Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wednesday Fun #115 - Reflections on 2009

I don't know about you, but I've tried a few new things in 2009, made a few new things, and learned a few new things. For example, I canned my first pickles! We opened them about a week ago when the in-laws were here since my MIL had given me the recipe. I'd already realized I needed to pack the pickles in a LOT tighter, but upon opening I learned the importance of canning the pickles as soon as possible after picking so they stay crisp... and also that when my MIL's canning recipes call for vinegar, they mean apple cider vinegar, not white.

So, how about you? Any noteworthy new foods tried? New recipes attempted (successful or not)? New techniques learned? Let us know about some food-related thing you learned/tried in 2009!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wednesday Fun #114 - Christmas Traditions

Thanksgiving's got its (admittedly stereotypical) traditional foods what with your turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes (possibly with marshmallows), cranberry sauce (possibly still with its rings from the can), & pumpkin pie.

Christmas has got...what? Christmas cookies? Peppermint sticks? Eggnog? All good and tasty, but not a lot of substance there. (Well, other than all the "substance" that ends up on my hips after a few rounds of Christmas cookies!) I'm wondering if you and your family have any traditional Christmas DINNER-type foods. Do you always have ham? Turkey (again)? Standing rib roast? Pierogies? The yearly lobster dinner? Some ethnically-traditional dish passed down for generations from one side of the family or another?

What's YOUR traditional Christmas (or Christmas Eve) Major Meal food?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wednesday Fun #113 - C is for Cookie!

Life's been busy 'round here with holiday prep, including some cookie baking. So far we've made a variation of Syl's Pretzels and Hugs with caramel kisses as well as some sugar and molasses cut-out cookies. Not that we actually made the dough for the cut-out cookies (yay, store-bought buckets o' dough!), because that's NOT the fun part of those. The fun parts are rolling, cookie cutters, and sprinkles!

So, how about you? Have you made/do you plan on making any cookies this holiday season? What kinds? Anything especially drool-worthy that, gosh, you should probably share with the rest of us Recipeeples? :)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wednesday Fun 112- Boca Chica review

Well kiddies, Shonuff just recently turned 35 and when Pusher asked where I wanted to have the birthday dinner I picked Boca Chica. This is Mexican food without messing around. Family recipes carefully made and full of flavor. Presented in a more of a fine dining style than most Mexican food you can get. They give you soup or a salad with most meals and the decor while still being Mexican themed is like you might find at a nice resort.

What about the food makes me love Boca Chica? Well, let me explain how I normally get a sense of a Mexican restaurant. I've got it down to sort of a science (I've gone to a lot of Mexican places). There are three things I check for... Tamales, Chile Rellenos, and Mole sauce. Now if a place has all three of these dishes it's a good sign... but there are times when some or all are bad. If two out of three are good to great then the place is good just a bit limited. So I'm betting you know how Boca Chica did.

Tamales... these appear to be a simple thing but aren't. If you don't like corn meal then of course you aren't going to like them but the proper balance between the corn meal and pork is very tricky. Boca Chica nails the balance and actually presents the tamale in the husk of corn... a presentation I've noticed is done most places you get a great tamale. Boca Chica Tamales = excellent.

Chile Rellenos also sound kind of simple, stuff pepper batter and fry. Well this is a dish I love but is often done poorly. Not a problem at Boca Chica, you taste the pepper, you taste the filling and they all meld together to make the wonderful flavors this dish can create. Another win for Boca Chica.

Then there is Mole sauce. This like the previous two dishes is fairly labor intensive. The sauce at it's best is cooked for hours so the flavors can meld. Boca Chica's is done right and it shows, it's easily in the top 5 I've ever had. Their sauce is strong on the cocoa flavor with that bitterness showing through even while it is balanced nicely by the rich roasted pepper flavors.

I think I might have to go back soon...

Friday, December 4, 2009

Cream Cheese Chutney Dip

I am ashamed to even try to call this a recipe, but it's good and fits the theme.

4-8 oz of cream cheese on a plate (spread it around if you want it to look pretty)
spoon Major Grey Mango Chutney on top (use less if you don't want it too sweet)

Spread this on crackers. I find water crackers and Wheat Thins work well. Delicious!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

December's Theme - Party Food

Our normally scheduled Wednesday Fun will be usurped today by the monthly theme update. Hope y'all don't mind, but I've still got unpacking & laundry to do from our Thanksgiving trip!

(I will put up a poll, too, but actually, I'll be scheduling to leave it up for two weeks so I hopefully get a large number (well, relatively speaking, that is!) of you to weigh in on it.) (ShoNuff, feel free to do a poll with your review anyway next week, if you'd like!)

Anyway, December's theme is Party Food! Hooray! Since there are so many get-togethers, parties, and, of course, New Year's Eve coming up, let's hear your recipes for dips, appetizers, finger food, cute little desserts, etc.

Here's a few we've got so far:**
  • Diplowhat shared some Taco Salad Dip that is making me hungry.
  • Or you could go with her Dead Sister Dip. (But maybe call it something festive!*grin*)
  • Also in a TexMex-y vein, we've got Nectarine's Chicken Enchilada Ring.
  • I really love Tomato Bruschetta, even if it's way better in summer.
  • Syl's Cucumber Sandwiches make me think of summer, too, but that never stops me from eating them!
  • The Sexy Blonde posted a Roasted Bell Pepper Antipasto that I think sounds more "pro-" than "anti-!" (Sorry, I couldn't help myself.)
  • Nectarine shared some Caramel Dips for Apples. Nice if you want something in addition to or instead of a cheese/creamy sort of dip.
  • Apple Berry Salsa is also from Nectarine - again, also a nice fruity option.
  • A more exotic option than (or addition to) a veggie tray could be Diplowhat's Miso & Cucumber.
  • Pusher's Peppered Tuna Skewers might go great next it, too!
  • And if you're looking for another seafood option, The Sexy Blonde shared a recipe out of the South Beach Diet cookbook for a Salmon Ball.
  • Also along healthier lines, this time from Cooking Light, she also posted Proscuitto-Wrapped Figs Stuffed with Bleu Cheese.
  • Pusher's Soft Pretzels. You might think "Oktoberfest" thinking about pretzels, but color your salt green & red with food coloring & you've got an officially holiday-looking snack!
  • No one can guess what's in the sauce for Nectarine's Crazy Meatballs, but it doesn't stop them from coming back for more!
  • If you want to be fancy, and are willing to stand in front of a pan of oil for a while during your party, you could make these Crisp-Fried Vegetables that are really good, if not at all make-ahead-able.
  • And how can you not end with some classic (and colorable) Cream Cheese Mints from Pusher?

** As always, if I've missed a recipe you think should be on this list, let me know & I'll add it. I only looked through the Appetizers/Cocktail food label, so there could very well be other good recipes under Snacks or Desserts or whatever. Thanks!