Thursday, January 31, 2013

January Tapas Night

 Another month and another Tapas Night down.   And as usual, a great time was had by most, or so they told me.   And also as usual, tons of great food.   And since I know you're waiting in anticipation, with bated breath, ok, enough hyperbole.    Here's some pictures of the food that was brought last night.    And if I missed getting a picture of yours, I'm sorry but I was having fun.   And it's my party and I can have fun if I want to.  Oh wait, I think I said that last month as well.   But, it bears repeating.
 From Deviled Eggs to....

 A Cannelli bean spread with Rosemary and Garlic.
Chicken Piccata Bites

There was some Sweet Potato Hummus served with veggies and crackers.

Crepes and Gluten free Crepes served with Orange Dream filling.  (Strictly a make your own crepe)

Veggie Plate, always a popular item.   I noticed it had been decimated by the end of the evening. 

Rich, cinnamon, sweet potato goodness.  Really yummy.

Egg Salad spread, and look at the dish it was presented in.  Whimsical and just plain fun.
And the spread was good too.   Behind it to the left were some celery sticks also spread with the egg salad spread.

Bean Dip, and doesn't it look pretty?  Tasted good too.

Cakes and Cookie bars for dessert, way too good.
Bean Chile, totally awesome.

With rice, cheese, cornbread and sour cream accompaniments. 

Cookies and Turkish Delight, one of my faves.

I was told this was yummy, but I didn't get a taste of it.  By the time I got back there with a plate, it was gone.

There are a couple more pictures but for some reason, I'm having trouble loading them, so I will say that there were some other desserts, including a mocha chocolate cake, brownies and fruit.   I also missed getting a shot of a plate of chicken salad, potato balls, and mangoes.  I did manage to sample them however and they were good.   

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Super Bowl Ideas, Part Two

I didn't think I had so much to say on great things to take and eat on 'The Big Day' .    From something fun like Corn Dog Muffins to Onion and Mushroom Tart with Goat Cheese, I think you'll find something you can make for just about every palate.  

My brother in law Mike, was a major football fan and he looked forward to the start of football season with the same anticipation a child looks forward to Christmas with.   And while I know he would have loved the Buffalo Bites in my previous post, I think he would also have torn into my Blooming Onion Bread and probably would have laughed at the Corn Dog Muffins while popping a couple into his mouth.    So in memory of Mike, I dedicate this post to him.   

For starters, Onion and Mushroom Tart with Goat Cheese is not only easy to make, but you can serve it warm or at room temp.    I know when I made it before, I barely got a taste before the plate was cleared.   I will make it again, soon, but next time I'm making twice as much.
I love me a good corn dog, and when I found a recipe for Corn Dog Muffins, I had to try it.    And I will admit the recipe needed twiddling with, but watching people popping these into their mouth after slathering them with mustard, well, let me just say it was fun.  So feed your inner child with some of these.

I've made Blooming Onion Bread a couple of times now, and I have to say it just gets better and better.   I really haven't messed with the original recipe, I mean why mess with something that you think tastes just right to begin with?

Smoked Salmon Spread
And I'll leave you with one of my favorites.   Maybe it's the Dane in me coming out, but I do love smoked fish and this Smoked Salmon Spread is easy and yummy, and I could eat it by the spoonful.  OK, so I have spooned it up, but then I catch myself and spread it on a rye crisp cracker, have an Aquavit and savor the both of them together.
What can I say, I love finger foods, and these are a few of my favourite ones.    Hopefully, I've given you a couple of ideas for SUPER BOWL SUNDAY.     Now to put my thinking cap on and see what I can come up with, nothing like a cooking challenge to get the brain cells moving around.   

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Super Bowl Ideas

Super Bowl Sunday is coming up fast, and if you're going to be going to a party, you don't want to come empty handed.  So here are a few ideas...

Bologna CakeHow about a Bologna Cake, you could have a lot of fun decorating it.    I've made it for various parties, and it is very easy to decorate with a theme in mind.

Bologna Cake

Or the ever popular Meatballs in Chili/grape sauce, so many variations on this are around.   I tasted one made with cranberry sauce last year and it was yummy.
Meatballs and Mini Sausages

Buffalo Bites are a nice twist on the traditional wings, and no messy bones to get rid of.   And it's so darn easy as well.
Buffalo Bites

Spicy Stuffed Mushrooms are always a crowd pleaser.
Spicy Stuffed Mushrooms

Or how about a bowl of Marinated Olives?   Throw in some cubes of Feta Cheese for a total sensory explosion in your mouth.
 Sorry, couldn't resist typing that.
Marinated Olives

The Tomato Bites I made awhile back
disappeared fast, so I think they might be a good choice as well. 
Tomato Bites

Here are just a few possibilities for 'THE BIG DAY',  I'll come up with a few more ideas for you.

Just in case you're needing inspiration, that is.  

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Baked Stuffed Potatoes

Potatoes have got to be one of the most versatile foods around.  Think about it, you can boil, fry, mash, bake, saute, stuff, smash, sky's the limit.     I made Baked Stuffed Potatoes for the January Boat Club the other day and they were good.  Even if I do say so myself.   And I know they were good cause out of the 5 pounds of potatoes I made, I only got to take home 1 1/2 potatoes. sigh.  But that's OK.  I watched people really enjoying them so that's a good thing.
Twice Baked Potatoes

5 Pounds Red Butter Potatoes, baked (mine were on the small side)
1 lb. grated Monterey Jack Cheese
1/8 lb. butter
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 lb. sauteed Mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped cooked bacon, or more to taste
 2 Tablespoons EVOO
1 tsp. sea salt

I took the five pounds of Red Butter potatoes out of my pantry, dumped them into a sink full of water and scrubbed them very well.  After I dried them off, I placed them on a rimmed baking pan and poured some EVOO over them.  Rolled them in the EVOO to coat and then ground some sea salt over them.
Baked Red Potatoes

I baked the potatoes for just over an hour, checked them at the hour point for tenderness, OK, so I pulled one out of the oven and ate it.  It was lunch, so there!   They needed a few more minutes so I put them back into the oven.   While they were finishing baking, I grated up a pound of cheese, I used Monterey Jack Cheese cause that's what kind I had in the fridge.

Sauteed the mushrooms til they were golden brown, I wanted to get as much flavour out of them as I could.    And chopped up some extremely flavourful bacon I had on hand.

I pulled the potatoes out of the oven, and let them sit for a few minutes, just long enough to cool down so I could handle them.   I cut them in half, and scooped out the innards, leaving a rim around the edge.    The scooped out potatoes were placed in a large bowl, and when I finished scooping out all the potatoes I used my ricer and riced the potatoes.  ( My first time using it, and it was fun. Made the potatoes nice and even, no lumps).   I heated the butter and cream together and folded it into the potatoes.   Hint:  If you are making mashed potatoes, heat the milk or cream and butter together before adding to the potatoes, it makes for a lighter fluffier mash.

Folded the grated cheese into the potatoes, then added the mushrooms and bacon to it.   
I then mounded some of the mashed potato mixture into each potato half and topped them all with some more grated cheese.   Nothing like excess where cheese is concerned.  Just sayin...

 Don't they look purty?
I then baked them off for about 40 minutes, long enough for the cheese to melt and for the potatoes to be heated through. 
Stuffed Baked Potatoes
Wrapped them up well, and took them to Boat Club where they disappeared in short order.  I had a pan and a half with me, and only took home 1 1/2 potatoes.  (three pieces in other words).   Which was a good thing.

I just had to do a close up, you can see the steam rising from the the lovely gooey potatoes.

There's the latest Boat Club offering.   Now I have to start thinking about what to make for Tapas night.    I'm sure I'll come up with something.

In the meantime, have fun with your food, it tastes better when you're having fun in the kitchen. 

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

January Boat Club Potluck

Every month it's the same, outrageously good food.   Sigh...   I'm talking about our monthly Boat Club potluck.   We have great food, great conversations, and meet new people.   Oh, and play games as well.   Last night there was a scrabble game, a gin rummy game and Fact or Crap game going.   I wasn't in the mood to play any of them so I went out on the deck and enjoyed a very lovely balmy, warm January night.  And took a couple of pictures of the harbour as well.
I brought some Twice Baked Stuffed Potatoes, and will tell you the 'how to's ' in another post.   To be honest, I had no idea what I was making until yesterday morning when that famous AHA moment happened.  I'd toyed with several ideas, but it wasn't until I looked at the 5 pounds of potatoes I had in the cupboard that it hit me.  Stuffed Baked Potatoes, I had all the ingredients in house so there it was.
Stuffed Baked Potatoes

 And now for some of the other offerings.   They were all good, as usual.  And I love it when someone brings something unusual.

We had everything from some lovely Ceviche to Bean Dip, Soup to several lovely salads.
Here they are.
 Ceviche, very nice, and looked so pretty in the blue bowl.    See what I mean, something fun and different.   And I noticed a lot of people were going back for seconds.
 Macaroni Salad.  I have to say, I'm such a sucker for pasta.    And this was a great salad.
 Bean Salad, with some lovely fresh Rosemary on top.   Doug said he also added some Hominy to it, cause he likes Hominy, and it was very good.
 Sweet Potato casserole, you can't see it under the yummy topping, but it was sublime.
 Curried Rice Salad.   I kinda had a heaping serving of this.   I do love Curry, and this salad was so good.   I'm still dreaming of this.
 Taboulli, always a great dish.   So light and flavourful.   This recipe was a tad different, some almonds had been added and they were a great addition.

 Lovely Pasta with sundried tomatoes and cheese.  And it looked so pretty, and tasted wonderful.

 Spiced Ham slices and crackers, very nice and I noticed that it disappeared quickly.
 Really great soup, thick and flavourful with lots of sausage and other goodies in there.    This would be so good with a hunk of crusty bread.
 Corn Pudding.   I thought it was cornbread at first glance, but it was chockful of corn.  And very good as well.   Hmmm, in retrospect it would have gone very well with the soup.  
Orzo and Chicken, again, a dish I love to eat. 
 And I had a nice helping of it.

An assortment of cakes for dessert.    I know the lady who baked them, and they are always yummy.  

There were also chips and dip but I didn't get any pictures of them.     All in all a typical Boat Club gathering, and I am so glad I live here now and can participate.   Now, I just have track down the recipes for a couple of these dishes, I do like to add to my repertoire.

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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Navajo Taco's

Now that you know how to make a great Chile, you can use it to make some Navajo Taco's.  Of course if you like your Chile straight up in a bowl with some chopped onions and cheese on top, this may not appeal to you.

I met my first Navajo Taco at a State Fair, and fell head over heels for them.  I would wait in anticipation for the next year so I could get another one.
Navajo Taco

Then a local restaurant opened up and I could go there for my fix on a regular basis.   Now I'm not sure just why I thought I could only have this dish at a restaurant or at the Fair, but somehow I did.   Then one day it hit me, I could make this on my own. 

Whoo Hoo.   So I did, and now I'll share it with you.    In fact, I prefer my Chile served like this now.   

To start with, make some good Chile, either my Firehouse Chile or your favorite recipe.    Make some Frybread, either by using a good frozen bread dough, thawed and rolled out or patted out into a large thin circle, or use your own good home made dough fried in some oil.

Place the Frybread on a plate,
 put a heaping spoonful of Chile on top,


 then add some shredded cheese, some shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, a spoonful of sour cream if you want and dig in.

Navajo Taco

 I also like a sprinkle of black olives and some chopped onion on top as well.    I eat this with a fork and knife, but if you can get your fry bread big enough, you can actually fold it in half and eat it like a Taco.   You'll need a bib and a change of clothes, cause that Chile will drip, but it is good.   Just sayin...

Now, since that made me hungry, guess what I'm going to go and have, yup some breakfast.   But we'll be having Navajo Taco's again soon. 

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