Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Home Blender: Brown Sugar Candied Bacon (With a Kick)

Home Blender: Brown Sugar Candied Bacon (With a Kick): " Brown Sugar-Candied BaconI am obsessed with the combination of sweet and savory. And if you’ve taken the time to look through my recipes, ..."

Blender Booze: Fat Washing Process for Bacon-Infused Liquor

Blender Booze: Fat Washing Process for Bacon-Infused Liquor: "Fat washing process for bacon-infused VodkaFat washing is a method used to instill the flavor of a fatty substance, such as bacon or ham, in..."

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Super Bowl of Snacks

Dear Readers,

The big game is coming up! I’m not a football fan myself and to be honest, I’d have to Google to see who was actually playing this year. However, I’m an advertising executive and I get just as excited for the Super Bowl game as any football fan ever would because I love to sit back and watch the advertisements. Opposite of most fans, I talk and eat during the game and watch intently during the commercials. I hope the companies who paid over $3 million for 30 seconds of airtime this year do not disappoint.

This year we’re to our next door neighbor’s house for a Super Bowl party. We’re really excited to mix with them and their friends since we’re still new to the burbs and we’ve really grown to like our neighbors. I just hope people aren’t too loud during the commercials! Since it’s not my party I don’t have control over the food but Mary just sent out a reminder message and let everyone know what is on the menu so far. There will be Meat Balls, Pasta Salad, Turkey BBQ, Buffalo Chicken Dip, Deer Bologna, Pepperoni Bread, Brownies, and M&M Cookies --- mmm, sounds like a great spread.

The really fantastic thing about football and Super Bowl is you can have a lot of people over and serve really yummy casual food. It doesn’t have to be fancy. It’s not a cocktail party, it’s a rowdy sports fan bonanza. And making casual apps is easier and less time consuming than making elegant ones. A lot of them don’t even take much of a recipe, just putting things together to make a yummy spread. So, I don’t have real recipes to share today, just a few ideas to get your super bowl menu started.

Truly & tastefully,

Spicy Meatballs
3 lbs of frozen meatballs. Pour 2 bottles of Heinz Chili Sauce with 1 jar of grape jelly into a saucepan and heat on medium, stirring until they blend together into a sauce. Pour the meatballs into a larger pot, or crock pot, pour the sauce over the meatballs and heat on medium until the meatballs are warmed all the way through. Serve with toothpicks.

Baked Wings
Don’t have a fryer? Don’t worry. You can bake chicken wings in the oven and have just as tasty results – and healthier too. Bake fresh chicken wings on a cookie tray at recommended temp until cooked through. While baking, combine a bottle of Frank’s Hot Sauce and a stick of butter (more or less according to your taste) over medium heat until blended. When the wings are done, toss them into a large metal mixing bowl and pour the sauce over them. Toss to coat. Serve with blue cheese dressing and celery sticks.

BBQ Chicken Sliders
Boil boneless skinless chicken breasts until they are fork tender. Allow to cool. Shred the chicken either with your fingers or two forks until you have a pile of shredded meat. Put meat in a pot and pour in a bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce. Let the contents warm together and then serve the shredded meat on small potato rolls you find in the bread aisle of your grocery store. Sprinkle with shredded sharp cheddar cheese for extra flavor.

Pesto Pizza Pinwheels
A can of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls, a jar of pesto sauce, and a jar of pizza sauce is all you’ll need for this delicious snack. Unroll crescent dough and seal perforated edges by smoothing over the dough. Spread pesto sauce over the dough and then roll the dough long ways into a tube. Cut one inch pieces of the roll and lay them flat on a cookie sheet. Bake in the oven at 350 until the dough gets golden brown (according to directions on dough packaging). Serve the pinwheels with pizza sauce for dipping.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Curry in a Hurry

Dear Readers,

I haven’t posted in awhile because I’ve been super busy with work during the week days and entertaining on the weekends. Not to mention getting stuck in Brooklyn for 5 days buried under 18 inches of snow. The weather in the Northeast this season has been unbelievable! And lucky us, we’re gearing up for another storm this weekend and beginning of next week. Snow, on top of snow, on top of more snow with a little ice thrown in. But I’m not complaining. In my mid-20s I left Los Angeles after 7 years because I missed the seasons and now seasons are what I get!

Being that I’ve been so busy, I’ve been making quick recipes that take little to no effort to make but still taste deliciously warm and satisfying in this cold weather. I came across a simple curry recipe the other day and, with a few modifications, I made it my own. I don’t have exact measurements because I just threw things together, but it turned out nicely and my hubs and I really enjoyed it. I actually think I would even consider serving it at a dinner party with a side of couscous and perhaps some slow roasted squash and onions. Anyway, it couldn’t be easier if you need a quick dinner option this week.

Truly & tastefully,

Curry in a Hurry
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 medium yellow onions
1 quart of button mushrooms, sliced
3 cups of chopped fresh spinach
Yellow Curry Powder (to taste)
1 cup of sour cream
1 cup of water
1 packet of chicken bullion
Cilantro for garnish
Olive Oil – probably about 8 tablespoons

Curry Prep:
Chop the onions coarsely and sauté them in about 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet until they start to become translucent. Generously sprinkle with yellow curry powder and stir. Add mushrooms and spinach and sauté until mushrooms become pliable. Sprinkle more curry powder (to taste) and stir. Add a cup of water and a packet of chicken bouillon. If the bouillon is sodium free, add a pinch of salt - if it’s not sodium free, watch the amount of salt you add (mine didn’t need any extra). Add pepper to taste. Turn the veggies on low and let them simmer while you prepare the chicken.

In a separate pan heat the remaining olive oil until it it sizzles when a drop of water is thrown in. Cut each chicken breast into 3 pieces to create large chunks. Sprinkle the breasts with pepper and yellow curry powder. Place your chicken breast pieces spice side down in the oil and sprinkle the naked side with more curry and pepper – again this is to taste, I don’t have exact measurements. If you like a strong curry flavor, add more curry, if not – don’t add as much.

While the chicken is cooking, add about 4 heaping tablespoons of sour cream to your vegetables and stir. The sour cream mixes in and creates a creamy sauce. The recipe I used called for a cup of sour cream, but I thought that might be a little too much so I added 3 tablespoons and then one more after tasting.

Once the chicken juices run clear, transfer the chicken into the skillet with the vegetable and coat the chicken with the sauce. Cover and simmer on low for an extra 20 minutes so the chicken gets nice and tender. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro before serving.