Monday, December 13, 2010

Fun Weekend for Cooking

Photo by Bryn Wallace
I had a really fun weekend because I got to cook a lot and that makes me happy.  Lately I've been so busy, that I haven't got a chance to spend as much time in the kitchen as I would like.  

Friday afternoon started off right with my work holiday party at Taberna del Alabardero.  All of the food was delicious and we loved the Sangria.  

Later, we headed home to work on some cocktail recipes.  I'm going to be working with Shenandoah Growers on our next episode and I have to perfect a Thin-Mintini for my Sweet Endings episode in January.  So, I tried muddling fresh mint in the bottom of the glass and then mixing it with 360 Chocolate Vodka and Bailey's, but the flavor is just not minty enough.  I'm going to try infusing the vodka with the mint for a few days and see if that works out better.  

Also, I was pleasantly surprised with some new goodies from Le Creuset to use in our 3rd season of Capital Cooking.  The colors will look so beautiful on the show.

Saturday I put my new Le Creuset yellow pot to good use and started braising beef short ribs.  The most amazing aroma filled our condo.  I served the short ribs with a parsnip puree.  I also made Mixed Greens with Pears, Gouda Caramelized Walnuts and Pear Balsamic Vinaigrette.
Caramelized Walnuts:
½ cup Walnuts
Blackening Seasoning (Paul Prudhomme)

Toast walnuts under broiler, watching carefully so as not to burn them.  Meanwhile, heat a nonstick pan over medium heat.  Add enough honey to coat the bottom.  Just as the color starts to darken, add the toasted walnuts and shake to coat.  Add the Blackening Seasoning and toss to coat.  Put the mixture on a parchment paper lined baking sheet to cool and harden, separating the nuts as much as possible.

Pear Balsamic Vinaigrette

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/4 cup walnut oil (or other nut oil)
Freshly ground pepper (to taste)

In a medium bowl, whisk together all ingredients except walnut oil. Then slowly drizzle walnut oil while whisking until fully incorporated. Serve on a salad or refrigerate up to a week. This is a perfect dressing to add to mixed greens with fruit and nuts.

10 ounce package of mixed greens
2 pears, diced and peeled
4-5 ounces of Gouda cheese diced.
Toss ingredients together in a large bowl.  Add caramelized walnuts.  Drizzle dressing over the salad and serve.

Then on Sunday, I invited over some of the Capital Cooking team for a Christmas dinner and made my favorite Chicken Tetrazzini and garlic bread.  I also made some artichoke dip and baked brie as appetizers.  Then I tried Ginny McCormack's Sunday in the South Gooey Chocolate Cake recipe for dessert.  So moist and delicious!  This was my type of weekend. Good food, good company and lots of cooking!!

No comments: