Sunday, August 30, 2009

I’m Feeling Saucy….

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Like any other food blogger, I love me some free stuff, and the competitive side of me loves a good food contest as well! So if you can combine the two, you will surely get my attention. So when I saw that Saucy Mama was going to give you their product to make a quick and easy meal, and that if I was one of the first 25 blogger to sign up, I would win stuff to giveaway to my readers too. I jumped at the chance. Lucky for both of us, I was one of the first 25 bloggers to enter!

I don’t know about your house but even though its just P and I, we often want different things for dinner. And I’m not a fan of making two different dinners, so one of us will have to compromise. So I figured I would take this opportunity to take the same basic ingredients and make 2 different sandwiches in about 15 minutes.

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Lime Chipotle Chicken and Parmesan Garlic Chicken Panini's

The basics -

1 rotisserie chicken

1 loaf of French bread, sliced in half and then into 6 inch pieces

Saucy Mama’s Lime Chipotle and Parmesan Garlic Marinades

The accessories – These are all to taste, so use as much or as little as you like.

Lime Chipotle – guacamole, fresh tomato slices, Chihuahua cheese

Parmesan Garlic – Sundried Tomatoes, Mozzarella and Parmesan Cheese

Preheat Panini Press to Medium High Heat. Remove the skin from the chicken and remove all of the meat. Shred the meat into bite size pieces. Divide the chicken into 2 bowls. Add 1 tablespoon of marinade for every 1/3 cup of chicken. Stir to combine.

Lime Chipotle Assembly -

Spread guacamole on one side of the sandwich and top with a tomato slice. Top with the chicken coated in Lime Chipotle Marinade. Cover with shredded Chihuahua cheese and place the top of the sandwich on and press down slightly.

Parmesan Garlic Assembly -

Chop desired amount of sundried tomatoes and mix into the Parmesan Garlic coated chicken mixture. Mound some of the chicken mixture onto the bottom of the sandwich and cover with mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Place the top of the sandwich on and press down slightly.

Finally we get to cook them -

Spray the Panini press with non stick spray and place the sandwiches on and press for 7-10 minutes or until the cheese is completely melted. Remove from the press and let the sandwiches sit for a few minutes before slicing.

Now onto the Fun Part!!! The giveaway.

I will be giving away 4 bottles of Saucy Mama’s Marinade to 4 lucky people. It will be your choice of Parmesan Garlic or Lime Chipotle. (It was supposed to be all Lime Chipotle but P broke into an additional bottle he liked it so much) So Lucky you, now you have a choice!

Here is how to enter -

1. Leave a comment telling me your favorite simple dinner or anything fun you want to tell me.

2. Tweet this post and leave an additional comment with the link to the tweet! If you want to follow me that would be cool too!

3. You can do this once a day to increase your chances. Yes that is right, you can do both of those each day to increase your chances of winning!

Now for the details, This giveaway will end Wednesday September 2nd 2009 at 5pm central time. And this offer open to US residents only, (Sorry I have to pay for the shipping). And Please make sure there is a way for me to contact you if you win.

The Clock Starts now!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Changes

You have probably noticed some changes around here. I will be spending the next few days working out the kinks so please bear with me! And keep checking back once we are fully operational there will be some great giveaways to celebrate!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Smirnoff Summer Entertaining Extravaganza – Dueling Pork

Long Shot has become a word that is quite prevalent in my recent vocabulary. So this post is no exception. I entered a proposal to host a party for the Smirnoff Summer Entertaining Extravaganza that was partnered with Food Buzz on a Long Shot and low and behold they liked my idea and I was chosen to take that proposal and turn it into the BBQ of my Dreams.

So on to the Good Part, the food. The Menu is Spicy Pork Tacos with Guacamole, Sour Cream and Cotija Cheese, BBQ Pulled Pork, Vanilla Cornbread, two types of Mac and Cheese and a Skillet Cookie with Ice cream. Once I got the menu settled I was all set and the BBQ was a hit, everyone loved the food and I think some items will be repeated for sure. The Spicy Pork and the Quattro Formaggi Mac and Cheese just to name a few.

IMG_2275 Look at the Pork in all its Glory. Man I love our Green Egg!

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And What is a Party with out drinks, I kept it easy for me and went out and bought pre made Mojitos. Just add your own fruit and a squeeze of lime!

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That is right not one but two different types of Mac and Cheese both gourmet in flavor. Quattro Formaggi (Four Cheese) and Portobello and Bacon with Truffle Oil.

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This was the official tasting plate, not to shabby! You have BBQ Pork, Corn Bread, Portobello and Bacon Mac and Cheese, Quattro Formaggi Mac and Cheese and then a Spicy Pork taco.

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And what would a party be with out dessert so a Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie with Vanilla Bourbon Ice Cream.

So I guess you would like the recipes for some of these.

Mac and Cheese – Base Recipe

16 oz of macaroni noodles

3/4 of a cup of butter, divided

1/3 cup of flour

2 teaspoons of salt

1 teaspoon of pepper

5 cups of whole milk

4cups of Cheddar Cheese, divided

4 cups of Sharp Cheddar Cheese, divided

1 cup of panko bread crumbs

Spray a 9x13 baking dish with non stick spray. Cook the noodles until al dente and run under cool water to stop the cooking and set aside to drain. In a large sauce pan melt 1/2 cup of butter and add in the flour, and stir to combine making sure to break up any lumps. Cook for 2 minutes, add the salt and pepper and stir to combine. Add in the milk and stir to combing the milk and the butter flour mixture. Let it cook over medium heat until it starts to thicken. Gradually add in 3 cups of Cheddar cheese and 3 1/2 cups of Sharp Cheddar cheese stir until the mixture is combined and everything is melted. Pour the noodles into the sauce and stir to coat all of the noodles.

For the Quattro Formaggi – Stir in 8 oz of goat cheese broken in to pieces, and 10 –12 oz of Roquefort Cheese depending on how much blue cheese you like. Make sure not to add these to the sauce but after the sauce and noodles have been mixed together.

For the Portobello and Bacon РStir in 1 1/2 cups of saut̩ed portobello mushrooms and 1/3 lb of cooked bacon cut up or crumbled into pieces. Add 2 tablespoons of truffle oil to the breadcrumb mixture.

Pour into the baking dish and let sit at room temperature for 10 –15 minutes or it can be made up to this point and put in the fridge for the next day.

Preheat oven to 375. Melt 1/4 cup of butter and mix in the bread crumbs to this mixture. Sprinkle the bread crumbs evenly over the top and bake for 30 –40 minutes until the breadcrumbs are golden and the cheese is bubbling.

Skillet Cookie

1 batch of your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, I know everyone has a favorite.

Preheat oven to 350, spray a 12 inch cast iron skillet liberally with non stick spray. Press your cookie dough into the skillet in a even layer that should fill the skillet up about 1/2 way. Bake for 25-30 minutes until just the center jiggles when shaken. Let it set up for 10 minutes and serve with Vanilla Bourbon Ice Cream. The cookie will be under cooked but that is on purpose. If you would like it to be completely cooked feel free to cook it longer.

Vanilla Bourbon Ice Cream – Adapted from Serious Eats

1 3/4 cups heavy cream

1 1/2 cups of whole milk

1 1/2 tablespoons of vanilla bean paste

7 egg yolks

3/4 cup sugar

1/8 teaspoon of salt

1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

1/4 cup of bourbon

Combine the cream, milk and vanilla bean paste in a sauce pan and bring it to just under a boil while over medium heat. Turn it off and let it cool slightly. In a bowl combine the egg yolks, sugar and salt, whisk until the mixture lightens in color. Add in some of the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture to temper it and then pour into the cream mixture and whisk to combine and cook over medium heat until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and strain through a mesh sieve. Add in the vanilla extract and bourbon. Let the mixture chill completely in the fridge (at least 4 hours) and then freeze according to your ice cream makers instructions.

Vanilla Cornbread can be found HERE

And last but not least the Pork and this one I’m sorry but its all P and he isn't sharing. He has a secret rub for his BBQ and even I don’t get to know it. If I did know it would totally be sharing it so that is probably why I don’t know it!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Downfall of My Diet


I would have to say hands down that cheese is one of my weaknesses. I can't get enough of it and the more fat in it the better! So when Ile De France asked if I would like some free cheese of course I jumped at the chance and this also gave me the opportunity to enter their picture contest for making a fantastic cheese plate! I would have to say that cheese plates are a huge part of my entertaining repertoire because they are easy to make and require very little intervention from me for people to enjoy. I can just set out a cheese plate and everyone can mix and match what they like.

I have 4 must haves I require when making a cheese plate.

Must have 3 - 5 cheeses, any more than that its too confusing and any less and its not really showcasing any cheese variety. Mine has Goat Cheese (chevre), Brie, and Roquefort.

Must have a fruit, honey and a fruit spread in order to gain the sweet notes out of the cheese and to complement the tang of the cheese. In this case, I have apples, grapes, raw white honey, and fig jam. All of these play well with the cheeses I have selected.

Must have both bread and crackers. I think the combination of the two will please everyone and it gives you more flexibility with how you can make combinations.

And Last, I don't like to label the cheese on purpose. I like people to try a cheese before they know what it is. Some one might completely write off chevre because it is goat cheese, but if you don't tell them they might try it and find out that they love it.

I think Cheese plates are all about experimenting and education. There are so many great cheeses out there and if you don't try them you will never know what you are missing out on.

So this weekend why not make a cheese plate for a Sunday afternoon lunch or appetizer for Sunday dinner. Try a new cheese that you have never heard of before. Be sure make friends with your Cheese Monger, most will let you sample any cheese before you buy. And let's face it who doesn't like free cheese! I know I do!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Great Food and a Great Cause

I won a ticket to Share Our Strength’s Taste the Nation event in Chicago, Thanks to Food Buzz. So of course I went, Free food and a Great Cause, how could I not go. So I apologize in advance but I will be taking you through my journey via photos of everything I saw so you can feel like you were there with me.





















































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So that was all the food, and it was all amazing, don’t worry I ate all of the desserts!

And the Space was amazing and so were the drink sponsors I’ll let you guess who they were!

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This was the official Chef stance of the evening I think I saw 4 or 5 all standing like this. And Yes Ladies all the Bartenders, Oh I'm sorry Mixologists were Cute. And all of the food was amazing. Probably some of the best I have ever eaten. I loved the Cheese Croquettes the best, but anything with cheese and fried wins in my book. What do you think would have been your favorite?And Bonus Points to the Person who can find the Chef who has the the same name as a Great Musician!