Sunday, February 28, 2016

Jan 16, 2016 - Christie's Birthday Blog

Good Morning, CS followers... I know that our posts are becoming fewer and farther between, however, I promise you that we have quality over quantity.  Like my recent blog birthday dinner... I really wanted to create something that we could enjoy!  If you notice our trends over the years, some people choose very exotic ingredients, some choose very challenging ones - I tend towards the simple that therefore requires the cooks to have to think outside the box.  So why break tradition?  This year's ingredients for me were:

Roasted Garlic

Yup... BACON!  (How have we not done bacon yet?!?!?!)

Cocktail - Chocolate Hazelnut Nutella Martini

What a fabulous cocktail!  (We really want to start venturing into more dessert like cocktails this year!) 

Hors d'Ouevres - Roasted Garlic Knots with Prosciutto

So if you're starting to notice a new trend - yes, hors d'ouevres have kind of become our new thing.  Why?  Just because they're cute!  And it gives us an excuse to make more food!!!  Anyways - Jennifer took the basic garlic knot recipe, but when knotting them up, adding slices of prosciutto and then rolled them in roasted garlic, not regular garlic.  Finger licking good.  We couldn't stop eating them.  Literally had to put the dish away or else we would all fill up on these bad boys!  (Great idea for parties, you'll be the rock star if you show up with these!)

Hors d'Ouevre Wine - 2013 Vietti Barbera d'Alba

So my Italian husband was in charge of the wine this time.  Which meant, naturally, it was going to be Italian wines.  And he did a great job!  First off, the label is just cool.  However, this was a nice medium bodied red with red berries and a slight oakiness that made it a great sipping wine!  Definitely something to crack open next to the fire on a cold winter night!

Appetizer - Crispy Pork Belly over Salad with Roasted Garlic Dressing

Best pork belly recipe to date!  (And you know we've tried a few.)  In case you don't know, pork belly is what bacon is made of.  (See how it ties in to the theme?)  Super crispy and super rich!  The mixed greens were a lovely touch, and the homemade roasted garlic vinaigrette really tied it all in.  The vinaigrette was made using roasted garlic (duh), mustard, red wine vinegar, and apple cider.

Appetizer Wine - 2013 Brancaia Tre Rosso

A nice Super Tuscan with well integrated tannins and a deep cherry taste.  It's tart and bold with a nice earthiness.

Entrée - Hazelnut Crusted Pork Loin

Delicious!  A tie to the Nutella, the hazelnut crust really was divine.

Side Dish - Butternut Squash with Nutella and Roasted Garlic Sauce

The Nutella and Roasted Garlic Sauce (homemade), just tied everything together.  We used up some of the leftover roasted garlic salad dressing, mixed with Nutella, and then added some chicken stock as needed to reach desired consistency.

Side Dish - Sauteed Swiss Chard

Side Dish - Twice Baked Potato with Bacon Roasted Garlic

OMG.  Twice baked potatoes are already delicious.  Bacon roasted garlic - who knew??

Entrée Wine - 2012 Agricola Querciabella

A lovely Chianti to finish the meal!  A beautiful balance of acidity and tannins matched with a lovely taste of fresh fruit with some spice and herb.

Dessert - Nutella Semifreddo with Bacon Cookies

Where do I start?  First off - why haven't we made semifreddos before?  It's delicious!  It's basically ice cream that is frozen in a loan pan so you can cut it into slices.  With all the chopped hazelnuts and then the shaved white chocolate - divine!  And a bacon cookie!  Salty and savory - a perfect match to the sweet semifreddo!

Dessert Wine - Banfi Rosa Regale

New favorite sparkling wine.  Hands down.  This fabulous sparkling red is a beautiful deep pink color, and is the perfect match for someone who doesn't like a dry prosecco or champagne.  It's sweet, has tastes of berries and rose, and could match pretty much anything!  This will be our new go-to celebration sparkly!

So there you have it - another birthday blog dinner for the books!  I think Jennifer and Maryann were able to cover all three ingredients with flair and creativity!

See you next time!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

November 14, 2015 - M's First Blog Birthday

Good Morning, everyone!  It's been a while!  Did you miss us??  We missed you... and just to make it up to you - we have TWO birthday blog posts... but I'm not posting the next one for a few days just yet - make you wait for it.  I'm a tease like that.

Please note our title says "M"... that's because I've never actually confirmed with our friends (new to our blog world), if they're cool with their names being posted on the internet.  So for now - you get initials.  We introduced two new people to our birthday blog bashes because 1) they're our friends and 2) we cook a lot, we need more mouths to feed - otherwise our dogs get fat.  They've brought inspiration, ideas, and extra hands to our kitchens!

So when it came time for M to decide his ingredients, he said without hesitation - "horseradish and beets."  Ugh.  What?  Seriously?  Ick.  (This coming from a girl who didn't even know what a beet looked like, let alone tasted like."  But - we don't judge... and what turned out was an incredibly delicious meal!

** Please note that I am a failure.  I can't find any pictures of wine bottles from this night.  Which means, we enjoyed them so much that we forgot to take pictures.  Sorry, folks!

Cocktail - Lemon Martini

Please note the super cute beet chip as garnish.  We stuck with a classic cocktail because there is lemon throughout the menu, and we didn't want something that overwhelmed.  It was more like a palate cleanser to prepare for deliciousness.

Hors d'Ouevre - Roasted Beet Chips

Hey!  They taste like potato chips!  Or those super fancy chips you buy in the organic section of the grocery store! 

Appetizer - Beet Souffle with Lemony Horseradish Crème Fraiche

Clearly the website we got the recipe from must have added some food coloring.  However, delicious!  I've realized that beets almost have no flavor - they are sweet and earthy and kind of just blend in with their surroundings.  The lemon worked well with the horseradish to give it great flavor!

Entrée - Horseradish Crusted Prime Rib

Ummm... YUM!  First off, please note that we used two different types of prepared horseradish.  One was a local brand (shout out to "Holy Schmitt" in Long Island!), and the other was a spicy one from a local farmer's market.  (Forget the name, sorry.)  We kind of alternated which one we used in which recipe - but we did use the spicy on the meat.  Do not hesitate to do it - the strong flavor bakes out of the roast so you'll never know.  We did leave the roast in the oven a little longer but it still came out perfectly medium rare!

Side Dish - Scalloped Potatoes with Horseradish and Parmesan

Yeah... potatoes.  Cream, horseradish,cheese.  What's not to love????

Dessert - Beet Panna Cotta

Surprisingly tasty!  Once again, the beets can be on the sweet side, so when combined with sugar and the lemon mousse - extremely tasty!  In case you're wondering what's in the second picture - it's an Old Fashioned jello shot!.  (

Dessert - Vegan Chocolate Lava Cake

Okay, this was my biggest fear.  I'm a chocolate lava cake purist.  I was worried.  I bit my nails the entire time it was baking.  It was GREAT!  Who knew?

So there you go - an entire menu based on horseradish and beets.  Thanks for joining us!