Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Goat Cheese with Chipotle and Piloncillo Sauce

I was over at my friend Kristy's for a cocktails a few weeks ago...and I met her friend Stacy. Stacy brought over this goat cheese spread with pita that I couldn't get enough of. SO GOOD! You have to try this!

Some of the ingredients are unusual, but I was able to find them in my grocery store. The caramel topping for this cheese spread is such a beautiful compliment! It is addicting! It is sweet and savory all at the same time. The recipe is so easy to make and you could do it the day before.

Chipotle is really easy to find these days. The tricky part is the Piloncillo. Mexican sugar cane. It comes in a brick like this:

You have to melt it down...but it really took no time at all. Your guests will love this dish.

Goat Cheese with Chipotle and Piloncillo Sauce

yield: Makes about 2 cups cheese spread and about 1 1/4 cups sauce, serving 10 to 12


For cheese spread
6 ounces soft mild goat cheese, at room temperature
12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 small garlic clove, minced and mashed to a paste with 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon minced canned chiles chipoltes in adobo sauce

For sauce
1 tablespoon minced canned chiles chipoltes in adobo sauce
8 ounces piloncillo (Mexican unrefined sugar)
1 cup heavy cream

grilled bread, toasted pita chips, corn chips or crackers

Make cheese spread:
In a bowl with an electric mixer beat together cheeses, garlic paste, and minced chipolte chiles. Transfer mixture to a small serving bowl and chill, covered, at least 4 hours or overnight.

Make sauce:
In a small saucepan combine minced chiles chipoltes, piloncillo, and cream and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally and breaking up sugar, until piloncillo is melted and sauce is smooth, about 20 minutes. Transfer sauce to a small serving bowl and chill, covered, for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.

Spread cheese on grilled bread, corn chips or crackers and lightly drizzle with sauce.

Monday, September 28, 2009

My New Blog!

Hi Everyone!

After almost a year, I have finally got my on domain and moved all my posts to my very own website:

A Life Made By Marcie

I haven't posted anything for so long because I wanted to get over to Wordpress... I have a lot of stuff to post, so I hope you haven't forgotten about me and still want to follow me over to my new home on the web.

If you subscribe to my link...here is the new RSS Link:


Hope to see you soon!


Friday, August 14, 2009


WOW...I am so excited...I just got this email:

Hi Marcie -

Just wanted to let you know that your 4th of July party is one of the top 5 finalists in the HWTM Summer Entertaining Contest - congrats!

Voting starts today and goes through next Thursday, August 20th. We'll announce the winners on Friday.

Here's a little more info for you:

Thanks so much for sharing your photos with us - and good luck!
Jenn :)

HOW COOL IS THAT!! So, if you are a fan of Hostess with the Mostess on facebook...and you like my party, could you vote for me?! :) VOTE HERE! Thanks so much!!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Making Butter

Have you ever thought about making your own butter? I hear people on FoodNetwork saying don't whip up your cream too much or you will make butter...I didn't realize that it would look like this...and that the liquid you extract from the cream is the buttermilk and the rest is the butter solids...how cool is this...easy enough to try I say!

I would love to try this and make a few compound butters from it...butter freezes really well and it would probably be really delicious! I will let u know when I do.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

All New Ina!

Ina is back with a brand new season of shows...I hope it is more like the original BFC...those are such useful shows to me...taught me so much.

Today's Show: Brown bagging it just got a Barefoot makeover. This is portable food with full on flavor including Grilled Tuna Wasabi rolls, Lentil Vegetable Soup and Granola Bars.

Recipes in This Episode
Grilled Tuna Rolls
Homemade Granola Bars
Lentil Vegetable Soup

the show starts today at 1:30pm EST...set your DVR's! :)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Summertime Cocktails

I love an ice cold beer or glass of chilled white wine in the summertime, but sometimes you wanna have a great cocktail. I found these great recipes for cocktails that I think would be really great for any summer get together:

First, a French Margarita:

The addition of the chambord is a nice touch. I love margaritas on the rocks too. Love the berry garnish.

Here is more of a dessert cocktail...a Key Lime Freeze. The graham cracker rim is a nice touch:

Here is a Red Wine Sangria. I love sangria!!

This Limon Crush sounds yummy:

This Coconut Caipirinha sounds so refreshing:

Hmm...what should I have tonight? :)

Friday, July 3, 2009

4th of July 2009

So my friend Kristy and I are planning a little pool party tomorrow. She and I have developed this great friendship...we both love to cook...so this is our first attempt to throwing a party together. I can't get over how at ease I am with the preps for this one. I truly have a partner who has as much fun as I do. :) I AM GOING TO HAVE REAL FUN TOMORROW!!

So, we are still in the process of preping and setting up, but I wanted to share with you our table:

Plates were 4 for $1 at walmart. The napkins are dishtowels, 7 for $3 at walmart, the runner was $20 at Pier 1, the colanders and pails are from the Pottery Barn, but all together, makes a lovely table.

Don't you love the cracker jacks? 3 for $1 at walmart. They even have this antique packaging that really compliments our table setting.

I will post more photos later when we get our buffet set up.

Happy 4th of July everyone!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Farmer's Market Grill

My friend Lon told me about Fresh Field Farm a few weeks ago...so I had to check it out. One day, I am going to take photos inside because I always love what I see. I have a huge smile on my face looking at all the gorgeous produce. This is just a portion of what I picked up on my first trip:

Gorgeous huh! Anyway, my friend Kristy came over and we got to cooking.

I have NEVER cooked artichokes...and I had to buy these. they were like $1 a piece and HUGE! I needed some help, so I looked on the Food Network and found this video by Chef Anne Burell on how to peel and prep the artichokes. I just went as far as the preping and peeling...I kept my artichokes whole.

So, got them peeled, I boiled them in salted water for about 25-30 min. Just to soften them.

Then we got all of the rest of the veggies on the grill. Aren't the colors GREAT?!

I also picked up some NY Strip steaks at the Farmers Market, and Kristy marinated them with some fresh garlic, olive oil and herbs de province that my friend Steve brought back from Cannes for me.

I then cut the parboiled artichokes in half and put them on the grill for some char. Kristy also made a vinagrette that she brushed onto the veggies as soon as they came off of the grill. I will have to ask her what was in there...it was amazing.

When the steaks were done, Kristy put them on a bed of fresh large leaf arugula from Whole Foods...THIS WAS SO GOOD!! I guess I have always had baby arugula...well if you love that flavor...try this mature version...the flavor is so strong and delicious!

Kristy brought over some Steak House wine from her new find The Wine Barn, and we sat for a great meal...we moaned over every bite! We didn't even have any starch..straight up meat and veggies and we didn't miss it either!

Always have to end the night with esspresso...I picked up these rock candy sticks...very nice way to serve your coffee.

Find your local farmers market and enjoy!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

More Loveliness from Amy Atlas

I swear everytime I see a table display by Amy Atlas, I wanna cry. They are just STUNNING. Look at this loveliness:

What did I tell ya...here are some close ups:

Everytime she posts more images, it is like Christmas for me. Enjoy!!

The Cutest Cupcakes!

Look at what the little elves cooked at at Martha Stewart...aren't these darling!

I love those! I recently saw these cupcakes with just the umbrella, but Martha took them to the next level and they are so clever.

Why can't I come up with cool stuff like that! Maybe because all my creativity is sucked dry from my real job...and when I come home, all I wanna do is play bejeweled till I pass out? huh? haha...no ya, really that is true.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Plum Clafoutis

I have been going to the fresh produce market for a few weeks now...the produce is so amazing. Fresh fresh! Find your local farmers market or direct from the farm market...totally worth it and you can be inspired by the finds. I bought some pretty little plums there for my husband...he eats tons of fruit...I can't keep it in the house long enough. Anyway, these plums weren't very sweet, so I decided to make them into a dessert.

I would normally make my SUMMER BERRY COBBLER...but I saw this recipe on the Barefoot Contessa a few years ago and wanted to try it. It is basically a crepe batter that you pour over fresh fruit and bake. Very simple. The longest part was cutting up and fanning the plums, but it was fun too! :)

Plum Clafoutis

8 small plums
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk (low fat is fine)
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 425F and lightly grease a 10-inch round baking/tart dish.
Peel pears. Slice in half and remove cores and stems. Slice crosswise every 1/8 inch and fan around a 10 inch round baking dish, stem ends facing into the center. If your pears are large, you might only use 6 halves around the outside of the pan. If this is the case, add one of the remaining pear halves to the center of the dish (as pictured above). Sprinkle pears with approx. 1 tbsp sugar.
In a food processor, blend flour, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder, salt, eggs, milk, vanilla and nutmeg until smooth, about 15 seconds. Pour mixture on top of pears and sprinkle again with remaining sugar.

Bake for 15 minutes at 425F. Turn oven down to 350F and bake an additional 25-30 minutes, until clafoutis is golden brown and a tester (sharp knife) inserted into the center comes out clean.
Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled.

Serves 8.

Note: The clafoutis will fall a little bit as it cools, so don’t be surprised!

We wanted to try it so badly, I almost forgot to take a photo! So there is a scoop out of this one. This is a great recipe for any fresh summer stone fruit...peaches, plums, apricots...even pears would be excellent. Give it a try, it is super simple and delicious.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Martha's Cupcake Book

Martha's Cupcake book is coming out in just a few weeks...and to tease us...she is giving us a recipe a day on her show.

You can PREORDER the book...I think I might just do that. I would love to do it for my brother Louis, but I am sure he did already! He should write his own book with his AMAZING cupcakes!

Anyway, I have only seen a few the Martha shows this week (my dvr is full!) but every cupcake I have seen is worth a try. The Lemon meringue especially because I have one of those cool torches and love to use it!

The Lemon Meringue Cupcakes:

Makes 24
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
Finely grated zest of 3 lemons (about 3 tablespoons), plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
Lemon Curd
Seven-Minute Frosting

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is until incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in zest and vanilla. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk and lemon juice, and beating until just combined after each.
Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until golden brown and a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
To finish, spread 1 tablespoon lemon curd onto middle of each cupcake. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large open-star tip (Ateco #828 or Wilton #8B) with frosting. Pipe frosting onto each cupcake, swirling tip slightly and releasing as you pull up to form a peak. Hold a small kitchen torch 3 to 4 inches from surface of frosting, and wave it back and forth until frosting is lightly browned all over. Serve immediately.

Then there is the Chocolate Cupcake...always good!

Makes 12
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
Easy White Icing
Sprinkles (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper liners.
Into a medium bowl, sift together cocoa, flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each, then beat in vanilla. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with sour cream and beginning and ending with flour.
Pour batter into cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.
Cool in pan 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, then spread with Easy White Icing using a table knife or small offset spatula. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Show Me Your Mussels

I am convinced that Friday nights are the best nights to entertain...they force you to be casual, impromptu, no preplanning, just "hey let's get together and make a feast" kind of nights. You can have a few drinks, and still have Saturday and Sunday to recover, which in my mind is a VERY good thing! :)

My friend Kristy came over and we started to cook. But first a cocktail break...

This is the Peach Basil Martini:


This is a great cocktail that we all enjoyed...a great summer drink that you should try! :)





But I digress...this post is all about the Mussels!

On our way home from work, we stopped at the market to pick up something to make for dinner. We wanted some shrimp, then I noticed the mussels...they were on sale...so I asked Kristy if she had ever cooked them...she said no, so I said...what the heck! We bought a pound each of shrimp and mussels thinking we would just figure it out when we got home.


Fish, shellfish, anykind of fish...I have always been afraid to cook...it isn't cheap, and it is very delicate easily ruined...and that I just couldn't face! :) I love it though! So, I had to start somewhere.

What I didn't realize is fish makes a quick meal...and elegant one, and one that doesn't require lots of planning! I love this.

We found a recipe in the Barefoot in Paris book by Ina Garten...and I just happened to have everything on hand...and off we went to create this FANTASTIC dinner.

Note: This recipe uses all mussels, but we bought 1 lb of shrimp and 1 lb of mussels to make this recipe.

Mussels in White Wine
Barefoot In Paris by Ina Garten
Serves 2-3

3 pounds cultivated mussels
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 cup chopped shallots (5 to 7 shallots)
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic (5 to 6 cloves)
1/2 cup chopped canned plum tomatoes, drained (4 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon good saffron threads
1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 cup good white wine
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To clean the mussels, put them in a large bowl with 2 quarts of water and the flour and soak for 30 minutes, or until the mussels disgorge any sand.



Drain the mussels, then remove the "beard" from each with your fingers. If they're dirty, scrub the mussels with a brush under running water. Discard any mussels whose shells aren't tightly shut.

In a large non-aluminum stockpot, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for 5 minutes; then add the garlic and cook for 3 more minutes, or until the shallots are translucent. Add the tomatoes, saffron, parsley, thyme, wine, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil.


Add the mussels,


stir well, then cover the pot, and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until all the mussels are opened (discard any that do not open). With the lid on, shake the pot once or twice to be sure the mussels don't burn on the bottom.


NOTE: at 8 minutes, we added the peeled, deveined shrimp to the pot to cook for the last 3 minutes.

Pour the mussels and the sauce into a large bowl and serve hot.


Isn't this gorgeous? We served it with fresh lemon slices and toasted garlic ciabatta bread to sop up the delicious broth...so good!


This is an impressive dinner. The flavors are out of this world...tastes like a million bucks. This will be a go to recipe for me from now on. It was so simple and easy, and the results to DIE FOR! :) I know I say that a lot, but it is so true...this is a delicious recipe. If you are a virgin shellfish cooker, give this one a try, you won't be sorry!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Olivia's Banana Bread

This is my go to recipe for banana bread. I got it from my dear friends Jimmy & Olivia. They are great cooks and bakers. Jimmy is always bringing in lovely baked bread, pastries, muffins baked by his lovely wife Olivia. He is so sweet, always has a smile on his face and reminds me that work is just work, and not to stress about the little things. He spoils me rotten and I love him! :)

So I wanted to share this bread recipe with you! Give it a try, it is really good!
1 c Very Ripe Bananas (about 3 or 4)
1 c white sugar
1/4 c vegetable oil
1/2 c sour cream
2 Eggs
1 1/2 c all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a large mixing bowl, combine bananas, sugar, oil, sour cream and eggs:
In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients. add to banana mixture just until combined.
Pour into 9x5 inch loaf pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 1/4 hours or until tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely.

I doubled the recipe and used one of my favorite bundt pans, given to me by my SIL Claudia. I love this one!

I am going to make a cupcake out of this banana bread, as soon as I find a good icing for it. I know a straight up cream cheese icing would work, but I want to be a little more thoughtful and unique about flavors if I can.

Any ideas?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Spring Fling

I know I live in Florida, and the weather is always warm...but there is something about the spring time...the colors, the flowers, the fresh fruit!


My friends Kristy and Sara came over for Easter so I put together some good eats...first, my simple spring table setting:

Then, Kristy came up with a great cocktail for us. We were in St. Augustine the week before, and had a Cava (Spanish Champagne) Sangria at the Columbia restaurant that was fantastic. Kristy created these tasty drinks for us...
Champagne, fresh fruit, white wine, peach puree, triple sec...Gorgeous and delicious!!

Next food:
Simple spring salad with fresh fruit, arugula, goat cheese, toasted walnuts and balsamic vinagrette:
The main course was a baked ham and a roasted pork tenderloin:
I made a reduction of the pork juices, orange juice, plum cherry jam and balsamic that was fantastic!

This is my new favorite pasta salad for the summer. Roasted garlic oil, orzo, fresh spinach, toasted walnuts, roasted garlic, goat cheese and salt and pepper. I had a salad similar to this at Whole Foods, this time, I added dried cherries for some chewy texture...so simple and delicious!!

Roasted asparagus with parmesan...love roasted veggies...thanks Ina Garten!

For dessert, I made these Espresso Caramel Bars, a recipe by Giada DeLarentis...really good...more like eating a chewy candy bar. I sprinkled the top with flake salt...SO GOOD and decadent. Served them with espressos and lattes.

Hope you are all enjoying your springtime!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Project Wood

OMGoodness...I haven't blogged in forever! The truth is, I have become a social networking butterly at work, tweeting and blogging for Ripley's...I have left myself little time to share my life with all of you...I am still cooking and entertaining, so I do have a lot to share.

First I want to tell you about a little project I helped my friend Sara with. She is the sister of my good friend Kristy...and we all have become fast friends. Kristy called me one afternoon and said her sister needed help with creating a flyer for an event she was planning...her designer dropped out and she needed help quick!

After a couple hours and a few bottles of wine, I cranked out this flyer for Project Wood, an art show for a local artist Steph Wood:

So I place the order for the flyers, and I think I am done. Then Kristy proposes that we help Sara make some food for the event, and wonders if Paul would photograph...They expected 100 people, didn't sound too difficult...sure, why not?

Kristy suggested skewers with mozzerella, basil tomato, and I recommended chocolate fountain. The budget was very small, and these items worked perfectly for this party. Here are some highlights:

Here is one of the servers passing some of our food...We served them on silver trays, and used stemless wine glasses with olive oil and balsamic on the plate for some interest.


The Chocolate Fountain was the best purchase I have ever made...I have used this so many times at parties, and people love it...so inexpensive too.



Kristy created a peach basil martini that was to die for...she was so busy that night, making that cocktail...everyone wanted it!


Here are some party shots:



Sara took a hair salon downtown and turned it into an art gallery...the space was perfect for an event like this...it really felt like an art gallery!
Here are Sara, Event Producer on the left and Steph Wood, the artist on the right.

One of the highlights was a performace by musician Peter Baldwin. He was really great:
I have a feeling you will hear more about him soon!

Project Wood was a great time, Paul snapped some great shots!