Friday, September 30, 2011

Hard Cider and the Harvest at Tudor Place

Welcome to the first of four guest posts by the blog tech! It is the morning after the Tudor Place fall event, a party that my sister planned most excellently with a bit of help from my mother. I drove a car full of food and decorations to Washington DC, bringing the gift of pesto pasta, meat trays, obatzda cheese dip, spinach dip, cream cheese in the form of pumpkins, chex mix, and about five hundred pounds of assorted cheese trays. I also saw this cute, pudgy kitty while walking around and had to include it. The kitty is planking!
Here is my sister setting up the food table at Tudor Place.
Braedon made marshmallows rolled in chocolate and graham cracker crumbs on sticks. All the s'more and none of the mess! These were really terrific, and people went nuts over them.
Here you can see my mother's pesto pasta. People absolutely went nuts over this; she added pepitos, the insides of pumpkin seeds, and it added a very nice crunchy counterpoint to the intensity of the pesto. I want one of these right now, actually. And I had more than a few last night.

You can also see cups of chex mix, the spinach dip in its bread bowl, and the obatzda cheese dip with pretzel sticks. I ate a lot of cheese at this event. Like, a lot.

Meat and cheese trays.
On to the desserts!
My sister also made the pumpkin truffles; they were some kind of pumpkin-y center deliciousness coated in white chocolate. Really, they should just be called " !s ". An exclamation mark is the perfect way to describe them. They almost knocked my eyebrows off.

More cheeses!
This is Lara, standing by the dessert table.
And here is me. I have the fisheye lens with me, which allowed for some of these panoramic shots. You'll see more of them when I put up photos of the Tudor Place gardens tomorrow.

Fisheye lenses do interesting portraits because of how they ever-so-slightly distort the face. I did a weird face expression to emphasize this.
Oh my God what is going on with my sister's left hand! This is a perfect photo of Braedon in her command center, making sure everything ran just as it should. But what the hell is going on with her hand!

Maybe she's saying, "Hey, I'm running this event. I'm so in charge here that I can somewhat bend the laws of reality. Watch me spin my hand around three hundred and sixty degrees. Just cause I can". I dunno, I'll have to ask her.

Tomorrow I'll upload photos of the garden, as well as photos of Asbury Park, New Jersey! Lara and myself are heading to the ATP Three-Day Music Festival to see bands such as Portishead, Swans, Manorexia, The Pop Group, The Horrors, Shellac, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, and more! I've never been to New Jersey, but I promise all you readers right now that I am going to get at least one photo of the Jersey Devil. See you tomorrow!

-Blog Tech

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Obatzda Recipe

Mmmmmm.....make this. You will not be sorry! Obatzda is served in almost all German beer halls.

Put 4 tablespoons of butter, 8 oz. of cream cheese, 2 tsp. worcestershire sauce, 2 tablespoons of granulated garlic and 1 grated small white onion in the bowl of your mixer.

Add several diced shallots.

Add 1 tablespoon of paprika. Add some salt and pepper. Beat to mix.

Add 1 cup of grated cheddar.

Add dark beer tablespoon by tablespoon mixing to get a spreadable consistency. I did not have dark beer so I used light. I used about 1/4 cup.

Cube a round of Brie or Camembert into 1/4 inch cubes.

Leave the rind on. You want the cubes to stay intact.

I made a LOT of this for my daughter's event tonight. Make it a day ahead to give the flavor a chance to improve.

Serve several scoops with pretzels or dark bread.

The Blog Tech is driving all the food I made to my daughter for her event this evening. He is then heading off to a music concert. He will be doing guest blogs through Monday. He likes keeping me Blog Tech dependent!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pumpkin Cheese Ball Recipe

I made a couple of these for my daughter's event on Thursday.

You can make any cheese ball mix you like. I made one with cream cheese, grated cheddar, diced shallots, a grated onion and a jar of chutney. I line a small bowl with saran wrap and pack the cheese mixture in it. It gets refrigerated overnight so it is firm. The next day I mix some cream cheese with red and yellow food coloring to get some shades of orange.

Turn the cheese ball out onto a plate.

Cover the cheese ball with the orange cream cheese.

I add some brown food coloring to the cream cheese and spray the ball with cooking spray. Then you can mold the cream cheese to have 'pumpkin bumps' and smooth out the cheese. Add a bit of the brown cheese and make streaks to resemble a real pumpkin.

Carve the stem part of broccoli and press it in as the stem of the pumpkin.

You can use the broccoli leaves as pumpkin leaves. Use a flat spatula to move the pumpkin to your serving platter when it is time to serve. Serve it with crackers or bread. She is serving this with the rosemary bread that I made.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Best Chicken Noodle Soup You Will Ever Eat

Once you make this recipe, you will never make chicken noodle soup any other way.

Well this is not very lady like.

I start the soup by slow roasting 2 chickens until the meat falls off the bones. I season them and roast them at 275 for about 5 hours.

The skin is nice and crisp and the meat literally falls right off the bones. Pick all the meat off and save all of the juice from both pans.

Refrigerate the juice from the pans until the fat sets on the top.

Scrape the fat off the top.

Place the rest in a large pot.

Add all of the bones and skin.

Cover it with water.

Add celery, about 6 carrots and several onions sliced in half.

Make up a bouquet garni made of bay leaves, dried thyme, black peppercorns and about 6 cloves.

Add it to the pot.

Bring this all to a boil and then let it simmer for a couple hours.

Remove from the heat.

This makes a lot but it also freezes really well. I gave my friends a lot of this.

Strain all of the stock through a fine sieve. Throw all the bones and solids away.

Refrigerate it overnight until the fat solidifies then scrape it off and throw it out.

I leave a little bit in. Bring the stock back to a boil and then allow it to simmer.

I add a pack of chicken demi glace to my stock. It enriches the flavor. You can always use bouillon rather than the demi glace but watch your salt if you do.

Slice a lot of carrots. I use a mandolin to get them very thin.

Add lots of fresh parsley and dill. Don't skip the dill. It is the most important ingredient in this recipe. Shred the saved chicken and add it to the stock. Taste it for flavor and add salt and pepper.

Boil some egg noodles separately. Undercook them because they will continue to cook when added to the soup and you don't want them to be mushy.

If your carrots are sliced very thin they will cook very quickly but wait to add the noodles until the carrots are done.

Dinner in a bowl. I have never had anyone not fall in love with this soup!