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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Our Latest Cooking Show: Cocktails & Tapas!

We filmed another episode of the cooking show last week.

My friend, Trish, cooked with me.  Trish and I went out to dinner last month along with another friend, Gayle.  We ordered our usual Lemon Drop Martini, and as we were toasting our friendship Trish suggested that I should do a cocktail-themed cooking show.

I gave her my standard reply, "only if you'll cook with me!"

Ply Trish with lemon drop martinis and she will agree to anything.  We decided on a theme of Cocktails & Tapas, because Trish has a love of deep-fried food. I knew I would need to use the deep fryer to keep her happy, and since there is no deep-fried cocktail in my recipe repertoire it only seemed fitting to mix a few tapas into our cocktail show.

We started off with Blueberry-Peach Sangria.  This is my go-to sangria recipe.  And as you can tell by the nearly-empty pitcher in the background, it was a hit with everyone at the taping.

Click here to be taken to the printable recipe.

Then we mixed up a few Blackberry-Ginger Mojitos, inspired by my friend, Gayle, who confided that her recent trip to Puerto Rico sparked a love of mojitos.

Here's the printable recipe.

After we had the drinks prepared, we moved onto the tapas.

First up were the Stuffed Cucumbers with Feta.  

They're so quick and easy to prepare, and can be kept in the refrigerator until you're ready to serve them.    Here's the printable recipe.

Slow-roasting the tomatoes helps to concentrate their flavor, and they're especially good this time of year when you can still get your hands on tomatoes at the Farmers Market!  Or better yet, pick them from your garden (lucky you).

Next on the menu: Baked Chicken Taquitos.  Yummy, cheesy, fast & easy to prepare if you use a store-bought rotisserie chicken.  

Here's the printable recipe.

Then it was time to drag out the deep fryer, for our Fingerling Papas Fritas with Lemon Garlic Aioli.

Out of all of the dishes that we prepared, these were Trish's favorite.  I think they may have been the favorite of a few of the people at the taping, because at the end of the night, this was the dish that disappeared in a snap.  Here's the printable recipe.

While the first batch of potatoes was frying, we quickly prepared our Shrimp, Scallops & Arugula with Lemon Parmesan Vinaigrette.

Click here for the printable recipe.

And finally, while the second batch of potatoes was frying, we made Shisito Peppers and Prosciutto.

Shisito peppers are not hot peppers.  Not usually. About one in ten shisito peppers will be hot.  On the Scoville pepper scale, they range from 100 to 1000 heat units.  By comparison, jalapeño peppers range from 2500 to 8000 heat units.

This is my favorite dish that we prepared.  It did not disappear as quickly as the potatoes did, so I had leftovers the next day!

Here is the printable recipe.

We spent about two hours preparing eight recipes...and then proceeded to demolish just about everything you see here!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Stuffed Cucumber with Feta

When you're making appetizers, do you try to strike a balance between decadent (fried and cheesy) and relatively healthy?

Unfortunately, ho-hum crudités make me feel deprived, which only increases the chance that I'm going to put too many high-calorie appetizers on my plate!

These little cucumber bites are a nice balance between healthy and indulgent, and they're quick and easy to prepare!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Bruschetta with Oven-Roasted Tomatoes

Imagine a sliced baguette, the slices rubbed with garlic and lightly brushed with olive oil, toasted for a minute under the broiler and then topped with roasted tomatoes.  Tomatoes that have been slow roasted.  Slow roasted so that they are slightly dehydrated, the better to concentrate the sweet flavor of fresh-off-the-vine summer tomatoes.

You have been looking for something to do with the abundance of tomatoes from your garden, right?

Or the abundance of tomatoes that your neighbor (who is a gardening fiend) is begging you to take off her hands, PLEASE?  

You need to make this bruschetta.  Crunchy, yet chewy.  Savory, yet sweet--thanks to the garden tomatoes.

I hope that I've convinced you to make this.

Okay, there is a tiny caveat:  it takes two hours to roast the tomatoes.

But it's mostly hands-off time!

You can prep the tomatoes in 5 minutes, then stick them in your oven for two hours. The only moment that requires your attention is at the halfway-mark when you lower your oven temp from 250 degrees to 200 degrees.  You don't even need to open the door to do that.

After you've roasted the tomatoes you can either immediately assemble and broil the bruschetta (another 5 minute ordeal), or you can refrigerate the roasted tomatoes and wait until you're ready to spend 5 minutes assembling and broiling!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Blackberry-Ginger Mojitos

It all started with these blackberries that I bought last week at the farmers market.  They were so fresh and plump and juicy and sweet and I just had to come up with a plan for them.

I didn't want to spend too much time thinking about what to do with them, I just wanted to do something uncomplicated.  Something that we could all enjoy in a matter of minutes.

I recently went out to dinner with some friends. My friend, Gayle, was telling us about her recent trip to Puerto Rico, and how she got so used to drinking mojitos that now her husband has been making them for her.  

I don't know why Gayle's description of muddling mint leaves popped into my head when I was trying to figure out what to do with my blackberries, but muddling blackberries suddenly became my mission.

I don't know if this is truly a mojito-- the only classic mojito ingredients I used are mint leaves and rum.  And lots of ice.  I decided to skip the soda water and sugar and just use ginger ale.  And then instead of lime I added a little bit of fresh ginger to give some zing...but the incredibly sweet, juicy blackberries still shone through!