Dinner Parties and More

Rustic sauteed mushrooms

Julia’s Mushrooms.

How Would Julia Do Mushrooms?      While searching for a side dish that contains sautéed mushrooms, I decided the place to start was  to see what Julia had to offer. Known and recognized everywhere, Julia Child was a culinary legend and a household name. Her persona was larger than life, and she had an infectious enthusiasm for both cooking and for having a good time. Few people have had as much influence in elevating fine dining in this country as she, and cooks worldwide owe Julia a large debt of gratitude…

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Colatura di Alici

Spaghetti alla Colatura di Alici – Revealing Another Secret Ingredient

  I’ve never particularly liked anchovies. To me they are great in small amounts, such as when I make a Caesar salad. But if I am faced with a pizza with those furry strips decorating the top, I will select the piece with the fewest anchovies. Liquid Gold    In several of my recent readings, they made references to colatura di alici (a fish sauce made from anchovies). One article in Slate actually had the heading “The Italian Anchovy Juice That Might Change Your Life.” Well, that sounded intriguing, so I decided…

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Carmelized shrimp

Shrimp Caramelized With Chardonnay Sauce

    First of all, are prawns and shrimp one and the same? Although they have a similar appearance, they are not. We can talk about membership in different crustacean families, but the main difference is their habitat: “Shrimp come from both fresh and salt water and can live in both cold and warm waters; if they come from cold waters, then they will be smaller in size. There are more saltwater than freshwater species. Prawns come from fresh water, and are much larger and meatier, like a langoustine. Their meat…

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BLT

This IS The BLT To Die For

     I love a BLT, and I’m not alone. In polls where people were asked about their favorite sandwich, the BLT was either at the top or close to the top of every list. And it’s so simple: two slices of bread, mayo, bacon, lettuce, and tomato. That’s it.      Not all BLTs are great. I’ve been served many that I didn’t think were very good at all. What I think sets a great one apart from the others are (1) the quality of its contents and (2) the way it’s prepared….

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Patio Toad

The Margarita Lifestyle – Chippin’ Dippin’ and Sippin’

     There’s nothing like a cool and tasty margarita on a hot summer’s day! It’s a grand accompaniment to go along with the guacamole and homemade chips I posted last week (click on Time To Take Your Culinary Entertaining Outdoors). All are made with fresh ingredients, and everyone knows chippin’, dippin’, and sippin’ is the perfect Rx for summer. So here it is – the best recipe ever for The Perfect Margarita!  Pitcher     Two Servings      6 oz.              3 oz.             Lime juice (two limes = about 3 oz.)      ½ cup           ¼ cup        …

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Time To Take Your Culinary Entertaining Outdoors

     If you live in a four-season climate, you know the first part of June is  the best time for entertaining outdoors. Lawns and foliage are fresh and green; the flies and mosquitoes aren’t yet in peak form, and it isn’t so ungodly hot.  After waiting all winter, margarita season has finally arrived.      Are you looking for something besides salsa to serve with a pitcher of margaritas? Prepare a delicious guacamole dip made with fresh ingredients and serve it in a molcajete (a traditional Mexican version of a mortar…

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Tomato salsa

Summer Is Tomato Salsa Season

There’s Nothing Like Fresh Salsa     Fresh salsa has a season; at least it does in the Midwest. It begins when that first July tomato ripens on the vine. In a good year, it might last into the middle of September. In Defense Of Grocery Store Providers     It’s hard to beat the succulent taste of a fresh tomato, and it spoils it for the rest of the year when we have to rely on grocery stores to be our providers. Their tomatoes certainly don’t compare with our homegrown types,…

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Pimiento Cheese Spread

WANT TO ENJOY A CHEAP LUNCH? EAT AT THE MASTERS AND ORDER A PIMIENTO CHEESE SANDWICH      Scheduled for the first full week of April, the Masters is the first major of the year, and unlike the others, it is always held at the same location, Augusta National Golf Club. It’s a private course in the southeastern United States, in the city of Augusta, Georgia. The setting is beautiful. It is run with clockwork precision. It showcases the best golfers in the world. But you know all of this.     …

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Kentucky Derby

Derby Day Is About Horses – And Kentucky Bourbon

     Of course, in the state of Kentucky it’s going to be all about the horses. Once a year this passion manifests itself in a marvelous event known as The Kentucky Derby. Many people travel great distances to experience the energy and the excitement surrounding what has become known as “The Run For The Roses.”      But Derby day is so much more than just a horserace. As the title says, it’s also about the bourbon. The locals are very fond of their native drink. They begin drinking early in…

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Cocktail Party Banter

COCKTAIL TALK OR TIME TO SPRUCE UP YOUR WITTY REPARTEE      Whenever I hear witty repartee, I immediately think this could be a cartoon character. It’s definition from the dictionary is “a succession or interchange of clever retorts, amusing and usually light sparring with words.” Another definition said “it’s snappy dialogue” which also sounds like a cartoon character.      Having a gift for witty repartee is extremely useful when it comes to small talk. I’d like to issue a quote from a favorite handbook of mine, Social Graces by Town…

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