April 6, 2011

Finger Foods!

My fantastic Sister in law and I were in charge of my Sister's baby shower a bit ago, of course I jumped at the opportunity to 'quasi' cater it while Julia the decorating queen took care of everything else...We wanted it to be charming and clean, finger foods and lemonade...Everyone had a great time and it was soooo worth  it seeing the smile on my very pregnant little sisters face...

the spread...note the beautiful flower arrangements 

cucumber sandwiches with cream cheese and watercress, Ladies don't eat crust!
cheese plate w/ baked brie, goat cheese w/ marinated and grilled asparagus and blueberry goat cheese log

meat plate w/ salami, ham and bread sticks wrapped in prosciutto (total hit, and stolen from my friend Dino)   
Crostini toasted with a drizzle of olive oil and garlic, smeared with goat cheese and covered with arugula and roasted asparagus
Meat and trees! Sirloin Steak pounded thin, smeared with blue cheese and wrapped around Asparagus, then popped in the broiler to a beautiful med rare.
Gift pops! At the end of the party everyone got to walk away with one of the homemade whales: made by adding melting chocolate into whale molds...

A few of the things that I learned while doing this, is that staying organized is key and knowing what and how people eat. We were left with some leftovers and fed 30+ hungry women to the brim. Also by elemenating the crock pot element from most showers we cut out the utensil and dishwashing aftermath. That being said, doing most the big stuff yourself cuts the cost, yes save some time by buying  dips and small things, but skip the party trays and make your own; it's surprising the quality and savings you will get this way. Also cut your own veggies up, the savings isn't huge but you do have the piece of mind of knowing how long your produce has been around...never trust carrots in water. 

Visit my wonderful sister in laws blog San Diego Songbird for more decorating tips!

....oh and yes, my sister gave birth to her very happy and healthy baby girl Ashlynn last month....

April 5, 2011

Vegan Roasted Potato Salad

When it comes to potato salad everyone has their own variation and favorite, usually stemming from whatever their mom or nana would make...for me I always pretty much had a strong dislike for that mayo, celery, (and I want to punch the Einstein who thought egg would be a great addition), grocery store stuck in the 1950's slop that most of us have become accustomed to. This is my version of what I think potato salad should be: crunchy, good warm, and you don't need to worry about bringing a cooler with you when you go out on a picnic.

depending on season I will use blanched green beans or asparagus, but for this version I used peppers and green onions.

What you need 
(2-3 servings)

1lb Potatoes (fingerling potatoes or red)
1/4 C. Green Bell Pepper chopped 
Green Onion chopped
3 cloves garlic (skin on)
3 T. EVOO as well as some for roasting
1/2 Lemon juiced
1 T. stoneground mustard

Step 0: Turn oven to 350˚

Step 1: Scrub the Spuds, cut into bite sized chunks and put in a bowl of cold water...allow to soak.


Step 2: Dry Potatoes and put on baking sheet with garlic, drizzle with EVOO and massage the bunch together. Pop into oven and cook till golden brown.

Step 3: Make vinaigrette by adding lemon juice, mustard, and the roasted garlic (please remove the skin at this point), S&P- whisk in EVOO till it emulsifies.

Step 4: Pour over Potatoes and lightly mix.

Step 5: Impress your mayo hating friends!

Housemade Barbecue Chicken

When there is a sunny day in the middle of gloom most people in San Francisco freak out, drink a bunch and have BBQs....well cheers to that! Although the weather doesn't last long I can still eat the hot weather food that I love...Here is my Barbecued chicken recipe-

The Sauce!

2 Cloves Garlic grated
1/4 C. Molasses
1 C. Sugar free ketchup or tomato sauce
1/2 t. Sriracha
1/2 T. Agave nectar 
3-4 T. Apple Cider Vinegar (add more or less depending on thickness and taste)
pinch of the following:
cayenne pepper
red pepper flakes

Step 1: add EVOO and garlic into a cold sauce pan, heat slowly until garlic has almost melted into oil, keep on low. 

Step 2: stir in molasses and ketchup (wait to add more of either after sauce has cooked down a bit, the flavor always changes)

Step 3: add in the rest of ingredients and simmer for 30min. adjust flavors to your desired taste...

The Chicken!

Wash and pat dry desired chicken parts ( I prefer bone in skin on thighs and legs). Cover with S&P and place in Big bowl.

Drizzle with BBQ Sauce and allow to marinade.

Put chicken on hot grill till internal temp is about 155˚ remove and allow to rest. Inside temp will rise to 160˚ at that point.


*no final photo, due to starvation and enjoying my food hot!

April 4, 2011

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Apple Gravy

Pork! I never really cook it, but wanted to take off my training wheels and dive in- best plan, roasted pork tenderloin. Best garnish Apples! Duh! This has to be the easiest, most tasty way to cook a tenderloin in my opinion- however not the only way, for sure. I hope you enjoy.

What you need

2-3 lb Pork tenderloin (fat on, good quality)
1 Apple (I used gala)
1 Shallot chopped
2 C. veggie broth
1 T. apple cider vinegar

Step 1: Rinse and pat dry pork, salt and pepper entire piece of meat.

Step 2: In a hot dutch oven lay pork fat side down. Allow for fat to render, you will know this once your kitchen starts to smell like breakfast.

Step 3: Remove roast and add cubed apples and shallot saute lightly, then deglaze with 2 C. hot broth- bring to simmer and put pork back in.

Step 4: Cover with lid and put in a 325˚ oven for about 45min. Depending on size of roast cook it till it's internal temp is 140˚ for medium to 160˚ well done. 

Step 5: Remove the roast to rest, and put dutch oven back on stove, add 1 T. apple cider vinegar and bring to boil- mash apples with a potato masher, reduce till apples make a thick sauce.

check out that beautiful crust!

Step 6: Slice, Plate and Serve! (my dinner was accompanied with sauteed polenta and braised swiss chard)