Valentine’s Day Wrap Up

Friday we had some friends over for dinner and I made Savory Palmiers, Boeuf Bourguignon, and Molten Chocolate Cakes.

Palmiers look like this:

Image: Real Simple

They are usually made with sugar and served as a dessert but Ina Garten has a recipe for them in Back to Basics that is a perfect appetizer. They are made with pesto, sun-dried tomatoes (which I normally hate), goat cheese and toasted pine nuts. Yum.

For dinner I went with the old standby boeuf bourguignon because it tastes better the next day. I used a few hours of my snow day on Thursday to prepare it and just reheated it over a low flame.

Dessert was so good and deceptively easy. I got this recipe off of Tasty Kitchen, a website where you can swap recipes.

Image: Tasty Kitchen

The recipe says to cook them for 13-14 minutes but I might do 12-13 next time because you want the center to be perfectly melted and I felt like some of mine were too cooked in the middle. Serve them with whipped cream or ice cream and get ready to swoon.

On Saturday Matt and I had dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Fiore, in Floral Park. It’s sort of contemporary Italian and we’re never disappointed. In addition to a great variety of specials every night they always carry their two house specialties, roasted duck with strawberries and pork osso buco. Wow. I don’t even open the menu anymore, I just order one of those every time we go.

Image: fiorerestaurant.com

When Valentine’s Day rolled around, Matt opened a can of romance (pun intended, as you’ll see) and gave me this:

It’s a pretty deluxe garbage can and I couldn’t be happier. I’m a little embarassed to admit that it’s exactly what I wanted.

We also went to an engagement party for Brian and Dana yesterday.

Congratulations!

That’s my new dress from the clearance rack at the Gap. Lord knows I love a sale.

That’s one good-looking science department, right?

Glad that Matt got the memo about wearing a striped shirt.

What did you do for Valentine’s Day? Are you a lover or a hater?

Hot Clam Dip

Me + Bread Bowl + Soup or Dip = Happy

This dip is CRAZY easy and goes really quickly at a party. The only catch is that it takes three hours to bake, so while the prep takes about five minutes, you need plenty of time to cook it.

Your Ingredients:

1 round loaf (sourdough, Italian, pumpernickel, whatever you like!)

1 extra loaf (round or long), cut up for dipping

2 8oz. cream cheese blocks, softened

2 tablespoons onion powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

2 tablespoons beer

2 teaspoonsWorcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (Tabasco)

3 cans chopped clams in juice, reserve 1/3 cup liquid

2 teaspoons lemon juice

Hey there, good looking. If you don’t have a handsome stand mixer that’s ok. You can use a hand mixer just as easily.

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Put the cream cheese in a heat safe bowl and microwave for 30-45 seconds. You want the cream cheese to be soft but not melted. It helps to leave it out of the fridge for several hours.

An action shot! Mix the cream cheese with the whisk attachment and then … are you ready? Add all the other ingredients. No chopping, no peeling, no nothing. Just don’t forget to save 1/3 cup of the clam juice (watch out, it smells HEINOUS) because that goes in there too. Mix for another minute or so until all the ingredients are combined.

Cut around the top of the bread and take off the little bread hat. Remove the innards of the bread, taking out as much as you can while making sure that the sides and bottom are stable and won’t leak. Pour the dip into the bread bowl; don’t worry if it seems a little watery, it will thicken after it cooks.

Create a cross with two large pieces of aluminum foil and wrap the bread up tight. Put it on a baking sheet and bake for 3 hours at 275 degrees.

While it cooks break up the other loaf into pieces for dipping.¬†When it’s done, let it cool for about 15 minutes before removing the foil. Take off the little bread hat and cut that up too.

I apologize for not having cooked dip pictures but I had some very hungry guests.

Printable Version

A Series of Bad Decisions

As prophesied in yesterday’s post, I made several bad decisions last night and am feeling the effects today.

Bad Decision #1 – eating an English muffin and pop tart and nothing else … all day

Bad Decision #2 – forgetting that prior to the party, all I ate was an English muffin and pop tart

Bad Decision #3 – being really good at making Ina Garten’s pomegranete cosmopolitan, which I nicknamed the “thirty-ini” in honor of Matt’s birthday

I apologize to our guests for my sudden disappearance around midnight. I went to bed. The good news is that before my meltdown I had fun!