Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Delicious New Dip

I recently found a wonderful blog with many different recipes. As I looked over her recipes, my eyes lit up ....a new dip that hadn't made the rounds. The dip was suppose to taste like one of my favorite foods - jalapeno poppers filled with cream cheese. Could it be...could it actually taste like poppers? I quickly gathered all the ingredients, followed her directions and brought it with me as I went to a friend's home. Immediately I was told how delicious it was and had requests for the recipe. I wrote to Robin at and asked her permission to reprint her recipe on my blog. She graciously responded that I could. She wanted me to let you know that her inspiration was a recipe from Please head on over to Robin's blog and see the rest of her recipes as well as reading what she does with her family's excess Halloween candy. Just a warning --- do not have anything in your mouth when you read her blog abobut the candy or you'll end up losing it.

JalapeƱo Popper Dip
2- 8 ounce packages cream cheese, room temp
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1- 4 ounce can chopped green chilies
1- 4 ounce can sliced jalapeƱos- double if you like heat (I used 1/2 of one can and it was perfect for me)

1 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 stick butter, melted
In a food processor add the first 6 ingredients and process until smooth. You do not need to drain either can of peppers. Spread the dip into a greased 2 quart casserole. In a bowl mix bread crumbs and the other 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese. Pour melted butter over top crumb mixture and mix well. Sprinkle crumb mixture evenly over the dip and bake in a 375° oven for about 20 minutes. You want the top to get browned and the dip to be heated through and bubble gently on the edges. Do not over heat this dish or the mayonnaise with separate and you will have a grease puddle in your dip. Serve with Buttery crackers or a sliced French baguette. Serves 8-10.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

I have always loved things that had "Buffalo chicken" in it yet at the same time, I dislike all the heat that some of these items have. Having had a Buffalo Chicken Panini recently and found it absolutely delicious, I thought that I would try my own. I don't have a Panini maker (and if anyone would like to send me one, I would graciously accept it) so I made it in a similar style as a grilled cheese sandwich. First I buttered the outside of a nice hearty white bread. On the inside I spread blue cheese salad dressing and put some hot sauce on top of it. Put a little more than what you think. On top of that dressing, I put a few slices of Havarti cheese. Sliced chicken from the deli followed and then again the Havarti and finally the other slice of bread with blue cheese salad dressing with the hot sauce. I cooked these in an electric skillet with a weight on top. After a few minutes, I flipped them to the other side. Serving these hot, we had a great meal on a Sunday afternoon.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Tale of a Christening Gown

Towards the end of my time up north, our son's girlfriend Haley asked if would make and smock a christening gown for her sister's baby who was due the end of October. That's an opportunity that any smocker would love to have. I was in a dilemma - the timing wasn't good for me. I was in the process of going back to Virginia, less than a month later our daughter Lisa was getting married and then 2 days after that I was leaving for Atlanta for the smocking convention. After spending some time talking with Haley and thinking about what I could do that would alleviate any stress on me, I proposed a solution. My friend and fellow smocker/sewer Judy from Alabama would sew the gown for me and I would smock it. Haley jumped on it and thought it was a great solution - after all I would STILL be smocking it and it would STILL be handmade and become an heirloom. Judy and I conferred about the design, a basic square yoke dress, and the size, able to fit a newborn. It would be made out of a drapeable silk with insertion laces and entredeux. There would be smocking on the short sleeves and mother of pearl buttons on the back. We ordered the fabric from Jan at in Texas who was such an immense help with her suggestions for fabric (which we purchased from her) as well as the laces. She shipped it off to Judy and then Judy began sewing. As she was sewing, I was helping to finish up last minute details for the wedding. It was finished and mailed to me just before the wedding. I was able to bring it with me to show Haley and her parents, although still unsmocked at this point. When I returned from Atlanta, the smocking began. The silk was ivory in color and I smocked in tone on tone with a goldish color for accent, very rich looking and gender neutral. Finished it up, mailed it to parents and received the day before she went into labor. Mother, grandmother and aunt were ecstatic and loved it. Can't wait to see pictures of the still unborn baby in the gown. News flash----baby boy born Nov. 2nd at almost 10 pounds!!

Tapas Anyone?

Always looking to expand my culinary skills and new dishes into our household, I thought I would try making a tapa. Darrell and I went to a tapas bar in Frederick, Maryland a year ago (I think it was Isabella's) and we tried a few tapas. One in particular was outstanding. I have been on a hunt for that recipe ever since. Well I found one that came close to it - found it in a cookbook at TJMaxx for just $2.99. I grabbed my prized possession and headed home with it. The recipe I am referring to is an Asparagus with Aioli Sauce.

First you need to make the aioli sauce. I did mine in our blender but you could use an electric beater as well.

1 egg yolk,
2 garlic cloves (less if you don't like garlic because it is very garlicky)
1 tbs lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Blend well. Add in, drop by drop, 5 tablespoons of olive oil while you are blending or beating. Once it starts to thicken you can add in a steady stream. Then add in 5 tablespoon corn oil the same way. The sauce should be thick and smooth. If it is too thick for dipping, you can add in 1 tbs of water so that it forms the consistency of sauce - your call

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put 1 tbs of olive oil on cooking sheet (I put down aluminum foil first - easier clean-up). Snap end of asparagus spears - don't use too thin stalks, they won't hold up. Don't use too thick ones, too tough. Now, you can wrap the spear with half a slice of proscuitto (I didn't). Put the spears in the pan and cook at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.

My variation was to bread the spears first. Don't use regular breadcrumbs. See if you can find Panko breadcrumbs, they are not as fine. I use the egg white, beat it up, rolled the spear in it, dipped in crumbs and then repeat it. Then I put the spears on the sheet to bake.

My spears were thin so I couldn't so what I wanted which was to put the sauce in a wine glass and then have the cooked spears sticking out. What I ended up doing was to lay the spears on a plate and then drizzle the sauce over.

These were gone in about 5 minutes. An easy to make yet delicious and different appetizer. Stay tuned while I make more tapas in the coming weeks.