Batter Licker

December 29, 2011

bacon fat-roasted fingerling potatoes stuffed with beet horseradish ricotta

I realize stuffing fingerling potatoes sounds a little … crazy. And it totally is. I admit it. But don’t freak out and leave yet! I have a solution. Just because I’m nuts doesn’t mean you can’t maintain your sanity while still enjoying the delicious benefits of this recipe.

In other words, this would work equally well for stuffing a potato the size of your closed fist. Or even those mini potatoes that are bigger than fingerlings but not quite as big as your fist – you know, the ones that would still be appetizer friendly but also wouldn’t drive you mad trying to stuff them.

The only other fussy component is the beet horseradish, but there’s a way around that too if necessary. I’ve never seen the beet version in a store in real life, although I probably wasn’t looking because I didn’t even know it existed. But it was among the several gallons of pickled items my friend May shipped me from The Pickle Guys in New York as a wedding present. Aside from being slightly sweeter than regular horseradish, the beet horseradish had an incredibly bright pink fuchsia color, which I thought would be fun to punch up this otherwise brown and white dish. If you can’t find some, substitute regular horseradish, or make your own beet concoction.

Whatever you decide, procure some bacon fat. It makes a difference. (more…)

December 20, 2011

candy cane snowtini

I admit it. I finally succumbed to the infusing-vodka-with-candy madness that’s been going around. I’m not proud, but it was too easy not to do it. There were a few stray candy canes, some lonely vodka and a clean glass jar hanging around, begging for attention.

I justified it by arguing – in my head, of course – that I wouldn’t have gotten around to eating those last few candy canes anyway; the vodka would have sat untouched for another 6 months; the jar needed to serve a practical function or else get tossed into the recycling bin; and a candy cane vodka would really just be peppermint vodka, which wasn’t too bizarre (ahem, candy corn vodka), and had to taste great in some sort of cocktail.

And it did taste fantastic in this one. Like a grownup peppermint milkshake of sorts. Except then I had to go and name it a “snowtini,” which sounds so frou-frou I’m not sure I’d ever order it off a cocktail menu. (more…)

December 19, 2011

sausage and spinach stuffed mushrooms

Do you know anyone who doesn’t like stuffed mushrooms? I don’t. Even self-proclaimed mushroom-avoiders dig in eagerly when the mushrooms are stuffed with ingredients they love.

Sausage. Greens. Bacon. Cheese. Bread crumbs. Whatever you have on hand or know your friends and family love to eat generally works as a stuffing.

My favorite thing about stuffing mushrooms, besides the endless flexibility with stuffing ingredients, is that the natural size of mushrooms is appetizer-friendly: one or two bites’ worth of food. No time-consuming prep required, as it often is when I’m trying to convert something larger to small, bite-sized, nibble-appropriate portions.

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I also love that the mushrooms themselves are naturally shaped as cups, which allows them to act as fairly mess-free, self-contained vessels. This makes them easy to serve with or sans toothpicks, which is key because I often forget to pick up toothpicks anyway. (more…)

December 15, 2011

check me out on BlogHer!

Remember this Project Wedding Dessert Bar Series post on bourbon spice and fleur de sel caramels? I am thrilled and honored that BlogHer asked me to share my caramel recipes with the millions of BlogHer Food readers!

Syndicated on BlogHer.comPlease head on over to BlogHer.com and check out my post, in addition to the many other fabulous recipe- and food-related posts shared on their site by incredible bloggers! Right now, they’ve also shared a lot of great holiday ideas if you’re still scrambling to pull things together, from gifts to crafts to meals.

December 14, 2011

project wedding dessert bar: part 13 (jay’s secret chocolate cake)

It’s taken me awhile, but this is the second-to-last post in my Project Wedding Dessert Bar Series. Did I mention this recipe is for a surprise cake? For THE cake-to-end-all-cakes (at least in Jay’s book)?

Jay loves chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, as it was present at all his childhood birthdays and celebrations. Somehow I baked, chilled, frosted, hid, and transported it without Jay finding out, even though he tried to ruin the surprise – TWICE.

First, after driving back from a morning client meeting, he came up to our apartment to check in on me and my dessert bar baking shenanigans instead of dropping the car in the garage and going straight to work like he usually does.

Photo by Dana Hargitay of enLuce Photography

Then, when my mom and sister Cassie helped me transport the desserts to the venue a day before the wedding, he took an early lunch break – without giving me advance notice – and walked over the venue to help us unload everything. Thank goodness the cake was on a covered stand and Cassie had a jacket to throw over the top of it. While we unloaded everything else, we hid the cake on the passenger side floor of the car. When we dropped everything off in the venue director’s office, I awkwardly hesitated to leave, even though she had another bride and groom in her office. The look on my face must have indicated I was on the verge of a meltdown (I wasn’t; worst case, the surprise would be ruined, which would not be the end of the world but hopefully would be avoided); she immediately came up and gave me a concerned look and a hug. I whispered that there was one more load coming up, then ran down the hall to catch up before Jay noticed. But how would my mom and Cassie get the cake upstairs without Jay noticing?? (more…)

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