Archive | November, 2013

Friendsgiving + Thanksgiving

29 Nov

Thankfully for you, I am posting photos from the last 2 days for you to stare at while you’re in line Black Friday shopping:

Tequila

Creme de Tequila from the Floyd’s Mexican honeymoon

Friendsgiving1

Kevin's smoked turkey

Kevin’s smoked turkey

clockwise from left: mashed potatoes and gravy, 7 layer salad, rolls, cranberry sauce, smoked turkey, sweet potatoes, collard greens, mac and cheese, stuffing

clockwise from left: mashed potatoes and gravy, 7 layer salad, rolls, cranberry sauce, smoked turkey, sweet potatoes, collard greens, mac and cheese, stuffing

Present, but out of frame: Ciara, Trina, Ryker, Charles, and Damon

Present, but out of frame: Ciara, Trina, Ryker, Charles, and Damon

 

Pre-dinner munchies at my mom's

Pre-dinner munchies at my mom’s

thanksgiving13.dinner

traditional spread at my mom’s house

Friendsigving.65

pumpkin pie with ginger streusel

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Vanilla Poached Baked Pears

27 Nov

OK, so you’ve been staring a pie recipes for days and haven’t worked up the motivation to make one, right?  Well how about skip the pie and opt for something a little bit unconventional for Thanksgiving dessert?

Vanilla Poached Baked Pears with Vanilla Cream

Baked Pears2

Ingredients:

  • 3 c. water
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split
  • 4 Bosc pears, cored and peeled
  • 1/2 c. heavy cream
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed

The first step is to get the poaching liquid ready.  In a saucepot large enough to fit your pears (I actually made enough for 10 people, not 4), add the water, sugar, and split vanilla bean over a low heat.  You NEVER want to heat sugar too rapidly or funky things start to happen.  While the water warms up and the sugar slowly dissolves, get your pears prepped!

I don’t have a melon baller, so I just cored through the bottom of the pears with a knife and small spoon (which is apparently easier than getting your camera to focus on the front not the back):

PearsCored

I also cut the bottoms so that they would stand up evenly.  Then, they went directly into a bowl of lemon water.  Why?  Because these pears will only be wrapped in puff pastry, not covered.  And I didn’t want to risk them turning brown from sitting around waiting for me to peel and core the rest of the pears!  Lemon water keeps them from getting those less than pretty brown spots.

pearsprepping

Once the poaching liquid is almost at a simmer, add the pears and cook them until they are fork tender.  Mine actually could’ve cooked longer, but I was so nervous!

PoachingPears

Once the pears are tender, remove them from the liquid (keep that in the pot!) and put the pears in a covered container in the fridge until they are cooled completely (at the very least this will take 1 hour).  That’s around the time I quick-thawed my puff pastry sheets!

Once the pears are cooled, roll ’em up!  I cut one puff pastry sheet into 8 long strips, dabbed some water on them and then sugared them up.  Then, just start wrapping the puff pastry around the pear, starting at the stem and ending at the bottom.  Any extra pastry got shoved underneath/into the cored hole at the bottom.

pearsbefore

Between you and I, I should’ve skipped the sugar and just done a straight egg wash on these.  They browned on the top, but I was really hoping for a more even coloring.  The taste was on point, but aesthetically I was really wishing for an even, golden crisp.  Anyway.

I let my pears sit around for a few hours in the fridge after this step, and baked them off close to dinner.  When you are ready, these will bake at 400F for around 30 minutes or until the crust is done to your liking.

During those 30 minutes, I strongly suggest adding the cream to the poaching liquid and simmering it until it is reduced by half. 🙂  The pears taste just divine.  They also would be yummy in a honey syrup, so be creative and add fruit/garnishes that suite you!

Baked Pears2

Bacon Wrapped Roast with Brown Sugar Glaze

26 Nov

BOOOOOM!!!

manonpig

What a week, it feels like I’m being shot out of a cannon I tell ya.  I am truly trying to procrastinate a trip to the grocery store like nobody’s business so let’s talk more about food from the dinner party, k?  I don’t want to think about present or future meals until later tonight when Thanksgiving prep starts.  Also, I’m not sure what I advocate for more – riding pigs for leisure or eating them in 2 separate ways at the same time!

Bookmark, print, or pin this recipe for next week – when you can’t shove another bite of turkey in your face and you are dying for something different!  Alternatively, this would be an awesome Thanksgiving centerpiece if you are skipping the tryptophan coma.

Bacon Wrapped Pork Roast with Brown Sugar Glaze:

BSBPorkRoast

Pork:

  • 3 lb. pork roast
  • 5-6 pieces bacon, uncooked
  • 1/2 t. chili powder
  • 1/4 t. paprika
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1/4 t. cumin
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon

First, you make a rub out of all the spices and use your hands to rub the blend into the whole rinse and towel-dried roast.  Then, you bard aka wrap the roast with the uncooked bacon slices.  Pop it in the oven at 375F for 1 hour.

About 15 minutes before the roast is due to come out, assemble the glaze in a small pot.

Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 T. flour
  • 1 T. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 t. mustard powder

Simmer the above ingredients until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is smooth.  Pour the glaze over the roast evenly and cook it 30 minutes longer, or until your meat thermometer reads 160F.

I let the roast rest while we drank wine and had appetizers, so when we were ready to eat it was waiting for us!

Pear, Pecan, & Gorgonzola Crostinis

25 Nov

I am happy to report that I was eating leftovers well into the weekend from our Thursday night dinner party.  Then, it occurred to me that you would like to be doing the same thing.  Especially if you are looking for fantabulous appetizers to serve your guests for Thanksgiving.

PearCrostinis2

Pear, Pecan, & Gorgonzola Crostinis 

(adapted from 400 Best Sandwich Recipes)

Serves 10

  • 1 french baguette, sliced 1/2″ thick
  • half brick of cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 c. crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • 1-1/2 c. thinly sliced Bosc pear (around 2)
  • honey
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Toast baguette slices for about 5 minutes (lightly toasted) at 350F.  In a bowl, combine the cream cheese and Gorgonzola.  When the bread is done toasting, smear some of the cheese mixture onto the bread, top with pear slices and a few pecans, then drizzle with honey.  Back into the oven just until the cheese is melted.

I recommend serving these immediately because the cheese is best when warm.  For the party, I pre-toasted the crostinis and pecans, and also mixed the cheeses prior to my guests coming.  That way, when people started arriving, I just had to assemble the crostinis and bake them for a few minutes.

Our First Dinner Party!

24 Nov

We had our first dinner party y’all!

Since we moved back to our house after finishing school, we have been in major renovation mode.  But, now that our house is completely done being remodeled and it looks amazing, we didn’t waste any time having some friends over!

On Thursday, we had 8 people over for a 3-course meal.  I was so excited, it was all I could think about since we made the plans on Sunday.  I poured over all of my best recipes to decide what I should make – appetizer, entree, and dessert – and decided on 3 things that I knew would go well together and would easily feed that many people.

DinnerPartyPrep

AppetizerPear, Pecan, Gorgonzola & Honey Crostinis

PearCrostinis

photo from Deb

These turned out soooo scrumptious!  We all agreed that this isn’t something we would’ve ordered off of a menu, but the flavors were amazing when combined together.

EntreeBrown Sugar & Bacon Wrapped Boneless Pork Roast with Roasted Red Potatoes & Asparagus

BSBPorkRoast

I actually didn’t even get a chance to take a picture of the side dish, but here is a glimpse of it over breakfast the next morning:

SideDishDP

DessertVanilla Poached Baked Pears with Vanilla Creme Sauce

photo by Melissa

photo by Melissa

I was really proud of how everything turned out and my time management was awesome!  I was able to talk and enjoy the party with everyone the entire time.  I was worried that I would be scrambling around fussing over things and not socializing, but it was so much fun.  Also, the recipes I picked were shockingly easy to pull together.

My only 2 regrets are:  paper plates (which I hate – but we only have 6 plates to our names) and lack of silverware (apparently I own 6 forks as well).  Luckily, the only person bothered by paper plates was me and we all got a good laugh out of eating with spoons.  Next time, I will make sure I’m better prepared!

And yes, I am going to make you keep checking back for the recipes over the next few days.  MWAHAHAHA!

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