Showing posts with label starter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label starter. Show all posts

Monday, March 24, 2014

Chilled Shrimp w/ Romesco Sauce #ShrimpShowdown + Giveaway

Chilled Shrimp with Romesco Sauce |
I know this is kind of weird, but chilled shrimp reminds me of Christmas. I've told the story before, but in case you haven't heard it, I'll fill you in. Ever since I can remember, my extended family has always come together at my grandparent's house during the holidays. Now, inevitably life happens, and there are years when you just can't make it. But the thing is, you always know what you're missing. Our routine...or maybe tradition is a better word...has never strayed too far year to year.

Does everybody love their grandparent's house? I mean, the people themselves, of course - but the house itself? Because I do. I've always dreamed of having a house just like theirs. Only updated and in a different location. It's a split-level ranch and though it may not look like it from the outside, has tons of space. So, although the family has grown exponentially, we all still fit nicely.

But anyway, the dining room has one wall that is filled by sliding glass doors that lead out to the back yard. Since they live in Michigan, there's not much call for opening them on Christmas Eve (you know, it's freezing and snowy outside), so the vertical blinds are closed and a table is butted up against the space, turning it into a wall. This table holds platters piled high with sliced ham, baskets of hawaiian rolls, trays of veggies with bowls of dip set in the center. Scalloped potatoes, dips both hot and cold, piping-hot bacon-wrapped water chestnuts, and the pièce de résistance - a giant dish filled to the gills with delicate pink shrimp and a bowl of cocktail sauce.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Roasted Red Pepper, Basil, and Almond Pesto Crostini {#FreshGifts}

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of AeroGarden in conjunction with Kitchen PLAY.  All opinions are my own.
Roasted Red Pepper, Basil, and Almond Pesto Crostini #FreshGifts at
Living in the midwest, I am a "four seasons" kind of gal.  I sweat under the hot summer sun.  I welcome the rain and the tender green buds in spring.  I slog through the snow and ice in the winter.  I rejoice in the cool air and colorful leaves in autumn.  And no matter how much I complain that it's too cold, or too hot, or that a certain perfect season isn't long enough, I wouldn't want it any other way.

That said, I do miss summer's bounty when it comes to cold weather cooking and entertaining.  Especially when the holidays roll around.  Sure, I can run to the market and pick up some herbs and veggies that have been either shipped or (preferably) locally grown in a greenhouse.  And I do.  But isn't it so much easier, and much more satisfying, to walk barefoot to the garden and harvest your own?  That would be a yes.

Enter the AeroGarden.  It's high tech.  It's high output.  It's an indoor garden.  That means that even there's a foot of snow on the ground outside my window, I can still wander barefoot to the garden and harvest my own herbs (or veggies, or even flowers).

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Pumpkin Hummus w/ Spiced Lamb {#SundaySupper: Squashin' Winter}

Pumpkin Hummus with Spiced Lamb from
Everybody has a few dishes that they make that are miles above the same dish when made by someone else.  Don't they?  For example, I am basically in the kitchen at any given hour; cooking, baking, testing, experimenting, eating, or just thinking about food in some form or another.  It's what I do.  But that doesn't mean that I don't enjoy eating somebody else's cooking every now and again.

However, there are two or three dishes that I make better than anyone else.  For me.  For my tastebuds.  And I know that just because I think something is the best, it doesn't mean that you will think it's the best.   But sometimes, you've just got to toot your own horn.  That's okay.  It's healthy to appreciate your talents.

One of my talents is making hummus.  I make a seriously mean hummus.  It was actually my fourth-ever blog post, which means that I've been churning out good hummus for at least the past five years.  So yes, I like hummus in general.  I'll eat hummus if you make it.  And I'll like it.  I'll eat store-bought hummus.  I'll like that, too.  But I get silly with a batch of "my" hummus.  I scoop it up with warm pitas like it's going out of style.  I slather it on toasted bagels.  I eat it on veggie sandwiches.  I dip major amounts of roasted broccoli in it.  I eat it from a spoon.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sticky Wholegrain Mustard & Ginger Cocktail Sausages {#SundaySupper}

Often, when holiday meal planning rolls around, I tend to neglect the appetizers.  And, though I hate to admit it, the beverages often take a back seat, as well.  At least the "special" beverages.  It doesn't take much planning to grab some beers or a couple nice bottles of wine.  And pulling the liquor from the cabinet? No work at all.

Now, I find this to be an absolutely ridiculous predicament, as I am that person who stands around the appetizer table and nibbles.  Toothpick in one hand, cocktail in the other.  So yeah, two of my favorite parts of any get together, and I neglect them when it comes to my own planning.  So not cool.  Well, I'm making a vow to change that.  I'm going to start exploring more appetizer options.  And diversify my cocktail and mocktail offerings.
Now, one thing that screams appetizer is little weenies.  Now, normally I've used the little smokies or little hotdogs, but this time I went with the slightly larger breakfast sausage links.  Thanks to my girl, Nigella.  If anybody knows how to throw a party with plenty of hors d'oeuvre and cocktail options, it's her.  I mean, I know I want to be a guest at her house.

These are going in my permanent rotation, because they are so durn addictive.  Sticky.  Slightly sweet.  Slightly savory.  Perfect with a hunk of toasted sourdough.  Pass the toothpicks!

Sticky Wholegrain Mustard & Ginger Cocktail Sausages

by Heather Schmitt-González
Prep Time: 5-10 minutes
Cook Time: 45-60 minutes
Keywords: bake appetizer sausage ginger mustard Christmas Thanksgiving Super Bowl tailgating

Ingredients (50 sausages)
  • scant ½ c. orange marmalade
  • scant ½ c . wholegrain mustard
  • 1 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. freshly grated gingerroot
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 50 uncooked breakfast sausages (~2¼-2½ lbs.)
  • thick-crust bread for serving, optional (preferably a round loaf, sourdough or rye, ~9" in diameter)
If making immediately, preheat oven to 350° F. Line a baking sheet with foil (or use a couple of disposable foil pans) - it's gonna get messy.

Combine all of the ingredients except the sausages and bread in a large bowl and whisk together. Add the sausages and turn them around in the mix to coat (using your hands is easiest).

Dump the whole thing onto the prepared tray. Slide into the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Turn up the oven to 400° F and stir the sausages around, being sure to pick up any gooey juices and coat the sausages. Close oven and bake another 15-30 minutes, stirring again halfway through, until sticky and burnished and cooked through.

To serve in a bread bowl, cut a circle around the top of a round loaf of bread and lift it off like a lid. Dig out the bready center with your hands, leaving the crust intact. (You won't need the insides, so make them into bread crumbs for another use.)

Fill the emptied-out loaf with as many of the sausages as you can, refilling as necessary. Set out with toothpicks on the side for spearing the sausages.

Advance Preparation:
Place all of the ingredients except the sausage and bread into a gallon-size, freezer-safe, zippered baggie. Squish everything around to mix. Add the sausage, squeeze the air out and seal the baggie, and then squish around again until they are well-coated in the mixture.

Store in the fridge for up to 2 days, and then cook as directed. Freeze for up to 3 months, thaw overnight in the fridge, and then cook as directed.

You can also use a hearty, rectangular loaf of bread and hollow out the center in the same fashion to have a bread "tray" instead of a bread "bowl". This is especially handy when making a double-batch.

I am EXTREMELY picky when it comes to sausage. I don't like it floppy. And I don't like it even the least bit under-cooked. I want that sticky, browning on the outside for maximum flavor. If you these are cooked too long for your liking, start with the higher heat and decrease the cooking time by 15 minutes of so.

p.s...don't forget to eat the emptied-out bread bowl once the sausages are gone. That has that sticky goodness will have seeped into it, making it an irresistible midnight snack (in true Nigella fashion). Mmmm....

adapted from Nigella Kitchen
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Now.  I wanna know - are you anything like me?  Do you find yourself at a holiday party with a drink in one hand and a toothpick for stabbing hors d'oeuvres in the other?   Or perhaps you're a neglecter of appetizers and fun cocktails...but don't want to be.  Either way, you'll love this list of Holiday Beverages and Appetizers that the #SundaySupper crew has put together this week (hosted by Connie from The Foodie Army Wife).  Check it out.

Party Beverages

Appetizers and Hors d'oeuvres

    In remembrance of the Sandy Hook tragedy, our live chat for tonight has been cancelled.  My heart breaks for the victims and their loved ones every time I think of what happened.  I just want to squeeze my kids and my husband and give thanks that I can do so.

    We’d love to feature your Holiday Beverages and Appetizers on our #SundaySupper Pinterest board and share them with all of our followers, too.  So tell me - what are you must have holiday cocktails, mocktails, appetizers, and hors d'oeuvres?  I'm always looking for inspiration.  Feel free to leave the link to any in the comments. 

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

    Baked Brie w/ Pistachios & Dried Fruit

    It's been a long time since I've let the cheeseslut write a post.  After two days of eyeing the posts "in draft" out of the corner of my eye while prepping for the big meal (that would be Thanksgiving), I finally gave in.

    The thing is, the cheeseslut gets right down to it.  No messing around with frilly words or lengthy prose.  Oh, no.  It's all about the cheese.  Tunnel vision can be a good thing.

    Case in point:  My brain won't stop churning around the finer points of the menu (that would be "the big meal" menu).  This is done.  That is done.  Those issues I only go over once every few hours.  But the few more things I have to finish prepping tonight?  They're bouncing around and taking up pretty much all the space up there.  Non-stop.  Sucking my brain power.
    Really, all the cheeseslut really wants to tell you is that serving this warm, gooey, booze-infused round of brie heaped with fruit in lusty jewel-tones and crunchy pistachios would be a very considerate thing to do for company.  Your fellow cheesesluts will thank you.

    Baked Brie w/ Pistachios & Dried Fruit

    by Heather Schmitt-González
    Prep Time: 5-10 minutes
    Cook Time: 10 minutes
    Keywords: bake appetizer cheese soy-free vegetarian cheese dried fruit nuts Christmas Thanksgiving

    Ingredients (serves 4-6)
    • 1 (16 oz.) or 1 (8 oz.) rounds of Brie
    • 2 Tbs. Cointreau
    • 2 oz. dried apricots, cut into ¼" strips
    • 2 scant Tbs. dried cranberries
    • 2 scant Tbs. yellow raisins
    • 3 Tbs. shelled pistachios
    to serve:
    • baguette slices
    • crackers
    • salad greens
    Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

    Place the cheese round(s) on the baking sheet and prick the top with the fork about a dozen times. Drizzle 1½ teaspoons of the Cointreau over the cheese.

    Toss the dried fruit and pistachios with the remaining Cointreau. Scatter evenly over the cheese.

    Slide into preheated oven and bake for ~8-10 minutes or until cheese is warm and soft. Use a wide spatula to lift the cheese from the tray to a plate lined with lettuce greens. Serve with slices of baguette and/or crackers. Enjoy!

    slightly adapted from Thanksgiving Entertaining
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    our Thanksgiving Menu 2012

    Baked Brie w/ Pistachios & Dried Fruit (w/ baguette slices & crackers)
    mixed veggie tray

    Crisp-Skinned Herbed Turkey
    Herbed Citrus Gravy
    Cornbread Stuffing w/ Bacon
    Maple-Glazed Acorn Squash
    Cheddar Mashed Potatoes
    Baked Sweet Potatoes w/ Saffron Aïoli
    Haricot Verts w/ Toasted Walnuts
    Mixed Greens Salad

    Pocketbook Rolls
    Pull-Apart Buttery Dinner Rolls

    Cranberry-Smothered Cheesecake
    Gingerbread Pumpkin Bars

    assorted beverages

    Oh, and also, the cheeseslut in me wishes the cheeseslut in you a very happy and safe Thanksgiving!