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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

'Twas the night before the night before.......

Welcome to the December 23rd rendition of Tasty Tuesday Recipe Exchange!
I am going to let you in on a little secret.....I am not ready for Christmas but I am pretending like I am......
So, just sit back and let me pretend that I have my menu completely planned and all of the ingredients purchased and that I'm relaxed and calm.
 And, just go with me when I tell you that I am not planning on adding another menu item to menus that are already bursting at the seams.  Carmen is already threatening to cut back on the buffet tables that I have planned to hold what I already have.  I blame his behavior on a lazy wine-infused Saturday night when I read an article that said holiday meals should have no more than 5 menu items.  After glass #3, my inhibitions were gone and I told him all about this theory.  I should have known better.  But, I thought he had drank enough wine that he would forget all about it.  No. No. No.  All of a sudden, that article is coming back to haunt me.  "REMEMBER, ONLY 5 MENU ITEMS ON A HOLIDAY TABLE..."  has been his mantra these past few weeks.
"WHAT ABOUT THOSE SEVEN FISHES FOR THE FEAST OF SEVEN FISHES? THAT'S SEVEN RIGHT THERE!"  I have screeched to my full-blooded Italian man about 89 times.   
"ONLY FIVE!!!"  is always his bellowing answer.
There's no messing with this guy.
So, I am trying  hard to figure out how to sneak in just a few extra dishes.....
Tell me NO and I figure out a way around NO.  It's just who I am.....
Clearly this 50% Irish girl is more Italian that my husband when it comes to feeding people!!!

Enough about that.....let's talk about what recipes I am sharing today!!!
At a lovely holiday party at a noted wine restaurant a few weeks back, I became enchanted with a RISOTTO BAR.
Yes, you heard me right--a RISOTTO BAR.
A few years back, a MASHED POTATO BAR stole my heart.
Before that, I was smitten with a  PASTA BAR.
Maybe I just like BARS......and carbs
Ever since my risotto bar encounter, I've been scouring sites looking for the most amazing risotto at the party---A BUTTERNUT SQUASH & GOAT CHEESE RISOTTO.  This stuff was heaven.
Finally, I came upon a simple recipe that looked like it might fit the bill.  So, one night last week when I was supposed to be either wrapping presents or cleaning the bathroom, I decided to take to the kitchen and try it out....just in case I need a risotto dish during the holidays....
Well, I am here to tell you that this recipe tastes just like the amazing risotto I had at the party.  It's rich, creamy and absolutely delicious.  And, it's so perfectly simple that I just had to share it with all of you....just in case you need to add risotto to your holiday meal....
Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Risotto

1 cup arborio rice (sometimes it's actually called RISOTTO)
2 tbsp olive oil
3 1/2 cups chicken  or veggie stock (I used chicken because that's what I had on hand)
1 cup dry white wine  (I used Pinto Grigio)
1 shallot, finely minced (I used a white onion since I did not have a shallot)
1 cup cubed butternut squash (cube it very small)
3/4  cup crumbled goat cheese

Note: Instead of using the stove top for this (for reasons I don't even want to tell you!), I used this newly acquired appliance and I was super happy with it....
Heat olive oil in a medium sized pot over medium high heat. Once hot, add the minced shallot and the butternut squash. Saute for about 6-8 minutes, until shallot is translucent and squash is tender. Add the rice and stir well. Cook for about 2 minutes.
Add the white wine and cook until all is absorbed, stirring constantly (probably about 10-12 minutes).
Then, add the stock, a quarter cup at a time, stirring continuously over medium heat. As stock becomes absorbed, add more. Continue until  all of the stock is used, and the rice has cooked through.
Remove pot from the stove and stir in the goat cheese crumbles. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste and serve.   Feeds about 4-6 people. 
Note:  Risotto takes a lot of not leave it on it's own.  It's probably about 20-25 minutes of stirring time.  But, oh, it's so worth it!!!

No respectable night before Christmas Eve recipe sharing blogger would go without sharing a good seafood recipe.  Right?  RIGHT!
And, I'm nothing if I am not respectable....
Plus, no good party girl would not share a good appetizer recipe....Right?  RIGHT.
Hey, I'm nothing if not a good party girl.
And, considering that it is the night before Christmas Eve, a kind-hearted blogger would never share a complex recipe!  Right?  RIGHT!
And, I'm nothing if  not kind-hearted....
So, sit back and relax and know that all you have to do is get a few ingredients and do a little bit of prep work and you are on your way to these yummmmy EASY CRAB PUFFS.....!

Easy Crab Puffs
This recipe comes to you by way of my girlfriend--the caterer to the stars of Pittsburgh.  She serves this for cocktail receptions and it's always one of her most requested items from her clients.  In fact, one of her VIP clients just ordered 80 dozen of them for a New Year's Eve buffet that she is hosting.  When my friend told me this the other day, I laughed at the absurdity of 80 dozen---"that's a hell of a lot of crab puffs!" I said.   But, my girlfriend was thrilled to have someone order a super easy recipe as opposed to a more complex one if she had to make that many! "These crab puffs are my little secret weapon to a happy cocktail hour!" she exclaimed.   You know, she is right....they are easy to make, they are not costly, they taste great and they make a grand entrance!  Between you and me---she told me that she lifted it from a Pepperidge Farm cookbook a few years back so I am not really not giving away her little secret weapon.  I have made these many, many times and always receive rave reviews.  I think I might add these to my Christmas Eve menu....shhh...don't tell my husband....

Ingredients for 24 Crab Puffs
  • 8 oz. canned crab meat  (she uses this one....)
  • 6 oz. Cream Cheese, softened (she uses a store brand)
  • 1 tablespoon Mayo  (she uses a store brand)
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced or 2 Tlbs. of garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire
  • ½ teaspoon Soy Sauce
  • 3 Green Onions, chopped plus one more for garnish
  • 1 sheet Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry, thawed
  • Salt and pepper
Preheat over to 400 degrees
  1. In a medium bowl, mix together crab, cream cheese, mayonnaise, garlic worcestershire, soy sauce and green onions.
  2. Flour counter top and roll out sheet to a 10" x 15" rectangle.
  3. Using a pizza cutter or knife slice 24 2½" squares.
  4. Place one square in each mini muffin well.
  5. Add one tablespoon crab mixture into each cup.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until puff pastry is golden.
  7. Top with green onions and serve immediately.

 Finally.....this respectable, kind-hearted party girl cannot let Christmas arrive on our doorsteps in less than 2 days without sharing a new-to-me cocktail that's been all the rage at all the bars in Judiland....the Moscow Mule.  As a gin-lover, I asked one of my favorite bartenders if he could mix me up one using my favorite libation--Hendrick's Gin.   And, I had one more request--being a Lapbanded girl, I should not really drink anything carbonated so I asked him to come up with one that isn't too fizzy.   It took him a week or so but he came up with a fabulous rendition just for me....and I just love it....and, I know you will too! 


2ouncesHendrick's gin
12ouncesLime juice
4ounces non alcoholic Ginger beer---leave the bottle open for a few hours to cut down on fizziness
Muddle 1 cucumber slice with the gin and lime, and strain into an ice filled copper mule mug. Top with ginger beer, and garnish with a new cucumber slice

(oh, go ahead and shout!)

1 comment:

Grandma Bonnie said...

Merry Christmas! I will have a Moscow Mule, but made with Tito's vodka. mmmmmm
The Risotto sounds delish, I will save that for New Years.