I'm pretty sure I should win a prize for this last weekend. In terms of culinary skill and stamina I definitely put my best food forward and with one exception (the garlic bread was just a litle "crispy") I made a whole lot of really awesome food. And I am not exaggerating about the "whole lot" thing!
Friday night I made more jam....this time it was plum and it is once again damn good. Plus I got all "Martha Stewart" on myself and decorated the jars oh so cutely. But jam making isn't a short process so after hours of cooking, canning, sterilizing and cooling (all while sipping my vino), my writing at the very end was a little "off". That jar went to mom since she will love me no matter what. 21 jars later....and a loaf of zucchini bread.....and chili to freeze for lunch leftovers.
Saturday morning I woke and immediately hit the ground running....marinate the chicken, slow roast the ribs, clean the house for a day with my wonderful friends. Entertained a bunch of awesome adults and a bucket of the cutest darn kids in the afternoon....my friend Catrina made this dessert.....
Which is seriously my new crack. No joke. It is basically ice cream sandwiches, Cool Whip, chocolate sauce and heath bar crunchies. So simple but it really has to be one of the best summer desserts possible. And SO easy!
Leftovers from Sunday include about a whole chicken, a few ribs, a couple cobs of corn and two pieces of ice cream crack. Guess which one I am not willing to share.
And then I found a NEW brand of food crack on Sunday morning while preparing for the last shindig at Clover's house.
I am calling it OMG Macaroni and cheese. Because seriously? Oh my God.
My friend Tiffany tells me this is her favorite recipe...but she only uses the base and then pretty much does whatever she wants to to make it awesome. Including quadrupling the cheese. No typo there friends, that would be 4X the cheese. Hence the OMG factor.
As in the recipe calls for 8oz and she adds 2 POUNDS!!!!
This is what a pound and a half looks like....remember this is all going in one 13x9 pan.
I'm not sure where the noodles fit in to this whole situation, but I made it work,
That would be Goat Cheese, really good melty Gouda and Irish White Cheddar. And the whole pan gets crowned with a heaping portion of Asiago cheese and buttery bread crumbs.
Four servings were had by one attendee (we won't mention his name of course)....and Uncle Pip who rarely praises anything actually grunted and went back for seconds. Grudgingly of course.
I have a small container left here because I over estimated my pan and let me just tell you...I am hoarding this stuff!
And if this over the top crazy gut bomb wasn't enough to send my ass back to the gym I had to go and make dessert too.
Beauteous strawberries from the Channel Islands farmers market were sweetened with a little sugar to be thrown on top of indulgent shortcakes to round out my All American weekend. And as always I had to throw in a frigging monkey wrench and do things different because I can't just be normal like everyone else in the world.
So I created a buttermilk lemon curd with which to offset the uber sweet and rich flavors of the strawberry shortcake. It really worked, tart and tangy-it was a perfect foil to the berries and cream. I was proud to say the least.
Last but not least I am only making mention of the entree that Clover blessed us with on Monday. I am going to wait to share the recipe until I actually make it as I have to give you the whole experience. But I will share with you the title....
Chicken Skewers with.....
I'm telling you, this needs it's own blog post because it is bloody brilliant. More to come. Promise.
I hope you all had as wonderful a weekend as I did celebrating our Independence with your friends and family!
OMG Macaroni & Cheese
Adapted from Food Networks "Super Deluxe Macaroni & Cheese"
8 T Butter, divided
4 T Flour
2 C Whole Milk
8 oz Irish White Cheddar, shredded
8 oz Holland Gouda , shredded
8 oz Goats Cheese
1 C Heavy Cream
Salt & Cayenne Pepper to taste
3/4 Pound Macaroni, cooked and drained
8 oz Asiago Cheese, shredded
1 1/2 C Panko Bread Crumbs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Meanwhile, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a non-reactive saucepan. When bubbly whisk in flour and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring every now and then. Slowly whisk in the milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, whisking on occasion for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove pan from heat and whisk in first three grated cheeses. Stir vigorously just until cheese has melted. Then whisk in heavy cream to adjust the texture and season to taste with salt and cayenne pepper. In a mixing bowl combine sauce with drained macaroni and adjust seasoning. Transfer mixture to a 13 x 9-inch baking pan and spread it out evenly. Top with the Asiago Cheese. Melt remaining butter in a small saute pan and add bread crumbs and cook until tasty, sprinkle bread crumbs on top. Bake until hot and bubbly, about 30 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
*Note-If you want the additional flavor, substitute 4 T truffle oil for the butter when sauteing the bread crumbs. I did this with the leftovers and it was DIVINE!
Strawberry Shortcakes with Buttermilk Meyer Lemon Curd
Adapted from Paula Deen's Strawberry Shortcakes
1 quart strawberries, hulled and quartered
1/4 cup sugar plus 3 tablespoons sugar, plus 8 teaspoons
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons butter, cold and cubed
2/3 cup half-and-half, plus 1/4 cup
Sweetened whipped cream
Buttermilk Meyer Lemon Curd
6 Egg Yolks
1/2 Cup Sugar
Zest from 2 lemons
3 T Lemon Juice
1 C Buttermilk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a medium mixing bowl, toss the strawberries and 1/4 cup sugar together. Set aside until time to serve.
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together flour, baking powder, salt and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Then pulse in the cold butter cubes until a coarse meal is formed. Turn the flour mixture out into a large mixing bowl and make a well in the center. Pour in 2/3 cup half-and-half and gently mix it in with a rubber spatula or fork, be careful not to over mix the dough or the biscuits will be tough.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and fold it over itself a couple of times until it just holds together. Pat the dough out to 3/4-inch thickness and cut out 8 round 3-inch biscuits.
Transfer the biscuits to a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Brush the tops of each biscuit with the remaining half-and-half and sprinkle each with 1 teaspoon sugar. Bake in a preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until the biscuits have risen and are a light golden brown.
Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
Beat together eggs, lemon juice, sugar, zest and buttermilk in a stainless steel or copper bowl until blended. Cook over a water bath until frothy and thick, whisking the whole time. Cool over an ice bath and chill until it's time to serve.
Split each biscuit, spoon some strawberries on the bottom piece, then add the buttermilk lemon curd, then whipped cream and top with the other biscuit half.
I seriously thing I should get a medal for this weekend. At least silver. But really....I do need to feed someone with all these dang leftovers!