Saturday, February 2, 2008

Super Bake Sunday

So tomorrow is the Super Bowl.
I will be doing the very ungirly thing by watching every minute of it. And no, not for the commercials.
I will watch because I like football and I like the Patriots. Yes, I liked them even back when they were losers.
While I am being ungirly and watching football all afternoon, I will counter that with the girly act of baking muffins.
Strawberry cream-cheese muffins to be precise.
I will make to sure document that and share it with you over on the food blog.
I made a pineapple coffee cake the other night. I was baking at 11 p.m. again. Crazy.
Sorry I have not posted that yet. There is still a bit left. If I can get to it to take a picture before the manfriend polishes it off, I will post that, too.

I also think I may do a big pan of steamed clams and mussels if I can get myself to the seafood market early enough.

It is supposed to be a rainy day tomorrow. It should be perfect for football watching and cooking.

Mostly I am just looking forward to the opportunity to not be at work.

I mentioned the other day to a colleague that I have jury duty coming up in March and how a nice, long, two-week trial sounds pretty good right about now.

His response was that it was sad when jury duty was more appealing than work.

I am sure it will settle down here soon. Just in time for everything to change again.

OK. I am off. Go Pats!

Monday, January 28, 2008

New blog alert! New blog alert!

Yep, I started another one.

I figured since I post so much about food on here, I would start a food blog just to keep track of things I have made and recipes I want to post.

I also think it will be good because it will keep posts here shorter and if someone really wants to see something or try a dish, they can find it easily on the new site.

From now on, you can find any recipes I post over on All That and She Cooks, Too.

I put a link to that in my Food Files section to the right.

So far it is all party recipes, but the more I cook, the more that site will grow.

Feel free to copy, modify, share and enjoy these recipes.

I will try to get around to listing all the recipes from over there at some point. I also will try to come up with a good labeling system so they can be more easily filtered.

Right now, I have dishes to wash.

Anyone care for a cocktail?

Yes, that is pretty much all hard liquor.
Along with some various mixers and the frou-frou stuff like Midori
and Curacao and Chambord in case anyone wants anything girly or colorful.

This was early afternoon before the party. I like to get things like
this set up well ahead of time. I know I will be rushing around with food.
I won't have time to mess with the bar.

Of course, no one drank mixed drinks.
Oh well, I do like to have it as an option for people.

I did not take a picture of the beer or wine stations. Silly me.
Typically I spread stuff out around the room.
That way people are moving around and there is not one real bottleneck area.

I put the beers in a giant galvanized metal bucket full
of ice over near the front door. I stuck my refrigerator magnet
bottle openers to the side of the bucket and people can help themselves.

The wine was on a console table up against the wall
behind where all the action was.
It is a low-traffic area during parties, so it is a
good place to set up the wine and all the glasses.

Mmmmmm... spinach and smoked gouda appetizers were a hit.

The recipe for this is from the Cocktail Food Deck. I love this thing.
It is a deck of cards with recipes for 50 appetizers.
I have made a lot of things from this deck, and they all are great.

And these are nice because they are good for the
non-meat eaters who came to the party.
The meat eaters were scarfing them down pretty good, too.

This was Roasted Asparagus with Mountain Ham
from my Tapas cookbook.

These were very easy. I rolled them the night
before and stuck them in the fridge.

I roasted them right before party time.

Here is a pre-party look at the mushroom tartlet sort of things.

The Cocktail Food Deck called for puff pastry to hold these.
I like to use mini bread cups instead. They are easy to make,
hold up well and can be made a couple days ahead of time.

Shhh.. There she is... the master at work.

I was getting ready to roast the asparagus spears here.
I think I had about 19 things going on at once here.
Don't I look totally calm? I even had time to curl my hair.
Which you cannot see since I have it pulled back here. But it looked nice.

A nice wide angle shows the fabulous array of food.

Several friends brought some great things.
Thanks Cerise and Phil for the giant bread bowl full of crab dip
and the pretty gift set of serving pieces;
Pat for the cous cous and shrimp salad (one of my favorites!)
and the lovely little herb garden;
Sissy for the chocolate fondue and fruit/cream puffs
(Sorry about the sterno incident that got the chocolate too hot.
Next time: crock pot for sure);
Joe and Joanna for the sushi;
Jim and Luong for the beers;
Sammie and Bob for the wine;
and Toni and Daphne for the foodie book
and subscription to Gourmet.

And thanks to my manfriend for schlepping the ice
and for your party-fund contribution.
Not to mention being a willing taste-tester
and for listening to me go on and on about the food.

I hope I remembered everyone.
Sorry if I missed someone, it got pretty crazy for a while.

This is one of my favorite ways to serve appetizers.
I love this three-tiered thingamabob. My regular dinner plates
fit right in there to showcase (from top) spinach
and smoked gouda spheres, chevre and mango steak bites
(huge hit with party goers) and mushroom tartlets.

Of all the things I made, I think these were the most popular.

I think this because everyone said how good they were
and there were only two left at the end of the night.

I started with 48 of them.

I give you: Asian-spiced meatballs with snow peas and hoisin sauce.

Lovely close-up of the steak bites...

And the cooked version of the asparagus spears...

Here is my trio of crostini:
tomato bruschetta, olive tapenade and chicken liver pate.

No recipes for those will be posted.

I also am not posting the recipe for balsamic shrimp.

If you REALLY, really want the recipe, let me know
and I will post it on my new recipe blog,
All That and She Cooks, Too.
I figured it would be a good way to keep all the recipes
together since I post about several topics here.

And this is what I have to look forward to today.
Actually, it is not that bad.

I used paper plates and such, so really I just have a lot
of platters and bowls to clean. Not too bad.

Oh yeah, and a bunch of wine glasses that cannot go in the dishwasher.

Those will be the biggest pain, but I cannot stand
seeing guests drink good wine from plastic glasses.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Great weather for a party

Well, it was sunny earlier.
Not so much anymore.
I am hoping this dies down a bit before party time.
I can't be too stressed if I am taking time to blog, right?

I still have about five hours.
The house is in order and I have started the setup.
I will do the last of the food prep starting at 5 p.m.

Now, I am off to relax for a bit before
heading out to get a few last-minute things.

It's party day!

I am up early. It is before 8 a.m.
If you know me, you know that is early.

I probably do not have 9 hours worth of stuff left to do. But I will spend 9 hours fussing around and worrying.

I want to get some non-skid strips on my front steps. It's been rainy here and the genius who built the steps tiled then in slick ceramic tile.

Even dry the stuff is slippery. When it is wet... Well let's just say I do not want to test the limits of my homeowners' insurance.

Today is a little bit of cleaning and putting all the food together.

Last night I did a little prep on the food. I rolled the asparagus spears in prosciutto. I will roast those right before the party.

This two oven thing will come in handy.

I also made a sort of aioli sauce for the asparagus with mayo, tarragon, garlic, lemon juice and sugar. It is tangy and a tad sweet. It should go nicely with the salty prosciutto.

I promise that once it is all pulled together I will take more pictures than you can stand.

For now, I am going to have some tea and ease into my day.