Be sure to “like” this blog’s Facebook page, and follow the photo trail on Twitter and Instagram.
Bacon, like kale, isn’t going anywhere any time soon. The cured, smoked pork strips make people’s eyes light up, whether they’re served on their on or paired with other meats and vegetables. In my opinion, bacon’s at its best when matched with a complementary ingredient. Tender, sweet shrimp are always welcome to the bacon party. These little bacon-wrapped shrimp are great appetizers for your next party. Or, you can just make them for your next Netflix & chill night. They’re definitely the finger food you’d want to keep to yourself.
Spring Green Panzanella with Lemon Caper Vinaigrette, Shrimp and Crab Sliders with Avocado Spread, Potato Puffs and Linguica Casserole, Potato and Veggie Crustless Quiche, Mini Bananas Foster Bread Pudding with Cream Cheese Caramel
As Tastemakers for Alexia Foods, we were recently given the opportunity to host a dinner party of our chosing. So far this year, we have featured a farm tour and Q&A with potato farmers who grow a variety of crops that give life to Alexia products. We’ve also hosted a giveaway or two, as well as shared a few recipes featuring goods from Alexia. But let’s get back to this special dinner party. We brainstormed ideas that would highlight several Alexia products in interesting and new ways. And somehow, we landed on beer! We would throw a beer tasting dinner party.
It was just over a year ago that we featured a walnut pesto recipe for penne pasta. It was fast, easy and satisfying. Pesto is one of the simplest things you can adapt to your tastes or to what you have on hand. If you have nuts, herbs, oil and a little citrus, you can make pesto. A bit of parmesan cheese is just the icing on the cake. Over the holidays, especially when you have guests, you have to keep in mind that they want to eat the few days before the big event as well. That means you have to make other dishes besides the turkey, ham and pies. What do you pull out when you’re not in the mood to make a huge meal for every meal? Well, pasta of course. Pasta with pesto.
One of the things we aim to do is clean out our respective kitchens of ingredients that may find themselves coming close to their use-by date, if you will. There are times that you buy produce with the best of intentions, but time escapes you, and you end up with a handful of items that are screaming to be used before they must go bye-bye. We scramble to come up with ways to avoid the feeling of guilt associated with wasting money on uneaten food. To that end, it is the last weekend of October–a month that has been a whirlwind of activity for both of us. There has not been as much time as we would’ve liked to cook all the amazing foods on our list as the days have slipped by, but sometimes you find a few hours to plow through the fridge, rack your brain and come up with something that will save the day.
We do a lot of talking about Southern foods. Maybe it’s because we miss them so! There’s something comforting and familiar with all of the foods we remember from our respective youths (even if that youth extended to our college years). We associate these foods with memories of family and friends on birthdays and holidays. No Thanksgiving or Christmas are complete without key dishes that only certain people are entrusted to make, and they know exactly who they are. One of the Southern dishes we’ve lamented the loss of would be shrimp and grits. It’s not a complicated meal, but it is full of complexity in its own right. A mouthwatering bowl of shrimp and grits will remind you of all that is good in the world, and you will be craving more. Oh yes, it is that serious, and you’ll see why.
Minty Melonballs, Port Walnuts and Goat Cheese on Endive Leaves, Sausage Stuffed Cremini Mushrooms, Warm Brie with Blackberry Wine Sauce, Mixed Greens with Pancetta, Manchego and Citrus Vodka Dressing, Apricot Grand Marnier Shrimp, Smokey BBQ Steaks, Parmesan Mashed Potatoes and Celeriac, Grilled Asparagus, Brown Basmati Rice with Cranberries and Pine Nuts, Rosemary and Dill Butters, Chocolate Pecan Mint Roll, Sweet Potato Cake with Spiced Pecan Buttercream
When the call went out to Foodbuzzers that it was time for the February 24, 24, 24 event, the idea for our proposal came to mind immediately. Just by looking at the picture above, maybe you can guess what it was. Now don’t get scared. We did more than just whip up drink concoctions by the gallon. No, we did much more. There are great applications for spirits, but of course the ones we are most interested in are cooking and baking. Hence, “A Tipsy Dinner Party” was born.
The world of spirits–liquor, not ghostly apparitions–spans from dark to clear, bitter to sweet, full bodied to light. They are excellent additions to a number of meals. No need to worry about truly being tipsy after a meal peppered with alcohol. Good for us, most if not all the actual alcohol burns off during the cooking process, leaving nothing but flavor.
Where do inspiration and copy catting meet? For the sake of ‘debate’, how original are most recipes? We see a lot of recipes that have been adapted by so and so and such and such. Of course, many folks are literally creating new ingredient combinations as we write this, but a lot of our recipes are inspired-occasionally based on-something awesome we had somewhere else. Then we play with it, make it our own. The delicious bowl above is similar to a meal we had recently and changed up a bit based on what we had on hand. Should it be called an adaptation? An inspiration? An amended replica? We’re curious to hear your thoughts. And we encourage you to do your own adaptation…or just play copy cat!
You’re good if you noticed this post will be followed by another in the same vein. Look forward to Part 2 on Friday!
There are two things that we love about potluck dinners: (1) you’re not in charge of cooking the entire smorgasbord and (2) you can try out new dishes on your friends. Actually, we’ve heard it said that you should never do a new dish for a potluck. It should always be one of your tried and true concoctions that is sure to bring on nothing but raucous raves from your greedy friends. We threw caution to the wind and searched through our recipe rolodex for a couple of platters for a Japanese themed dinner. There are so many recipes that come to mind when you think Japanese, but we’re also trying to watch our waistlines after November and December’s gorge fests. That meant none of the heavier dishes that we would’ve preferred to pull together; no, it had to be something delicious bordering on diet. We were teetering in dangerous territory, but who doesn’t love a challenge.