Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Moscow Mules

My dad and stepmom Denise came to visit us this past weekend for the first time since we moved here. It was a really nice time! We did some sight seeing, walked around our beautiful neighborhood in Pasadena, made some wonderful breakfasts, watched football and took an afternoon trip to Laguna!
It was the perfect day in Laguna! 80 degrees in November! All the while, our hometown of Odessa was getting some snow! It was sad to see our family go, I hope they will be back before another 5 years go by!

Moscow Mules are my favorite cocktail! I love how refreshing they are. My 3B, Emily, bought me these copper mugs for my birthday so I can make them at home!

Moscow Mule
1/4 cup Vodka
1 Tbsp Lime Juice
1/2 cup Ginger Beer
garnish with mint
not needed, but it is fun to serve the traditional copper mug!
Squeeze lime juice into mug of ice. Pour in vodka and then slowly pour in ginger beer.
Very easy, but oh so delicious! You can replace vodka for rum and it is now a Dark and Stormy!
Other variations I have had have used cucumber flavored vodka to make them, yum!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Smoked Salmon

I am so happy, in just a few days, my dad and stepmom are coming to visit! It will be short stay but I can't wait finally get to show them our home!
Dad gave me my grill for Christmas last year. Here is another yummy dish that I made on my grill this past summer. I know it is too cold in most of the country for grilling, but here we can still take advantage of it!

Smoked Salmon
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 pound skin-on center cut wild salmon fillet
2 slices of lemon
4 springs of fresh thyme
1 cedar plank
Submerge cedar plank in water for at least 1 hour.

Make brine by mixing brown sugar, salt, pepper and 2 cups of water.

Stir until sugar and salt dissolve.
Allow salmon to marinate for 2 hours or overnight. Use something to weigh down the salmon and keep it submerged. I used a fork and it worked.
Make your smoker with wood chips and an aluminum pan.
Soak wood chips for 1 hour.
Drain and place into your aluminum pan. Cover with foil.
Poke holes in the bottom and top.
For a gas grill, turn on 1 side of the grill to high heat. Place smoker box on the heated side and allow it to begin smoking (this will take about 30 minutes). Turn heat all the way down to low and wait for grill to reach 250 degrees.
Drain salmon and pat it dry. Allow it to sit out in room temperature for 30 minutes.

You can't tell, but it is smoking...it smells so good!
Place salmon on your cedar plank. Layer with the thyme and lemon slices.
Place the cedar plank on the side of the grill that is not on. Allow it to cook in the smoker for 20 minutes then turn the grill off and let it stay in for 10 more minutes.
Remove and serve hot or at room temperature. 
My smoker was still going to I used it to smoke some swiss cheese I had! It was yum! I want to do mozzarella next.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Appetizer Ideas

When I went home to Texas I helped my mom cater for several parties surrounding a wedding. We made some great food! Here are some great ideas for your next party.

Salad Shooters
Take a small glass votive and spoon 1-2 Tbsp of ranch dressing of your own homemade creamy dressing into the bottom. Insert speared veggies of your choice. We used cucumber, bell pepper, yellow squash and a piece of purple cabbage. Do not overcrowd these vegetables.

Pancetta Gougeres
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup water
8 Tbsp butter
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup flour
4 eggs
2 cups grated Gruyere cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup pancetta, sauteed and finely chopped
1/4 cup chives, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 400. In saucepan, heat wine water, butter, sugar and salt until butter is completely melted. Remove from heat and add cup of flour, stirring vigorously until flour is fully incorporated and dough pulls away from the pan. Transfer the dough into a stand mixer, beat on medium speed for 60 seconds to cool dough. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add cheeses, pancetta and chives. Place rounded Tablespoons of dough onto parchment lined baking sheets (I used a Tbsp cookie dough scoop). Bake for 10 minutes then reduce heat to 325 and bake for an additional 15 minutes until the gougeres are golden brown and puffy.

Italian Slider Kabobs

Loaf of Focassia Bread
Provolone cheese slices
fresh basil leaves
cherry tomatoes, halved
wooden skewers
Make this meatball recipe. Use a small round cookie cutter to cut out small bottoms and tops from a loaf of focaccia bread. Use the same cookie cutter to cut out the slices of provolone cheese. Skewer the bottom, followed by the meatball, Provolone cheese, fresh basil leaf, top of bun and then topped with half a cherry tomato.

Mini Chicken and Waffles

Frozen mini waffles
Chick-fil-a nuggets
1 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup peach preserves
2 tsp horseradish
1/2 pepper
1/4 tsp salt
Stir together maple syrup, horseradish, peach preserves, salt and pepper. Heat for 30 seconds in the microwave stir again until smooth. Bake waffles on 375 until golden and toasted. Top with Chick-fil-a nuggets. Drizzle with syrup just before serving.

Here are some photos from the incredible wedding we were able to attend after cooking all week! It was one of the most beautiful weddings I have ever experienced, if only the pictures I took did it justice.

 With my seester!
 These balloons were unreal!

 An artist painted this portrait of the couple all evening.
 With our Momma.
 The Bride in her second dress.