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Category — Entertaining

dirty little secret

Honestly, it’s more of a dirty little tip that I have for you today.

It’s no secret that one of my favorite cocktails to make is Mules. Everyone knows that Mules are best served in copper cups. They’re hip, on trend and they keep the cocktail ice-cold for a very long time.

They most recent Mules I made were for Steve and Tram’s St. Patrick’s Day Dinner. Here are links to some of the Mule recipes I’ve posted:

My collection of copper mugs has grown to 20. Most are vintage. Seventeen of the twenty are as shiny as a new penny. They stay that way because they are sealed.

Sadly, the sealant has come off the other three and they tarnish quickly. But there is a fix for that.

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March 24, 2017   No Comments

Guinness Fondue

Sweet Zoey and me testing the appetizer I made for Tram and Steve’s St. Patrick’s Day/Going-Away dinner party last Friday night. Zoey and Zak were not fans of the Guinness Fondue, but they did love all the dippers for it.

One of the dippers is blanched Brussels sprouts.

To blanch them; trim the ends and cut in half. Bring a pot of water to the boil and add 1 tablespoon of salt. Add sprouts and boil for 3 or 4 minutes, or until a paring knife pierces a sprout easily. Drain and then shock in ice water. Drain on paper towels and leave at room temperature until serving time. Note: When you’re trimming and halving the sprouts, you’ll end up with a pile of single leaves. I blanched the leaves first for about 30 seconds, shocked and drained them and used them in a salad the next day. Zero waste!

Also a note about another dipper – the pretzel roll cubes. I didn’t have time to get to Costco and buy a package of their pretzel rolls, which are the best around, in my opinion. Instead I bought the Trader Joe’s pretzel rolls. You know I love my Trader Joe’s, but there is no comparison between the two rolls. The Costco variety are saltier and way more pretzel-y. Lesson learned.

One last note before the recipe. I know, I’ve got so much to say about this easy-breezy appetizer! A third and very important dipper is apple cubes. In my rush to assemble and set out the appetizer when I arrived at Tram’s, I forgot to add the apple cubes to the serving tray. I felt like something was missing, but I brushed it off. Finally, a guest asked, “What is this container of apple cubes for?” Darn it! Don’t forget to put them out because they add a much-needed light and bright color to the tray of dippers and are a delicious fresh addition to the overall taste choices. *If you look closely in the left upper corner of the photo above, you’ll see them in their storage container with the purple trimmed lid. Oh well.

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March 23, 2017   No Comments

Irish recipes for next St. Patrick’s Day

On Friday night, Tram and Steve had a St. Patrick’s Day dinner party that was also a going-away party for a special Irish chef we all know and love. Chef Michael Cairns and his beautiful wife, Dar, are moving to Napa, California today. You will now be able to find Michael at the gorgeous Silverado Resort. The last time I was at The Silverado was in 1990-something for the Napa County Wine Auction. Knowing that Michael is there makes me want to go back. The 2017 Auction is the first weekend in June… very tempting!

Michael and Steve cooked up a delicious traditional St. Patrick’s Day meal; corned beef, cabbage & carrots, soda bread, Shepard’s pie, roasted potatoes, boiled potatoes and colcannon (which is another potato dish – you know, for good measure!)

I contributed my favorite things to bring to parties, a cocktail and an appetizer. Today you’ll find the cocktail recipe and tomorrow I’ll post the appetizer.

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March 22, 2017   1 Comment

savory “lollypops”

Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Faith and Begorrah!

I’ve mentioned several times before that I am a founding member of the Phoenix chapter of Les Dames d’ Escoffier. Our March meeting was an appetizer pot-luck and I made these fun and savory pimento cheese lollypops to share.

No matter how cute and tasty they may have been, they could never compete with the out-of-this-world Fried Chicken that Charleen Badman, chef/owner, of the ever wonderful FnB, brought to the meeting! So darn good! But since I don’t have the recipe for Charleen’s chicken, the recipe for the lollypops will have to suffice.

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March 17, 2017   1 Comment

bacon candy

At last, the end of recipes from the 2016 Holiday Appetizer Pot-Luck.

Marissa made my famous Caesar Dip, the recipe can be found HERE. Near the end of the evening, I set out bowls and platters of holiday sweets and desserts I’d purchased at Trader Joe’s, alongside the coffee and cocoa bar.

Before I share the last recipe, let me tell you the joke I made up about it…

The original name for this recipe was Bacon Crack, that seems a bit crass, so I’ve since changed it to Bacon Candy.

I made the recipe the morning of the party. I tasted it and didn’t think it was all that great. Come party time, I put it in the serving dish and told guests, “It’s called Bacon Crack, but it’s not all that it’s ‘cracked up’ to be.” Haha.

Funny thing was, everyone loved it. I tasted it again and they were right, it was boatloads better once it cooled completely and sat around for a few hours.

I apologize that it has taken seven weeks to post the 10 recipes from a Christmas Eve Eve party. (To easily find them all in one place, just click on the link in the first sentence of this post and it will take you to them)

The good news is that here on the blog, 2016 finally ends and next week, 2017 begins!

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February 24, 2017   1 Comment

Lisa’s Brie en Croûte

This recipe came straight from the Pepperidge Farm website. And I have to confess, so did the photo. The picture I took was too blurry to use.

My beautiful friend and neighbor, Lisa, made it and topped hers with an adorable puff pastry candy cane in place of the poinsettia you see pictured here. What’s not to love?! Cheese, puff pastry, almonds and dried cranberries. Yum!

Tomorrow I’ll finally wrap up with the last recipe and some final thoughts from the 2016 Holiday Appetizer Pot-Luck.

Photo

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February 23, 2017   No Comments

Kim’s Salmon Rounds

We’re closing in on the last of the 2016 Holiday Appetizer Pot-Luck recipes.

Kim made this one and totally changed the recipe I’d sent out and made it all her own… no surprise there.

Instead of making the cream cheese mixture the recipe called for, Kim used Boursin. Use any flavor you prefer.

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February 22, 2017   2 Comments

Shrimp Scampi Dip

Recipe #6 from the 2016 Holiday Appetizer Pot-Luck is rich and creamy and what I’d call decadent. In other words, stick to the crudités if you’re watching your fat intake! Then again, this was served during the holidays, certainly a taste can’t hurt.

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February 21, 2017   4 Comments

back in the saddle

Hello friends,

I’ve put off this day for far too long. I’m going through some life changes. As such, blogging about food and entertaining and putting on the “everything is just fine” face has felt disingenuous.

After trying several times over the past five weeks to get a post up and stopping short each time, I have decided that today is the day.

My last post, on January 13th, was a recipe from our 2016 Holiday Appetizer Pot-Luck. I figure that is as good a place as any to pick up where I left off and get on with it!

These chicken cheeseballs were a big hit and could not be easier to throw together. They can be assembled, lined up on the baking sheet, covered with plastic wrap and then refrigerated the night before or in the morning and then baked off just before your guests arrive. They are even delicious at room temperature. I’m certain they would be great the next day too, but there were none left, so I can’t swear to that.

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February 20, 2017   8 Comments

Bacon Wrapped Maple Brussels Sprouts

This is one of the recipes I made for the 2016 Holiday Appetizer Pot-Luck and it is a winner any time of year. It only has four ingredients and can be made well in advance, then thrown in the oven at the last-minute.

I’d love to be able to tell you that these are just as good reheated the next day, but I’ve never had even one left any time I’ve made them to test that theory.

Of course, in my opinion, anything wrapped in bacon is the perfect appetizer for any occasion!

Bacon Wrapped Maple Brussels Sprouts

  • 15 Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed
  • 15 pieces bacon (regular cut, not thick cut)
  • 5 tablespoons maple syrup, divided
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Bring a small pot of water to a simmer. Add the sprouts and cook for 8 minutes. Drain and set aside. Cut in half through then stem end when they are cool enough to handle.

Fry bacon, in batches, in a large skillet until it is just beginning to brown but still pliable. Drain on paper towels.

What you’re looking for here is the exact opposite of what you ever what to have served at breakfast – you’re looking for limp bacon.

Place the Brussels sprouts to the same skillet, in the bacon drippings, that you cooked the bacon in, add 2 tablespoons of the maple syrup and sauté for 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels.

Cut each slice of bacon in half crosswise and then wrap each sprout half with a half piece of bacon. Secure with a toothpick. At this point the wrapped sprouts may be either cooked or covered and refrigerated for up to 12 hours.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place sprouts on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes or until bacon is crisp.

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January 13, 2017   No Comments