Friday, February 15, 2013

Wolfgang Puck's Spago House Dressing

An easy salad of spring greens, grape tomatoes, thinly sliced zucchini and shaved cheese comes to life with the sophisticated flavor of a dressing from Wolfgang Puck.
Put it together in a few minutes!
Wolfgang Puck's Spago House Dressing
From the kitchen of Wolfgang Puck

PRINT RECIPE
Servings:6
Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon sherry wine vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 small shallot, minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, minced
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup walnut oil*
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

Directions

In a medium bowl, whisk together the balsamic and sherry or red wine vinegars, the Dijon mustard, minced shallot and minced thyme. Slowly whisk in the oils and when emulsified, season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate in a covered container. It will keep for three weeks to four weeks. When ready to use, whisk again.

*Recipe Note:  My husband has a dislike of walnuts so I did not use the walnut oil but rather used all olive oil.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Sour Cream Cherry Scones

My Valentine will begin his day with a breakfast treat.
This not-too-sweet scone is filled with dried cherries, sprinkled with chopped almonds then drizzled with a confectioner's glaze.
Sour Cream Cherry Scones
source: Land O Lakes

yields 16 scones @210 calories each

Topping
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1 tablespoon sugar

Scones
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Land O Lakes® Butter, softened
3/4 cup sour cream
1 Land O Lakes® All-Natural Egg
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2/3 cup dried cherries**

Heat oven to 375°F. Combine all topping ingredients in small bowl; mix well. Set aside.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in large bowl; cut in butter with pastry blender or fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Combine sour cream, egg and almond extract in small bowl until smooth. Stir into flour mixture just until moistened. Stir in cherries.

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; knead 8 to 10 times until smooth, adding small amount of flour, if necessary.

Divide dough in half. Pat each half into a 7-inch circle. Place 2 inches apart onto large ungreased baking sheet. Sprinkle topping evenly over dough. Score each half into 8 wedges; do not separate. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until scones are lightly browned. Cool 15 minutes; separate scones. Store leftover scones in airtight container at room temperature.

*Substitute 2/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries.

NOTE: The glaze was made using 1 cup confectioner's sugar, 1/8 tsp. almond extract and enough cream or milk stirred in for desired consistency to drizzle onto cooled scones.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Mustache Bash Birthday Party w Lots of How-To's

My beloved had a birthday in January.
Wanting to celebrate, get together with family and a few friends and looking for a time of laughter and fun, I decided to throw a party.
A party with a Mustache theme.

Even with a week of fighting a cold and sinus infection with nasty headache plus a snow storm the morning of the party, we were all able to gather for a good time.

After all the planning and preparation, I had a small twang of worry that the evening might be considered silly and dumb.
But, as you can see in the photos, everyone got into it and it was a blast!
John and baby Chloe ~ who was a tad uncertain of her PopPop's fake whiskers.
~the invitation~
As guests arrived, they were able to choose and apply a mustache from the "Grooming Station" in the foyer. I followed a Martha Stewart video to make the various mustaches from fake fur and used fake eyelash adhesive to attach them directly above the upper lip.
In the living room, a photo booth was set up to capture those dashing faces.
I used thumbtacks to drape a sheet for the background and supplied a large white frame and smaller gold frame as well as props on-a-stick (link to patterns).
The Photo Booth Sign is from  Pinterest.
I had my camera on a tripod that made picture-taking a little easier.
 Jill (far right) totally surprised us by coming down Thursday night from New York with her youngest daughter, Shaela, which made us all very happy!
John with Jamie and Jill
Following patterns found here, I made photo props for the photo booth.
 My adorable niece and nephew-in-law found their favorite props.
Dear cousins Karen and John, Toni and her mom, my sister totally got into the silliness of the party.
 Carol, me and Karen.
Carol couldn't stop giggling all evening sporting her well groomed stashe.
 Jamie and Jill
The little ones played mostly upstairs but they just couldn't resist joining in while donning their penciled-on staches.
This sweet couple are our next-door neighbors for the past 28 years.
 More longtime friends and John's brother (in red flannel)
There were a couple others, but I didn't have permission to share photos of them wearing their mustaches ;)
I made a guessing game of famous mustache-sporting celebrities and included our mustache-wearing guests in the game as well.  One (unmentioned) guest didn't even recognize his own mustache ;)
~*~
The game that I thought would get the least participation was actually the one that almost everyone played.  
How about some wiggling, twisting, jumping and shaking with a box of ping pong balls on your rump?!?
Junk in the Trunk
(instructional video) was very exciting... and the blur you see in the photos...
that's what it took to get those little ping pong balls out and win the game
(even though I shaved 1/4" off the opening of the box).
We played with groups of four and there was some real competition happening when I mentioned prizes! 


Happy Birthday chorus to Our Guy!
 The party picks were inspired by this talented lady.  I found the derby graphic from Graphics Fairy. 
I made a Pin-the-Mustache-on-JOHN game by editing a photo in Photoshop and cutting paper mustaches and applying a dab of Scotch double sided adhesive roller. To make it large enough, I printed the top half and then the bottom half and taped them together onto black card stock.
We ran out of time at the party for this but the kids thought it was great fun and I think the adults would had as well. 
I made a bunting using this template, but instead of gluing, I sewed it with right sides together and bias tape to attach them into two lengths. 
A matching tiny bunting following a tutorial from Intimate Weddings decorated John's cake

Party Menu
~Appetizers~
Baked Crab and Artichoke Dip ~
Cheese Tray ~  Baked Crab and Artichoke Dip in Bread Bowl ~ Pepper Jam Spread ~  Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Zucchini Pie ~ Cheese & Crackers ~ crudités of cherry tomatoes, celery sticks, cucumber slices, carrots, grapes ~ "Goat-tea" sandwiches ~  Pineapple cheese ball

~Entrees~
Baked Ham w pineapple, and cherries ~ Pineapple Glaze ~ Three Bean Salad ~ Cocktail Meatballs ~ "Stubble" Sausage Bites (pigs in blanket) w/ poppy seeds and mustard's for dipping ~ Deviled Eggs

~Desserts~
Yellow Birthday Cake w Creamy Chocolate Frosting decorated with tiny bunting ~ Lemon Tartlets ~ Tassies Cheesecake Shooters ~ Chocolate Covered Pretzel "Cigars" ~ Brownies w Peanut Butter Frosting

~*~
Planning on hosting your own
~MUSTACHE BASH~
party?  Feel free to use these printable's I made for mine ~ just click on image and save to your computer then print.  I printed on computer paper and attached to black poster board with a glue stick.







(many graphics from the Graphics Fairy)

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