We had eight of our closest friends at our home to celebrate and ring in the New Year.  Cocktail and appetizer hour started at 7pm and dinner was ready to serve an hour and half later.  The twice baked potatoes were prepared the day prior and were ready to place in the oven for the final baking one hour before dinner.  The tenderloin smoked for 1 hour, grill seared for 15 minutes and then slow cooked in the oven (on and off) for the balance of the day before carving to serve at a delicious medium-rare.

Oh how I wish I were better at remembering to take pictures.  The appetizer table was adorned with so many good foods brought by our friends to share while we enjoyed each others company.  There was a splendid crudités platter.  I just learned this phrase when my friend who just returned home from living in Italy asked if she should bring crudités or humus and chips.  I had to asked what crudités was and learned that it’s vegetable tray.  Another friend brought smoked salmon served with several very tasty spreads and toasted French baguette.   We provided a cheese platter, beef and salami slices and an assortment of crackers for additional noshing.

The table was preset so that it was easier for serving buffet style and so that I was not so rushed at last-minute.  I’ve found that this makes life much easier, less stressful and then I’m able to enjoy the company of my friends without looking frazzled when they arrive.

Again, I forgot to take pictures of the food as it was set out  but did remember to snap on quick photo of my own dinner plate with the perfectly cooked beef tenderloin and twice baked potato served along with sautéed green beans seasoned with chipotle pepper and praline pecans.  The green bean dish was a quick change-up from my standard sautéed green beans with mushrooms and slivered almonds.  I’m still not sure which I prefer to serve.  The chipotle dish was a hot and sweet dish while the other is savory.

Beef Tenderloin:

Let the tenderloin set out on the counter until it comes to room temperature.  Remove all fat and sinew from the outside of the beef with a sharp knife.  Turn the small end of the tenderloin under and then tie the meat so that it cooks evenly.  Season the tenderloin liberally with a robust rub like the A1-Bold or Barbarian’s Steak Rub.  Liberally add ground salt and ground pepper.  Make sure to cover all the surface of the beef (top, bottom, side and ends).  Place in smoker uncovered at 225 degrees for 1 hour.  Remove from smoker and place on hot BBQ grill at 500 degrees and sear top and bottom for around 7-8 minutes per side.

Next, remove from grill and place in a 175 degree pre-heated oven to slow cook for 3-4 hours uncovered.  This will ensure that the tenderloin cooks to a rare – medium rare inside temperature.  If you want the meat to be rare then remove from oven at 130 degrees and let it rest for 10 minutes or so before carving.  If you want it at medium rare then remove from oven at 140 degrees.  The tender loin will continue to cook while it rests and then be perfect when carving.

Cooking Tip:  I had to keep turning my oven on and off  to make sure it didn’t over cook.  This did lead to the crust of the beef becoming a little soft instead of the normal crusty.  If this occurs (check it before serving) then place your oven on high broil and crust up the outside again before removing from the oven.

Entertaining Tips: 

  1. Set the table the day before if you will be having a large number of people.  This can take more time than you think and will cut into your cooking time if saved to the day of the party.
  2. Set up your cocktail bar the day before.  Place a plastic table cloth under any fabric cloth to protect the furniture’s surface if it could be damaged by the drinks or ice.  Set out a few bottles of tonic water, tomato juice, fruit juice and club soda for mixers.
  3. Prepare a cooler filled with soda pop and plenty of water.  Add ice the day of the party around 3 hours before the begin time.
  4. If serving the food buffet style you can set up the buffet table and serving dishes.
  5. Do any decorating and set out centerpieces and/or candles.
  6. Prepare cheese platters, meat platters and condiments for the appetizer table in their serving dishes, cover and keep in refrigerator until ready to serve.
  7. Set up your appetizer table with any table clothes and decorations.  Prepare cracker platters, cover and set on appetizer table.
  8. Make sure your champagne is in the refrigerator the day before so that it is chilled to perfection.  One bottle of champagne pours 5-6 glasses.
  9. Figuring out how much meat to buy; 1/2 pound per person to ensure there is plenty.  Allows for second servings and ample leftovers.
  10. Figuring out how many pounds of fresh vegetables; 1/4 – 1/3  pound per person.
  11. Use 1 extra-large baking potato for every two people.  Add 2 extra for those that like more or especially when making twice baked.  Often, many of your guests will share a baked potato or a large twice baked.  Bake in oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  If making twice baked allow to cool before handling.

 

If you like this recipe and entertaining ideas from KCinAZ, then give me a like or comment on this post. 😀  I’ll try to give you more fun recipes for entertainment.

Chipotle Shrimp on the Grill
Chipotle Shrimp on the Grill

Who would have thought that I would still be grilling outdoors in the middle of December!  It wouldn’t surprise me as much but we are again at Ironworks and the temperature was a brisk 45 degrees outside when I put the shrimps on the grill.  I cook year round at our home in the Valley of the Sun but never dreamed it would be the same here.  I did not serve the shrimp as a surf and turf which what I first thought of doing.  Instead we enjoyed them as an appetizer before dinner along with a sun-dried tomato artichoke dip and crackers.  Hope you enjoy the shrimp recipe and the cooking tips that follow for grilling times.  Non-vegetarians there is a section for grilling steak along with for a Surf and Turf.

Grilled chipotle shrimp

Dozen jumbo shrimp raw
1/4 c chipotle mayo spicy
couple of shakes of chili powder or chili spice (or more if desired)
couple of shakes of chipotle pepper spice (or more if desired)
2-3 twists ground pepper in marinade
fresh ground pepper at the grill

Place shrimp and chipotle spicy mayo sauce in baggy and mix up.

Let shrimp rest in fridge for 15-30 min then gingerly place on hot grill.

Carefully grill until shrimp turns pink turning once while cooking.  I like to add a little more ground pepper while on the grill to jazz up the warmth a bit.  Place the shrimp carefully on the grill so that they don’t fall through.  Grill on hot flame quickly — 1-2 minutes per side.  Place in foil container that can be also topped with foil to keep warm until ready to serve.  Can be a surf and turf or a pleasant yet spicy appetizer.

Grilling shrimp time table
3-5 min per side jumbo
2.5-4 min per side large
2-3 per side med 

Can pan grill if necessary.  Remove shrimp from grill  and place in fresh foil. Seal foil around shrimp to keep hot until ready to serve.

VEGETARIANS – STOP HERE!!

Sorry for the vegetarians, but I love to serve this shrimp with seasoned grilled beef tenderloin with fresh ground pepper and salt. Add a robust beef rub like A1 bold or Barbarians steak rub from Barbarian’s Steak House  in Toronto, Canada.  You can contact them direct to order.  I love it!  Let the steak come to room temperature while you marinate the shrimp.

Barbarian's Steakhouse
Barbarian’s Steakhouse Ribeye

Remove shrimp from grill and keep warm while grilling sirloin, tenderloin or other steaks for surf and turf.  If your steak is 1″ or less they will cook quickly. 2-3 min per side for medium (or if larger use the grilling table below) turning to score in patchwork pattern before flipping to the other side.

Grilling Tenderloin
2″ thick time table
Rare 3-4 min per side
Medium Rare 4-5 per side
Med 5-6 per side
Well-Done 6-7 per side
Plus standing time of 3-5 min depending on how large of cut

 

If you like the recipe from KCinAZ, then give me a like or comment on this post. 😀  I’ll try to give you more fun recipes.

One of the best and most enjoyable gathering of my friends was a few years back for a Holiday Baking Party.  Five of my best friends were invited for a cooking party at my home.  In order to take this type of gathering you need a fairly good size kitchen, several ovens and lots of champagne and orange juice.  To begin, section off several areas of your kitchen to serve as a prep area for each of your friends.  I sectioned off five areas and at each of those was placed  a set of measuring spoons, measuring cups, a hot pad and a vintage grandma’s apron. You don’t need to provide all these items but they can be purchased fairly inexpensively (except for the apron) at the local dollar store or super market.  Gauge the number of friends to invite based on the size of your kitchen and how many prep areas you can arrange but hopefully have at least three participants including yourself.

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Asiago Cheese and Tomato Bruschetta

Have on hand some hors d’ hourves such as the Asiago Cheese and Tomato Bruschetta   for noshing  and Mimosa or Martini’s to sip as you cook.

Items for the prep area:
1 Champagne Flute
1 Set of measuring cups
1 Set of measuring spoons
1 Hot pad(s)
Grandma’s vintage aprons

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Measure cups, measure spoons, hot pads and champagne flute

Friends should bring the ingredients and pans for whatever they want to cook.  Suggested baking items are cookies, sweet breads or pies.  Or, someone may want to take on making up a batch of fudge, penuche or chocolate truffles.  That year I made up truffles and took the corner closest to the stove top.

You may want to find out what each of your friends will be baking so that you can stage a cooking corner just for them.  At an un-staged area, put out all your baking pans, measure bowls, spatulas and anything else that you think someone might forget to bring.  If you are an avid baker or cook like me who has to have every cooking tool they see, then this should be a cinch.

Put on your favorite Christmas music station or Holiday Playlist from your portable media to set the background.  This is an easy party to pull off as you only need a few appetizers, the staging area, Champagne and music to set the stage.

Basic Mimosa Recipe

Basic Mimosa Recipe
Image and Recipe from About.com Basic Mimosa Recipe

Ingredients:

  • Sparkling Wine, Cava, Prosecco or Champagne (1 bottle)
  • Orange Juice (1 carton)
  • Triple Sec (optional)

Preparation:

Fill half of a champagne flute with chilled sparkling wine or Champagne (about an ounce) and top off with chilled orange juice (again about 2 ounces), gently stir. If you’d like to add triple sec, just a splash to taste works out fine. For added flare, slice up a strawberry to decorate the rim of each flute.

Enjoy a fun time at your Baking Party and Best Holiday Wishes from KCinAZ!

At the last moment we decided to spend Thanksgiving at the Cabin and all the fixings for dinner were done in the Two Butt Kitchen.  It took a little more imagination and timing as I only had one oven instead of my three ovens at home.  I know… oh poor me only three ovens.  I do love my kitchen at home but the cabin was a real treat too.  

It did get a little crowded in my little two butt kitchen when we added the third while Gus was carving the turkey but all survived the last minute timing to get the Turkey and trimmings on the table.  Dinner was started at 10:00 am and was served 6 hours later.   My legs were getting tired but my tummy was ready for the feast.  I don’t know if it took longer to cook or to clean up but all was worth it. 

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Turkey and Sweet Potatoes Cooking in the Oven
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The Messy Kitchen

While dinner was cooking we stepped outside for a breather just in time to see three mule deer who had been sleeping in the lower brush wake up and head out for the day. Oh,.. I wish my camera had been in hand instead of the potato peeler.  Then, as the turkey roasted away in the oven we went for a walk with our small legged pets in 50 degree sunny weather.  It was the beginning of a wonderful day. 

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Apple Pecan Bread and Rice Stuffing

Tip for a moist turkey…. make sure to pick out a fresh young turkey. I’ve found that they cook up more moist than most. After stuffing the turkey with my favorite Apple Pecan Rice and Bread Stuffing, I spread a packet of Knorrs chicken Homestyle Stock over the outside of the turkey and then seasoned it with Greek spice, salt, celery salt and pepper. This was a new way of topping off the turkey for me. Another surprise since our cabin is a new experience is that I forgot to bring the turkey pan. So, instead we adapted a flat sheet cake pan and lined it heavily with heavy duty aluminum foil. It worked perfectly except that I’ve never stuffed a turkey into the pan so tight.  I hope you all had as great a Turkey day as us.  We’re off now to take a hand at learning a new card game with our good friends.

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Turkey Breast, Potatoes n Gravy, Apple Pecan Dressing and Green Beans with Mushrooms and Almonds
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Sweet Potatoes, Turkey, Dressing, Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans

If you like this recipe from KCinAZ, then give me a like or comment on this post. 😀 I’ll try to give you more fun recipes.

I’ve got to get me some of these! A Facebook friend sent me the link and I think it’s a great gift idea. Please keep in mind that this post is not an sponsored advert for the company or product. It looked like a fun gift idea for anyone who has a love of cooking and that me in a nutshell. I’m putting it on my Christmas list.

ShowDesignImage

Designs – Tervis Insulated Tumblers – Mugs – Water Bottles – Gifts.

I hope they have an apron, too!

When making this yummy turkey I used a Fresh Young Jenny-O Turkey at 22 pounds for Thanksgiving 2011. It was so juicy and tender. There was no need to add butter for this bird. I had to remove one cup of butter from the basting reserves when making the gravy so that it wasn’t over saturated in butter.

22  pound Turkey 1/8 teaspoon Basil
1/2 teaspoon Poultry Seasoning Paprika
1/4 cup Salt; I prefer Kosher Sea Salt 1 1/2 cups Chicken broth; For basting Turkey
1/8 teaspoon Oregano 1  cube butter; Optional for basting
Turkey… I love it any way I can get it.  It does have to be cooked first thought.  This one is ready to go into the oven and then basting for several hours.
Turkey Stuffed with Apple Pecan Dressing along with extra Paprika for even browning.
turkey-stuffed-with-apple-pecan-dre
Give me the carving knife – I’m hungry!
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DON’T DROP THAT TURKEY, PLEASE!

Turkey Stuffed with Apple Pecan Dressing Preparation

1.  Make sure turkey is fully defrosted.  I prefer a fresh young bird at around 22-25 pounds.

2.  Completely rinse inside of turkey and remove any remaining insides that you may see in the cavity.  Pat dry with paper towel.

3.  Liberally season inside of cavity with 2/3 of the spice mixture of salt, poultry seasoning, oregano and basil.  I mix the seasoning in a small bowl and then just grab liberal pinches of the mix to season.

4.  Lightly pack neck cavity with Apple Pecan Dressing (or another of your choice) and then secure skin to bottom of turkey with short wooden or metal skewers.

5.  Lightly pack bird cavity with Apple Pecan Dressing (or another of your choice).  Most turkeys now come with a oven proof plastic catch to secure the leg which helps to hold the dressing in place.

6.  Place turkey in large roasting pan and add a small amount of Chicken Broth if desired for basting (reserve broth for gravy).  Note: I added the broth after cooking the bird for 3 hours so that some turkey drippings would glaze and brown on the bottom of the pan. If the bird you choose does not come pre-buttered or injected with butter, then a 1 cube butter to the bottom of the pan for initial basting.  Also, when basting the bird if you notice that the bottom of the pan is beginning to brown to much, add the chicken broth then.

7.  Evenly season entire outside of turkey with remaining season mix.

8.  Sprinkle top of turkey with Paprika which will help with an even browning.

9.  Cover wing tips with foil so they do not burn or turn them down and under the turkey if possible.  Crunch up a little foil and place over the dressing so that it does not burn.  You will remove this foil later to allow for some browning.

10.Cover entire bird with a large piece of foil set loosely over the bird so that it does not brown to quickly.  I use the extra large foil size.  I use the heavy duty 18″ foil so that it easily covers the entire pan.

11. Cook in 325 degree oven for 5 1/2 to 6 hours for a 22 to 25 pound bird.  Baste turkey with pan dripping once every hour while cooking.  I usually add the chicken broth at the first stage of basting.

12.  If the bird has not browned sufficiently after 4 1/2 hours, then remove the foil to allow for final browning.

I love turkey any way I can get it.  After stuffing myself so I can zip the pants, a few hours later you can find me slicing off another piece… add a little salt and pepper… and I’m have a late snack.  The next day it’s not a sandwich for me.  I’ve got to make homemade egg noodles, heat up the mashed potatoes, make some more gravy and toss in lots of cut up turkey.  This is a famous farm dish from Idaho the is the perfect comfort food.  Start with the mashed or smashed potatoes on your plate, spoon over the gravy turkey combination and dig in.  Yummmmmmm…
Turkey Stuffed with Apple Pecan Dressing
Turkey Stuffed with Apple Pecan Dressing from KCinAZ BigOven

If you like this recipe from KCinAZ, then give me a like or comment on this post. 😀 I’ll try to give you more fun recipes.