Why we started this idea????

A passion for food, wine, friends and entertaining is a big part of our life. This is a way for us to document our experiences, passion for food & life and also share it with others.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Crab Rangoon

It's funny thinking back on it now but one of the first trips G ever took me to his home town in Southern Illinois he took me to Carbondale for Chinese food. Yeah, good ole Midwestern Chinese food. And I remember him telling me his favorite thing to order in a chinese restaurant was Crab Rangoon.

Now growing up in the northwest where Asian style food and flavors are at the forefront of Pacific Northwest cuisine I had my fair share of Chinese food. But I can't say that ever before that trip to Carbondale that I had crab rangoon before.

I remember the dish we ordered to be okay, didn't taste much like crab more just the cream cheese and it was served with this syrupy sweet red sauce that I couldn't tolerate but G loved. Since then G's had crab rangoon a few times but it's definitely not the thing he most looks forward to ordering when eating out for Chinese food.

For Thanksgiving we had made a crab rangoon dip that we happened to have some left over.

 I thought what a perfect treat to serve to my honey on his favorite football watching kind of day.

I took the left over crab dip out, defrosted some won ton wrappers and filled each wrapper with about a teaspoon of dip.

I washed the won ton edges with a egg yolk & corn starch water mixture and folded them into cute little pouches.

I broke out the fry baby and fried the won ton quickly.

They came out golden and tasty.

We served them with a little mae ploy dipping sauce and some blanc de blanc sparkling wine.

The perfect thanksgiving leftover snack.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

CBST (Crab, Bacon, Spinach, Tomato) Sandwiches

For one of our Thanksgiving appetizers we bought
 some crab and T bought just a bit too much. What a huge problem given how much we LOVE crab.

The idea of too much crab just swimming around in G's head was just too much he decided we must make crab blt's but without lettuce in the fridge they became CBST's (C=Crab, B=Bacon, S= Spinach, T= Tomato.)

We started with some thick cut peppered bacon cooked off in the oven until crispy.

Some tomatoes from our garden that have been ripening in our window for awhile now.

We put down some spinach on sourdough bread.

Next we layered with tomatoes and spread bread with some creamy Dijon.

Topped Dijon with lump crab meat. And finally the

peppered bacon.

We buttered the bread slightly on the outside before placing the sandwiches in the panini press.

After about 7 minutes they were melty and golden brown. Ready.

Good stuff and a great way to use up a little bit of extra crab.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

Photo taken by Ally
Thanksgiving has come and gone and now we all march on to that big holiday that seems to try each year to just push Thanksgiving to the side completely with department stores displaying Christmas merchandise and radio stations playing the music before Halloween even arrives.

Growing up I do have to admit Thanksgiving was just one of those holidays that really didn't matter much to me. I was all about "bring on" Christmas. But the past 15 years I must say that Thanksgiving has replaced Christmas as my "favorite" holiday. And as it seems harder and harder each year to get the whole family together it becomes even more special.

It's the perfect Foodie Holiday the only thing to compete with the meal is football.

This year we actually spent Thanksgiving DAY skiing @ Crystal Mountain postponing the gathering until Friday to be able to spend the meal & traditions with more of our family around the table. And even then the table was a few folks shorter than the usual because my mom and Bob have bought a house in Arizona.

When we returned home from our day on the mountain G started immediately making his Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie. He was pretty excited, this was his first pie.

He was determined to do it completely by himself pie crust and all. Although I did help in attempting to make his edges a bit more pretty.

It definitely looked like a contender in the dessert arena.

Friday we woke up to prepping as we do most Thanksgiving meals.

I started by setting up the dining room which is typically what I do first when hosting a dinner party
so we can focus on the food.

This year was inspired again by Rick Bayless and G decided he'd cook the turkey on the Weber and make Mesquite Grilled Turkey with Red Chile Adobo Sauce. After that we basically shaped the whole menu around a "Mexican Kick" kind of theme.

The family arrived. Ally got started on a project to make some oreo turkey place settings that we found on this site. (very cute.)
Photo by Ally

She also decided it was fun to take photos with my cameras so I must happily share photo credits with her today.

Photo by Ally
She finished up her turkeys and completed the table setting.
We started with appetizers:

Crab Rangoon Dip from the December 2011 Cuisine at Home magazine (sorry their recipes aren't online but there are a few very similar recipes for Crab Rangoon Dip on the Food Network site too.)

And a Smoked Salmon Cheese Ball also from the December Cuisine at Home issue.

We put everyone to work with prep chores along the way; Hunter grated the cheese,

It looked like G's turkey turned out beautifully done on the grill.
Photo by Ally
We served the turkey  with Jicama Cranberry Salsa that I got a bit more gutsy with by adding oranges, whole cranberries and jalapenos to.

And Chorizo and Cornbread Stuffing with added jalapeno

and Balsamic Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Chipotle.

We decided to do our Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Shallots dish in the crock pot this year. Which was genius in saving some needed oven space.

This seemed to be the big hit at the table this year (the photo definitely doesn't do this dish justice.

Dinner was enjoyed by all

and a great menu it was.

Yes, we do love hosting Thanksgiving and cooking for our family.

After some initial kitchen clean up was and food digesting was done it was time give G's Bourbon-Chocolate Pecan Pie the true taste test.

It was pretty unanimous he did a great job on his pie.
Photo by Ally
It was a Happy Thanksgiving indeed.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

All About Wine on Wednesday

Cabernet Sauvignon

Vintage:                 2004

Winery:                  Longshadow Vintners

Wine Region:         Columbia Valley, Washington

Price:                         $60 (a splurge wine for our budget)

Smell:                        Earth

Taste:                         Soft, soft tannins, very smooth, long finish

Served with:             Chipotle Chorizo Chili

Overall Impression: Wonderful Cab, perfectly paired with this chili

Occasion for wine: T’s birthday weekend at Cannon Beach

When & Where wine was first tasted: Our first night in Glacier National Park, Montana on our trip with Jason & Jodi July 2009. This wine kicked off that very wet and thunderous camping trip.

G’s Final Comments: “Excellent, although it seems like it was even better in 2009?”

T’s Final Comments: “I love it. Not sure if I loved it more in 2009 but I definitely am loving it now.”

Overall Rating: 4

Monday, November 21, 2011

November Supper Club with a Belgian Theme

This month our supper club was hosted by Kris & Jeff who are currently house hunting but pulled it off anyway (gotta love family.)

Given the time of year and colder conditions their Belgian stew, Carbonnade a la Flamande, was the perfect dish to build our meal around.

We started with some great cheeses and Jenni's homemade liver pate' served with both bread and jicama and red peppers.

After catching up on each other's lives; Arnie's perspective surgery needs, Robin & Shannon's possible extended stay in Peru, Jeff & Kris' lack of luck finding that just right next home and G's first day skiing of the season it was time to move to the table and the next course.

G & I brought a fall salad made with Kale, Pine nuts, Dried Cherries & Parmesan found on epicurious (the recipe: linked) called for currants we subbed out dried cherries instead.

Robin & Shannon brought some beautiful bread that Robin had made. Wow, it really looked and tasted like bakery fresh bread. It was fantastic.

Next it was time for the Belgian stew and it was spectacular over the egg noodles.

As usual there was lots of great stories, sharing and wine to be had at the dinner table as well.

I am so bummed Jeff had made a wonderful pecan pie for dessert in absence of Derek and Lisa who were home with a sick kiddo and I didn't get a photo of it. (Sorry Jeff) but I can tell you it looked and tasted pretty professionally made.

It was great night.