Sunday, July 16, 2006
Some Like It Hot
Some like it hot...and some of us don't...especially when it comes to making something warm for dinner. Heating up my kitchen is not an option and once in a while I do get tired of BBQ.(Hardly ever but it happens or I just don't want to take the time to heat the grill.)
What is the next best thing?
A grilled sandwich and salad.
I know you are asking yourself how can this be a time savings because you have to warm up the butter to spread it evenly over both sides of bread..but no..here is my tip.
I love to make grilled turkey and cheddar sandwiches with tomato. I cut the tomato and put it on a piece of paper towel to drain you can pat it if you need to but I like the additional flavor. I cut the cheddar thinly and build the sandwich with bread, cheddar, tomato, three grinds of "Trader Joe" lemon pepper, turkey, cheddar and bread.
Tip (Virgo Moment)
I heat some butter in the pan and add sandwich when melted. Now instead of trying to butter the other side of bread while it is in the pan just wait until it is time to flip. Then pick up the sandwich with spatula and throw another pat of butter in pan, swirl and then flip sandwich. As crazy as this sounds it saves time and now both sides are evenly grilled.
(This technique will guarentee you have an even golden color on both sides.-Virgo Part)
Saturday, July 01, 2006
Jazz Like a Fantastic Zinfandel
Have you ever noticed how some fantastic music can make you feel like you have had the most expensive bottle of Zinfandel?
I recently had that experience.
I was at the Asteriod Cafe in Fremont and had some fabulous Calamari and Jazz. The Calamari was fresh and lovely with pickled peppers, sliced crisp cooked pickled garlic and lots of fresh basil.... the flavor was perfect, but the squid was over cooked. Boo Hoo.
I was still able to eat all of it because it was gorgeous....
and the bread...to die for.
Lovely wines by the glass as well. Decanted of Course! Splash, as I fell off my bar stool.
The place was open, airy and a great place for a first date. Not to dark or too romantic just nice and somewhere you could take a business associate as well. Deck seating available. I would recommend it especially during happy hour 4-6 pm and 11-1:00 am. 360o Block of North Fremont Ave.
I give it;
- ***1/2 Waitstaff-Eagerness to please
- *** Ambience-open and gracious
- **** Location-Location-Location-Fremont is so totally cool in the summer.
- **** Food-Flavors Flirtatious but Well-Married. Stylish Offerings.
- *** Price-20-25 per person. Happy hour Break on Food.
- Complaint-None of my Sisters Paintings were on the Walls!
Extra Special Reason For Being There
The jazz was off the hook. I am totally smitten with the new friends I have made and if you get a chance to see any of the guys that play with Tim Kennedy.... go...don't think....just go!
The Trio was like a beautiful bottle of Zin..The flavors were full of Pepper and Earth with Mellow overtones of Nostalgia (wistful yearning for something past). Old Vine for sure but with overtones of fun.
The music was Sexy and Sassy.
Loved it ...They made me giggle and smile too much...Delicious....Sated..
Next Time. Jenn
Sunday, May 28, 2006
Some of my Cakes
Displaying Food Like a Pro
It is wedding season again and there are wonderful ways to save a little money on displaying food for your event.
- Fresh Flowers
- Gold Charger Plates
- Glass Plates
- Different Sized Boxes
I love to decorate with fresh flowers and Tulle. Both items are worth their weight in Gold. Tulle can be purchased any time it goes on sale and just a little can really decorate a table. The best part is it can be washed and it will be ready for your next event. White matches with everything but a cream color or light pastel is always nice to have. I buy Gold charger plates when I see them on sale and keep them for the entertainment season. I use the Chargers with clear plastic or simple glass plates purchased at thrift stores to enhance my design options and they can be trotted out for any event. One of the easiest ways I know to add elegance to a table is by adding height to your presentation. I use several size boxes on a flat table with a cover to add vertical interest. Then fill in the room between the boxes with Tulle or flowers and "Surprise" You will have a very expensive looking presentation. Classy and Elegant but with Minimal Cost. Later this month I will be adding some recipes that are sure to please your guests for those summer events.
Monday, May 15, 2006
For EACH drink place into a cocktail shaker:
1 sprig of fresh mint leaves from your garden or local market, removed from their stems (don't use dried, but frozen fresh is okay)
1/2 a fresh lime squeezed
1 tablespoon or more of table sugar or bar sugar (start with one and increase to taste as needed later, don't skip the sugar, it's importnat to the taste. You can substitute Splenda, but Equal and SweetNLow don't seem to work at all)
Crush these three ingredients in the bottom of the shaker using a wooden muddler to release the mint essence from the leaves into the sugar and lime juice
pour 1 or 2 shots (per drink) of white rum (or citrus rum!) over ice
Cover shaker and shake vigorously and dramatically in front of your guests pour into tall Tom Collins glass filled with ice cubes, or better yet one of several Mojito glasses or sets available from AlwaysHappyHour.com
Do not strain the mixture from the shaker, allow the crushed mint leaves to go into the serving glass as well, that's part of the look and taste!
Fill the glass with sparking water, selzer, or club soda and stir with a long spoon or cocktail mixing stick
Garnish with a fresh mint leave floating on top and serve with a tall drinking straw
When making Mojito's for a group in a pitcher, here are few tricks for crowd-size Mojitos:
Use frozen lime-ade and/or bottled lime juice instead of squeezing all those limes,
use a food processor to chop the mint leaves in bulk,
use 7UP or other lemon-lime soda instead of sparkling water and table sugar
Fantastic!!!!! jenn :)
Time to Plant those Annuals
Yes, the time is here…it is officially the season to plant your annuals. I know because yesterday was Mother’s Day and here in the Northwest that is the official kick off day for letting those “perky” annuals out at night. So how much money do you really need to spend and how many plants go into each pot? Good questions! Every year I see people who over plant. Their baskets and pots look crowed by July and the plants have no where to go. I plant 14”-16” pots and only use 3 plants per pot. This fills them to overflowing and also extends the amount of time I can use the potting soil. I like to stay in the pink and blue purple hues because my house is yellow and I love the contrast. I also think the dark colors tend to be more resistant and they look so fantastic when the sun is setting and we are all having cocktails on the deck in the late summer. Imagine Mojito’s with your home grown mint on the deck with a citronella candle and the setting sun while your overflowing baskets are glowing in deep shades of plum and fuchsia. Nice!
Steps to Perfection
1. Buy the Planters at Thrift Stores or Tag Sales 14 inches or bigger
2. Always use some type of drainage. Broken pots or Stones
3. A small layer of Perlite will ensure your plants drain and save money on Soil
4. Potting Soil (sale is fine)
5. Fertilizer (time released 3 month is best)
6. Plants-Petunias and Lobelia (full sun variety) really put on a show for the money.
7. No more than 3 plants per container (2 petunias one lobelia)
8. As they grow pinch them to keep short for the first couple of weeks. This is scary I know but it really makes them branch out.
9. Water often. You have good drainage so don’t be afraid
10. The dirt can be covered in the fall with plastic when the annuals die or Plant with Pansy’s for the winter. The dirt should last three seasons.
Saturday, May 06, 2006
Save a little Cash-Dryer Sheets
Did you know you could save a little cash by using only 1/2 of a dryer sheet per load of laundry? This is enough to soften and keep the static down and make the box last forever! (Well Almost...) I have been using this technique for years and no one can tell the difference. PS. I like the unscented sheets and if you like the fragranced ones you will probably notice a difference in perfume but not in softness or in controling static.
Cooking Prep Suggestion
I love to get a great deal on meat when it is on sale (Who Doesn't!) but what to do with all that food used to be difficult for me. Well I have a suggestion which works well for my family. I split the meat in freezer bags in the portion that is best for every day and pour the marinade with the meat and then freeze it. I love to use several different types. I then use a marker to write the date frozen and type of marinade used. This makes it very easy for me to have a wonderful flavorful meal when the meat is defrosted. I just rinse and grill and the meat is tenderized and full of flavor. It saves time and I always have something different on the table...Not just a freezer full of chicken!
Baby Shower Gift Cake
Are you looking for that perfect gift for a Baby Shower? Do you have some creative energy and access to a Dollar Store? Then I have a great project for you! Baby Shower Diaper Cakes are fun to make and provide the perfect centerpiece for any hostess. The cake consists of about 50 diapers and several small gifts with an inexpensive board for support and some curling ribbon. I like to add silk flowers to decorate my cake but the sky is the limit. The top level is a bottle with about 5-6 rolled diapers. The next level is aprox 15 diapers and the bottom is around 27-30. Here is a picture. If you would like more detailed instructions just send me an email. It will arrive in an attachment form.