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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Negroni for Valentines Day

Happy Valentine's Day a couple of days early!  This month our theme for the Blogger C.L.U.E. Society is red.  In honor of Valentine's Day, of course.  I had a lot of fun rummaging through my assigned blog, Confessions of a Culinary Diva.  It wasn't easy to find something red.  And, I was regularly distracted by posts of wonderful things that weren't red...  The pasta with sausage and broccoli rabe is first on my list.  Followed by spice crusted tuna, duck breasts with pomegranate and pumpkin and Italian sausage pasta.  Actually, truth be told, the sausage is already cooked for both of the pasta dishes...  And, I've got a can of pumpkin in my next week's stack of canned food to use up.  Broccoli rabe is on the grocery list.  So, I'm good to go!

Christy lives in Palm Desert, CA.  One of my favorite cities.  She's a banker and a blogger.  Kind of the numbers/creativity thing that I work with.  There is one funny story about her blog.  I saw a title with Downton in it.  Not being a tv watcher, I assumed there was a typo and it should have been Downtown.  Um, no, it's the tv show Downton Abbey.  So, thank you Christy for a fun and enjoyable time perusing your blog!

If you're wondering who the other Blogger C.L.U.E. members are and what they made, please take a look at the bottom of the blog.  Every month I pretty much cook my way through about half of the wonderful recipes!

Now, let's talk about this recipe.  Connie's made me a negroni before.  I wasn't terribly fond of it.  So, when I read Christy's post and found her suggestion to squeeze a bit of orange juice into the drink, I had to try it.  She also recommended using a better quality sweet vermouth.  That I could do if only my local liquor store stocked one...  Our joke is that we'll stop by Kahn's and see what they don't have...  Well, we finally made it north to Vine and Table on our way to the theatre.  A liquor store with inventory.  Shocking.  Good sweet vermouth and Campari were now ours.  Once home from the theatre, Connie unloaded the car from our Trader Joe's, Sam's, World Market and Vine and Table shopping extravaganza.  I put everything away.  Finally it was time to fix cocktails and relax.  Ahhhhh, lovely.  Christy was SO right about the squeeze of orange.  I actually added the juice of about half an orange.  Now, I have a Negroni I like!  Happy Valentines Day!



1 oz Campari
1 oz gin
1 oz sweet vermouth
juice of 1/2 orange (optional)
orange slice


Mix and shake in a cocktail shaker.  Serve with a slice of orange.

adapted from Confessions of a Culinary Diva

Participating Bloggers:

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Saturday, February 7, 2015

Wing Nut Dip

We've not been home to cook.  True, last weekend I made a big pot of chili and another of ham and beans.  Those are frozen for lunches.  Friday night we went to Actor's Theatre to see 39 Steps.  If you're familiar with the Hitchcock movie, think the movie turned into a slapstick comedy.  Our friend, Don Farrell, who is the artistic director of ATI says he had about 20 costume AND character changes.  Yes, it was hysterical.  My face hurt from laughing.  Saturday was a MOPS party.  That's a family birthday party.  I took corn salad and creamed corn.  Both recipes have appeared on the blog.  In fact, the corn salad one was one of my first.  I realized when I went to get the link that there aren't even photos back then...  Then, Sunday was a Super Bowl party at Deb and Ken's.  AH HA!  I cooked.  I made a new dish!!  Whoo Hooo!  So, what was it?  Wing Nut Dip.  Yeah, I made up the name.  Made up the recipe too.  You see, there's a recipe for cream cheese, blue cheese and pecans that I love.  That got me to thinking about wings.  Super Bowl=Wings, right?  How could I do a blue cheese dressing/wing sauce cracker spread?  So, I started tossing things in the mixing bowl.  And it turned out pretty well.  Pretty well except for the fact that we were out of crackers and I had to bum some from Deb because the streets were too nasty for shopping and going to a party...  So about that photo I took???  You mean the one with the lens mostly closed?  Yeah, that one...  No, it's not here.  It's deleted...

Monday afternoon we got a dreaded call.  Our friend Ellen had died.  She and Charlie live in Memphis.  She'd been doing battle with breast cancer for 15 years.  Last May we drove through Memphis when we drove back from a conference in New Orleans.  Dinner with Charlie and Ellen was the goal.  They met us at Corky's.  We had such a wonderful time.  Connie looked at me and said he'd really like to go to her funeral.  Knowing I'd like to go I'd already checked and replied that it was a 7 hour, 21 minute drive.  The decision was made.  We were going.  Tuesday morning we were up at 5am and on the road about half an hour later.  We got to Memphis in time to have a late lunch before the funeral.  I'd printed a list of potential restaurants.  Alcenia's for soul food won.  Did it ever!!!  Perfect fried chicken, mac and cheese and green beans.  YUM!!! 

The leftovers went into the cooler in the trunk.  Now, you know if we were going to Memphis we were going to have barbecue to bring home.  And, a cooler is the way to do it!

The service was amazing.  We were SO glad we'd driven down.  Two of my colleagues were also there.  You see, Charlie and Ellen were colleagues of ours for many years.  When I went back to my original broker/dealer in August of 2013, they stayed with the new one.  But, we kept in touch.  Grant is at the original b/d with us and Joe is with Charlie at the new one.  It doesn't matter.  We're all still family!  After a gathering at Charlie and Ellen's house, Connie, Joe, Grant and I headed to The Commissary.  The line was out the door.  What should we do?  In typical Grant fashion, he said, 21 minute wait and we go elsewhere.  19 and we stay.  Joe ran in and asked.  20 minutes.  What should he do?  We waited.  And, am I ever glad we did.  Connie and I split the ribs for two.  They came with cole slaw, beans and deviled eggs.  The ribs were perfect.  The rub was amazing.  If I wasn't trying to clear out the pantry, I'd have bought some.  After the kitchen is done, I'll once again stock up on fun stuff like The Commissary rub!!

Wing Nut Dip
8 oz cream cheese (I used reduced fat everything...)
1/4 c mayonnaise
1/2 c sour cream
1/2 c crumbled blue cheese
1/2 c pecans
1 T Emerils seasoning or Cajun spice
1-2 t Chipotle Tabasco sauce (depends on how hot you like it!)
Start the pecans toasting in a small skillet.  While the pecans are toasting, whip the cream cheese.  Whip in the mayo, sour cream, blue cheese, Chipotle Tabasco and Emeril's.  You could easily substitute wing sauce, Tabasco and/or chipotle powder.  Remove the pecans from the heat and chop them.  Stir them into the cream cheese mixture.