March 10th, 2009 |

Happy Birthday Cookies

happy-birthday-cookiesNeed to send a “Happy Birthday” fast?

Try these adorable cookies from Eleni’s New York (via Dean & Deluca).

March 9th, 2009 |

Monday Night Dinner

Chicken Piccata ~ Barefoot Contessa Style

Monday Night Dinner (small)

Ingredients

  • 2 split (1 whole) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 extra-large egg
  • 1/2 tablespoon water
  • 3/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
  • Good olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons), lemon halves reserved
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • Sliced lemon, for serving
  • Chopped fresh parsley leaves, for serving

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Place each chicken breast between 2 sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap and pound out to 1/4-inch thick. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.

Mix the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a shallow plate. In a second plate, beat the egg and 1/2 tablespoon of water together. Place the bread crumbs on a third plate. Dip each chicken breast first in the flour, shake off the excess, and then dip in the egg and bread crumb mixtures.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium to medium-low heat. Add the chicken breasts and cook for 2 minutes on each side, until browned. Place them on the sheet pan and allow them to bake for 5 to 10 minutes while you make the sauce.

For the sauce, wipe out the saute pan with a dry paper towel. Over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and then add the lemon juice, wine, the reserved lemon halves, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Boil over high heat until reduced in half, about 2 minutes. Off the heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and swirl to combine. Discard the lemon halves and serve 1 chicken breast on each plate. Spoon on the sauce and serve with a slice of lemon and a sprinkling of fresh parsley.

Monday Night Dinner Food (small)

Images: placesetting (ballarddesigns.com), chicken piccata (foodnetwork.com) and warm vegetable salad (foodnetwork.com)

March 6th, 2009 |

A Sweet Surprise

champagne-rimming-sugarsI found these champagne rimming sugars at Crate & Barrel today.

A set of three flavors, Mimosa, Kir and Bellini come packaged together (and would make an adorable hostess gift!).

You can be sure I will be testing these out at my next party!

March 5th, 2009 |

Friday Night: Pizza Night!

pizza-night-copyFriday night is pizza night in our house!  It’s one of those parties that you can whip together fast – and everyone loves it!

Whether it’s friends stopping over for drinks after work, or the whole family wanting to make their own pizzas…..get creative, try some new combinations….I have a couple of ideas (and recipes) for you:

Ideas

  • Make life easy on yourself…buy store bought pizza dough.  Trader Joe’s offers fresh dough daily – regular and whole wheat.
  • Set up “make your own pizza” stations on your counter top – everyone can add their individual flair to their pizza!
  • If you are setting a table, get creative with your “Italian” theme – try using bread sticks as a centerpiece or (like the picture above) as place cards.

Recipes

  • Pizza Margharita

    • A wonderful classic that everyone loves!  Try this recipe from Mario Batali (via Martha Stewart).
  • Deep Dish Pizza

    • Update your classic deep dish with these new toppings – Pepperoni & Onion or Spinach & Artichokes…..YUM!  (Recipes via Martha Stewart)
  • West Coast Grilled Vegetable Pizza

    • Full of fresh veggies and goat cheese, it’s a great pizza to welcome Spring.  (Recipe via Martha Stewart)

February 28th, 2009 |

Breakfast in Bed

Treat someone special to breakfast in bed this weekend.

Although any old thing will do…..but I think the weekends are the perfect time to try something new!

Scrambled Eggs in Potato Nests

Perfect for any old Sunday, but also great to serve at a brunch.
breakfast-in-bed

Ingredients

1 20-oz. pkg. refrigerated shredded hash brown potatoes

2 eggs, beaten

1 Tbsp. snipped fresh chives

1/2 tsp. salt

12 eggs

2/3 cup milk

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

2 Tbsp. butter or margarine

1-1/2 cups shredded American cheese (6 ounces)

Fresh chives (optional)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a large baking sheet; set aside. In a large bowl, stir together potatoes, the 2 beaten eggs, chives, and the 1/2 teaspoon salt. Shape mixture into 12 mounds (about 1/3 cup each) on prepared baking sheet. Press the back of a tablespoon into each mound, making a nest. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly browned and set.

2. Meanwhile, beat together the 12 eggs, milk, the 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper with a rotary beater. In a 12-inch skillet, melt butter over medium heat; pour in egg mixture. Cook over medium heat without stirring until mixture begins to set on the bottom and around edge.

3. With a spatula, lift and fold the partially cooked egg mxiture so that the uncooked portion flows underneath. Continue cooking over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes or until egg mixture is cooked through but is still glossy and moist. Remove from heat.

4. Spoon about 1/3 cup of egg mixture into each potato nest. Sprinkle cheese over eggs. Return to oven; bake about 2 minutes or until cheese melts. If desired, garnish with chives. Makes: 12 servings

Recipe via Better Homes and Gardens

February 27th, 2009 |

Lemonade Jars

lemonade-hwtm

I thought I would pass along this idea from the creative ladies over at Hostess with the Mostess…..what a darling idea for serving lemonade at your summer parties!

Check out their blog for information on where to find these adorable jars.

February 21st, 2009 |

Oscar Worthy Cocktail

bobby-flay-pear-cocktail-peopleLike many others around the world, chef Bobby Flay believes Oscar night is cause for celebration!  This year, Bobby is hosting a 400 guest event at the South Beach Food & Wine Festival.  His signature drink for the evening is a Sparkling Pear Cocktail – if it’s good enough for his friends, I bet it’s good enough for mine!  Enjoy!

Sparkling Pear Cocktail

16 oz. pear nectar

2 bottles champagne, prosecco or other sparkling wine, very cold

1 pear, halved, seeded and thinly sliced

Thirty minutes before serving, place the champagne flutes in the freezer to chill.  Place 2 tbsp. of the pear nectar and 1 slice of pear in the bottom of each glass, top with the sparkling wine.  Serve immediately.

Recipe (via www.people.com)

February 16th, 2009 |

Chic New Restaurant in Chicago: Eve

The interior of a jewelry box inspired the setting of Chicago’s Eve, a new restaurant in the Gold Coast neighborhood offering contemporary American cuisine. Mirror-detailed walls, sparkling chandeliers and a menu focused on fresh, seasonal food combinations make Eve the new gem in Chicago!  Located at 840 N. Wabash Ave.  evechicago.com.

February 12th, 2009 |

Champagne Cocktails

As far as I am concerned, there is no better drink than a glass of bubbly!  What could be better, you ask?  Let’s try a Raspberry Champagne Cocktail….and it’s pink!…just in time for Valentine’s Day!

champagne-cocktails Ingredients

2 1/2-pint baskets fresh raspberries

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons raspberry liqueur

1/4 cup cognac or other brandy

8 sugar cubes

1 750-ml bottled chilled brut champagne

Fresh raspberries

Lemon peel strips

Directions

Combine 2 baskets raspberries and 2 tablespoons sugar in medium bowl. Mash berries lightly with fork. Let stand 15 minutes.

Mix in liqueur and brandy. Pour into jar. Cover and let stand in dark cupboard 3 days. Strain raspberry mixture, pressing on solids with spoon

to extract as much liquid as possible. (Can be made 1 month ahead. Cover; chill.)

Place 1 sugar cube in each of eight 6-ounce champagne flutes. Pour 2 tablespoons raspberry mixture over each sugar cube.

Pour champagne over to fill glasses. Garnish each with raspberries and lemon peel.

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