Saturday, October 14, 2006

Shower Food

There are some parties you go to or have that leave you feeling full up spiritually and emotionally. Such was the case over the last two baby showers we had for my sister who is luckily expecting twins after trying to have children for a couple of years. The first shower we had for my sister was at my house attended by her joyful and jubiulant girlfriends. As I write this the flowers that I bought two weeks ago for her shower are still alive and kicking! I owe the longevity of this beautiful bouquet to the enthusiastic energy her girlfriends brought into my home.

Today I came home from my aunt's home where they hosted another beautiful "babies" shower for my sister. I feel blessed to have such happy generous women in my life.

Last week I made a couple of appies that I must write down simply to remember. I made two types of pizzas and a nice marinated, almond stuffed olive appetizer that was really good. So many women brought lots of gorgeous food, but I don't have their recipes.

Shrimp/Alfredo Pizzas: You'll need 1 bag of 8 white pizza shells, you will use four for this pizza, 1 package of premade Alfredo sauce, one bag of already cooked shrimp, fresh Parmesan cheese, and any other cheese you would like to add - I used a four cheese combo. So easy and simple. Lay the pizza shells out on a pan to crisp up in a 300 degree oven. Take the pizzas out when they are just slightly crisp. Top with a small amount of sauce - I made the mistake of putting too much sauce on and it overflowed off the pizza shell edges. Top with shrimp, and cheese. Toast until melted. Cool before cutting into four pieces. Very delicious.

Carmelized Onion/Pear Gorgonzola Pizzas: Chop up one or two onions and peel and chop up one pear. Put the onions and the pear into a pan over medium heat and add 1/4 cup of butter. Let the onions and pear get nice and soft. Then add 2 tbsp. of sugar and stir. Let it continue warming up in the pan so the sugar forms a carmel syrup on onions and pears. Then top each pizza shell with equal amounts of pear/onion mixture (make sure you lightly toast each pizza shell before you top with ingredients). Crumble 2 tbsp. of gorgonzola over each pizza and top with a nice "soft" cheese such as mozzarella, asiago, or havarti. You could also add some bacon to this! Very delicious.

Marinated Stuffed Olives: I bought some nice meaty green olives - I don't remember which ones! Then I bought a small bag of almonds and toasted them in a 200 degree oven for 20 minutes. Make sure they don't burn. The marinade I made is from a really great cookbook called Perfect Party Food by Diane Phillips. Here is the marinade: 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil, 1/3 cup of white balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar, 2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary, or 1 tsp. dried oregano, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. of ground black, pepper, 1 clove of garlic, minced, one 6 ounce jar large pimento stuffed green olives, drained, 1/4 cup snipped fresh chives. Stuff the olives with the toasted almonds and marinade in a bowl for several hours, or over-night. My hubby really loved these olives. In Diane Phillips book, she made herb tortellini skewers with these olives. Cook the tortellini until al dente and skewer with olives and lay in marinade over night for best results. Simply divine!

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Ultimate Pumpkin Soup

As I write this post I am all alone enjoying my bowl of pumpkin soup. It's perfectly pulpy, loaded with delicious vegetables and though it is hard for me to articulate in culinary terms, my soup also meets the three layer of taste criteria. Here is what I did today.

Saute one whole chopped onion, 1 chopped red pepper, and 1 cup of sliced carrots in a couple of tablespoons of butter until at least the onion and red pepper are soft (the carrots will finish cooking in the broth). Then add four cans of veggie or chicken broth and 1 cup of milk. Then add one can of unsweetened pumpkin, and 1/4 cup of peanut butter. The peanut butter is what makes this pumpkin soup my favorite. It really adds to the flavor. Add a 1/2 tsp. each of cumin, cinnamon, thyme, and nutmeg. *****Then add 1/4 cup of fresh sage. I couldn't believe how often I thought I was biting into a little piece of meat with sage in this soup. The texture was dense and of course the flavor was perfect. Then, I added a tsp. of Splenda - or you can add a tsp. of sugar - it will always bring the flavor up. Then add a little salt and pepper to taste. Lovely and pulpy - simply delicious.