I looked in the pantry and there was no BBQ sauce for my meatballs. Panic! I’m taking meatballs to a birthday party tomorrow and wanted to get a head start.   So, I decided that I would try a new type of meatball sauce similar to one I found on BigOven.  This recipe is a twist on the grape jelly meatball sauce where cranberry sauce is used instead.  It was changed it up in a big way to make it my own and get the taste I wanted.  The only thing I didn’t do was make it a “Drunkin” dish.  It was posted on BigOven just now.  Visit there to see more of my recipes and those of many others.  The cooked meatballs are now marinating in the thick sauce in the fridge.  Into the crockpot they will go tomorrow to finish up for a few hours before the party.

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Ingredients

12 ounces Cranberry Sauce; or Cranberry Jelly 2 tablespoons Chili powder
16 ounces Tomato sauce 1 teaspoon Chili Spice; Carroll Shelby’s
1 tablespoon Sugar 1 teaspoon Onion powder
1 tablespoon Honey 1 teaspoon Salt
2 tablespoons Dark Corn Syrup 1/4 teaspoon Pepper

Preparation

Combine all ingredients in mediums size saucepan and cook over medium heat until thickened and smooth. If you are using leftover Cranberry Sauce instead of jelly, then use a masher to reduce the size of the berries. Pour hot sauce over pre-cooked meatballs in a crockpot. Stir occasionally to coat. Keep warm on low until ready to serve.

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.

Viceroy at Mead's Bay

We departed from Simpsons Bay on the Dutch side of St. Martin early enough in the morning to catch the draw bridge at Marina Port de Blaisance and motor to customs right away.  In order to depart from St. Martin the Smitten Kitten’s captain, Stuart, had to speed off to clear all those aboard through customs so that we could go into International seas and set sail to Anguilla.  We were pretty much first in line, though a hot-shot from another charter (to remain un-named) did try to one up us.  He almost “tagged” us as he tried to snuggle between us and the shore.  He gave up quickly, rounded about and moved away to allow for clearance. After clearing customs, we set sail along the coast of St.Martin heading towards the French side.

Stmartin

As we sailed along the North West side of St. Martin (French Side) we passed several sights of interest including a mansion in Meads Bay that sold a few years back for 11 million.  This same mansion was awarded the best worldwide architectural award 2012-2013 by International Property Awards and was the winner from over 2000 entries.

Very close to this mansion is a timeshare resort called the Viceroy. It expands the coast line on Mead’s bay for quite some time.

Viceroy at Mead's Bay
Viceroy at Mead’s Bay

Along the way to Viceroy on our first day sail to Road Bay and Anguilla,  Stuart, our captain made us up some of the best pain killer cocktails ever.  You have got to try them and the secret to the recipe is the nutmeg topper. I was hoping to get the actual recipe but have guessed at the measures.  I’m going to experiment diligently but until then here is my best guess.

Captain Stuart's famous Pain Killer
Captain Stuart’s famous Pain Killer

Pain Killer Cocktail

Fill blender with Crushed Ice
1 can Coco Lopez
1 cup Orange juice
1 small can pineapple juice
Caribbean Rum to taste!!
garnish each cocktail with ground nutmeg

The mid-day appetizer made especially delicious by Jenny, first mate on the Smitten Kitten, featured spring rolls, fresh ginger and a wakame seaweed salad.  I’ve never liked seaweed but this was different.  It was light and slightly sweet.  A lovely taste.  I was surprised to see a package in Costco back in Arizona a month later that looked very similar to the seaweed that Jenny served.  Maybe it was the same dish.  This seaweed salad doesn’t have that typical taste of seaweed which I normally do not like.  I didn’t buy it to try because it was to large a package for two people but I was tempted.   These were some yummy Appetizers.

Spring Rolls with Fresh Ginger and Seaweed Salad
Spring Rolls with Fresh Ginger and Seaweed Salad

Dinner that same night was chicken stuffed with goat cheese and lemon sauce over pasta noodles. A very original dinner served by Jenny and with the help of Stuart.

Chicken Stuffed with Goat Cheese
Chicken Stuffed with Goat Cheese

We were to have continued on to Road Bay to dock for the evening but the waters were rough enough that we decided to stay where we where over night.  I for one was in favor of anchoring the boat and our butts right there and not pitching with the waves to make our way onward so quickly.

Overnight there was a constant patter of evening rain on the decks.  The poor Greek hubby left side port window open and he got late evening bath.  In the dark of night, I had to help him close the window.  I don’t think he had ever closed them himself.  Oh, well…. he demanded to sleep on that side of the bed.  His loss!  My gain!  Of course, I would probably would have closed the window a little better than he did.

Up next… Day 2 Anguilla and Guadalupe.

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.

My kitchen was overcome with the aroma of boiled eggs which is not always a good or bad thing unless you’re the Greek critique who just stepped in the door.  Mr. Hubby didn’t like the fragrance one bit.  I hadn’t noticed but since it was 2 dozen eggs for a Christmas party the number of eggs was far greater than ever for what had been cooked and peeled in my kitchen.  I might consider buying the pre-boiled eggs next time but need to test them on us first.

The eggs were well received at the party and gobbled up quickly.  We put them out in batches of two 12 halves with the first going out with appetizers and the last two 12 halves going out with dinner.  The hostess insisted on serving in batches which did turn out well since those that missed getting one during appetizers were now able to grab one later.

2 dozen extra-large eggs,  hard boiled and then halved
1  cup mayo
2 tablespoon yellow mustard
salt to taste (careful that you don’t add too much)
3/4 teaspoon pepper
3/4 teaspoon Greek Spice (I use it everywhere)
garnish with Paprika and dried  parsley leaves.

Bring a large pot of water to slow simmer.  Using a spoon or egg cradle, lower each egg into the water.  Make sure the water covers the eggs.  Return the eggs to a slight bubbling simmer and then begin your timer to cook at simmer for 5-7 minutes.  I test one egg after 5 minutes to see if it is now hard boiled.  Using the egg cradle, remove the eggs one by one from the hot water and place in a cold water bath to stop the cooking.  If you cook the eggs too long then they will have the grayish edge.  Carefully peel each egg and then cut in half.  These two dozen eggs fit nicely on a full size cookie baking sheet.

Place the egg yolk into a medium size mixing bowl.  With a fork, cut the egg yolk until it is tiny little bits.  Add the mayonnaise, yellow mustard, salt, pepper and Greet Spice.  Mix with spoon and then with hand held mixer on low if necessary.  Whip up well and make sure to get out any lumps.  If you are used to using a decorating tube then select the largest decorating tip that you have so that the egg  yolk mixture doesn’t get stuck in the tube.  Swirl the egg yolk mixture into the empty egg halves so they look like a swirled ice cream cone.  Or, if you haven’t learned how to use a decorating tube, then spoon the egg mixture into the halves.  Garnish with Paprika and dried parsley.

 

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.

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.

This flavorful rice dish is one of my standards to serve with chicken, seafood or pork. Friends will often ask me to cook up a batch of the Greek Rice to serve with dinner. It’s really easy to make and has a nice nutty flavor with the browned Orzo pasta added in.

Left overs can be used for a refried rice by reheating in a little dab of hot oil then mix in some scrambled egg, fresh chopped green onion and chopped meat such as grilled chicken.

Ingredients
3 cups Chicken broth (substitute Knorr’s Vegetable bouillon for vegetarian)
1 1/2 teaspoon Cavendars Greek Spice
1 cup Basmati Rice
1 medium Bay leaf
2 tablespoons Pasta; orzo
1 tablespoon Olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Parsley

Greek Rice
Greek Rice served with Grilled Teriyaki Glazed Yellow Fin Tuna

Preparation
In medium size sauce pan, add olive oil and heat to medium temperature.

Add orzo and brown the pasta until a nutty brown color. Add Basmati rice and coat with olive oil. Stir for a few minutes until rice is warm. Stir in salt, Cavendar’s spice and parsley.

Slowly add chicken broth to cover warm rice mixture. Drop in the bay leaf. Bring to boil and then cover.

Turn down to low heat and simmer for 20 – 25 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed into tender rice. If more liquid is needed, add water and recover until rice is soft and fluffy.

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.

asiago-cheese-tomato-bruschetta-11
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

DSC_1680
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!

Food.  I do love food.  Cooking, smelling the aroma as flavors blend, tasting as it cooks and then enjoying the finished dish.

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It’s been awhile since you’ve seen a new recipe from me so I’m sharing one of my favorite holiday side dishes.  Sautéed Green Beans with Almonds and Mushrooms.2013-12-01T18-34-25_0

It’s not the typical holiday green beans with mushroom soup and crunchy onions as that’s never been one that I could really dig into.  This one keeps the flavor and taste of the vegetable at the top of the palate and enhanced with sautéed mushrooms and nutty almonds.  Cook them al dente so that the flavors still compliment each other and do not turn into a limp blend of soggy beans. 

Ingredients:

1 pound fresh green beans; ends trimmed
2 tablespoons Olive oil
1 tablespoon Butter
1 cup Fresh mushrooms; sliced
3 tablespoons Almonds; slivered
1/2 teaspoons Salt
1/2 teaspoon Cavendar’s Greek Spice; Can substitute other spice mix
1/2 cup Chicken broth; Can substitute vegetable broth

Preparation:

Wash and trim green beans.  Try to pick a young slender beans around 5 – 6 inches long.  If you choose a more mature bean then cut beans into 3 – 4 inch lengths.

Add olive oil and butter to medium size fry pan and bring to medium heat.  Add sliced mushrooms to the melted butter and olive oil.  Sauté mushrooms until they begin to soften.   Add beans and continue to sauté at medium low heat.  Add and stir in raw slivered almonds, salt and Cavendar’s spice and continue to cook until almonds begin to brown and beans begin to soften slightly.

Add chicken broth or vegetable broth (I prefer Knorr’s Homestyle Stock) and continue to simmer over low heat until beans reach desired doneness.   Cook  the beans cooked al dente which is where the cooked bean begins to bend in half but is not limp.  Remove from heat and serve immediately.