Archive for the ‘Entertaining’ Category
So I had quite the fiasco or what I like to call “Emily’s Epic Failures” on Monday night when I was attempting to make some red velvet cakesters. They were coming out super flat and no matter how many eggs I added they were little pancakes. My husband walked in the kitchen as I’m starting to panic and says “huh, they kind of look like tacos”. Have I mentioned my husband is a genius? I looked at him and said “dude, thats awesome” – yes unfortunately we talk like this. So I finished up making the red velvet cakesters/tacos for my coworkers to eat and starting planning these little suckers. My poor coworkers get all of my epic failures as long as they are still edible. I’m sure they look in the kitchen after I send out my dorky e-mail letting them know of said failed recipe that is in the kitchen and think “this girl has a food blog? Sccaaarrry!!”
These are super easy and perfect for a Cinco de Mayo treat. You can get super creative and stuff them full of great stuff. I went with the normal taco ingredients of lettuce and tomatos because I was a little afraid they were not going to look like tacos and I wanted it to be super obvious. They turned out so freaking cute!!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Makes about 50 tacos
1 box cake mix (I used a spice cake so that the “tortilla” looked a little more brown.)
Follow the box directions but use less water. For instance – my box called for 3 eggs, 1/3 cup oil, and 1 1/3 cup water. I only used 1 cup of water. You want the batter to be runny and not too thick or you won’t get that flat tortilla look.
Pour the batter in 4″ rounds on a cookie sheet. Bake for about 7 min. I kept them in for about 7.5 minutes. Yes I’m serious…. If they cook too long the “tortilla” will crack in half, too short and the “tortilla” is too sticky. You might have to play with the time on the first batch to get it just right.
1 block of cream cheese or 8oz
1 pound of powdered sugar (half a standard bag)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
using a mixer combine the cream cheese, vanilla, and the powdered sugar. Whip like crazy until it is combined and creamy.
I used coconut as the lettuce and chopped up hot tamales for the tomatoes.
This Dinner Party was honestly one of the best parties I have ever been to. I’m not really a game person or someone who plans out conversations ahead of time. If you invite me to your shower and expect me to play games I will do my best to hide or be the score keeper. I’m a talker. I like to hang out, be relaxed, and just chit chat. BUT for this party I decided to ask each couple to tell the story of how they met or how they got engaged.
Once we had sat down to dinner we went around the table telling these amazing stories. We laughed so hard and teased each other at all the funny situations and coincidences that brought each couple to where they are now. It was so much fun to hear these stories and since most of the couples didn’t know everyone it was a great way to learn about each other.
I also asked all of the couples to tell me what their wedding song was and to send me pictures of them together. I put all the pictures on my Apple TV and had them rotating the entire evening. I put all the wedding songs on my “love song” play list and as each wedding song played we talked about whose song it was. Most of the couples had taken dancing lessons before their weddings and jumped up to try and see if they could remember the steps. It was pretty funny to watch because Chris dipped Lecia and I was afraid for a second we were going to lose her!!
I bought Love fortune cookies and had little boxes of chocolates for everyone to take home. For dessert I made mini red velvet cakes with pink buttercream icing that each couple had to share. Overall the couples dinner party was a hit! I can’t wait to do it again next year!
I also busted out my grandmother’s china for this party and it was beautiful! I rarely get to use it so I thought this would be a great reason to warrant hand washing every dish!
For the main dish I made Penne Pasta with Vodka Sauce. I made the base tomato sauce the weekend before and froze it because I wanted to make it from scratch and I knew it would take forever!
You can obviously just buy your favorite jar of sauce and add in the cream, vodka and additional spices if you want to save about 4 hours of your life! I wanted to make it from scratch but I will think twice before doing it again.
This is the only non blurry picture I have of the desserts. Sorry it is dark and scary looking! I had the mood lighting going and it is just to hard to change all my camera settings after a few glasses of wine!
This makes enough sauce for 6 people
50 Roma tomatoes
2 large heads of garlic
1 tbs red pepper flakes
3 tbs of chopped basil
1/2 cup dry red wine
4 tbs tomato paste
2 tbs worcestershire sauce
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
4 tbs vodka
1.5 cups of heavy cream
Asiago cheese for sprinkling
Slice the tomatoes in half, long ways, and scrape out the centers. Place the tomatoes face up on a pan lined with aluminum foil. Place the pan in the oven at 325 degrees for an hour and a half. Turn up the heat to 375 for an additional 45 minutes.
For the roasted garlic – slice the tips of the garlic cloves off and wrap the garlic in a foil packet. Pour olive oil in the packet and place it in the oven for the last 45 minutes of cooking time on the tomatoes.
While the tomatoes are cooking slice and saute your shallots with a little bit of olive oil.
Peel the skin off of all of the tomatoes and add the guts to a blender or food processor. Add in the garlic cloves and puree everything together. Pour mixture into a large pot and turn your heat to medium. Add all of the ingredients except the cream and vodka. Stir to combine and allow to simmer for about 30 minutes. At this point you can either freeze the sauce until you are ready to use it or you can finish the sauce.
Heat a large skillet to medium heat and add in the vodka. When the vodka is hot add in the tomato sauce and stir. Slowly add in the cream and stir to combine. Let simmer for about 5 minutes and server hot over pasta. Sprinkle cheese as desired. I like to put fresh basil on top as well.
We are having our first official snow/ice day in Dallas this year and I’m taking the opportunity to try out one of the appetizers I plan to make for the Valentines Dinner. I realize half of the country is totally making fun us Texans’ with our silly weather but we really don’t handle this stuff well. We were not made to deal with 10 degrees. I don’t even know what to do other than stay in my pajamas and wrap my down duvet around me with a cup of hot soup! It was pretty funny watching the two Superbowl teams riding in their fancy buses to Media Day down highway 30 with literally no one on the road but them…
This appetizer is nice and easy and really yummy. It took a whole 10 minutes to prep and another 10 to cook which will make it ideal to serve warm once my guests arrive. I feel like I’m constantly fighting to find appetizers that are going to taste good at room temperature. Any suggestions??
1 package (15 shells) of fillo shells
1 package (8 oz) of Neufchatel cheese (it should be by the cream cheese at your local grocery store, if you can not find it use cream cheese instead)
1 small jar of your favorite chutney (I used a Harry and David roasted red pepper chutney)
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp crushed garlic
1 large shallot sliced thin
3 tbs vegetable oil
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place the shells on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Heat oil for frying in a small pan. While the oil is getting hot slice your shallot. Fry the shallots and set them aside on a paper towel to dry. With a hand mixer blend together the neufchatel cheese, garlic and , thyme. This works best with the cheese at room temperature. Using a small spoon fill each fillo shell with the cheese and top with your chutney. Finish off with a topping of fried shallot and then bake for 10 minutes. Enjoy!
I’m really excited about this little dinner Valentines Day dinner party I have been planning. I’m trying not to go overboard with it but it is really hard!! I have been trying to plan this meal so that I’m not in the kitchen the entire time which has not been that easy. This week ya’ll are getting the salad and the invite, next week you will get another portion of the meal. I don’t know what portion that is yet because I’m still planning this little shin dig.
I found this glaze in my Reata cookbook and I have been dying to try it because it looked so amazing. After whipping up a batch of it I have decided I’m pouring this over all meat and vegetable products until the end of time. It is really that good. If you swing by our store page you can buy the cookbook: Reata – Legendary Texas Cooking by Mike Micallef. This is by far one of my all time favorite cook books.
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup dark corn syrup
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
Pour all the ingredients in a small pot and heat on the stove until the mixture is simmering. Stirring occasionally. You want the glaze to reduce down slightly so that it is nice and thick. Wait until it coats the back of a spoon nicely. Gently poor it over everything for a sweet and savory kick!! Warm it back up to use again if you have extra.
Emily’s Sour Vinaigrette Dressing:
4 tbs olive oil
1 tbs balsalmic vinegar
1/4 tsp crushed garlic
pepper to taste
1 tsp chili powder
1tsp worcestershire sauce
Combine and whisk well.
Salad: (4 Servings)
Lettuce of your choice – enough for 4 people
1 chopped avocado
3 strips of pepper bacon cooked and crumbled
1 large tomato chopped
2 tbs olive oil
4 jalapenos diced and de-seeded
3 large shallots
1 tsp crushed garlic
1 tbs worcestershire sauce
1 lb medium sized shrimp peeled
Asiago Cheese for sprinkling
Saute the shrimp, garlic, worcestershire sauce, jalapenos and shallots in a pan with the olive oil. While the shrimp is cooking chop and prep all the other ingredients.
Toss the vegetables and the bacon with the vinaigrette and plate.
I did a double dressing/glaze on this salad which gives this salad some complex flavors. Next, I topped the salad with the sauteed shrimp, shallots, and jalapenos finishing with the glaze. Sprinkle the salad with some Asiago cheese and TA DA! You’re done!
For the party I will most likely leave out the shrimp to help keep it less filling but I will do the glaze!
I’m asking all of my guests to send me pictures of them as well as to tell me their wedding songs. I plan to have the pictures popping up on the TV the entire time and I want to add the wedding songs to my music play list for the evening. This way there is a simple personal touch for each couple to enjoy. I also plan to ask each couple to talk about the first time they met or how they got engaged.
For the second year in a row I did not win. Whatevs… My chili was the best, this contest is rigged!! No, I’m not bitter. Why would you even think that!! But for realz all the chili was awesome again this year. Tough competition for sure!
Chili cook offs are the best in the winter because it is so cold outside and some spicy chili is definitely what I’m craving. Hosting this party is also a perfect idea if you are not a huge party planner. You don’t have to go all out with this one if you don’t want to. The Mavros’s are great hosts and do a fantastic job every time they throw a party! This one was no exception!
Here it is!! The winning chili.
The Mavros’s have little sample cups ready to go that are pre numbered so the judges won’t be swayed or bribed by the cooks. With their extension cords out and toppings from Frito’s to creame fraiche ready every contestant preps there mini dish and places it on a tray for the judges to taste.
Here is my little mini sample cup – ready for the judge!
While the judges were judging, Stephanie and I took a million pictures and swapped cameras and talked food blogging. You should check out Steph’s blog here she does a really great job of balancing cookies with work outs. Unlike me!! We are also training for a half marathon in the spring. She is a great motivator!!
Her chili won! So if you want the wining recipe you will have to peruse her site to get it! Her chili is a chicken cheesy chili, mine is a buffalo no bean chili so there is something for everyone.
Her boyfriend J brews his own beer too. It was pretty awesome. He went to this little school in Oklahoma called OU? I’m not sure that I have ever heard of them. Maybe you have? I hear they are pretty bad at football.
Thanks Mavros’s for another great party! Can’t wait for next year!!
Chili Recipe: Serves about 6 hearty eaters
Adapted from Whiteonricecouple.com
8-10 strips of pepper bacon
2 lbs of ground buffalo
3 shallots – diced
5 cloves of crushed garlic
1 chipotle pepper
1 cup of your favorite bbq sauce
2 t cayanne pepper
2 t chili powder
2 t ground cumin
2 t paprika
2 t brown sugar
1 t black pepper
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 12 oz dark beer
1/4 cup masa harina
1/2 cup Mexican blend cheese
Fries: (estimate one potato per person for chili cheese fries or a half a potato per person if using fries as a side)
6 large ukon gold potatos cut into large wedges
cheddar cheese for sprinkling
1 cup vegetable oil for frying
Cook the bacon in the same large pot you plan to use for the chili. Once the bacon is nice and crispy set it aside to cool slightly. When the bacon is cool to the touch dice it up. Pour out any unused grease left over from the bacon leaving about 1 tbls in the pot.
Sautee the shallots, garlic, and buffalo meat together in this same pot with the 1 tbls of bacon grease on medium heat. Once the meat is cooked thoroughly add in the diced up chipotle pepper. Cook for about 2-3 minutes or until the pepper is incorporated.
Add in the bbq sauce and all of the spices. Stir to combine. Slowly add in the dark beer and then the Masa Harina. Add the Masa very slowly stirring the entire time making sure the masa doesn’t clump up. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Allow the chili to simmer for at least 1 hour. 4 hours would be best! Add the cheese to the chili right before you serve it.
Cut the potatoes in to large wedges. Heat the vegetable oil in a large deep pan until it crackles when you place a potato in it. Cook your potatoes until they are lightly browned and soft in the middle. Don’t over crowd the pan. Make sure the oil is hot again before you add another batch of potatoes. Lightly salt each batch of potatoes immediately after you pull them out of the pan. The salt will stick better if you add it while the oil on the fries is still hot. When the entire batch is done, sprinkle the fries with the diced chives and the shredded cheddar cheese.