Sunday, November 22, 2009

Debby Moilanen's Cheese Chipotle Dip or "Texas Surprise"

Love. Mayo. Walnuts. Raspberry Chipotle Sauce.

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
5-6 green onions chopped
1.5 cups chipped walnuts (toasted, please)
1 cup (or slightly more) delicious mayonnaise
Raspberry Chipotle sauce

Thing 1. Raspberry Chipotle Sauce and Acquisition Thereof:
Just because you've never heard of it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. I did have to scour NYC for it when I prepared this for my birthday last year. I called every Whole Foods in NY, but I was looking for a specific brand, and because alot of the stockers hadn't heard of it, I think they assumed they didn't have it. You just have to go look in the barbecue sauce/condiment aisle. I ended up getting it at the Food Emporium on Greenwich St. in Tribeca. Here in Michigan, after searching at Trader Joes (which seemed like the more obvious choice) I found it at Busch's. It looked like this:

Thing 2. Toasting of Walnuts:
You should know right off the bat that I am slightly allergic to walnuts. This is unfortunate because my tongue swells a little everytime I eat them but we all have our cross to bear. I love the taste of them so much that I usually just eat them anyway. I hope eventually that it will be akin to building up immunity to the itchiness of wool-- very much worth it.
In any case, I think walnuts are so much better toasted and I do it by putting them in a pan (I use Calphalon) and tossing them about on Medium-High (closer to Medium) until I can smell them. That's how I know they're done.

Thing 3. Actual instructions:
  • Mix first five ingredients and spread into a pie plate (or other serving dish. I have two pieces of Le Creuset-- one is a teakettle, and one is a small casserole dish which I use to make twice baked potatoes, and which I use to serve this dip.)
  • Spread a layer of Rasperry Chipotle Sauce on top. It should be thin-ish. But you should not be able to see the dip underneath.
That's it! Then you eat it with relish and wait for the swelling in your tongue to die down.
Texas Raspberry Chipotle Love.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Blue Cheese Walnut and Pear Tea Sandwiches

It was very fun to prepare for this tea party, and essential to the preparation was the book Tea Party by Tracy Stern. So many charming recipes and themes! Here's just one of them that was particularly tasty.

Blue Cheese Walnut and Pear Tea Sandwiches

4 Tbs softened butter (I always use salted even though recipes NEVER call for it. Sometimes you just have to follow your heart)
6 thin slices whole-grain bread, crusts trimmed
1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
2 Tbs crumbled blue cheese
1/2 c finely chopped walnuts
1/2 ripe pear thinly sliced

Butter each slice of bread.

Mash together blue cheese, walnuts, and cream cheese.
Spread on three slices of bread
Add layer of pear slices
Top with remaining bread (butter side down, obv)
Cut however you want (triangles, squares, you know)

We adapted this recipe for Goat Cheese and Green Apple as well, also tasty!

Also on the menu:

Straight-up cucumber sandwiches
Bread (Crusts cut off)
Chive cream cheese
cucumbers slices
Dip along one side in chopped fresh dill

Nutella and Banana Sandwiches
Bread (crusts cut off)
Banana slices

Cinnamon Raisin Apple-Butter Sandwiches
Cinnamon Raisin Bread (crusts cut off)
Apple Butter

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Magnolia Vanilla Vanilla Cupcakes

I have made these many many times, and love the best of all of the cupcake recipes.
Some links for you:
And finally, the trick to frosting them. I have watched this video no less than 23 times. It's enchanting.

Two drops of red food coloring made a light and lovely pink.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Get ready for Recipe and knitting inundation

Yesterday was my birthday and we had a lovely tea party here at the apartment. It was great fun to host many new friends, and to cook and to knit! AND I finally got to use a lot of the serving pieces that my Memere gave me. So much fun. Alot of red glass dishes and bowls that are dainty and marvelous. A very fun afternoon followed by complete and total exhaustion.

Drake made this lovely photo montage of the festivities :)

We found out that we're having a boy! when they picked him up on the Ultrasound, he was kicking furiously (which I couldn't feel at the time, though I do feel movement occasionally.) I hope that he's not able to kick like that as he grows bigger, or I'm in big trouble.

SO... this is just a mini-post to tell you that I'll be posting a number of recipes (and links to recipes) that I used at the party-- thought it might be fun to share, and would love to hear what your go-to dishes are for entertaining. I'm starting with Debby Moilanen's Cheese/Chipotle Hors d'oevre, which I call "Texas Surprise" :) I first had this as a Thanksgiving appetizer at the Dantzler's house, and immediately was enchanted and have since made it several times. Before you read the next post with the recipe, you must just trust me that this is seriously delicious. Don't be a mayo-hater.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Drake's sweater

I've been working diligently on Drake's sweater in an attempt to get it finished before we find out the sex of the baby on TODAY! The appeal of knitting baby things is just too strong as they are both adorable and quick to knit. From a knitting perspective I wish that I'd married a shorter man, or at least one with shorter arms as Drake has very long monkey arms and is over 6 feet tall, thereby making his sweaters take the REST OF MY LIFE to knit. I think it'll be worth it though with this one-- Smokin by Jared Flood (who has a fancy new layout for his website, Brooklyn Tweed)

I woke up early this morning (so excited to go to the Doctor!) and am going to see if I can knock out most of the shawl collar on this sweater before we go in. I'm aiming for this being finished in time for my knitting birthday party on Saturday. :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Things that I like about our apartment

Curiosity wall with old ironing board (a.) I have my small but wonderful sheet music collection (b.) on top which I collected to leave on the tables at our wedding. Three of the pieces are framed, but we're aiming to frame most of them, since they're too delicate to play from. I have them stored in comic book sleeves.

Above the ironing board (purchased in Brooklyn at a Flea Market) are a collection of old pictures--
(c.) Drake's dad as a child,
(d.)his grandmother Dantzler and her sisters,
(e.) his grandparents in front of their first house,
(f.) my mother with cute little cinnamon bun rolls on the side of her head (she hates this picture and I LOVE it),
(g.)my grandmother and Great Aunt (Theresa?) when she was a novitiate

The rest of the pictures are various tin types that I've picked up in antique shops over the years. they're framed in 3D box frames, so I put some marbles in with the tintype of cross-eyed children for fun.

Keep Calm and Carry on Poster that we bought and had framed in NYC and Drake's electric guitar.
Marble collection in Drake's Grandpa Dantzler's cigar box

The horns (our first piece of taxidermy...) and the mini mystery door that we bought at a gallery when we were on tour in Brazil
My Memere Girouard's Cukoo clock that my cousin Jeff bought for her when he was stationed in the Air Force in Austria

Hand-cut stone bookend made by Drake's Grandpa Stanley. He did a lot of beautiful work with stone and jems, we have two sets of his bookends and they're so wonderful.

Drake's Big Game Fish of North America Antique map and Fritz the Brown Trout. We have two Brown Trout that Drake caught on a fishing trip with his dad. (Taxidermy pieces numbers 2 and 3).

Just a little peek into our apartment in Michigan!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Upholstery ideas

Remember these? I was deciding whether or not to go with a bold graphic pattern and paint the woodwork a glossy black. Risky since these are antiques as well as family heirlooms, and yet I want them to be featured and preserved and treasured and USED-- I don't want them to be
"front room pieces" that are never really sat in, and never quite fit in with our style. So risky, yes, but also possibly fabulous.

I chose fabric from IKEA in the end because realistically, I'd have to wait for years to save up enough to buy any of the designer fabric that I've been looking at from, say, Amy Butler.
This is Inger from IKEA and is priced at 5.99/yard. I feel strongly that this option would require painting the wood glossy black. A fun mod option.

The other option is to stay with a fabric that flatters the wood, and just refinish the wood naturally (though probably still glossy.) You'll remember that the wood carving is pretty intricate, and I don't want to overwhelm that either. And so we have:

Stockholm Blad from IKEA 8.99/yard

A more delicate pattern, and I think I could leave the wood as is, maybe gloss it up a bit. I'm opting most toward the black, but an intriguing option is to pop up the big chair with a little something like....
This!! Wouldn't that be fun? And it's glorious pink-ness would assure that I and I alone would sit in it.

Something to do while we're waiting

I fully intended to do a post on the fabric choices for my living room set months ago, and here we are in November. November! leaves! pies! my birthday! I've been horribly distracted by many things:

1. My coat doesn't snap. I am rapidly expanding and my coat will not contain me. This is both distressing and exciting.

2. Due to a scheduling snafu we did not get an ultrasound last week and I was horribly
distressed to the point of making myself sick. I can no longer predict my reaction to things except to say that it will probably be more dramatic than anticipated.

3. This means that we get the ultrasound this Thursday, and that we will find out the sex of the baby just in time for my birthday knitting extravaganza. This is a very good thing. I have been earmarking some lovely patterns which are all dependent on this information-- not so much in terms of color choices but in terms of trim/notions etc... here's what I'm thinking about:

These are all patterns from Special Knits: 22 Gorgeous Handknits for Babies and Toddlers by Debbie Bliss there are INFINITELY more patterns in here that I want to knit, such as the Eyelet Vest, the Organza-edged cardigan, the Hooded Kaftan (yes, a kaftan. it's lovely.) Right now it remains my favorite baby knit book.

Velvet edged jacket via Anny Purls flickr

Ribbon-edged cardigan via Anny Purls flickr