (hot tub).  I simply adore this platter of meat.

And of course, as I said it is very nice to have a meat dish that impresses and still allows the cook time to be a part of the party and still assemble all of the side dishes.  Worked like a charm!

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So,  I am pleased to list this as one of my Growing list of  "52 Authentic Italian Recipes"!!!

Well over 52 recipes actually as I just can't stop. The world's most popular cuisine, authentic, natural, organic, Farm to Table... the Italians started, perfected or embraced it before it became a fad. This page is a guide to Italian Cooking... For the home cook!  So, Cin Cin (toast) and Buon Appetito (Enjoy your Meal) to you all and let's Cook authentic Italian!

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Rules, only 2... 
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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Caramelized Onion BBQ Chicken Pizza Bites


HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

2013... who would have thought?  And here I am still writing 1973 on my checks, ah well, time does march on.

Last night was a big night for us in the Cul de Sac.  Neighborhood party that actually started around our bedtime.  Jackie and I toughed it out though and actually was around to kiss my special girl and ring in the new year with friends.

It's going to be a big year for me, plenty to share and plans for a year of fun cooking.

Like last nights little appetizer bites I contributed to the party.  Seemed appropriate for me to close the year with yet another use for my beloved Rotisserie Chicken.


All made very easy with the use not only with the store bought pre-cooked, pre-seasoned Rotisserie Chicken, as well as a sheet of Puff Pastry.  Just add the onions, sauce and a little cheese.  What could be easier!

BUT, there is a trick, explained in the instructions but also shown in photos below the recipe, so look over the whole post before trying this easy recipe.



Caramelized Onion BBQ Chicken Pizza Bites


Ingredients
  • 2 TBS Olive Oil
  • 1 Large Onion, thinly sliced, rigs separated
  • 1 Sheet Completely thawed Pepperidge Farms brand Puff Pastry, Sliced into 12 squares/rectangles
  • 12 HALF TBS Tomato Sauce
  • 12 HALF TBS Dark meat from a Rotisserie Chicken, diced and marinated in a bit of BBQ sauce
  • 12 HALF TBS Grated Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1 Large Egg beaten for an egg wash
  • 3 Large Basil Leaves cut into ribbons Chiffonade style for garnish
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. In a heavy bottomed large skillet over medium high heat, warm the Olive oil. Add the Onions and saute for about 20 minutes, until the onions have softened and started to turn brown.
  3. Arrange the squares of puff pastry on a silipat sheet or a sheet of parchment paper
  4. Meanwhile, take the back of a TableSpoon and press a dimple into the center of each of the squares of puff pastry. This gives you a spot to add the fixins for the pizza bites, prevents those spots from rising, allowing the unpressed areas to puff (It's not called puff pastry for nothing).
  5. Add the Tomato Sauce, 1 TBS in each dimple
  6. Add the Chicken
  7. By now, the Onions are cooked, add them on top of the chicken
  8. Add the cheese
  9. Brush the edges of the puff pastry with an egg wash
  10. And bake for 20 minutes, until the edges have puffed and begun to turn golden brown and delicious!
  11. Garnish with basil ribbons
  12. Serve warm and PARTY LIKE IT's 1999!!!



These were a BIG hot at the party.  Just the right size to hold, nibble and still have room for a glass of bubbly!

Oh what a night for the old folks!

A perfect little Appetizer, great for New Year's Eve and i am planning on using them again for my Super Bowl party!

******************************************************

This recipe has been added to my growing list of "52 Uses For a Rotisserie Chicken"  (Now close to 100!)...I am so confused... $5.49 for a fully cooked, fully seasoned Oven Roasted, Rotisserie Chicken. Yet shop in the raw meat department and most raw chickens are at best $8 each and usually far closer to $10. Anyone have an answer??? Me either. So, I can either rail against the machine, or learn to embrace the beauty that is the $5 chicken! In this pin are recipes I have made, and recommend. MORE than 52 (I just can't stop)..
You get the idea.  From Scratch Pizza to Chinese Take Out recipes, Lots of Soups and Chili... Appetizers to Main Courses (Still can't find a dessert, but I am looking).  More than enough ideas for that store nought bird to shine with just a little extra work

***********************PINTEREST*********************

Come and find me on Pinterest... Any of my "52 Ways to cook" Boards are worth following.  If you like this post, please take a second and "Pin" this to your own boards... Better yet, if you are part of a foodie group board please take a second and add this post to your group pins... best way to show your Love!

And BTW, if you are not yet part of a group board, drop me an email at Contact@eRecipeCards.com and request to be added to my group board... FAVORITE FOOD BLOGGERS! (be sure to include your pinterest ID when you write)  Once you are added, any pins you add will be seen by 10s of THOUSANDS of followers of the board (and growing daily).

Rules, only 2... 
  1. In order to join you need to start following the group board as well as at least one of my boards.
  2. And you must ONLY pin original sources, posts from food related bloggers only.  If you are a blogger, this is a great way to have thousands of potential readers see your work,  If you are a fan of bloggers, a great way to share your favorites...
    Come and be a part of ... FAVORITE FOOD BLOGGERS! on Pinterest

Monday, December 31, 2012

QUICK... I Need an Appetizer for a Party


HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Suddenly we had a party at our house a few nights ago.

About 5 minutes later, I had a plate of appetizers that everyone raved about.  Best of all, I usually have the 2 ingredients in my freezer.  Three ingredients if you count the Cajun spices... 4 if you count butter...



OK, could not be easier...

Blackened Shrimp and Cajun spiced Andouille Sausage on a skewer.

I took 1 pound of Andouille spiced sausage, sliced and sauted in a heavy bottomed saute pan for about 5 minutes, stirring every minute or so so that the bottoms evenly char a bit.

Meanwhile...

Blackened Shrimp is easy.  I started with 1 pound of frozen shrimp that thaws almost instantly when rinsed in HOT water.

While the shrimp is thawing, over medium high heat, melt 2 TBS Butter in a heavy bottomed small skillet.

Add 1 TBS of Cajun Spices (Commercial brand is fine, or mix your own!!!) to the butter and make sure it is well mixed.  The medium high heat will quickly begin to smoke a tiny bit.  that is when you add the shrimp to the spiced butter.

Saute for only 1-2 minutes.  A great time to do teh TV chef thing and flip in the pan.  Coat well with the butter and spices.  the shrimp cooks fast, 2 minutes is plenty of time.

Remove from the heat, Skewer a shrimp and a sausage piece... arrange on a plate and serve HOT and get back to the party!!!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Wasting Away in Strawberry Jell-O Shot Margaritaville



"Some people claim that there's a woman to blame...
But I know, It's my own damn fault"

Actually, there was a woman to blame for these. It was the anniversary of my friend and neighbor's 29th birthday. I was to provide the treats. Sure, I made a cake...






A 4 tier red velvet cake thank you very much, but that's a post for tomorrow.

Today, my specific instructions were to make treats for the party. Jackie insisted that I make the cake, which was fine, but I had the most beautiful strawberries from my trip to the Farmer's Market (are you counting... fifth post in a row of pretty good stuff inspired by the market). So, I made the cake to make Jackie happy, but these were the hit of the party. Well, the first 20 minutes of the party anyway.



I found this recipe on the Kimberly Belle - Food Maven blog. She tells a wonderful story about her history with jell-o. But you'll have to hit the link to read her story.

But here's what I came up with from her inspiration...

3/4 pints Strawberries (hulled)
1 bunch Basil
4 cup Water
Lime Juice from 1 fresh Lime
2 envelopes Knox Gelatin
generous 1/3 cup Tequila
1/4 cup Cointreau
1/4 cup Sugar
Fleur de sel (a brand of large grind salt. Makes em look really pretty)

  1. Make sure the tequila and Cointreau are well chilled in the freezer. 
  2. Puree the heck out of the strawberries, so even the seeds get pureed as best you can. 
  3. Add enough water to the berries to make a total of a little over 1 cup of liquid. 
  4. Boil the lime juice, strawberries and water.
  5. Mix the gelatin with the sugar, and then slowly stir it into the boiling juices. 
  6. Allow to cool to room temperature. 
  7. Add the tequila and Cointreau. 
  8. Pour into a baking pan, top with the basil leaves, and chill for 1 hour. 
  9. Sprinkle with fleur de sel mixed with lime zest and chill overnight. 
  10. Slice in the morning and serve.
I do love the instruction to serve in the morning. Well, celebrate the kids going back to school anyway you chose.

Have a great weekend everyone, I have to go hunt down my lost shaker of salt.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Heart Shaped Pizza with Heart shaped Pepperoni


If you need advice on making Home made... Dough or sauce or details about cooking time, temperature or any of the basics, take a look at PIZZA 101 (click the blue letters).

But here are the details for the Heart Shaped Pepperoni...

For Valentine's Day...








Just that easy!






Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Potato Skins Party Buffet


HMMM... I guess I am still doing Bar Snacks.  Although these actually are more of a party idea.  I served them with burger sliders, but the hit was a buffet of choices to load up a potato skin.  We only had 4 people at the event, so the toppings were limited.  But in the past I have done a baked potato party with a dozen choices.

It can not be easier.  First bake the potatoes.  You can easily microwave them (but this will yield a softer "skin").  I prefer to bake them.  Wash and scrub a russet potato, rub with a little Olive Oil, pierce the skin 4 times with a fork (so the steam can escape and your tater does not split while cooking) and bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 1 hour.  A fork should be able to freely insert and release when the tater is done.  This gives you a crispier "bar quality" potato skin.

To make them skins, cut the taters in half, lengthwise so they sit widest.  Take a spoon and hollow out some of the potato to make a little boat (Save the extra potato for a mashed potato snack next day with the leftover toppings).

Then just load up.  Bake them one more time for about 10 minutes so any cheese that is added melts.


And of course, provide a variety of dipping sauces.

So, here's what I did...

6 small/medium size Potatoes
3 different good melting cheeses (or more if you have a larger party)
Chose from Cheddar, Mexican Queso, Swiss, Pepper Jack, Blue Cheese, Brie,  etc.
5 different toppings (or more)
Chose from Bacon Caramelized Bacon, Onions, Caramel Onions, Green Onions, Sausage, Chili, baby Shrimp, Crab Meat, Sausage (try some Chorizo), Cranberry Sauce, How about a Waldorf Salad to top?, roasted garlic... The choices are only limited by your imagination!
3 different dipping sauces
Choose from BBQ Sauce, Honey Mustard, Sour Cream, Peanut Sauce, Hot Wing Sauce, Hot Pepper Jelly, Sweet green Onion Cilantro, Ranch Dressing... Again, only limited by your imagination.

First bake the potatoes.  You can easily microwave them (but this will yield a softer "skin").  I prefer to bake them.  Wash and scrub a russet potato, rub with a little Olive Oil, pierce the skin 4 times with a fork (so the steam can escape and your tater does not split while cooking) and bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 1 hour.  A fork should be able to freely insert and release when the tater is done.  This gives you a crispier "bar quality" potato skin.
To make them skins, cut the taters in half, lengthwise so they sit widest.  Take a spoon and hollow out some of the potato to make a little boat (Save the extra potato for a mashed potato snack next day with the leftover toppings).
Then just load up.  Bake them one more time for about 10 minutes so any cheese that is added melts and finally add toppings
And Enjoy!




And of course, Potato Skins are on everyone's "Top Five" list of Bar Snacks!


Printable recipe...

For the time being...

Click the image to the left for a printable copy of this recipe. When the large image appears, right click the image and select "Copy Image". Then open a word document file, click paste and print. Prints on an 8 1/2 by 11 sheet of paper.

Soon, it will become a PDF file that you simply have to click and print.

Media

FMP