Sunday, February 27, 2011

My Dinner Party

Whew my hangover is official gone! It was really great night,we had sooo much fun.It was a really nice intimate party.It was not over till 345 in the am!! If your curious about the menu you can read this post :

Luckily this wasn't a very labor intensive menu for me,but there was alot if prepping and chopping to do. For the spinach salad I kinda put my spin on Ree Drumonds The Pioneer Woman recipe.Here it is :
Well I of course had to remix it a bit.I didnt cook onions,didn't use bacon or mushrooms, and I didn't cook the dressing. This is what I used:

+3 squirts of lemon juice

I think it turned out pretty well.

Onto the potatoes,they're really quite simple: 3 cloves of garlic & soup spoon full of rosemary
I just threw it into the blender,its so much quicker

I think I used about 9 redskin potatoes,along with garlic and rosemary I used dill,salt, pepper & olive oil.I sprayed the cookie sheet (lined with foil) with butter,dumped the potatoes on the sheet pan,pour the olive oil mix on top,make sure everything is evenly coated.Put them in the oven on 375 for 35 mins and thats that.After they come out I top them with parmesan,that's optional but you know I love cheese.

Roasted potatoes along side grilled eqqplant & squash.
Yes I grilled eggplant and squash...and it was a little time consuming. Delicious but a bit much. I think I should tell you this was my first time cooking squash ever in life,and I think I did all right. I started with this simple marinade:
1) 1/2 cup olive oil
2) 1 cup of vege oil
3)1/2 cup of salt
4)chili powder to taste
5)basil to taste
I used to eggplants and 2 squash's. Chop them up thin but not paper thin.The eggplant is like a sponge and takes longer to cook so be sure not to cut it too thick.

These took a while to cook,but its worth it.I can't wait until summer comes so I can try this same thing outside.You just cook them on both sides then put them in a pyrex pan and sprinkle with feta.They go in the oven for about 10mins on 350,and that's that.

Onto the salmon.This is a recipe I just made up a few yrs ago.I just wanted to try something new and I would up with this...and this is all you need:
2)bell pepper
4)cayenne pepper

In the oven on 375 for 20mins Chopped and ready to go.

Lastly there was dessert.I made a blueberry lb cake w/blueberries and vanilla yogurt. It was good and took all of 5 mins to assemble. After looking at it I realized I should have used a thicker cake,maybe sponge and I shouldv'e used yogurt, and thats why we have dinner parties so we know what not to do next time.

maybe more cake too....

Event Design...yeah I know its only a dinner party but every event must have a design dears!

Now for the action shots!!

Yours truly!

Life of the party!

Life of the party's mom serenading us w/some earth wind and fire!

I don't know what he was doing, I don't even remember who took this,was it me?

I think we had finally gotten it right,its kinda hard to look alive after we've had been popping bottles all night.Oh yeah life of the party took this! He's a photographer when he's not at head start.

I looove this pic its so sweet,isn't it?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Eat this not that !

Ya'll know I love the Eat This Not That right? Well this article is about the 30 saltiest foods in America.You can read it here :

This article literally blew my mind.I really couldn't believe a few of the things were sooo sodium saturated. Like the Blimpie vege sub,my father used to get that all the time and we all really thought it was the best thing on the menu,we were so wrong,wow! After reading this it will really open your eyes to exactly what it is were put in in our bodies.The next time I go out I've resolved to ordering a head of romaine,lemon juice,olive oil and vege-sal. Thats safe..right?

I'm sharing this article w/you guys not to make you never go out again and eat un-seasoned rice forever but just to raise your awareness. It'd important for me to eat healthy and know what I'm putting in my system,but also to enjoy what I'm eating.I grew up eating health food and I will not do it anymore.Everything was a substitute,soy hot dogs,honey in our off brand cereal as opposed to sugar...I will eat healthy but I will not eat health food!

Before I leave you to your reading I want to leave you with a short list of ..phrases that help me to differentiate between good for me and bad for me:
1.Parmesan Crusted
2. Cream base
3.Deep fried (duh!!)
4.Smothered in
5.Ranch Dressing
6.Butter sauce
Happy reading guys ! Tune in next week to see how my dinner party goes!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Dinner party!

Guess who's coming to dinner?? no one any of you know but a few of my dearest friends. I'm having a dinner party for the first time in FOREVER. I'm excited because I love to throw nice,relaxing parties with great music and amazing food prepared by moi. I have not been able to do this because this is the first time in a while my place has been big enough. The whole almost 2 yrs that I've lived in Chicago I've lived in the same bldg. My first apt here was a studio a decent sized studio but not big enough to entertain more than 2 ppl. In july I moved to the 4th floor and my apt is bigger,enough to have folks over.

Ya'll have to understand something I was the party thrower in college;and I dont mean those raunchy,wild parties where there are 3 girls puking in the bathroom,a keg on the back porch and ppl in your bedroom making out whom you have never seen before.Nope thats not me,I'm a diva and that is not my look!ok! I mean,ppl would come to my house for home cooked food,drinks and a good sane time. Several of my good friends calls me Betty Crocker.Seriously I have one friend who will call me that in public and yea i respond to it,LOL.

Take a look at my lists:

Nope these pic's arent to clear,they were much better in my camera...I'll tell you whats on the menu:
~Spinach salad still vasciallting on exactly how I'm doing the dressing
~Grilled eggplant & yellow squash w/mozzarella wedges
~Roasted potatoes w/ herbs
~Cake,yougurt and raspberry trifle.
I'm really excited,if you have any suggestions for the spinach salad please drop me a line!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Breakfast Skillets

Today we're talking about breakfast skillets which are the 9th wonder of my world,because fax machine are the 8th.I just love the concept of a breakfast skillet because there are so many different ingredients and flavours you can add to them. Today's skillet is very simple, and only takes about 25mins.

What you need:
1)An Idaho,or yukon gold potato
2) Rosemary
3) Dill
4) turkey bacon or sausage(I don't eat red meat)
5)1 green onion
6) 3 eggs
7) Cheddar & asiago cheese
8) salt
9) Basil
(This skillet lasts me 2 days)

Its a very simple recipe:
1) Wash the potato and cube it up, you can throw it in the food processor but I do it by hand.
2)Put the potato in a microwave safe bowl then put warm water in the bowl so that it covers the potato's.Put this in the microwave for 2mins and 20sec's.

3)Drain the potato,then get a "skillet" hehe.. coat the bottom w/olive oil and put the potatoes in.
4) Keep it on med heat because if you turn it up the potatoes will get real brown and golden like you want it,but they wont be cooked thru.
5)Dice up 3 slices of bacon, 1 grn onion and mince the rosemary about 1/2 a cap full.(use the cap of the rosemary)

6) Season the potatoes w/ 2 dash's of dill, rosemary, bacon and the onions.Keep the heat low and toss occasionally.

I really wish you guys could smell this because at this point it begins to smell incredible!!!

7) Whisk 3 eggs and put a piece if rye in the toaster.
8)After the potatoes,bacon and onions have been hanging together for about 7mins pour in the eggs.
9) Season generously with basil and salt.After the eggs have adequately scrambled sprinkle with cheddar and asiago cheese's.

It was sooo good,leftovers for breakfast tomorrow! Oh and at some point you take the toast out of the toaster.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Why I love Emeril Lagasse

Well yes you've guessed it my 3rd favorite Food Network personality is Emeril Lagasse.He actually was the first food network star that I became acquainted with. We didn't have the food network at my house growing up but my grandparents did and that was such a treat for me. I really could watch that channel for hours on end. Especially Emeril...he is so exciting and he may not know it but he is truly an entertainer.Did you know that his first love is playing percussion's and that he turned down a scholarship to New England Conservatory to go to culinary school?
I have just always found him to be so engaging and just a pure thrill. I remember I had a violin teacher during my teenage yrs who would often use "Bam" (Emeril Lagasse's catchphrase) as a means to express to me how to properly execute an etude,example of our convo:
Teacher: "Do you know you just played a b flat?it should have been b natural"
Me: "Umm no,do you think I would've played a b flat on purpose?"
T:"Ya know,I really need you to get this.......(..him saying a bunch of musical stuff i really dont remember,because this was 10 or more yrs ago) Finally he says "have you seen that guy on the food channel who's always yelling BAM?" I said yes. He says "that's how I want you to play,with that much energy and be confident that you know its right,where at the end you can say BAM"
Yes I know a story to tell a story,but that just goes to show this guy really had and always will have quite the following. What do you think about him?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Easy Birthday cake

My sister is coming to town this wknd for her bday which is actually until Tuesday. Last week was a very grueling one for her as it was Crystal Couture week. She's a model in the DMV area (DC,Maryland & Virginia) and she walked almost every night last week.*Walked meaning she strutted down the runway.*

I decided to make her a cake,which prolly isn't as lovely as the cake I ordered last year when we went to Vegas for her bday. It was soo cute and had a harp on it...anyhoo this ain't that,so she better still find it in her heart to love me! I made a small cake because she doesn't eat much cake and if it's not around neither do I.Here is the recipe I used

I like this site because you can change the portions,to fit your needs. However it isn't always that accurate. I scaled it down to 4 serving and it told me to use only 5/8th's of an egg,among othe obscure measurements,funny. Yes you guessed it,I only kinda followed the recipe. I used 2 eggs,1.5 c's of flour and 1/2 c of milk.

Here are some tips for cake decorating:

1)Always draw out exactly what you want the cake to look like, down to the smallest details.In reality your cake will probably never look like what you drew but its good to have diagram to help guide you.

2)I took a wilton method cake decorating class 3 yrs ago.Please dont write me any hatemail if the cake is decorated up to your Buddy Valastro standard's !!

3) Always decorate the cake on a charger/plate that spins. It will make it really easy to put icing on and easier to turn as your decorating.

4) Always have a toothpick handy if ur gonna be writing words. Sometimes when you get to the end of the letter there's that last peice of icing that wants to hang off the side of the letter or something annoying. The toothpick is for cleaning that up.

Fresh out of the oven

All iced out

I got this at wal-mart for $1.50,I got a green one to.They're great because all you have to to is put on the Wilton tips,that I already had.This way you dont have to worry about cleaning your icing bag or buying the disposable ones.

I didn't do too much decorating, but I did a nice trim with a really easy tip.
Well thats the final product. The letters are incredible crooked,I know.I'd like to get back into my cake decorating.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Why I love the Neely's

Hey bloggers & blogette's, welcome to part 2 of my 3 fav food network personalities. It's the Neely's !! I just love them. I have never had a desire to visit Memphis, TN until I started watching their show,now I can't wait to get down there. Did you know they are the first black people to have their own show on the food network. Yes they have done specials featuring black people,but the Neely's were the first to have their very own show,I love that. You know something else I recently found out about them? this is the 2nd marriage for both of them. Their oldest daughter is actually Gina's child from her 1st marriage. I feel like they both got it right this time.."it" being the marriage,which brings me to my next point....

They are obviously very very in love. I really get a kick out of that,not just seeing how happy they are after 17yrs of marriage,but they are in real love! Have you ever watched their show? If you haven't,let me tell you,they border on sexually inappropriate.But it's great and funny.They're always kissing,making eyes at each other and sometimes I can tell Pat wants to grab Ginas butt but he won't because they're filming.Hehehehe. I'll be watching the show sometimes and I'll say to myself "did he just do that" or "did she just say that". They are just so excitng to watch and they really do make you feel at home.

I love that they are always remixing some recipe. I'm all about taking something real traditional and turning it up-side. I enjoy experimenting, and just trying new things. We know that they love to put everything on the grill,but I will never forget what I saw them do one episode about 2 yrs ago.Are you ready for it?? They put romain lettuce on the grill.Yeah you heard what I said.Romain lettuce.Grilled. They were pleased and enjoyed their salad or whatever weird concoction thet were making. Yes that was weird,but I still love them.Tune in next week for the last of this series.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Spanakopita !!

I really enjoy spanakopita,not only is it an excellent source of iron,but its easy to make and really only takes about 35mins to make. It's also a really good way to get kids to eat their spinach. I discovered this recipe by way of Emeril Lagasse,he made it seem sooo effortless.It really isn't that hard.

His recipe is what I use:
I do a few things different though:
*I don't use frozen spinach, I use fresh pull the stems off,wash & drain then cook till wilted.
*The only seasonings I use are,kumen,basil and salt. I don't bother with parsley,oregano or lemon juice
* I use green onions
* I use peppered feta
* Altogether I used 5 sheets of filo and I'm glad I did.I love it to have the puff and crunch,yummo!

Things you should know when Spanakopitaing: ( that's not a word,yea I know)
*ALWAYS DRAIN THE SPINACH WHEN YOUR DONE COOKING IT.You don't need any leftover spinach water running out of the pastry,TRUST ME, drain it.
*Even though spinach cooks waaaaayyyy down you still shouldn't cook alot.The reason for this is because you don't want to put that much of the mixture in the filo or it won't fold right and it will burst open.This has also been learned from experience.I made this for the first bridal expo I did and um....I've since learned my lesson.
*Always put the pastry seam down on the baking sheet.
* I never really know what shape I want my spanakopita to be,today it was triangles. If it's not an even triangle just grab the pizza cutter and trim the sides a little.

Cooked w/grn onions 5 buttered filo sheets later

The filling Filo has been cut to begin filling & folding

Let the filling begin!
They're ready for take off

They are soo good,and they will freeze well!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Why I love Ina Garten

It's a snow day!!! Yes I'm relaxing at home. This has been my first snow day since I was about...16.I am really enjoying it.Now all I need is Raheem Devaughn to come sing to me,and drink hot chocolate with me. If you don't know who is check out the song if the day. Do you guys read that or am I really only doing it for myself?LOL.

Today kick's off the 3 part series I'm doing on my 3 favorite food channel personalities. We're starting with Ina Garten because she's #1. I wanna be her when I grow up,hehehe. I love how she's always entertaining, and having friends over. Not only does she do the cooking but she usually does her own decorating,for her soiree's. Now that's a domestic diva, that's what I aspire to. Ina is so welcoming and such a people person.When you watch her show you feel as if she is welcoming you personally into her home. She always cooks different varieties of food. Her show isn't just focused on one type of food.

One of the things I like the most is her interaction with her hubby Jeffrey. They are too cute! She is always so excited to cook for him and him just as excited to eat. The great thing about here is that she never had any formal training most of what she knows has been learned through cookbooks. I love this because everybody (me) does not have money to go to culinary school; and if you already have a degree that makes it even harder to get loan and scholarship money...but that's a rant for another time.

While she may not have gone to culinary school,she's a smart cookie. She has an MBA from George Washington University and she was flipping houses (in my 2nd fav part of DC, Dupont Circle) using that money to purchase her store The Barefoot Contessa in 1978. Be sure to tune in next wk for the continuation of the series.