Sunday, February 15, 2009

Can you feel the love tonight?

So, I celebrated Valentines Day with my husband, but I also invited a few of my SINGLE LADIES over so we could all enjoy a great night of food and friends! This dinner was all about small had six courses!

Here are some of the highlights:

I made chocolate covered strawberries with toasted hazelnuts, and my Mom made these sweet cupcakes that looked like flowers. These were used to decorate the table...and as party favors.

I decked out the table in red and silver...used the cupcakes and chocolate strawberries as my centerpiece, which I set at the end of the table.







COURSE 1: Baked Brie with French Bread
We started with our favorite Baked really must try is to die for!

COURSE 2: Cream of Asparagus Soup
This was made by my Mom. I will post the recipe later. THIS WAS SO DELICIOUS!!! We served these in coffee cups!


COURSE 3: Goat Cheese Tart with Arugula tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette
Kristy created these delicious was all YUMMY!



COURSE 4: Mushroom Ravioli with Sage Brown Butter, Saulteed Butternut squash gorgonzola and sweet balsamic glaze.
I made a batch of fresh pasta and rolled out these little babies. I made one large ravioli per person. The balsamic glaze was a nice touch to counterbalance the richness of the gorgonzola.

COURSE 5: Red Wine braised Short Ribs served over sour cream mashed potatoes and au jus
This was a last minute addition to my menu. I thought this would be an easy entree and I was right. I just seared these babies and then the cooked in the crock pot for the rest of the day. The meat was amazingly tender and had great flavor!

COURSE 6: Molten Lava Cake ala mode with Raspberry coulee
We ended the night with Molten Lava Cakes and Cappucinos. Yes there were cupcakes and chocolate covered strawberries...but hey, it is VALENTINES DAY! These little babies have a soft chocolate center and were so YUMMY! Just on the verge of "death by chocolate!"

My Mom lives in Orlando now, and she is AMAZING! She is like the engergizer bunny, I dirty a dish, it is cleaned and put away before I turn around...she is an amazing chef too! She preps like a champ and she is so fun! We had a great time making dinner together!


We started cooking around 11 am yesterday, and we were done about 3...If she wasn't here, I would have been stressed, and not done...this is the first time that I truly enjoyed myself! We all had a lovely time! Kristy was great because she has tons of catering experience, and she helped me plate everything between courses...we are a well oiled machine and can do anything!! I love you girl! The only person you don't see is Viviana, as always, she is behind the camera. THANKS VIVI for the amazing pics!!

What about Paul you ask? Wel...Paul serenaded us! :)


Monday, February 9, 2009

Be Mine...Valentine

Just made a few Valentines...I keep a box on my desk at work. The people I work with know I am kind of crafty...and when they need cards and don't have time to go to the drug store, they stop by my desk.

I sell them for a few bucks...but they are all made with love...and I really sell them because I just like to share pretty things! :)

I am kinda into the cupcake theme this year:

Monday, February 2, 2009

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love those dark chocolate cookies at Panera, called I was on a quest to find a good recipe. I settled with this one here. I adjusted the recipe a bit because I didn't have any chocolate chips in my house (i know, for shame)! So I substituted milk and dark chocolate bars...I just cut them into big chunks.

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies:
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In large bowl, beat butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt; stir into the butter mixture until well blended. Mix in the chocolate chips and walnuts.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or just until set. Cool slightly on the cookie sheets before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Next time I make these, I will add white chocolate chips like the Panera version. I have them in the new cake stand my husband got me for Christmas.

It is just like a diner. We went to a restaurant supply store, and a few months agoI was admiring this stand...(I have a cake plate fetish!) He is so sweet, cause he went back and got it for me. I keep it on my counter with whatever fresh baked goods I have made. I just LOVE it! Thanks Honey!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Baked Brie

Ok, I know baked brie has been around forever. It is so yummy warmed right out of the oven. Well, I had this at a recent Pampered Chef party, and I have been dreaming about it ever since, so I had to make it. Check this out:

There are tons of PC recipes that are keepers, because they are so simple! This one is right up there. The real beauty is you toast the bread and serve it all on the pizza stone...Love that!

Take a wheel of brie, slice it right down the center and set it in the middle of the stone, cut side up. I then spread some apricot/pineapple preserves, and sprinkled some pecans on top. Then take the 2nd half of the wheel, again, cut side up, and put it on top of the first half. Add more preserves and pecans.

Then slice a loaf of french bread and set it all around the brie. Put the whole thing into a 425 degree oven for 8-10 min. Let stand for 5 min before serving.

This is A-MAZ-ING! Simply serve it right on the stone with a large knife for cutting. Your guests will just cut it wedges and eat it on the bread. The rind is even good...I know some people who don't like to eat the rind...warming it like this, the whole thing is so good. You have to try it! This is a simple recipe with big impact.