Thursday, April 26, 2012


I love parties. I love eating at parties, I love making food for parties, and I love having people over for parties. There is something I don't quite understand, though. When people talk about party food, they always try to find quick and easy things that don't require much work. Like assembly-only dishes. I, on the other hand, look for something that I have been dying to make. Like some crazy cake that would be way too much for just my family, but perfect for a group of friends. Or maybe a new appetizer. Again, that is not something I am going to make for a weeknight dinner, but something I would love to try out. So, I end up inviting people over, and cooking. Half of it is for them, but the other half of it is for my personal enjoyment. Selfish, I know. But, in my defense, some people don't mind being my guinea pigs.
I just recently hatched another idea for a party,

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Spring Table

Recently we hosted a dinner party at our house for a spring celebration. The menu included:

Spring Vegetable Dip with Crostini
Fried Raviolis with Arrabiata Sauce
Roasted Carrot and Fennel Soup
Stuffed Roasted Pork Tenderloin
Roasted Potatoes with Rosemary (Gourmet Mix=Purple, White, and Red)
Broccoli with Browned Butter
Sage and Sausage Stuffing

We had a mini Cheesecake bar for dessert, complete with homemade sauces and toppings for individuals to create their own cheesecake masterpieces.
We used a simple napkin fold I found on the internet to add a bit of elegance to the table, and some flowers from the dollar store, votive candles, Spanish moss, and some twigs from the front yard.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Ham and Brie Pretzel Rolls

Some of the best recipes happen on accident. Well, maybe not accident, maybe improv.  You are in the kitchen, minding your own business, when you have an idea. A great idea. Or, maybe, you were looking in the fridge. That's what happened to me. I was looking at the wheel of brie I had purchased for Easter dinner. I had forgotten all about it.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Using Leftovers-Ham

Every time there is a big occasion, I usually make massive plans for the leftovers. I have a favorite turkey stew I make after Thanksgiving, and I also usually make my own version of croquettes, composed of stuffing, potatoes, and turkey, topped with pipping hot leftover gravy. I almost forbid people to make turkey sandwiches, instead wanting to save the meat for other, more exciting destinations.
There is usually a lot more ham leftover. I think its because for Easter, we don't invite twenty people over. Easter is usually a last-minute, (this year we moved it to Monday night because things were so hectic) and we just have family. That's what happens when a holiday falls on a Sunday. Therefore, I am left with like eight pounds of ham sitting in my fridge, asking if they are going to end up in the trash. So here are ten ways you can use up that hunk before he gets bad. (PS, cut all the meat off and chop it into bite size pieces. Pop the bone in the freezer and store the chopped meat in a ziploc. It will make your life easier.)

1. Pasta with cream sauce, fried ham, and peas
2. Omelets with ham and brie (breakfast or dinner)
3. Pancakes with a side of fried ham and scrambled eggs (we had my usual pancake recipe, substituting 1/2 cup whole wheat flour for an equal amount of white, added cinnamon, substituted vanilla for the almond, added mashed bananas, the chocolate chips, and ground flaxseed, omitting the cranberries)
4. BBQ pizza, with mozzarella, BBQ sauce, chopped ham, green onions, and pineapple
5. Use a whole wheat wrap or 'Flat-Out' and make a lunch with chopped ham, honey chipotle sauce, lettuce, and cheese.
6. Breakfast burritos by scrambling leftover potatoes and ham with eggs. Top with cheese.
7. Make a potato and leek soup and substitute ham for sausage.
8. Throw some in your green beans.
9. Make breakfast buns and freeze some.
10. Cobb salad.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Eat Here- Redd Yountville

There is yet another great restaurant we ate at on our journeys in Napa. I probably could live there, eat somewhere different every week of my life and never exhaust the bounty of restaurants, delis, shops, and bakeries.
Another delightful place we found ourselves was at Chef Richard Reddington's 'Redd'.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Black Bean and Cumin Soup

There is a funny point at the turning of the seasons where we feel like the last season is still here, but the calendar tells us  the season has changed. So it is now, in these beginning days of April. Chilly nights and wind-driven rains make us feel like winter hasn't left yet, but the budding irises, freesia, and fruit trees tell us spring is on its way.

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