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*All recipes on this blog (unless otherwise noted) are Martha Stewart's from the Everyday Food Cookbooks here and here, they are not my own. If other than this I will post links to the recipes or indicate that they are originals*

Thursday, June 30, 2011

What do you think???

Here is your chance!
Weigh in...
what do you think of the extreme blog makeover???
Its summery right?
Not just boring black,
quite the improvement...
RIGHT???

Leave a comment...let me know what you think!

XOXO

Burgers and Slaw

This is not my best pic, sorry!  
I'm still doing major catch up in the blogging world.  
This meal was a LONG time ago, probably a month. 
Sorry I'm so behind!
But regardless of when I made it, I can still say that it was a pretty awesome burger.
The jicama slaw was not my fave, which I was sad about because I actually LOVE jicama.
I think I just had one of those days, where cilantro was too much for me.
Logan actually really liked it, but he was not a fan of it leftover.
So we threw a lot away...darnit. 
Martha calls this her "best beef burger"
I'm not sure that its the BEST ever,
but it is pretty darn good
  and since it is summer time, 
I bet you are itching to put a slab of meat on the grill.
So do it.
ENJOY!

Best Beef Burgers
2 lbs ground chuck
1 T dijon mustard
1 T worcestershire sauce
S&P
4 hamburger buns
Suggested Accompaniments
cheese
sliced beefsteak tomatoes
red and white onions (raw or grilled)
ketchup 
mustard
pickles
mayo
boston lettuce leaves

Heat the grill to high.  In a med bowl, use a fork to gently combine the ground chuck with the dijon mustard and worcestershire sauce; season generously with salt and pepper.
Gently form with mixture into 4 1 in thick patties (woah HUGE)
(raw meat sort of grosses me out)
Place the patties on the hottest part of the grill; sear until browned, 1-2 min per side.  
Move the patties to the cooler part of the grill; continue grilling until desired doneness, 4-8 min per side.

Have your grillmaster watch over them....
This is my grill master!

Split the hamburger buns and toast on the grill if you like.  Place burger on each bun and serve with desired toppings.
Serves 4.

Jicama Slaw
1 1/2 lbs jicama, peeled and julienned 
1/2 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
2-3 T fresh lime juice
S&P

In a medium bowl, place the jicama, onion, cilantro and lime juice.
Season with salt and pepper; toss gently to combine.  Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 6 hours.
Serves 4.  

Logan rating:
Burgers: ****
Slaw: ***

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Summer Rice Salad

Ok no more party food, back to regular food again.
Do you like curry?
Then you HAVE to make this salad.
I know it sounds weird, a cold curried rice salad.
But I'm telling you it is SO good. 
I could eat it EVERY day,
but I would probably turn into a curried rice ball.
And that would just be weird.
 Please try this salad, I'm telling you its delicious. 
And don't skip the mint, because it really helps make the flavor profile complete.
I don't really know what a flavor profile is, but it sounded good, right?
I served it with a chicken breast for dinner and then ate it by itself for lunch one day.
And then it was gone...
so sad.
I will make it again soon though, and so should you!
ENJOY!

Curried Rice Salad
2 T olive oil
1 T curry powder
1 cup long grain brown rice, rinsed well
2 1/2 cups water
S&P
1/4 cup fresh lime juice 
1 cup halved red seedless grapes
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup coarsely chopped roasted unsalted cashews

In a med saucean, heat 1 T oil over med high.  Add curry powder; cook stirring 30 seconds.  Stir in rice and the water; season with salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat.  Cover; simmer until rice is tender and has absorbed all liquid, about 1 hour.  Remove from heat; let stand, covered 10 min.
Fluff with a fork; transfer to a shallow bowl.  Stir in lime juice and remaining tablespoon oil; season with salt and pepper.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap; refrigerate until cool. about 1 hour.  Just before serving, stir in grapes, mint, and cashews.
Serves 6.

Logan Rating: ***
(Paige says 5 stars)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Engagement Partay!

I love my mama!
Thanks Mom AND Dad for throwing such an amazing day of parties.
Onto the food.
So for the evening party I wanted something SUPER simple and something that could be 100% prepped ahead of time. So I decided on a taco bar.
It was perfect, everyone loved it and it was ZERO work for me after the shower. THANK GOD!

We did beef and chicken tacos.
I seasoned the beef with this, and it was delicious.
The red pepper flakes added a great kick, don't ever buy packet seasoning again please!

For the chicken, I just made something up.  CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!?
I'm really not that kind of cook, or a t least I never have been in the past.
I think that the 1 yr + of blogging and cooking has increased my skills...at least a little.
Anyway to the chicken (which we just pulled from already cooked rotisserie chickens from the store) 
I added green chilies (from the can) along with cumin, chili powder, garlic powder and S&P. 
I added some chicken stock to make the meet nice a tender and juicy as well as to allow the spice mix to stick to the chicken and not just hang at the bottom.
I guessed on the ratio of the spices but I think it was something like 1 part cumin to 2 parts chili powder then 1/4 part garlic powder...hmmm does that make sense??
Well just try it!

Ok NEXT...
I also made pico de gallo for people to put on their tacos and dip their chips in.
It was pretty darn good, if I do say so myself.
Nice and fresh and light, not too cilantroey...oh made up words... :)
Pico De Gallo
2 beefsteak tomatoes, cut into 1/2 in pieces
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
1/2 to 1 serrano chile minced
2 T fresh lime juice
1 T olive oil
2 T finely chopped cilantro
coarse salt

Combine all ingredients in a nonreactive bowl, adding 1 tsp salt; let stand 5 min.  Season with more salt to taste.
Makes 2 cups.

Guest Appearances 

So my uncle Dug made the salsa, both a medium and a hot.  He makes the BEST salsa...thanks again Dug!

My mom made her famous bean dip, which I will definitely be making again in the near future.  I'm telling you, this stuff is amazing, could eat it all day!

To round it all off, my sister in law, Lindsey made some grilled corn with cilantro lime butter.  This was a hit!  Everyone loved it!  Unfortunately I didn't get to try it, but I will definitely be making it so that I can!

Pre grilled corn, so pretty!

WOAH I know this is overload!!!!
Don't worry we only have dessert left.

So for dessert I made Mexican wedding cakes (HOW FITTING) and margarita cookies.
I found the margarita cookies here and they were delicious, but kind of a pain to make, I won't lie to you.

Mexican Wedding Cakes
1 cup pecan halves
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, room temp
confectioners' sugar for coating

In a food processor, pulse pecans, flour, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and salt until mixture resembles coarse meal.  Add butter and pulse until a dough forms.  Shape dough into a disk and wrap tightly in plastic; refrigerate until firm, 30-60 min.  Dough can be frozen up to 3 months.
Preheat oven to 325, with racks in upper and lower thirds.  Scoop off level tablespoons of dough and roll into balls.  Space them 1 1/2 in apart on two large baking sheets.  Bake, rotating sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through, until just lightly golden around edges, 20-25 min.
Cool 5 min on sheets, transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  
Place confectioners' sugar in a bowl and roll cookies in sugar twice to coat thoroughly, tapping off excess each time.  ( be careful they are kind of fragile and can come apart easily.)
ENJOY!
Makes 24.
These were REALLY good!

Again no Logan ratings...he doesn't remember  his ratings...largely due to the Mexican beer.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Cake!

I forgot to share with you all MY CAKE!!!!
I am so proud of this en devour.
I used this recipe.
However, when I did my practice cake,
yup I said it, practice cake.
I didn't really love the frosting for this recipe.
So I made a vanilla frosting that I got from my mom's "cake lady".
Sorry can't reveal the recipe, but it was VERY simple.
And she recommended that since it was a lemon cake, instead of vanilla flavoring I add lemon juice,
it was PERFECT!

Please don't laugh at the elementary decoration, 
this was my FIRST cake people! :)
To make the "sand", I crushed up vanilla wafers, then cut a heart out of cardboard and sprinkled the "sand" around the cardboard heart.  When I pulled up the cardboard the pretty icing made a perfect heart!
Tadah!

For those of you that don't know, 
Logan and I are getting married in Cabo.
So the shower was beach themed.
Get it?! 
The final product!
Way cuter than a store bought cake, right??
It was delicious!
And it was GONE by the end of the evening. 
So I suppose that says something.

I love making cakes...new hobby! :)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

And I'm back!

Not only am I back, folks
but boy oh boy do I have a post for you.
As you all know, I was in MN last weekend.
BOTH my Mom and my Dad threw logan and I a wedding shower and engagement party.
As usual I agreed to take on the menu for both parties. 
It was A LOT of work and luckily I had some helpful workerbees,
but it all got done and everything was a hit!
I must preface this post by saying that I do not have as many pics as usual.
The kitchen on Sat morning was like a crazy bee hive and it was really hard to find time to take pics of each step, while still getting everything done.
So you will just have to imagine what each step would look like. K?!

First lets go over the shower food.
This is not food you can eat in the shower,
but actual food that I served at my wedding shower...silly you.
Anyway, I wanted to have a couple of munchie things for people so I settled on roasted chickpeas and sweet and spicy almonds.  It was a great choice.  However I had trouble with getting the chickpeas seasoning to stick...not sure why and also don't let them sit and cool after roasting because mine got soggy and I had to roast them again.  

Sweet and Spicy Almonds
2 1/2 cups whole unblanched almonds
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 T honey
1 tsp olive oil
1 T water

Preheat oven to 350.  Spread almonds in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet; toast until fragrant, tossing halfway through, about 10 min.
  In a large bowl, combine sugar, salt, and cayenne pepper.
In a large skillet over med heat, cook honey, oil and water, stirring until combined, about 1 min.  Add almonds; toss to coat.
Transfer almonds to sugar mixture (do not scrape extra glaze into bowl); toss to coat.  Spread almonds on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet and let cool.  Nuts can be stored up to 2 wks at room temp in an airtight container.  
Makes 2 1/2 cups
Crunchy paprika chickpeas
2 cans chickpeas
3 T olive oil
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp hot or sweet paprika
Preheat oven to 450.  Drain and rinse chickpeas, pat dry with paper towels.  Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with oil; toss to coat evenly.  Spread in a single layer and roast until deep brown and crispy, tossing occasionally, 35-40 min.
Remove from oven.  Sprinkle with salt and paprika; roast until fragrant, 2-3 min more.  Transfer to a paper towel lined plate and let cool completely.  Chickpeas can be stored up to 2 days at room temp in an airtight container.
makes 2 cups.

Next I wanted something with a little more substance, but still a light appetizer. I decided on mozzarella/grape skewers and with the leftover mozzarella we made mozzarella/tomato/basil skewers.
Mozzarella and Grape Skewers
12 thin slices prosciutto (4oz) halved crosswise
48 seedless red and green grapes
24 bocconcini (small mozzarella balls)

Fold each piece of prosciutto several times, about 1 in wide.  Thread 2 grapes, 1 bocconcini and 1 piece of prosciutto onto each of 24 wooden skewers.
makes 24.

More munchies.  These were good...I heard more than once "wow, these are better than cheez-its"
Spicy Cheese Crisps
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 tsp coarse salt
1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 cups finely grated cheddar cheese 
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp, cut into pieces

Whisk together flour, salt and cayenne pepper. 
Add cheese and butter, mix with hands, rubbing butter into dry ingredients, until dough forms.
Transfer dough to a sheet of waxed paper.  Form into a 1 1/2 in diameter log; roll up tightly in paper.  Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hrs.  ( I did it overnight)
Preheat oven to 400.  Trim ends of log, if desired.  Slice dough into 1/4 in thick rounds.  Arrange rounds 1 in apart on baking sheets.  Bake rotating sheets halfway through, until edges are golden, 16-18 min.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Crisps can be stored up to 5 days at room temp in an airtight container.
Makes about 40.

Still wanting a little more substance (something that might help people to soak up the sangria) I decided on the asparagus gruyere tart.  It proved to be a GREAT decision!

Asparagus Gruyere Tart
flour for work surface
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed 
5 1/2 oz gruyere cheese, shredded
1 1/2 lbs med or thick asparagus
1 T olive oil
S&P

Preheat oven to 400.  On a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pastry into a 16 by 10 in rectangle.  Trim uneven edges.


Place the pastry on a baking sheet.  With a sharp knife lightly score the dough 1 in in from the edges to mark a rectangle.  Using a fork, pierce the dough inside the markings, at half in intervals.  Bake until golden, about 15 min.
Remove the pastry shell from the oven, and sprinkle with the cheese.  Trim the bottoms of the asparagus spears to fit crosswise inside the tart shell; arrange in a single layer over the cheese, alternating ends and tips.
Brush with the oil, and season with S&P, bake until spears are tender, 20-25 min.  
Serves 4.

And come on how could I go wrong with some goat cheese spreads?
Goat Cheese Spreads
1 log (5-6oz) fresh goat cheese, softened
S&P

In a med bowl, mash goat cheese with a fork; season with salt and pepper.  Add one of the desired flavorings.
Pesto
1/2 cup pine nuts toasted
4 cups basil
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove
S&P
1/2 cup olive oil

Stir in 1/4 cup homemade pesto.  ( you will only need about 1/4 of the recipe above).

Sun-Dried Tomato
Add 3 T chopped oil packed sun dried tomatoes and 1 tsp minced fresh thyme.

Pistachio-Chive
add 1/4 cup chopped toasted pistachios and 2 T finely snipped fresh chives.

Serve these with fresh bread or crostinis. 

Lastly I thought I should throw in some seriously decadent cheese dip, without regard for any diet or waistline.  WOW am I glad I did.
Here is where I got the recipe.
Thank you Paula Dean, you never disappoint. 

OH and don't forget the Sangria...man did that go well!
We had 4 batches made up and 12 ladies managed to take it down rather quickly! 
YUM!
Recipe here...I added limes and lemons as well.

Sorry, no Logan rating as he was not invited to the shower.

STAY TUNED FOR ENGAGEMENT PARTY MENU!!!!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Don't cry!

Hello faithful followers!
I will be absent for a few days and I am very sorry.
Oh shoot I said I was going to stop apologizing didn't I, whoops!
Anyway I am off to
which is the land of these
and unfortunately  these
But I can't wait!
My mom is throwing me a bridal shower and an engagement party for Logan and I.
I will be doing much of the cooking so stay tuned for a recap.
Thanks for reading.
I hope you all have a fantastic weekend!
xoxoxoxo

P.S. 
It's FINALLY summer here in Montana!!!!
We are playing frisbee golf and the sun is shining :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

More Dessert

Oops I fell off the wagon a bit.
Two desserts in a row...
good for your guys, bad for my waistline!
However, I brought both of these delicious desserts to parties 
so the amount I actually consumed was minor, I swear!
These were devoured at a BBQ we went to.
Literally the buzz around the whole party was 
"who made those cupcakes".
I couldn't believe it.
So thank you Martha for making me look good.
You are the best!
You must try these, they really are awesome. 
And obviously a crowd pleaser.
Do it, make them, I dare you!
ENJOY!

Carrot Cupcakes
1 1/4 cups shredded coconut 
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil, plus more for pan if needed
2 T fresh orange juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup plus 2 T flour
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350.  Spread 1 cup of shredded coconut out on a baking sheet, and toast in the oven until golden brown, about 5 min. Transfer the coconut to a small bowl and set aside to cool.
In a bowl, combine sugar, 1/3 cup oil, orange juice, vanilla, and eggs.
Stir in the baking powder, baking soda, allspice, and salt.  Add the flour, mix.
Stir in the shredded carrots, the walnuts (if using) and the remaining 1/4 cup shredded coconut.


Oil a standard muffin tin or line with paper muffin liners; distribute the batter evenly.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean, about 25 min.  Let the cupcakes cool before frosting with the cream cheese icing.  Garnish with reserved toasted shredded coconut.



Cream Cheese Icing
8 oz cream cheese, at room temp
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
In a mixing bowl , whisk the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla together until smooth.  Use immediately or store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Logan Rating: ****

Monday, June 13, 2011

Childhood throwback

No, you are not dreaming.
Yes that is EXACTLY what you think it is.
Homemade ice cream sandwiches.
I know what you're thinking
why would I make homemade ice cream sandwiches?
When I can buy perfectly good ones?
Um, because you are amazing,
and it is easy
and you want to impress your friends.
DUH!
I'm not lying, I never do, you know that.
These are WAY easier than I would have ever expected 
and they were quite the little crowd pleasers.
I want to share a secret with you, that made this MUCH easier in my opinion.
The recipe says to make one sheet of cake and slice it in half.
But when I made mine, I used a little bit of a larger cookie sheet and 
it looked way too thin for me to even attempt to slice in half
without ending up with a pile of cake mixed with ice cream.
So I just made another one.
You should do the same, why not, who doesn't love MORE cake?
Boring people that's who...and you aren't one of them! 
So don't take my word for this one, MAKE THESE!
ENJOY!

Classic Ice Cream Sandwiches
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract 
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 pints ice cream (any flavor) softened slightly

Preheat oven to 350.  Butter a 10x15 in rimmed baking sheet; line with parchment paper, leaving a 2inch overhang on the two shorter sides.
Whisk together butter and sugar.
whisk in egg, vanilla and salt until combined.
Add flour and cocoa, and mix just until smooth. 
 Spread in prepared pan, smoothing top.
Bake until cake is dry to the touch and edges begin to pull away from the sides, 10-12 min.  Cool completely in pan.
Using paper overhang, lift cake onto a work surface.  With a serrated knife halve crosswise.  (Depending on how much you spread your cake out, this may work for you).
  
Place on half of cake flat side down, on a large piece of plastic wrap.  Spread with ice cream, smoothing with an offset spatula, then top with remaining half of cake, cut side down. 
(This is the hardest part, in my opinion, because the ice cream is melty but still a little hard to spread.  Just do your best and don't panic)
Return assembled dessert to baking pan, and wrap tightly in plastic.  Freeze until firm, about 2 hrs.
Unwrap; using a serrated knife, cut into 8 rectangles, wiping blade with a damp kitchen towel between each slice.  Serve immediately or freeze wrapped in individual plastic. ( I would freeze a little, before serving, so they can set).

Logan Rating:  ***
(he's crazy)
5 stars from me!