Friday, November 26, 2010

Gobble Wobble

Happy Thanksgiving!

Yesterday AM I kicked off my Thanksgiving by running a 5K road race in Southborough, MA called the "Gobble Wobble." I was a bit nervous because I haven't been running as much as when I have done the past road races and it was also my first time running in cold weather like this.

I ran the race in 38.16, which is far off from my previous road races but an accomplishment nonetheless because I finished the race without walking at all-- which was my goal. There were a couple hills and a couple challenging points but with some willpower, some fun music, and the support of my friends that I ran with, I finished the race "gobble wobbling" across the finish line.

Pictures of both the Gobble Wobble road race and the Thanksgiving dinner that led to the real "gobble wobble" that took place later that day. Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving Party Foods

This past weekend I had a party at my apartment. Whenever I have people over, I always like to cook some easy finger foods to have out. Over the past couple years of entertaining I have developed some party favorites that are quickly becoming what I am known for amongst my friends and what is requested by me for get togethers.

For the party this weekend I made:

- Funfetti cookies decorated as turkey's
- Pepperoni stromboli
- Broccoli stromboli
- Corn & avocado salsa with chips
- Prosciutto wrapped asparagus
- Pretzels w/ a Hershey's Kiss & Reese's Pieces on top

The funfetti cookies are out of a box. You buy the funfetti cake mix and follow the recipe for cookies that is on the side and I swear, you will get the best tasting cookies in the world. I feel like it is sort of cheap that I am known for something made off a box's recipe... but I have perfected the baking of them so that they are always the perfect softness. Frost with vanilla frosting and decorate for whatever occasion... Halloween, Thanksgiving, Lighting Appreciation Day, Laser 50th Anniversary, etc.

The stromboli... is something I copied from my mom. Take some store bought dough, roll it out, and throw in whatever you have. I've made them with pepperoni, broccoli, spinach, sausage & peppers, etc. Add a little seasonings and some salt, roll the dough up, and bake until golden.

Salsa... I copied this recipe from one of my coworkers who participated in our office's "Top Chef" healthy recipe event. I removed the black beans from the salsa because I am not the biggest fan of black beans. It is still hearty and delicious.

Prosciutto with asparagus. This was a first time for me making this. I have had this before at parties and I just made up my own version. Roast the asparagus for about 10 minutes in the oven so it is a little cooked but still has some crunch and holds its form. Wrap in prosciutto. Done.

And the final thing I put together... I just wanted another little sweet snack to have. One of my coworkers had brought this into work earlier this week and I made this. I bought the pretzels that are like little checkerboards, put a Hershey's Kiss on top and put in the oven at 250 degrees for 3 minutes. Then, push a Reese's Pieces on top so that they all stick together.

I had a great spread and all the food was gone by the end of the night-- but also not too soon! I think I had the right amount for the 30ish people that were here. Some of my friends hadn't had dinner and they were satisfied and some just munched and they were also happy.

I've also got to point out that I have amazing friends who always bring food and one friend brought DELICIOUS peanut butter brownies and another put together a cheese, cracker, and grape spread that included a cinnamon/apple/cranberry cheese spread that was to die for.

I think with this party... I can officially say... EATING SEASON HAS BEGUN!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Oprah's Favorite Things

I remember saying when I was younger that one of my goals in life was to be an audience member during one of Oprah's Favorite Things episodes. Welp, looks like that isn't going to ever happen for me!

Here is the list of Oprah's Ultimate Favorite Things from the 25th and final season of The Oprah Show. The food items getting extra special love in bold, of course.

1. Diamond watch
2. Tory Burch tote and ballet flats
3. Nikon D3600 camera
4. Ralph Lauren cashmere sweater ($498)
5. Ralph Lauren cashmere robe
6. Judith Ripka crystal and sapphire earrings ($525)
7. Oprah's hair styling products, Andre's hair care line.
8. Full 18 piece set of candles
9. The Rebel Panini Press
10. Knives
11. Beecher's Mac & Cheese
12. Baker's Edge brownie and lasagna pan
13. Ghiradelli brownie mix
14. Course in Weight Loss book
15. Jay-Z's book "Decoded"
16. 5-year Netflix subscription
17. 3D TVs
18. The closet of your dreams from the Container Store ($1000)
19. Oprah farewell season T-shirt
20. Lululemon Relaxed Fit pants ($98)
21. Four pairs of Nike free run shoes (4 x $85)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sausage-Cauliflower Spaghetti-- YUM!

Hello everybody!! I've got another recipe for you all. It was delicious! I tried a recipe that appeared in my Food Network Magazine (which I LOVE) and it was really easy, delicious, and gave me some great ideas for the future.

You can find the complete recipe here but my adapted version is this....

First, you cook some spaghetti. I opted to use a whole box of Prince spaghetti because I knew that my roommate would eat some of this and figured we could both take some in for lunch for the next couple days. While the water was boiling, I started to brown the sausage. Whenever I cook with sausage, I always buy the patties that are supposed to be for sausage burgers. I break that up, which is really simple, and saves me from having to deal with disgusting sausage casings. Ew. I also chopped my garlic and broke up the cauliflower (into pretty small florets) and washed it.

While the pasta is cooking I finished browning the meat, added the garlic to the pan and cooked it, then added the cauliflower. Once the pasta was done and the cauliflower was browned, you take 1 cup of the pasta water and add it to the sausage, garlic, cauliflower mix, cover it, and let it simmer until cauliflower is tender (about 8 minutes) and then uncover, and boil in high until the liquid boils down. Then you throw everything together, add some olive oil, salt, parmesean cheese, toss and voila! The recipe calls for scallions as well, which I left out, and I also added some oil to my pasta so it wouldn't stick (since I had about 10 minutes where the cauliflower was steaming and the pasta was just sitting in its bowl).

Some of the selling points on this meal...

  • All you dirty is a pasta pot and 1 cooking skillet.

  • The ingredients are all inexpensive.

  • Makes a ton so it would be a good meal to entertain with (although I would definitely add the scallions if making this to entertain, the green would make it that much prettier and impressive.)

  • It is easily adaptable.

  • It tastes delicious!

  • Some things I learned that I will apply to other meals...

  • Adding the pasta water to the cauliflower/sausage. I have heard recipes call for this a lot before but I have never actually done it. The starchy water really pulled everything together and made the sauce thicken and stick to the pasta. I am SO excited to try making my Cappello Mastrociliega again and adding some pasta water to the sauce!

  • Steaming the veggie with the pasta water. Perfect!

  • Enjoy everybody!!!

    Sunday, November 7, 2010

    Open letter to Southern Hospitality restaurant

    To the owners/managers of Southern Hospitality in New York City:

    On Saturday, November 6th, I ate dinner at your restaurant located on 1460 Second Avenue in New York City. The food was wonderful and the atmosphere was great, however, I was disappointed by the dishonesty in one of your advertised promotions. You promote to customers that if you are following Southern Hospitality on Twitter (@BBQNYC) then you will get a "secret password" which entitles you 10% off of your entire bill.

    I showed the waitress I was following the restaurant on Twitter but inquired because I had not seen the password for the day. She first let me know she was going to check with the individual in charge of the Twitter account. When she returned she apologized and said, "Nobody actually set that up for today." I pressed for more information as that wasn't really a satisfying response and there was a sign for the promotion on the wall directly across from me. I also asked about the promotion that the restaurant offers for those who check-in on FourSquare, offering a free pint of Miller Lite. The waitress left to find out more and returned with the answer, "I can get you the free Miller Lite but you actually can only use either the FourSquare promotion or the Twitter promotion." Somewhat understandable I thought, but a no-brainer, and let her know that I would like to use the Twitter promotion and not take the free Miller Lite. She left again to speak with the manager working at the time and returned saying, "We actually don't offer the Twitter promotion on the weekends." When I asked why it didn't say that on the sign, she did not have an answer and asked if I would like a free Miller Lite.

    I did not press the matter any further (and accepted the Miller Lite). I wasn't looking to start an argument and was having a good time with my group of friends. However, the false promotion and advertisement is still bothering me. I am not seeking any sort of refund or anything along those lines, I just truly believe it is dishonest for a restaurant to offer a promotion and advertise it in their store -- but not follow through. At the very least, these signs should be taken down or updated to offer the correct information (although, I believe the "no weekends" response was just an excuse to not have to provide 10% off to my table's bill.)

    Imagine if you were to show up to a clothing store with a coupon and have the cashier tell you that the coupon isn't valid on that particular day, despite the fact that was never mentioned in any of the promotions or coupon "fine print." At least in this circumstance, one would have the option to, upon learning of the misleading ad, not make your purchase. In my case last night at Southern Hospitality, we had already ordered our food and committed to paying the price.

    As digital communications continue to grow and businesses more frequently are offering special deals and promotions through online mediums (Foursquare, Facebook Places, Twitter, etc.), I find it unsettling to think that they could not be held to the same standards of traditional advertising, marketing, and promotions. It is a dishonest practice and should not be tolerated.

    It does not surprise me that 10% off the entire bill just for following @BBQNYC is not true (especially compared to the Foursquare deal.) However, please don't be misleading and take down or update your signs?

    Thank your for a delicious meal and fun time at your restaurant yesterday. Please consider what I have suggested and show your customers that you are honest and straightforward and do not wish to mislead them.

    Katelyn Buress