Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Summer Picnic Ideas

We are headed to an outdoor concert this weekend and the venue is famous for elaborate outdoor picnics. Can't even wait.  It's going to be like a fancy shmancy tailgate which just has my name all over it.  Picnics are tricky.  You have to pack things that will travel well, that will do well at room temp for awhile (read: won't kill your guests), and is conducive to longs spans of wine drinking.  I went deep into the Hardly Housewives archives and found the following ideas.  YUM. 

1. Avocado Black Bean Salsa.  This is money.  You know why?  It's totally fine at room temp and it actually gets better the longer it sits since it continues to meld and marinate.  The only problem?  It won't even last that long. 

3.  Cucumber and Salami Tea Sandwiches.  These are cute and dainty.  Not the best choice for room temp, so you would want to keep these cool and then eat them early on in the picnic.  BUT AREN'T THEY SO CUTE?  So cute. 

4. Roasted Rosemary Marcona Almonds.  These are the bomb.  And so easy to make and just fancy enough to make your picnic seem all the more special.  Serve these next to some cheese and meat and you'll have a beautiful spread. 

5. Zero Guilt Cookie Dough Dip.  OMG.  A dessert that tastes like cookie dough, that you can feel good about, AND it'll be totally fine at room temp?  HELLO.  Picnic perfection right here.  

6.  Asparagus Puff Pastry.  This looks divine (haven't tried Caitlin's recipe yet!) and think it would be lovely for a fancy little spread.  

7.  Parmesan Panko Breaded Chicken Fingers. Fried chicken is a picnic must. It's awesome at room temp, just make sure it doesn't sit out for too long, especially in the sun.  I like the idea of doing chicken fingers because eating off the bone is extra messy...especially if you aren't near a sink. 

...speaking of chicken...

8.  Buffalo Chicken Crostini. Not good at room temp?  I challenge!  I've had these at room temp and they are delish. AND since you cook them with the cheese, they stay together and don't fall apart during transport.  Boom shaka laka. 

Ok that's all I got.  I'll be sure to take some pics and share whatever it is I throw together this weekend. 

Stay hungry! 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Leftover Rib Eye Sandwiches

Any time we have leftover steak, I make steak sandwiches.  I almost like it as much as the original meal.  Almost. 

Steak is delicious cold and when you pair it with fresh veggies and a sauce that doesn't quit, well you got yourself a happy hubby.  

I mean...can we just have a moment of silence for how perfectly marbled and medium rare this rib eye is?  THANKS GRILL MASTER CHARLIE.  

Hellman's mayo is a great base.  Get the real kind, not the light or fat free or weird kind.  The real kind is real - just eggs, oil, vinegar and lemon juice and a few other ingredients I can't think of.  It doesn't contain anything crazy (like cornstarch, ew) so it's the perfect base to get creative with.  I always have balsamic on hand - like 30 kinds worth.  Since I wanted a nice, thick sauce, I added a few squirts of balsamic glaze to the mayo.  You could also add dijon, garlic, Worcestershire, lemon juice, or anything you want, really.  Since DA BEEF was coming from an Italian flavor profile (Tuscan rib eyes ya'all), I went with balsamic.

Get a nice soft roll, or a crusty baguette.  Are you catching on?  You can make this a million different ways.  I went with a soft roll because that's just my preference, but I've had this on crust ciabatta too and it's ridic.

Spread this sauce on both sides of the roll, layer with steak, top with red onion and lettuce.  Cut and half and devour.  And I do mean devour. 

MMMMM mmmmm mmmm.  Get right outside of town with this.

Stay hungry!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Wedding Shower Recipe Book

This is something I've cherished and used for almost four years now, but pulled out this week to check a recipe and thought I'd post about.  In August of 2010, a month before my wedding, my bridesmaids threw me a beautiful shower at my mother in law's home.  There were all sorts of lovely details including a recipe book made with recipes from the guests:

From drinks to appetizers to dessert, the ladies at my shower filled out favorite recipes that I've used throughout my marriage.  It's a carefully curated bunch of recipes that my loved ones thought I'd love and they were spot on.

My friend Leah's pirogi recipe especially warms my heart.  The picture below only shows half of the recipe cards for the recipe.  I remember watching her spend about an hour writing it out (detailing the how-to as well as different fillings).  For the record, they're delicious.  

After the shower, my friend Jen gathered them up and stuck into a book along with photos she had taken during the day.  Whenever I need to reference my grandmother-in-law's deviled egg recipe or know how to make the delicious pasta my childhood friend's family always made, it's all in one place.  It's an awesome way to remember the day and it feels so special that friends & family selected and wrote out these recipes just for me.

Four years later, this book still gets frequent use.  Thanks, girls!