Sometimes I get a little obsessed.

That’s generally just how I work. If I am interested in something new I AM REALLY INTERESTED IN THAT NEW THING.  This has included everything from sports (I still really like baseball though) to people to hobbies. I’ve been like this since I can remember. The obsessions tend to end as abruptly as they started.

Thankfully, food has been a constant. I love food. I love looking at it, reading about it, making it, touching it, etc. I just cannot get enough!

I am having a small little dinner party in a couple weeks and I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT IT! I have already started planning out decorations and working on menu options.

Apparently this scares McP!

I have already decided on dessert and apps but need to spend more time researching and brainstorming main dish / side ideas.

If you have any ideas, feel free to share!

Look….stuff I did at some point or another:

Tacos for Cinco de Mayo!

Sriracha Cheddar Swirl Bread - One of the most delicious, burning things I have ever eaten!

 

Sriracha Cheddar Swirl Bread
(This is from the Sriracha cook book, but I can’t be bothered with actually buying a cookbook so I just went with it)

I used my basic white bread recipe:

1 3/4 c. warm water
3T sugar
3T yeast
(let it do its thing for about 10 minutes)
mix in:
2T Olive Oil
1/2 t salt
4 c. flour

Knead it and place it in an oiled bowl and allow it to slowly rise for several hours.

But, because I am incredibly impatient, I preheat my oven to 300ish and then turn it off and open the door and then place bowl of dough in the microwave directly above the oven so the heat makes it rise. I can usually only wait about 30 minutes.

After kneading it more, flatten it into a rectangle, coat with sriracha (leaving a one inch edge), top with cheddar and then roll it and cram it into a well oiled bread pan.

Okay, here’s where things got a little tricky… I put a slit in the top but I think the problem was that I slit it too deep. Photos explain better than words what went down in my oven. (see attached.)

I scraped off the explosion and it still turned out rather nice.

Bake at 350 for awhile, maybe 20-25 minutes? take it out of the bread pan and bake it some more…..maybe another 5-10 (More often than not, I am too busy drinking to be bothered with things like measuring and timing)

I usually take the bread’s temperature to make sure its done (190) because there is nothing worse than getting drunk and accidentally eating uncooked bread.

 

Literally goes. on. everything.

Orzo stuffed squash

Julia Child's boeuf bourguignon, unbelieveable and absolutely worth the hours that I slaved away over this.

 

From my wonderful MtAoFC book (and Oprah)

Servings: Serves 6
Ingredients
  • 9- to 10-inch, fireproof casserole dish , 3 inches deep
  • Slotted spoon
  • 6 ounces bacon
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil or cooking oil
  • 3 pounds lean stewing beef , cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 sliced carrot
  • 1 sliced onion
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 3 cups full-bodied, young red wine , such as a Chianti
  • 2 to 3 cups brown beef stock or canned beef bouillon
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 cloves mashed garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • Crumbled bay leaf
  • Blanched bacon rind
  • 18 to 24 small white onions , brown-braised in stock
  • 1 pound quartered fresh mushrooms , sautéed in butter
  • Parsley sprigs
Directions
Remove rind from bacon, and cut bacon into lardons (sticks, 1/4 inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long). Simmer rind and bacon for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts of water. Drain and dry.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Sauté the bacon in the oil over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon. Set casserole aside. Reheat until fat is almost smoking before you sauté the beef.

Dry the stewing beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Sauté it, a few pieces at a time, in the hot oil and bacon fat until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the bacon.

In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the sautéing fat.

Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with the salt and pepper. Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly with the flour. Set casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes. Toss the meat and return to oven for 4 minutes more. (This browns the flour and covers the meat with a light crust.) Remove casserole, and turn oven down to 325 degrees.

Stir in the wine, and enough stock or bouillon so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs, and bacon rind. Bring to simmer on top of the stove. Then cover the casserole and set in lower third of preheated oven. Regulate heat so liquid simmers
very slowly for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.

While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms. Set them aside until needed.

When the melt is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan. Wash out the casserole and return the beef and bacon to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms over the meat.

Skim fat off the sauce. Simmer sauce for a minute or two, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly. If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons of stock or canned bouillon. Taste carefully for seasoning. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables. Recipe may be completed in advance to this point.

For immediate serving: Covet the casserole and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times. Serve in its casserole, or arrange the stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles, or rice, and decorated with parsley.

Cake Pops! Funfetti and Vanilla coated in pink candy melts! A bit sweet for my tastes but a HUGE hit in the office.

XO,

Mae

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