Friday, February 19, 2010

Pre-Wedding Planning Party

Hobbies are relaxing to most people, reading, fly fishing, hiking...but not the Blondes. Our hobby is spending months in a state of anxiety while planning weddings. We've done it four times now, and are about to do it again. Typically, we tend to have friends who are really cheap and they know we are suckers for any type of big party where we get to do the cooking, so we end up cooking for a lot of big parties... Anyway, one of our nieces is getting married and we volunteered to do the food, so we decided to have a planning party. In an effort to impress the parents of the bride with our baking skills, we decided to bake a cake. We aren't going to do the wedding cake (we aren't that ambitious yet), but with the idea that it could be used as centerpieces on the tables. Here's how we did it:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees


3 eggs
2/3 cup oil
1 cup water
1 8 oz. jar lemon curd
large package of lemon instant pudding
1 boxed yellow cake mix
Beat the above ingredients until well blended

Pour batter into buttered/floured bundt cake pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean...

After the cake cools, glaze it with a glaze made of the following mixed together:

2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup orange juice
couple of drops of yellow and red food color to make the glaze kind of orangey.

Then place your favorite flowers or whatever flowers work for your event on top and stuck down in the hole. You can adjust the color of the glaze to contrast with the color of the flowers by using different food coloring. Here's what ours looked like:

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Seared Scallops with Balsamic Reduction

Start by preparing the scallops.

Wash scallops and pat them dry; season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.

Heat a skillet with a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add scallops and sear until they are a golden brown, removing from the pan and leaving the tasty little scallop bits in the bottom of the pan.

Add 3/4 cup of balsamic vinegar to the pan, along with 2 T of butter and cook over medium high heat until the vinegar reduces to about 1/2, 20 minutes or so. As the vinegar reduces, add one chopped fresh tomato so the balsamic coats the tomato. After the vinegar has reduced, place the scallops on a serving dish and drizzle the reduction over the scallops. Garnish with fresh basil. You can sop up the reduction with crusty French bread or a baguette.

Serve as an appetizer with a nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc, the Blondes really like Red Truck, or I guess it's actually White Truck

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Turkey Noodle Soup

If you want, you can pour yourself some more Wild Turkey, it always makes the afternoon go a little quicker....

First, the can always buy some egg noodles at the store, but the Blondes never do things the easy way and decided to "Martha Up" and make the noodles themselves.

First take two cups of flour with a pinch of salt and put it in a big mixing bowl.

Then whisk two eggs with two tablespoons of olive oil in a separate bowl.

Make a well in the center of the flour and add the eggs stirring with a fork until the dough forms.

Then knead the dough on a floured surface for ten full minutes. Place the dough back in the bowl and cover with a tea towel. Let it rest for a full twenty minutes..Don't skip this, it really makes a difference in the dough, if you get impatient, pour yourself a glass of Wild Turkey, or in our case, a glass or (three if you're feeling particularly patient) of Chardonnay.

Then run it through a pasta maker twice until it looks like this

Now for the broth:

First cut up the turkey and put it in your biggest stock pot (looks like something from Dexter, doesn't it?)

Then add water to cover the carcass and bring to simmer. Simmer it until the Chardonnay is gone..or at least until the meat falls off the bones (at least a couple of hours). Remove the bones from the broth and dice, setting the meat aside. Dice a whole leek and add it to the pot with a little fresh sage and Herbes de Provence - about a tablespoon..

Add the meat back in and bring it almost to a boil. Cut the pasta into strips and add carefully. It cooks almost immediately.

Open yet another bottle of Chardonnay and enjoy

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

WILD TURKEY (as in Bird, not whiskey)

Both of our significant others consider themselves as the Great White Hunters of the Intermountain West. That being the case, we often find ourselves cooking game. Since the Blondes like to walk on the wild side, this isn't a problem.

Our method for cooking wild turkey follows:

First, open a bottle of Wild Turkey and have a little...
Then wash and dry some fresh rosemary & sage:

Chop it coarsely and work it into some butter

Massage the turkey (we don't rub our turkeys - it's against the law in Utah) with the butter mixture and roast until the breast reaches 165 degrees internally - Looks good huh? Don't let it's looks deceive you, this wild turkey was a tough old bird.

So, we sliced the breast and ate it for dinner, leaving the rest of the meat for our favorite leftover turkey recipe - Turkey Noodle Soup

To be continued....

Friday, December 11, 2009

Two Blondes Do Pasta

The Blondes had a turkey hangover, so decided to make some Festive Pasta with Sweet Italian Sausage.

We took some Sweet Italian sausage out of the casings and chopped it roughly (Lorena Bobbett eat your heart out)

and put it in a large skillet

We browned the sausage over medium heat and moved it to a large saucepan

We soaked some dried mushrooms, about a cup in hot water and drained them:

Then we chopped up two large onions:

Added a little oil to the empty skillet (leave the sausage drippings in there)

and then added the onions & mushrooms, along with some chopped fresh oregano & basil in the skillet to hang out until everything gets soft (no , we aren't going to post another Lorena joke) and maybe even a little carmelized

Add two large cans of chopped tomatoes with puree and four fresh chopped tomatoes and some chopped garlic (sometimes the Blondes start drinking wine and end up with way too much garlic, but that is a post for another time)

Add a good splash of a robust red wine & let the whole thing simmer for a while

Then add about a 1/2 cup of Romano cheese to the sauce & another good amount on top of the finished dish

Bon Appetit!

Friday, December 4, 2009




One Pillsbury Pie Crust - prepare as directed on label
One medium pumpkin
3/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
3 whole eggs
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 T all-purpose flour
1/2 t salt
2 t cinnamon
1 t ground ginger
1/2 t ground cloves
1 t nutmeg
1 1/2 t vanilla
1/4 cup skim milk (gotta watch those calories!)

Cut pumpkin in half and seed it, roast it about two hours at 300F or until soft.
Puree pumpkin in blender or food processor.

Take about 2 3/4 cup of the puree and whisk with brown sugar & granulated sugar. Add
flour, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg. Add in the eggs & whisk until smooth.
Add the cream, vanilla & milk and whisk some more!

Pour into prepared pie crust. If desired, he edges with aluminum foil to prevent overbrowning. Bake about 1 hour and fifteen minutes. A splash or three of whipped cream won't hurt!

Thanksgiving, Part Deux

We made more than turkey for Thanksgiving.

The dressing was a traditional sausage mushroom combination:


Two Blondes Sausage Stuffing:

Brown about a lb of sausage and set aside

Saute about two cups of mushrooms & two onions until soft

Warm some chicken broth (about 4 cups)

Break up two baguettes into coarse large pieces and add the sausage and mushroom onion mixture to it in a large bowl.

Slowly add the chicken broth until it moistened to your liking - there are two camps on the issue of stuffing - those who like it moist (we're in this camp) and those who like it dryer.

Bake the whole thing for about an hour - you can do the stuffing the day before and just reheat before serving.

We also made some green beans with hazelnuts and mushrooms.

First you clean the mushrooms and chop them finely (we used reconsituted dried mixed mushrooms).

Roast the mushrooms at about 350F until they start to brown and shrivel up a little.

Toast about a 1/2 cup of hazelnuts & chop.

Steam the green beans until they are al dente' and then put them on a platter with the mushrooms mixed in. Sprinkle the hazelnuts on top. We also sauteed about a 1/2 of a large onion and used it as a garnish on the beans.

We also served some roasted carrots.

First we julienned the carrots and mixed them with olive oil and garlic.

We roasted them at 350F unti they carmelized and started to brown

Put the carrots in a serving bowl and drizzle with a little maple syrup.....

Bon Appetit!