Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Lets Ketchup

Obviously it's been awhile since my last blog, but hey I've been busy, so I'd like to take this time to bring you up to date on some of the latest happenings. It has been so long since my last post that I will just bullet point the highlights and go from there.
  • Church kick-off dinner was a success! On November 3rd I will be cooking for their appreciation dinner as well.
  • The two weddings I was in charge of at work went off without a hitch! Everything looked beautiful, food was executed well, and overall we all had a good night. We still have many details to work on but not bad for our first go at it. One of the major goals I have set for myself is formulating "checklists" of all the questions/ floor plans/invoices/etc. which can be used for future events so that nothing is forgotten and things remain smooth.
  • Taygan's baptism is FINALLY happening ;-) I even designed cute invitations with his picture and everything, way to go me!! (note: cute picture to the right)
A little over a week ago we got hit with our first frost, in preparation of the cold, Joey gathered the remaining veggies from our garden and we now have an abundance of veggies I have to prepare or freeze. Somehow I found the energy every now and then to pull together a decent dinner... here are a few of my favs.
Butternut Risotto (YUMMY!!)
 3lbs. butternut                                1. Heat oven to 450 and roast butternut pieces. I put a little touch of
Chicken broth                                  hunny on mine.
Small onion                                     2. Get your broth simmering on the back burner and find a nice
Butter                                               deep skillet for your risotto.
1.5 c. Arborio rice                           3. Cook onion in butter till soft then add garlic, cumin, and rice. Let
minced garlic                                   cook for 4 minutes.         
1/2 cumin                                         4. Stir in 1/2c. of broth and cook on medium/high heat stirring until
Grated Parmesan cheese                  all the liquid is absorbed. Keep adding 1/2c.  broth until rice
sage                                                  becomes creamy, yet still al dente. ( like a thick soup)
salt & pepper                                    5. Stir in Butternut squash, parm cheese and sage. Finish with Salt. I also added some frozen green peas to add a little color.
I served our risotto right over top some thick slices of butternut.... This dish was REALLY good.  
* Note: risotto takes TIME and PATIENCE.  I actually made mine to relax, joe was annoying me heheh so I stress relived by cooking, risotto non-the-less, I find it very soothing. And NO risotto isn't HARD, so try it, you will totally impress people and can dress up any boring dinner.

Classic Hummus 
I've been searching for a tahini free hummus recipe for a little bit now, but they never seem to hit the spot. However, I have finally mastered a basic hummus recipe which I couldn't be happier about because I could live off the stuff.
1 can chickpeas 
1 garlic clove
juice of one lemon ( start with half and add more if you think it needs more)
1/4c. good olive oil (sometimes you need a little more, I sometimes add a few tsp. of the chickpea juice too, depends on the consistency.) 
Crushed red pepper flakes

Just add all ingredients into the food processor and TA-DA Hummus..... GOOD hummus!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Prep Party

I've been in charge of catering for St. Anne's Kick-off dinner and appreciation dinner for the past three years now, this year, I feel like a pro! On the menu this year:  Garden Salad, chicken alfredo , chicken marinara (served over penne), broccoli and apple spice cupcakes w/ cream cheese frosting for dessert. Tuesday night was spent chopping, tasting, boiling and seasoning with my two helpers for 7-11pm. I got all the broccoli steamed, both sauces made, all the cupcake batter made, and all the chicken cut and cooked off.... so I'm feeling pretty confident going into tomorrow night. We should have about 100pp coming this year.  In case you wanted to try, here is the recipe for the Apple Spice cupcakes....which I must say are quite tasty AND easy!
3 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, room temperature (45g)
3/4 cup Apple Sauce, smooth
1 cup Granny Smith or Bramley Apples, diced
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
1 Large Egg, room temperature
1 cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/8 tsp Ground Nutmeg
1/8 tsp Ground Cloves
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/8 tsp Salt

  • Preheat oven to 355
  • Line a 12 cup muffin tin with cupcake liners
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy
  • Beat in the egg and vanilla extract
  • In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices together
  • Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until just combined
  • Beat in half of the applesauce until just combined making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl
  • Combine half of the remaining flour, followed by the rest of the applesauce
  • Mix in the last of the flour and beat until just combined
  • Fold in the diced apple
  • Divide the batter among the cupcake papers, filling each till about 2/3 full
  • Bake until cupcakes spring back when lightly pressed or a toothpick comes out clean, about 18 - 20mins
  • Cool for about 10mins before removing cupcakes from pan and cooling on a wire rack
  • Once completely cool, make a small hollow in each cupcake using a pastry cutter or apple corer, push into the centre of each cupcake, about half way down, and remove the sponge, leaving a small hole
  • Fill holes with caramel/dulce de leche
  • Frost each cupcakes with a generous kiss of cream cheese frosting
In work related news, we have two weddings booked in October, which is approaching rather quickly. We have only ever done one other wedding at our establishment (and I wasn't there yet) so needless to say, we learning on the fly here and working to make it as smooth as possible for all parties.  When I first started at BU's School of Hospitality Administration (SHA), I thought, as many do, how cool would it be to be a wedding planner! HA HA I was obviously poppin' the crazy pills when I thought this because that shiz is A LOT of IMPROTANT planning. Judging how I planned my own wedding, aka by the seat of my pants, I can say with complete confidence, fun to do for someone else maybe once or twice a year, but all the time?!?!? Not so much.  Surprisingly I succeeded at making my own wedding a flawlessly masterpiece, but I ask myself can a girl pull this off more than once in her lifetime??!?! I'll let you know in a couple of weeks if it is possible AND if I haven't ripped out all my hair talking with two differnt father/mother's of the bride/grooms.
Baby News: Taygan now weighs in at 14.2 lbs., 24" tall and impressively reaching and exceeding all of his baby milestones :-) This picture is of my Tay-bay obviously riveted by my 10th pan of cupcakes going in the oven while I sing him Wicked show tunes.... hahaha poor thing. (side note, Wicked is Awesome and everyone should see it :-)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Peas On Earth

Janie, if your reading, this blog post is defiantly a shout out to you! Sunday morning Joey and I had some free time together and in our journey stumbled across a new store that just opened in Sturbridge,MA called Peas on
Sounded right up our alley so we popped in to check it out. Right at the top of the stairs were two things that let us know we were in the right place; a movie called Food Inc. & a book by the name of Skinny Bitch (Thank you Val on that one).  I highly recommend both to anyone who wants to get better acquainted with the food industry, the misconceptions of the USDA, or wants to further their knowledge of eating organically, naturally, free-range...etc. Once we stopped oogling at the fun books, we made our way into a quaint little store chockfull of fun Organic, natural and GLUTEN FREE food items. That's right Jane, everything they carry is gluten free!! (This makes me even giddier for your next visit when I shower you with gluten free goodness.) Peas on Earth also carries a number of food items grown or made by locals such as; zucchini relish and fresh veggies to name a few. One of my favorite sections however, was the bakery area, with fresh baked goods from Strawberry Moon - a gluten-free delight! Yum! And just a reminder, you don’t have to have a gluten allergy to enjoy the delights of gluten-free baked goods my friends ;-) So needless to say, I'm a fan and think what they are doing is a great thing.

On a side note, work was insanely busy this weekend and on Saturday night, right in the middle of dinner rush, our entire computer system shut-down (do you know how freekin' scary it is to look at a black computer screen!!!!), we had a lady choke on some prime rib (she’s ok) and the bartender broke one of those giant glass jars of maraschino cherries in the beer cooler. (my hands still are a bit red from that one) Never a dull moment.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

So it Begins... Again

 This is Radicchio (Rah-DEE-kee-oh)! A new start... a new blog title. Recently I've wanted to rekindle my love of cooking and thought that sharing that love with you all might help keep me motivated to be creative in the kitchen.  Since each one of you support my passion by constantly sharing recipes or cooking experiences with me, I felt it was time to repay the favor. While downstairs looking for some canned tomatoes, I came across my old apron from college!
For those of you who didn't know me in college, my roomies and many sorority sisters called me "the hostess with the mostess". ( note the wicked awesome apron Jane and Anna made me for graduation)  Well, needless to say, I saw this and knew I needed to get back in the groove and start cooking (and sharing) more.  All you girlies were showing me up with your cooking dinners and posting pictures it was just starting to make me look bad! So fear not dear friends, you will wait no longer.
This blog will not only be about food, of course, because I am also married, manage a restaurant, and have the cutiest child EVER! Each of these things consume a good portion of my life... so you'll hear about those too. So, lets kick this off right, tonight's dinner: Tapenade-Filled Burgers.  I usually put my homemade mixture right on top of the burger, but I got the idea to "stuff" the burger from my wicked sweet Epicurus app. on my phone, Thanks Hunny :-)  What exactly IS a tapenade? Well, it's defined as finely chopped olives, capers, anchovies and olive oil. If any of you know me really well, you know the one thing I am NOT fond of, is olives. However, I always keep trying and in this case put my own twist on a tapenade. One thing before I get going, I don't measure, EVER, unless I'm baking.... so if you can't handle winging it, than you can't handle this blog! Now that we got that settled... lets have a go at it.
Amanda's Twisted Tapenade
small handful of olives ( I use Kalamata because those are Joe's favorite)
Pickles ( we make our own bread&butter pickles, but dill of course work fine)
Frank's hot sauce 4 dashes
Worcestershire sauce 4 dashes
Salt & pepper
Everything should be chopped nice and small... I like there to be a little bit though so not to fine. Once you've got your tapenade made, your going to make a well in your burger patty so that you can put your mixture right inside, cover with another patty and seal the edges. To complete- Gotta have sliced red onion, lettuce, I love me some cheese, also mayo and a nice Dijon mustard for the ultimate burger. Don't you DARE touch this burger with ketchup, seriously it would be wrong. I accompanied mine with a homemade tater tot or home fry. Idaho potato chopped small and boiled till softened but still with a bite. Toss in olive oil, garlic powder, and steak seasoning. bake 450 until crispy and brown... sometimes I broil them the last 10min. or so to help crisp them. The final result: 9   This is some good burger!!! Don't get bogged down by a recipe or what a particular item is labeled as. Be adventurous and give it a try. Turkey or chicken burger? sure! Store bought REAL tapenade why not?! Go for it!