>> Friday, January 22, 2010
>> Monday, January 18, 2010
>> Thursday, January 14, 2010
>> Saturday, January 9, 2010
I celebrated my birthday this week. Yes, I know, it's only a week and a half after Christmas. You don't have to tell me that. This was not always fun growing up.
You know, getting everyone's toys they didn't like from Christmas as a birthday gift. Or celebrating my birthday before we all went back to school from Christmas break, so half of my friends were still on vacation and couldn't come to my party. Or not getting to bring in cupcakes for your birthday because my birthday was always on a day when we hadn't gone back to school yet. BOO! :)
But it wasn't all bad - you know the let down when you are a kid on Christmas night after you've opened all the gifts and played with all the toys, and then you think to yourself that the next time you get to open gifts again won't be until your birthday? (Oh come on, you know you all thought it!!) Well, for me, that just happened to be only a week and a half away! Of course I never have those thoughts anymore - you know, I meant when I was a kid! Don't judge me.
As I've gotten older, doing the big birthday dinner out to eat with a bunch of friends always sort of overwhelms me. I have a difficult time choosing somewhere that I might like, that will be able to include everyone, fit everyone, etc. My husband and I were talking about this, and I mentioned that I would just love to have a few of my friends over for a small dinner party, with a good meal, and something really special. Well, let's just say I have the best husband! Boy did he deliver. He threw the best dinner party, with a meal that he made (all my favorites, and I didn't do a thing), even made a cake from scratch, and had a few close friends over for a really fun and relaxed time! It was great!
Yes, he did need a little help and some extra time- okay a lot of help, at one point every person (except me) was doing something in the kitchen to get the dinner ready, and he said to me "how do you do this by yourself and have it ready on time" Practice, lots of practice!
He went the extra mile to make everything special: coordinating dinner ware and table runner (yes he went out and bought some of this stuff!!), candles, roses, all my favorite foods, he even coordinated the wrapping paper for my gift with the color scheme. I should take notes! :)
We had Chicken Bryan (a Carraba's recipe that we figured out the recipe for), two cheese risotto, balsamic roasted asparagus, and raspberry laced vanilla cake that had this amazing buttercream frosting with raspberry liqueur in it!
I had an amazing time with lots of laughs, love, and amazing food!
Got one amazing gift I wasn't expecting - an Apple MacBook - more blogs!!
And I have one amazing husband to thank for all this! Thanks to my husband and friends who made this a really special night! Best birthday in a long while!
What about you? What's your favorite thing to do for your birthday?
>> Tuesday, January 5, 2010
I have a confession...
It's not a big deal really...
But it's kind of sad...
I cheat when I'm having people over/entertaining and I need a good meal...
I have a "go to" meal.
I know this is probably common, but when you're supposed to be good at cooking, you shouldn't have to rely on "go to meals". So just be forewarned, don't come to my house for dinner twice, because I don't know what I'll make you - I only have one go to meal! :)
One of my favorite parts of the "go to" meal is risotto. I know it sounds pretty common, something anyone can make... but I'm telling you, this risotto is to DIE for!!! The trick is to KEEP stirring. When you think you're done stirring and it's time to add more liquid, keep stirring!!
I originally got a pretty good recipe at my first gourmet cooking class I ever took at Charleston Cooks. I was thoroughly impressed by how yummy this recipe was, tried it at home and actually got it right. After making it a few times, of course I wanted to venture out and try my own thing. This recipe is a few year's worth of love and passion changing things up until I got it JUST RIGHT! The mascarpone cheese sounds like an odd addition, but trust me, so creamy! It's the most creamy, yummy, biggest comfort food you have EVER tasted. For serious!
What's your favorite "go to" or comfort food meal?
Two Cheese Risotto (BY: Me)
INGREDIENTS (serves 4-6)
1 cup arborio rice
1 cup dry sherry + 2 TBS(NOT cooking sherry)
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 TBS butter + 1 TBS for use at end if desired
~4-6 cups chicken stock
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated (best to get this fresh and grate when needed)
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
**VERY IMPORTANT** Due to needing to have both hands ready for stirring, it's important to have all ingredients measured and prepared prior to starting the cooking process.
Place chicken stock in small saucepan and place over low heat, keeping warm.
In a large frying pan, melt 2 Tbs butter, add chopped onions and cook until tender. Add arborio rice, continuing to cook until rice is toasted.
Carefully add sherry to pan, as it will splatter. Stir rice until dissolved.
When sherry is completely dissolved, using a ladle, pour 1 ladle of chicken stock that was left warming into the pan, continuing to stir until dissolved.
I took a picture of what the pan should look like when it is time to add more liquid. There should be streaks of the rice on the pan, so when the next scoop is added, it's used as a deglaze almost.
Continue adding liquid one ladle at a time until completely dissolved before adding next scoop, and until rice is al dente (You can taste and tell when it is done, but you can also know based on there only being small white spot in middle of rice, rest of rice should be clear.
When rice is al dente, make your last liquid added last 2 TBS dry sherry for added flavor.
Remove pan from heat and stir in remaining 2 TBS butter if desired (yes, you want to because it makes it ridiculously creamy). Then add cheeses and tomatoes and stir.
Place risotto on serving dish and top with Parmesan cheese if desired.