Entertaining

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Last weekend we had the pleasure of attending a BBQ hosted by our friends Andrew and Heide called “United Steaks of America”. I thought that name was pretty clever.

I didn’t bring my camera, so unfortunately I can’t say a lot about the BBQ except it was really good food, good people and those people seemed to like the appetizer I brought.  Therefore, I am posting the recipe for the world to see.  These roll-ups were really very simple, fresh tasting and inexpensive to make.  You can probably tell from the picture that I used some dry, almost inedible tortillas – It will be a lot easier if you don’t follow my lead on this one.  Fresh tortillas are much easier to roll.

 

Zesty Turkey Roll-Ups

Printable recipe here

Makes about 45-50 pieces (sushi roll bite size)

5 Flour Burrito Sized Tortillas

1 8oz Package Cream Cheese – Room Temp

½ Cup Sundried Tomatoes (drained of oil) Chopped

4-5 Tablespoons Thinly Sliced Green Onions

¼ Cup Sour Cream

½ Cup Grated White Cheddar (I used Tillamook)

1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice

Dashes of Tabasco

10 Slices of thinly slice turkey or ham  

1 Cucumber Peeled

1 Bell Pepper

1 Avocado Diced

Toothpicks

In a mixer or with hand mixer, beat cream cheese, sundried tomatoes, onions, sour cream, lemon juice, Tabasco and white cheddar on low for about 1 minute. 

Set aside.

Slice cucumber and red pepper into matchstick size pieces.

Spread tortilla with cream cheese mixture.

Then add two slices of turkey or ham. 

Add a few cucumber and pepper strips, and avocado dices. 

Roll up tortilla tightly.   Slice into 1 inch wide pieces and stick each slice with a toothpick.

A serrated knife works best to keep the roll in tact.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Enjoy!

Love,

Lindzee

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 Last night, Javi and I had two of my favorite peeps over for dinner.

 

Dave   -  I used to work with Dave at SMG .  He is one of the most hilarious, creative  people I have ever met.   He likes to write and sing songs about man boobs.

Neva -  Neva is Dave’s pretty girlfriend.  She is an amazing person who always seems genuinely interested in what you have to say.  I love people like that. 

Dave lived in Korea and has been raving nonstop about a Korean dish called Bibimbap (Korean pronunciation: [pibimpap]).  The word literally means “mixed rice.” Being that we live in Boise, ID, there are not too many Korean restaurants and Dave insisted that it is the best hangover food ever.  Please feel free to correct me if I am wrong about the Korean restaurants in Boise. 

Dave sold me a camera lens and I was a jerk and didn’t write the check for enough $.  He told me not to rewrite the check, but I would need to repay him with Bibimbap.  I agreed to take on the challenge. 

This is the description of Bibimbap from Wikipedia: “Bibimbap is served as a bowl of warm white rice topped with namul (sautéed and seasoned vegetables) and gochujang (chili pepper paste). A raw or fried egg and sliced meat (usually beef) are common additions. The ingredients are stirred together thoroughly just before eating.[2] It can be served either cold or hot. 

After a little bit of research, I decided on a recipe from a Bobby Flay episode. The recipe was written by his friend Jenn Lee.  Which you can find here.

The reviews looked good and the recipe seemed simple enough.  The one ingredient not commonly found at the grocery store is Gochuchang.  This is a spicy paste made from red peppers and bunch of other ingredients.  Don’t even try to make Bibimbap without this.  It is essential and amazing!  Who is that dashing young man holding the Gochuchang?

Neva was able to find the Gochuchang at the Orient Market on Emerald St. in Boise.  She looked up a picture of it on the internet first because she was too embarrassed to ask for it at the market.  I thought that was cute.  She also picked up another Korean condiment – Black Bean Paste.  I thought this stuff was kind of weird tasting. 

So anyways, I started out the night before by marinating the steak cut into thin strips.  I used flank steak instead of ribeye.  Everyone felt the steak was the best part.  The marinade was incredibly good and in the future I will use it to marinade everyday steak.  The best part is that it uses 7-up!


Then about an hour before we wanted to eat, I put the rice in the rice cooker

I grilled the meat about 7-8 minutes on low. 

Then sautéed the spinach, carrots and Shiitake mushrooms in some sesame oil and salt. 

Then I fried some eggs (over easy) and made the Gochuchang paste.  When mixed up, the yolk from the eggs coats the other ingredients and makes it soooooooo good!!

Here is the finished bowl all stacked up. 

 I left the Gochuchang paste on the side for people to add their own since it is super spicy.  We had a large mixing bowl at the table where everyone mixed up their own dish and preferred level of Gochuchang. 

I would HIGHLY recommend this recipe.  It was really simple with great flavor.  Dave even said it tasted authentic!  I blushed.

I also made some Oi Moochim (seasoned marinated cucumbers) from the same episode.  You can find the recipe here.   Equally as good! 

Dave brought PLENTY of Miller Lite tall boys to accompany the meal.  Not to mention the 3 bottles of wine we drank.  It was a night filled with lively conversation and debauchery.

Thanks Dave for introducing me to some fabulous cuisine!  I will definitely be making this often.

Love,

Lindzee

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Merry Christmas from East Wenatchee, Washington! I am incredibly thankful to be home and spending time with my family.  While we didn’t have a white Christmas at the house, there is a small dusting on the mountains. 

We have been having the same breakfast casserole on Christmas morning since I can remember.  It seems like most families have their own version of a breakfast casserole/soufflé.  Ours is Dijon-maple flavored and we make it the night before so it has a chance to sit in the fridge overnight and get custardy.  Also, this way everyone is free to open presents instead of slaving away in the kitchen. 

 

As mentioned in the previous post, most of our Christmas recipes are on hand-written note cards from the seventies or eighties.  Here is the breakfast soufflé card:

This dish isn’t super fancy, but it is incredibly easy to make for a crowd and I haven’t heard a complaint yet. 

Maple-Dijon Breakfast Casserole

1lb Jimmy Dean Maple Breakfast Sausage

6 Slices of Sourdough bread cut into cubes

1.5 Cups Tillamook Sharp Cheddar Cheese freshly grated
4 Eggs

1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard

2 Tablespoons Real Maple Syrup

½ Teaspoon Salt

¼ Teaspoon Pepper

2 Cups Half and Half

Dry Bread slices on cookie sheet for 2 hours.  Arrange  bread cubes in buttered casserole dish.  

Fully cook the sausage and chop into crumbles. 

Layer sausage on top of bread. 

Beat eggs.  Add mustard, syrup, salt and pepper, half & half and beat 1 minute more.  Pour over sausage and bread.  Make sure all of the bread is covered with the egg mixture.   Sprinkle cheese over the top of the casserole.

Cover and refrigerate overnight.  Bake for 45 minutes on 350 degrees. 

 

What is your version of the breakfast casserole?? I would love to hear everyone else’s adaptation.

 

Hope your holiday is filled with fun and happiness!!

Love,

Lindzee

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Merry Christmas to everyone!  The holiday season is my favorite time of year and Christmas Eve happens to be my favorite part.  My family has a tradition of hosting a fondue party every Christmas eve.  Lots of dipping, eating and having fun.

And any Frei family holiday would be complete without a lot of red wine spilling.  This year was no exception:

 

 Fondue? Don’t mind if I do!  I love fondue – I think it might be because I am a sauce person. I am obsessed with sauces.  Fondue is the only meal I can think of where you dip every course and every bite.  In the words of Lustopher Hardy – “A little bit of heaven”. 

We generally setup the fondue around my parent’s kitchen island, which promotes lots of socializing.

Even Mavie (who has severe IBS (not joking) and is not allowed people food) tried to get a piece of yumminess. 

 

For those of you not familiar with fondue, we have three courses for the party:

The Cheese

The Meat

The Chocolate

Easy to remember since it is the three basic food groups :) .

I am sure some of you will be able to relate to this, but all of our family’s Christmas recipes have been around for so many years that they are stored in this little messy handwritten card holder my mom keeps.

 I love looking through all these recipes every year.  I even found a couple of Tomato Aspics (sick).   We don’t make that anymore. My favorite was this recipe written on a Goodyear Tire notepad. Hehe.

 

 Here are the fondue recipes.

 Don’t worry, I retyped them :) .

The Cheese Course

As previously mentioned, the night begins with the cheese fondue.  I really could just have this course and be fine for the rest of the night.  It is sooo freaking good. I have seen people make cheese fondue with many different types of cheeses and ingredients.  We never stray from the traditional.  Why fix what ain’t broken? 

Important note: When eating the cheese you must be careful.  It has been said that if you drop your piece of bread or fruit into the cheese you must kiss the person next to you.  Generally, this gets a little strange because I am usually eating fondue with my family.

Traditional Cheese Fondue (Adapted from handwritten recipe circa 1972 by Pam Frei)


½ Pound freshly grated Emmentaler Swiss Cheese

½ Pound freshly grated Le Gruyere Cheese (Do not use processed Gruyere.  The year we tried the processed is the same year we tried the chocolate fountain.  It will forever be known as the year of the fondue failure and subsequently the year without a Santa Claus)

1.5 Cups Dry White Wine

1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice

1.5 Teaspoons Cornstarch

1 Garlic clove halved

½ Teaspoon Nutmeg

Salt and White Pepper to taste

3 Tablespoons Kirsch Cherry Liquor

Dippers

Loaf of French bread cubed

2 Apples cubed

Roasted potatoes for dipping (optional)

Rub garlic on inside of large pot with two forks.

 Remove garlic solids.  Add white wine and lemon juice and heat over medium heat.  Heat till air bubbles rise but to not boil.  Whisk in cornstarch so there are no lumps.  Reduce heat to low.  Add a handful of cheese. 

 When cheese is melted add another handful.  Do not boil.  Add in nutmeg, salt and pepper and Kirsch.  The Kirsch adds great flavor.  At this point, we add the cheese mixture to a crockpot on high, so it doesn’t burn.  Use fondue sticks to dip.

 The Meat Course

The meat course is a little different because the eater is actually cooking their own meat. 

There are fondue pots (we have 3-4) of heated beef bouillon and red wine (one year we experimented with peanut oil) and over the years we have tried the different combinations of the following:

Shrimp (peeled and deveined)

Steak (cut into chunks)

Chicken (cut into chunks and generally marinated)

Salmon (cut into chunks)

Mushrooms

Peppers          

 Heat the following over a stove until boiling and add to fondue pot.

2 Cups of Beef Broth

1 Cup Red Wine

We like to use Sterno, not tealights, as a heat source.  Otherwise, it doesn’t get hot very fast.

Now for the dipping sauces – I try to make these the day prior to the party:

Sweet and Sour (my personal favorite)


½ cup Apricot Preserves

¼ cup Catsup (this cracks me up!  Anyone know the difference between catsup and ketchup?)

2 Tablespoons honey

2 Tablespoons white vinegar

2 Tablespoons Major Grey’s Chutney

Heat all ingredients until it reaches a simmering stage.

Mustard Sauce

1/2 Cup sour cream

1/3 Cup mayonnaise

1.5 Tablespoons prepared mustard (the French’s kind. Not the Dijon)

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 Teaspoon horseradish

Combine all ingredients and mix well

Blue Cheese Dressing Sauce

This can easily be used as salad dressing to.

¾ Cup sour cream

½ Teaspoon dry mustard

½ Teaspoon salt

½ Garlic clove minced

1 Teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

½ Cup mayonnaise

3 Oz. Crumbled blue cheese

Combine all ingredients with the exception of blue cheese in a large bowl.  Mix for 2 minutes on low speed.  Slowly add blue cheese and blend 4 more minutes.  Refrigerate 24 hours prior to serving.

Teriyaki Sauce
We take a shortcut and use Yoshida!

  The Chocolate Course

I am usually so stuffed at this point that I can barely walk, but I always make room for just a bit more since the chocolate is so good.  Our recipe is super simple but really yummy!

Chocolate Fondue

2 Large bars of Symphony Chocolate with Toffee Bits – This stuff is the best and adds a little extra crunch

½ Cup Whipping Cream

2 ounces of Bailey’s Irish Cream (optional)

Heat chocolate and whipping cream over double boiler over low heat.  Stir until melted.  Transfer to chocolate fondue pot.  

We have this super cute hot fudge warmer thing we use:

Dippers

Use any combination of the following:

Bananas sliced

Mandarin Oranges

Strawberries

Apples

Pineapple

Pound Cake (bite size)

Cheesecake (bite size)

Leftover holiday cookies

At this point in the party I am generally ready to pass out since I am so full. 

I hope you have all have a wonderful Christmas!  I would love to hear about your Christmas traditions.  Please post them in the comment section. 

Be safe, be merry and eat & drink with reckless abandon!  You can work it off later!

Love,

Lindzee

PS.  I wish Mr. Barrera could have been here!  Hope you are having fun in b-town!

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The yearly wild women cookie exchange has become a tradition among my circle of friends. I started hosting this party at my home in my early 20s and haven’t missed a year yet.  When we first started, it was more about guzzling champagne than exchanging cookies. In fact, at the inaugural party there were 13 ladies in attendance and 14 bottles of champagne drank :O.  But now as we approach our thirties, it seems to be more about socializing and gathering all the cookies you need to serve at your holiday events. However, there are still always a few diehards who stay late and drink the last of the champagne with me.  These are my favorite guests:

 

Every woman who attends the party must bring 5 or 6 dozen cookies to exchange. I supply the take-away boxes which are purchased at the dollar store for three for a $1.  Most people bring homemade and copies of their recipe, but there are a few who claim to have no baking skills and bring store-bought.  We try not to give them too hard of a time.   We actually did not have anyone bring store-bought this year!

 

I love hosting this party because it is a great way to get all my best girlfriends together and celebrate the season.  It makes the holiday rush easier, because it is held the weekend before Christmas and everyone gets about 15 different cookies to bring/serve at their holiday events when they only baked 6 dozen of 1 kind. 

This year was a fantastic party!  In fact, while I am writing this, we are still drinking champagne.  Here I am typing away with my friend Michelle:


 We had so many wonderful cookies!  And a LOT of drinkers this year. Which always makes the party more fun. 

 Here are a few of my favorite brown-haired drinkers:

 Since we are drinking champagne, it is best not to make the women subsist on only cookies. Here is this year’s menu and subsequent recipes:

On the Menu

Chicken Apple Sausage Quiche

Fresh Fruit with Brown Sugar Yogurt Dip

Stuffed Balsamic Mushrooms

Raspberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Barb’s Curry Chutney Brie

Winter Green Salad with Pears

Pomegranate Brandy Champagne Cocktails

Bailey’s and Coffee

 

Chicken-Apple Sausage and Irish Cheddar Quiche

 

 

Fresh Fruit with Brown Sugar Yogurt Dip

Assorted Fresh Fruit Cut-Up

½ Cup Plain Yogurt

1 Cup Sour Cream

¼ Cup Brown Sugar

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

½ Teaspoon Coconut Extract (totally optional)

Mix yogurt, sour cream, brown sugar, extracts in a bowl.  Refrigerate 1 hour.  Serve for fruit dipping!

Stuffed Balsamic Mushrooms

20-30 Mushrooms Stems Removed

1 8oz Package cream cheese (room temp)

1/3 Cup Sour Cream

1/3 Cup Mayonnaise

6 Strips Bacon Chopped

5 Green Onions Chopped

1 Clove Garlic Minced

1 Cup Parmesan Cheese Shredded

1 Egg Yolk

1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar (secret ingredient)

Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix cream cheese, sour cream, mayo, bacon, onion, garlic, parmesan cheese, balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper.

 Fill each mushroom with a teaspoon or so of filling.  Put in baking dish and bake for 30 minutes. 

 Barb’s Curry Chutney Brie
This is another favorite recipe from my friend Barb. Love it.

1 large Brie Wheel (Costco has a good price)

1 Tablespoon Curry Powder 

½ Jar Major Grey Mango Chutney (4.5 oz)

½ Cup Whole Pecans

Crackers etc.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Rub brie all over with curry powder.  Spread with chutney.  Top with pecans.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Serve with Crackers!

Raspberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake

I found this recipe on Annie Eats.  I forgot to take a pic but it was great!

Winter Green Salad with Pears

5 or 6 Cups of Spring Mix Greens

2 Ounces Crumbled Blue Cheese

2 Pears Sliced

1 Cup Candied Pecans – Recipe Below

Shallot Vinaigrette – Recipe Below

Mix together all ingredients in large bowl.  Toss with vinaigrette.

Candied Pecans

 

½ Cup White Sugar

2 Cups Whole Pecans

Heat sugar over medium high heat in large skillet.  Once it starts melting it will look like this:

At this point you need to turn the heat down to low and throw in the pecans.  The sugar will burn very quickly at this point so you need to watch it carefully.   Toss pecans in sugar.  Once coated remove from heat and set on foil to cool.

Shallot Vinaigrette

1 Shallot Minced

1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard

1 Teaspoon White Sugar

3 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar

1/3 Cup Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

Blend ingredients together in blender of food processor.  Pour over salad.

 

Coffee with Bailey’s Irish Cream

Is any brunch is complete without this lovely treat?

Pomegranate Champagne Cocktails

 I had these last week at the Drake Cooper holiday party and knew I had to serve them. 

2 Pomegranates seeded (Go here for instructions)

½ fifth of Brandy

Lots of Champagne

Soak seeds in brandy refrigerated overnight.  Add a tablespoon to each glass of champagne.
I thought this pic was hilarious:

By the way, I LOVE Christmas and my house is decked out in holiday gear.  I even wrap all of the wall pictures/hangings in wrapping paper and make my poor dog wear a santa suit.   Here he is with little Grace!


The Cookies

Let’s get to the delicious cookies! I think the exchange is everyone’s favorite part of the party.  Here is a  silly little video of the exchange taken by Katie Shamalangadingdong.

I made Saltine Toffee Cookies, which I make every year. They are amazingly simple and tasty!  Here is the recipe.

 While, I wish I could post everyone’s recipe, I am a little lazy.  So here are a few of my favorites that made an appearance at the party:

Katie’s Peppermint Chocolate Sandwich CookiesRecipe here


Sarah’s Oreo Truffle BallsRecipe here

These are incredibly rich and yummy!


Michelle’s Chocolate Cranberry FudgeRecipe here

Cortnay’s Mint Chocolate BrowniesRecipe here

As you can probably tell, there was no shortage of cookies.  Here are a few more fun pics from the party:
Katie with Kate’s little guy James


Crissie baking her delicious sugar cookies


Rose’s delicious Almond Cookies

Myself and Miss Michelle C.

Mavie and Kelsay bonding


Jaime and Betsy discussing the art of cookie baking

I had a blast at this year’s party and am incredibly thankful for all of my wonderful friends.  Thanks to foodbuzz for letting me participate in this great event.  And a big thanks to Crissie and Katie for helping me document the craziness.

Happy holidays!!

Love,

Lindzee

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