Category Archives: entertaining

Have a Berry Good Fourth!

I love this tart for a Fourth of July picnic… It’s just perfect (go figure, it’s from Martha)!  Have a happy and safe holiday weekend!

For the crust:
5 cups all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons sugar
2 cup (4 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup ice water

For the creme fraiche filling:
2 packages cream cheese (8 ounces each), room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 ounces creme fraiche
1 cup confectioner’s sugar

For the tart:
4 ounces semisweet chocolate
1/2 cup apricot jam, for glazing blueberries
1/2 cup raspberry jam, for glazing raspberries
2 tablespoons water
2 pints red raspberries
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
1 pint blueberries, picked over

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A Light Refreshment

With the heat of summer upon us, there’s not much better than cool, refreshing cocktail to bring the work day to a close.  I’ve been a fan for a while, but still, every time I bring my lips to the glass for the first sip of this delightful beverage, I am, once again, hooked.  Give it a try – I dare you – and 5:00 might just begin to come earlier…

cucumber-and-hendricks

Simply pour a little Hendrick’s in a glass with ice and sliced cucumbers and enjoy!  Add a little tonic if you prefer and to make it even more delightful, a splash of St. Germain.

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Host an Oscar’s Party!

My only real blog read every day is Twig and Thistle.  Kathleen comes up with the cutest ideas and does an awesome job of following through on making such great downloadable materials to go with the posts.  Hop over there today to download all of these templates and more to host your own fabulous Oscar’s party.  She’s even done all of the work of making the ballots for you and your friends to vote with.  I love it!!!

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Filed under crafts, entertaining, Events, How To

Blue Cheese and Black Pepper Gougeres

These little suckers are irresistible!  I bet you can’t eat just one!  Enjoy them right out of the oven when still piping hot with a glass of beefy red wine.  If you don’t like or have blue cheese, substitute swiss or parmesan – most cheeses work great!

10 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups unbleached flour, sifted
5 large eggs
1 cup blue cheese, crumbled
freshly ground black pepper
1 egg, beaten

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Homemade Honey Roasted Peanuts

I was craving something sweet and salty last night and decided to tackle making homemade honey roasted peanuts (without the high fructose corn syrup in every brand in the store) and here’s what I came up with.  I’m going to try another batch tonight with cashews… I can’t wait to try those!

Ingredients:
2 cups raw peanuts
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp peanut oil
1/4 cup sugar (plus extra for dusting)
1/2 tsp salt

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Side Dish Heaven

Making all of the sides for Thanksgiving is my favorite part of the cooking for the holiday.  Everyone expects the turkey, which I make the same every year – herb roasted with cider gravy… BORING, but delicious!  The sides are the only part of the meal where I can be creative and try different recipes.  Here are some of the new recipes I’ll be putting to the test this week.

Here are the links:
Pudding
Cranberries
Potatoes
Sprouts

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Happy Friday

Last weekend I hosted a baby shower to celebrate Erin & Cameron’s upcoming arrival.  I baked and crafted to my heart’s content and more… I love Amy Atlas’s dessert tables and put together one to surprise Erin, who is a huge sweet lover!  Links to the recipes are at the end of the post.

Lusciously Lemon Cupcakes

Caramel Popcorn

Very Berry Macarons

Cake Pops (stay tuned for a whole post on these suckers)

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In Print: Clips from Food Sections

5. – The Chicago Tribune Turkey Tips: What the Pros Know Can Help You “Holidays can be a hassle for everyone, even the pros. The difference is the pros all have worked out little tricks — what the French call trucs — to make feasts like Thanksgiving a little saner. These tips are so simple you can easily adopt them in your kitchen.”

4. – The Boston Globe A $100 Thanksgiving Menu for Eight “For hosts, Thanksgiving often means spending half the month’s food budget on a single meal, this despite the fact that the traditional ingredients – turkey, potatoes, root vegetables, squashes – aren’t all that expensive. What jacks up the bill is the abundance guests have come to expect: a big bird, an elaborate array of sides, pies galore, and, most flamboyant or silly or obnoxious of all, leftovers packed up in Tupperware.”

3. – The LA Times A More Flavorful Dry-Brined Turkey “At first glance, the recipe is so simple it’s hard to believe there could be anything to add, but it’s in the nature of cooking (or at least of recipe tinkering) to always move forward. We’re like great white sharks that way — that and the whole eating-just-for-recreation thing.”

2. – The NY Times 101 Head Starts on the Day “FOR cooks, most Thanksgiving problems are brought about by the sheer number of dishes competing for the stove: It’s not easy to roast a turkey and sweet potatoes for 20 at the same time. The best solution is to make food in advance, like one of the dishes that follow.”

1. – The Washington Post Guess Who’s Coming to Thanksgiving Dinner “And what a table that would be, as illustrated above. When the Food section pulled together its favorite traditional dishes for ’09, we found that the collection represented significant figures of American cookery, Julia Child, James Beard and Edna Lewis among them. Then we compared notes about how we had updated their recipes. Mostly we had made subtle changes, such as employing newfangled gadgets or shortcuts. Sometimes it was just reducing fat or calories without sacrificing flavor, or using a spice that wasn’t widely available three decades ago.”

photo from The NY Times

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Halloween Desserts

Halloween_DessertsLOVE ‘EM!

Here’s where they’re from…
1. Creepy Crawly Spider Brownies from Paula Dean
2. Owl Cupcakes from Real Simple
3. Spider Web Cupcakes from Bakerella
4. Ice Scream Sandwitches from Martha Stewart
5. Tombstone Cookies from Sunset Magazine
6. Mouthless Mummies from Bakerella

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Filed under baking, candy, dessert, entertaining, Food, holiday

In Print: Clips from Food Sections

499449715. – The Chicago Tribune Sliders Slip Easily into Party Mode“And fuss-free. In 45 minutes, Irr made two variations: tuna and black bean. Pan-fried, the sliders were served on mini-dinner rolls she found at the supermarket deli.”

4. – The Boston Globe Take Your Pick “A few varieties are particularly popular for baking and especially plentiful in October. Many area orchards have already started storing apples so local fruit will be available for Thanksgiving’s pie baking time.”

3. – The LA Times Stop and Smell the Ragu “And there are few dishes that are more pleasurable to make than ragù. Make no mistake: As wonderful as ragù is to eat, it’s just as much fun to fix.”

2. – The NY Times Matches Surge As Restaurant Giveaways “The objects of her specific adoration are blue-and-silver boxes, shaped like a lipstick (also known in the trade as an ascot), each of which contains 22 blue-tipped wooden strikes. Bearing Flora’s Art Deco logo, the matchboxes are the finishing touch on an ambience calculated to dislocate the present tense.”

1. – The Washington Post Eggs that Deserve Coddling “Most chefs I know refer to brunch disdainfully as the b-word. Aside from the fact that they generally are not morning people, their aversion comes down to this: Eggs can mean trouble.”

photo from The LA Times

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