20 February 2009

Cheesy sidenote.

I forgot to mention.... I had a little leftover salami rollup goo... So the next day I made rollup sandwiches with flour tortillas and some turkey lunchmeat I had. This time, meat (and goo) on the inside, tortilla on the outside. It was super yummy -- I would consider making the mixture, or any other variety of cream cheesy wonderfulnesses -- JUST to make as a sandwich. :) So simple, but it's little things like this that I never think to do when making lunches.

19 February 2009

Cheesy updates.

What a month it's been! First.... laid off. I start to settle into that, and my then Crohn's decides to wrap its nasty paws all around me again. I didn't recognize it at first, and probably did some stuff to exacerbate it, but it's gotten particularly unfun, and I've spent the past two weeks on the couch. Doctors, blood tests, bone density tests, and scheduling the dreaded two big gut tests to determine exactly what's going on. So here's me, I love to eat.... I love food.... And I've been subsisting on soup, jello, water.... And I'm back on steroids, so I can't even look forward to a fruity drink-filled vacation next month in Cancun (well, I can still look forward to vacation [much needed!], just w/o fruity drinks). So what have I done with my time on the couch? NADA. Except watch food tv and torture myself. I can't decide what to eat first when the time comes... Sushi? A cheesy turkey burger? Mac and cheese? (Rachael Ray made a GLORIOUS looking spinach and artichoke mac and cheese today!) Hell, I'd settle for a bagel slathered in cream cheese. Anyway, that's basically why I've taken somewhat of a hiatus, but things are looking up, and I figured I better catch up...

For Brad's birthday, it was all about mustaches and cheese, literally and figuratively. Brad's friends came from near and far (mustaches in tact), and I did my best to feed everyone accordingly. And, of course, Heidi wanted in on the action.

First up, birthday cupcakes. Mustache cupcakes, that is. Brad loves peanut butter, so I knew I wanted that to be the main flavor, but you need some chocolate for birthday desserts, so I decided on this recipe. I doubled the recipe, replacing half the eggs with applesauce. I also put the chocolate inside the cupcake rather than on top:


For Brad, I made a pseudo souffle (which I promptly dumped in the bottom of the oven [luckily only losing some off the top]). *Thanks to LZ for loaning me the decorating stuffs and the cupcake tree!

These. Cupcakes. Were. DEEEELICIOUS. Seriously. They were like big spongey peanut butter cups, with mustaches! :) I will definitely make these again.

With dessert covered, it was time to whip up the snacks. First up, homemade pimento cheese, using this recipe. Another reason I need a big girl mixer... My tiny little guy just didn't cut it. Well, it did, just very slowly. I could only mix a few spoonfuls at a time, so once everything was mixed, I threw it all back in for a second time to make sure it all was mixed evenly. I served this with celery (meant to serve with crackers, too, but it slipped my mind. Whatcha gonna do?), and it, too, was delicious! I was quite pleased with myself - ha! (I would, however, make it with better quality cheese next time, for an extra bump in flavor.)

Makin' a cheesy mess.

Can't. Get. Enough.

What's a mustache party without some meat? I perused the Joy of Cooking and settled on some salami meat roll ups. I doubled the recipe (can't find it online), using a full block of fat free cream cheese, around 6 chunks of sun dried tomatoes (diced teeny), a few tablespoons of diced green onions (teeny too), and some salt and pepper. The recipe said to process it, but I was so over that, so I smooshed the crap out of it by hand. Then I spread it on 20 to 24 thinly sliced pieces of salami.

Spread, roll up, and cut in half.... I decided to put them in a bowl, like a beautiful meat and cheese flower! These were a big hit and didn't last long at all. If I make these again (they were SO yummy I sure hope I do), I would triple or quadruple the recipe.

Finally, the star of the show.... Fondue!! Starring.... my new fondue pot! Hooray! This recipe seemed manly, so I went with it. I followed the recipe exactly, but it came out a little thicker than I would have liked. Nonetheless, it was delicious, and I served it with bread chunks, carrots, broccoli, and apples. The perfect final treat for a cheesy mustache party!

A few days later Brad's real birthday fell, and I got him a reusable lunch bag and a sandwich box, complete with train sandwich cutter. :) I'm sure he is the envy of all his Ford co-workers.

One last funny food image.... I made myself some eggs a few weeks ago, and out popped.... TWINS!

02 February 2009

I like my meat boozy.

As I've discussed many o'times here, I've had an up and down relationship with meat. I still don't love touching it, but I think it's fair to say I'm full-on back on the stuff. I'm still (re)learning what to do with meat, other than cook up some chicken, so I was intrigued by the package of pre-cut stew meat I found while perusing the Meijer (gah!) meat aisle while waiting for my dad. Have I ever made stew? Nope. Am I huge stew fan? Nope. Let's consider this an impulse purchase. But I had it, and onto the week's menu it went.

I lost track of time today, so late afternoon I did a quick search online and found this easy beef stew recipe. I knew I'd have to modify it some, but it was the simplest recipe I found that involved ingredients I had. Around five o' clock, I hit the kitchen.

My favorite part about this recipe and the site it came from was the servings calculator. How cool is that?!?! I typed in 4, recalculated, and got started.

First off, I only had around a pound of meat -- something like 0.97 lb. Into the bag in went. To jazz things up, I dumped a handful of rosemary in the flour mix.

Meat in a bag.

Joining the meat in the pot were about a cup of chopped carrots, two or three stalks of celery chopped, and one small onion chopped. As for all the "remaining ingredients" part of the recipe, I added two large chopped potatoes, skins on, and I substituted a cup of red table wine for the dark beer. I also threw in some more rosemary, some marjoram (no thyme on hand), and some salt and pepper. All told, I think I cooked it for just about an hour and 20 minutes (tossing a few shakes of dried parsley in at the end due to lack of fresh).

Mmm meaty.

I must say, I am quite pleased with my first stew. I really loved it, actually, especially sopped up with a piece of buttered white bread (yeah, I said it. I like white bread!). The meat wasn't top quality by any means, but it did the trick. It was a little tough... Next time out, I might bump the quality up a bit and try a different cut. I'll need to research that one. I really liked the addition of the wine, too -- boozy meat. How can that go wrong? Overall, I say gold star for me!

Christmas in February.

Mini update: Brad and I revisted Blue Tractor Saturday night, and the previously dry grits were moist and perfectly tasty on this visit. Also, not sure if I was just too boozy to realize on my last visit, but the same meal (the Carolina pulled pork) seemed to yield way more food. I was STUFFED and still brought home enough leftovers to make Brad and I each a pulled pork sandwich on Sunday and a third sandwich for Brad's lunch today. Mmm.

Currently, the pooches are chowing down on treats from their Auntie Rachel -- so far, they've been amused and occupied for nearly 45 minutes. Amazing!

Heidi and George say thank you very much, Auntie Rachel, and that they love you almost as much as their mom does. :)