It's Officially Summer Around Here

>> Sunday, June 26, 2011

Summer has officially hit in California. And... it's HOT!

Well, we've had days of heat at least... for California that is. Nothing compared to my hometown counterpart of Charleston, SC where the temperatures have been record high. Can't say I miss that at all.

But the difference.... the BIG difference - is that almost everyone in Charleston has an air conditioner in their house. Sweet, lovely, beautiful air conditioning. Oh, how I miss it. In Northern California - it's a luxury in most houses. Especially when you live in a house built in the 1940's. It is an extremely cute and charming house, but there is no air conditioning. And when you walk into your house after a long day of work, and the thermostat says 93 degrees, you can choose to sit and complain - or make a ice cold fruit smoothie and sit on the back porch till 11:30... I chose option B! ;) okay.. maybe I sat on the back porch, drank a cold fruit smoothie and complained a little bit (a lot) how hot it was.
In the spirit of summer, I thought this yummy blue cheese potato salad was a perfect recipe for an introduction to summer. It makes a perfect dinner all to itself on those days where it's so hot you're not even hungry. It also makes a lovely side dish for those awesome summer barbecues. You can serve it warm or at room temperature, so it makes it great to take with you to a barbecue where it might sit out for a bit. It would be perfect for a July 4th get together.
The bacon, shallots, and blue cheese meld together for the perfect marry of flavors for this! You'll definitely want to give this a try!

Blue Cheese Potato Salad (Adapted From: Simply Classic - Junior League of Seattle)
4 pounds small, red new potatoes, unpeeled
1/2 cup blue cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup heavy cream
12 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
3 tablespoons chives or green onions, minced

1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
salt and freshly ground pepper
2/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup shallots, minced
2 tablespoons parsley, minced

For dressing, mix vinegars, mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in oil, then add shallots and parsley.
Steam or boil potatoes until just tender. Cool slightly and cut into 1/4-inch slices. Place in large bowl. Gently mix in 1/2 cup of the vinegar dressing mix into the potatoes.
Place potato mixture on a serving platter. Whisk blue cheese and cream into remaining dressing.
Spoon over potatoes. Top with crumbled bacon and chives. Serve warm or at room temperature.


A Surprise Celebration

>> Sunday, June 12, 2011

I have the sweetest husband in the world! :)

He knows me so well. Just take a look at these pictures, and it's amazing to see how much he knows me!
This is what I came home to!

Friday night to celebrate me getting a promotion and us paying off our student loans to be DEBT FREE, he completely surprised me with a dinner party... outside.... decorated to perfection! It looked like it came straight out of a magazine, and I don't think I could have decorated better myself!
Beautiful Table set-up. He's brilliant! :)

Every detail - down to flowers around the patio (compliments of my parents), glass mason jars filled with pretty candles, glass servers for water, buckets filled with fresh flowers, and the most perfect shade of blue accented throughout the table.
Perfect Summer Picnic

The setting was complete with a large outdoor canopy with party lights as well as an outdoor fireplace for the chilly California evening! (My husband knows how much I LOVE a fire)

Complete with garden accents, umbrella, and party lights!

It was perfect! He invited some good friends to help us celebrate and have dinner together. We had the best time, and laughed the night away!

An amazing night celebrated with friends and great food.

This is the kind of party I see in magazines all the time and dream about having! He made it all come together! :) He's pretty darn awesome....
After dinner, the fire pit kept the party going!

Enjoying the cool California evening!

My amazing husband! Thanks babe!


Truffled Deviled Eggs

>> Wednesday, June 8, 2011

It's Summer!!

Vacations, lazy days, warm weather, barbecues.... the list goes on!

Summer also brings the start of life groups at our church, and I just started a cooking life group for the first time!

My friend Laura and I are leading it together, and we're very excited. It's part cooking class, part dinner party - conversation, learning together, eating together, and growing in life. We're using Shauna Niequist's book Bittersweet to guide conversation. It's perfect - it totally encompasses every part I wanted to include in this group. It's full of life, meaning, and inspiration. It's been a dream of mine to incorporate my cooking in some way like this, and it worked out perfect. Laura and I are so excited to be doing this together.

These deviled eggs are a perfect summer dish. The truffle oil adds just a touch of richness to this dish that is perfect. You can bring it to those barbecues we were talking about earlier, or you can make a batch and eat the WHOLE thing... by yourself! ;)

Truffled Deviled Eggs: (Adapted from: Food Network)
6 eggs
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
2 tablespoons truffle oil
pinch cayenne pepper
pinch of salt

Place eggs in a large pot and cover by 1" with water. Place on stove over medium-high heat and set timer 25 minutes. When timer goes off, allow to cool. Peel eggs and slice in half. Place yolk in food processor.
Add in mayonnaise, truffle oil, cayenne pepper and salt.
Combine in food processor until well blended.

Scoop filling in or using icing piper or a ziplock bag with a small hole cut in corner, pipe filling into egg white halves. Enjoy!