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Posts from — August 2011

martini maddness

It is finally time to use the infused vodkas that you and I made back on July 20th.  What, you didn’t make any?!? Darn, well there is still time; click on the link above, then jump in the car and buy the necessary fruits, veggies, and vodka.  It’ll only take about week until you too can enjoy these delicious cocktails. In fact, since we used up all the pineapple vodka at the Blog 2nd Anniversary Party, I whipped up another batch this morning. Now I’ll be able to enjoy my favorite martini next weekend, here they are in order of popularity…

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August 21, 2011   No Comments

so easy, a kid…

When deciding what to serve for an appetizer party, it is important to think of all the various components:

hot and cold
meat and vegetarian
rich and mild
complex and easy-breezy
color on the table (you need to be careful that everything is not dark and brown)

I put out only four items for the Blog Anniversary Party, which is at least 3 less than I normally do. Taking that into consideration – all the above factors were especially important to keep in mind.

Here is what I offered and what purpose each served for the buffet:

Italian Guacamole with Cibatta Chipscold, vegetarian,  mild, colorful, easy-breezy, and diet friendly

Bacon Lollipopshot, meat, rich, complex, although lacking in color

Lamb Merguez Flatbreadhot, meat, rich, colorful, complex

Prosciutto, Melon, and Bocconcini Picks – cold, meat, mild, colorful, and exceptionally easy-breezy

(can be made vegetarian – substitute an heirloom cherry tomato for the prosciutto on half,  or all, of the picks)

The importance of having at least one easy-breezy recipe included on a party buffet can not be overemphasize. 

As the hostess, you need to know that there is at least one recipe that is no fail, no cook, and if all else falls apart, you could get your kid or spouse to complete it for you without too much direction. 

This recipe is exactly that, keep it in your repertoire!

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August 20, 2011   No Comments

Merguez

This in another recipe I’m recreating from that restaurant we love in San Francisco, Gitane Restaurant and Bar. It is one their Catalan Flatbreads.

Merguez is a fresh sausage made with lamb, beef, pork, or a mixture of two or all three. It is heavily spiced with harissa, garlic, peppercorns, cumin, fennel, and more. You can buy it online from several sources or make the homemade version, provided here.

For some insane reason, I forgot to sprinkle my finished flatbread with the fresh cilantro. It could have had something to do with all the martinis I was making (and enjoying) all night! Don’t follow my lead, it is the cilantro that truly makes this flatbread exceptional. Oh, and no worries, I promise that the martini recipes using my infused vodkas will be posted on Sunday.

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August 19, 2011   1 Comment

melt in your mouth

Bacon Bonbons – prunes stuffed with goat cheese, wrapped in smoked bacon, in a spiced port glaze

That is the full description on the menu at Gitane Restaurant & Bar in San Francisco – which I used to make these delicious and addicting little morsels at home. I served them on Tuesday night at the Blog Annivesary Party and they disappeared quicker than anything else on the table.

The one change I would make, is to cook them a little longer than I did for the party. Although wonderful as they were, I’d like for the bacon to be a bit crisper. I’ve increased the baking time in the recipe below as compared to what I did the other night.  Please keep that in mind when you make them. The bacon will look and be more “cooked” than reflected in my photo.

The name, Bacon Bonbons, is so cute. I can’t just steal it, so I’d like to come up with a new clever name for my version. I haven’t found it quite yet… as you will see. So, any help – from any one of you – would be graciously appreciated!  (Thank you JoAnne Halberg for coming up with a better name!)

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August 18, 2011   1 Comment

fun birthday party

Last night’s “Blog 2-Year Celebration Cookbook Happy Hour” was a great success and so much fun. Thank you to all the lovely ladies who attended, a few of them are shown here.

One of the many people missing in the photos is Chef Gwen Walters. Unfortunately, in the one photo she was in, she was nearly unrecognizable… looking very incognito in a baseball cap and with a fan in front of her face. Kind of like a restaurant critic or something…. well that makes sense, she is a restaurant critic, so maybe it was intentional… hmmm?

I’ve mentioned here before that Gwen is the queen of smoothies; she is also the queen of Tweets. So generous with her promotion of others. Last night she tweeted out a picture of the party. Even pictures from her iPhone are better than the ones I take with an actual camera… check this out.

When the guests arrived, this is what greeted them at the front door.

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August 17, 2011   7 Comments

chili crusted birthday

Tonight is the big Cookbook Happy Hour. In the next week, I’ll post recipes for the drinks and appetizers we enjoyed; including drink recipes for those infused vodkas I made at the end of July.  Now a little rundown of the blog birthday official numbers…

2 years
730 days
668 posts
577 recipes
1,508 comments (Thank YOU!)
11,876 spam (what the heck?!?)

Enough reflection – time for a recipe #578.

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August 16, 2011   4 Comments

eating out in Jupiter

Chef Tim Lipman in the Leftovers kitchen

While in Jupiter, Florida last week, Chris and Kathy took me to their favorite “sister” restaurants, Food Shack and Leftovers.  The food was some of the most creative, seasonal, colorful, and flavorful I’ve ever had- especially at Leftovers.

We had the privilege of sitting at the bar that looks directly into the kitchen and catching up with the Leftovers chef, Tim Lipman. What a cool guy! I would love for him to come to Les Gourmettes next spring and share his unique creativity and philosophy.  And of course, he’d need to bring all that wonderful fish at his disposal, along too. Barb, we need to talk!

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August 15, 2011   4 Comments

Pom-Mart

I was in Florida last week visiting our friends, Kathy and Chris Froggatt. We went out a couple nights and had the most fabulous fish at two of their favorite restaurants. Plus we cooked at home with lobster one night.  More on that in the days to come; what I want to share with you today is a delicious pomegranate martini recipe that Chris made for us… and happily, more than once.

Thank you Chris and Kathy, you are perfect hosts and I had a wonderful time, in spite of the humidity. :-)  xoxo

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August 14, 2011   3 Comments

banana – rama

Today I am returning from visiting Kathy and Chris Froggatt, my longtime friends,  in their new home (well it’s been about 18 months since they moved from AZ) in Jupiter, Florida.  Yes, the “crazy lady” comes out again and goes from 110 degrees in AZ to 90+ degrees plus 90% humidity… for a less than refreshing summer reprieve in FL. Whatever, it was a wonderful trip to see great friends, in their gorgeous new home, with their tropical backyard.  Do you know what that is the picture above?  Look closely…

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August 13, 2011   1 Comment

tenacity

I adore and am fascinated by hummingbirds. They are the bravest and most tenacious little creatures. 

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August 12, 2011   No Comments