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Hi friends,

I have decided to move this blog to a new blog at Pretty Plate .

It will hold some of the old posts and a bunch of new ones going forward!

Hope you enjoy!

: )

Jen

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Orzo Salad

Here’s one that I developed in college. This was a cry for something fresh and healthy… after eating cheese-steaks and mozzarella fries at 1:00 am for the umpteenth night in a row. Plus, if I made it in college you know it has to (a) be pretty inexpensive and (b) pretty easy. I suggest you try it. It remains a hit in and out of college dorms.

🙂

1 and 1.5 cups of orzo cooked and cooled

1/2 red onion chopped in a small dice

1 seedless cucumber

1 large red bell pepper

1 cup of feta cheese

three count of extra-virgin olive oil

3-4 teaspoons of red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

mix together, chill in fridge

P.S. I love the taste of vinegar, and are a little very heavy-handed with it. I suggest adding a little, tasting, then adding a little more if needed. That way you aren’t burning off your taste buds by adding too much.

P.P.S. Try pairing this with a fresh piece of fish or chicken kabob; or eat the whole bowl by yourself for lunch.

As promised, here are a few of the pictures from the Mother’s Day Tea Party. I must say we had a great time!

The FOOD:

This was probably the easiest party I have ever thrown. I put down my pride, and decided to purchase some pre-made items rather than cook everything. Although, there wasn’t even that much to cook in the first place. Since the fare at a tea party is usually light and with minimal ingredients, I definitely recommend using a specialty store to purchase the food and not your typical grocery store.

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Menu

shrimp cocktail

fried goat cheese 

tea sandwiches

scones

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Tea Sandwiches

Chicken Salad- Simply add chicken salad to white bread. I actually cheated and used store-bought chicken salad. If you are going to take this route, please make sure it is a good quality chicken salad.

Cucumber Veg- Spread a good layer of vegetable cream cheese on two sides of rye bread. Add on thinly sliced cucumber.

Cucumber with Herb Cheese- Chop up some fresh mint and add to store-bought regular cream cheese. Spread a thin layer of the herb cheese on one side of pumpernickel bread. Add soft butter to the other side of the bread. Layer on thinly sliced cucumbers. This was the overall favorite of the day.

Tips: Freeze the bread before you assemble the sandwiches. Once assembled cut off all crust. Slice into four triangular bite size pieces.

Fried Goat Cheese

Slice goat cheese about 1/2 inch thick. Coat in flour, egg, and panko bread crumbs… much like you would make  a chicken cutlet. Once the goat cheese pieces are all coated, place on a plate and in the fridge for up to an hour. Right before serving heat olive oil in a large sauté pan. Once the oil is hot, fry the goat cheese- about 2 minutes on each side. Place on top of a salad of fancy greens dressed with a simple vinaigrette. For this salad I whisked together extra-virgin olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and salt to taste.

The details.

The main focus of the table was the three tired cake stand which held most of the food. I also use this (once clean) as a jewelery stand. I had purchased vintage plates and vintage tea cups from a local consignment store. This kept cost down and style up! A spare pink sheet was a perfect fit for a table-cloth. I tied the points of the sheet into big knots which made a cleaner look. Table runner, votive holders, and turquoise vases were all things I had around the house. I also used small votive holders to hold the cocktail sauce and lemons for the shrimp.

The tea cups were a gift for each guest. I filled them with leftover paper grass from Easter and a variety of teas. 

Two old milk bottles were used to hold water and iced tea. Just to go a step further, I filled heart-shaped ice cube trays (on sale after Valentine’s day) with raspberries. This brought the iced tea to a whole new level! 

Here’s a quick and easy one that is good for you too!

Ideal for a little snack or breakfast!

Here’s what I do:

A cup of yogurt – you know, one of those personal yogurt cups. I like Stonyfield low-fat french vanilla

Add some fresh strawberries or bananas

A scoop of granola

A drizzle of honey

This way you’re getting more texture, more flavor, and more nutrients than eating plain yogurt.

For an even healthier version, substitute the granola with Kashi Go Lean Crunch cereal.

There are so many wonderful women in my life who have done so much for me and my family over the years. This year I figured I would do a little something more than just getting the usual last-minute gift. I have decided (inspired by the Royal Wedding of course) to have a ‘Low Tea’. There is actually a lot of etiquette that goes into these tea parties which you can find here. I will, obviously, be focusing on the food.

So I am really excited about the menu. This is a great opportunity to cook some new, simple recipes that I don’t otherwise serve at a dinner party. It is also a great opportunity to make everything very girly. 

Mom if you are reading this stop here. I want you to be surprised! 🙂

Menu 

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lemonade

ice tea

assortment of hot tea

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gazpacho

shrimp cocktail

baked goat cheese

fresh sliced cucumber on rye with herb butter

chicken and egg-salad on white (crusts off cut into little bite size sandwiches)

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some sort of scone

lemon poppy-seed cake

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I am searching local thrift and consignment stores for unique tea cups. I will probably purchase a different cup for each guest, and fill it with a little treats; teabags, handmade soaps, and something a little glittery (still not sure).

For the table I will be using a three-tiered silver cake stand from HomeGoods, vintage plates from the thrift store, a funky table-cloth, cloth napkins in a coordinating color, and my favorite; mason jars for cold drinks and an old glass milk bottle to hold the lemonade.

As you can tell, I am really excited about this party! I will post pictures asap!

These lovely pictures and tons of great event ideas can be found at http://www.thesweetestoccasion.com

Barbecue days are finally here,

and I would like to introduce you to

Skewered Chips

A fun twist for a summer BBQ. 

You’ll need:

Skewers

potatoes (one Idaho per person)

extra-virgin olive oil

Salt

Soak skewers in water for about 30 minutes to prevent them from browning in the oven.

Thinly slice potatoes, about a centimeter thick. Place potatoes on paper towel to soak up any moisture. Skewer potatoes. Drizzle heavily with oil and sprinkle with salt.

Bake in the oven at 450F until the potatoes are brown and crispy. About 45 minutes.

Sprinkle again with salt and serve.

You might want to try adding chipotle ketchup, cheese sauce, or vinegar to these gems.

Eggplant Meatballs.

The perfect dish for Meatless Monday and Tuesday’s lunch.

1 large eggplant

1 cup or so of store-bought seasoned breadcrumbs

1 egg

1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese

a little milk

1 small garlic clove, grated

small bunch of fresh parsley

extra-virgin olive oil

S&P

Slice eggplant in half long-ways. Bake at 400F until inside of eggplant is soft. Once cooled, scrape out ‘guts’ of the eggplant into a mixing bowl. Add breadcrumbs, egg, cheese, milk, garlic, parsley and salt and pepper to taste until you have reached your desired texture. Roll into meatballs. Place on baking sheet and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil. Bake at 350F until brown, about 30 minutes.

Add pasta with favorite marinara sauce for dinner, and add to a sub-roll with provolone for Tuesday’s lunch.