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Steeplechase Recap

Posted by on May 24, 2011 in Around Chez Ary | 0 comments

Last weekend was my first Steeplechase. Here’s my fascinator and dress:

I made it from supplies procured at Michael’s. I had fun over one lunch break shopping for supplies with a couple of coworkers. I got lots of compliments on it, and I even had a photographer from the Tennessean ask to take my photo. I hid a tiny little chick under one of the flowers. It was a little stow-away for visual interest.

There were several funny moments, but the tagline of the day has to be,

“We hate the environment, but we love chips.”

As we were unpacking and setting up in our little corner of the world, we discovered that we had lots of styrofoam supplies and several LARGE bags of chips. Maybe you had to be there?

My Texas Caviar was a hit, and we had lots of tasty eats in our tent. At one point, we went to visit some other tents, and I made a tasty discovery: Summer Beer. I found this recipe online (a little fancier than the one I tried), and I hope to try it at a Chez Ary shindig soon. It sounds so refreshing for the season! Makes 8 servings.

  • 1 (12 oz.) can frozen raspberry lemonade concentrate, thawed
  • 12 oz. water
  • 12 oz. lemon-flavored vodka
  • 1 (12 oz.) can or bottled lime beer

Place lemonade concentrate in a gallon pitcher. Measure water and vodka in the 12 oz. lemonade can and add to the pitcher. Pour in the beer, mix well, and serve over ice.

Knife Skills 101

Posted by on May 23, 2011 in Kitchen Tools | 0 comments

One of my Christmas gifts this year from Mr. J was a knife skills class. I mentioned chiffonading in my last post so I wanted to talk a little more about it and general knife skills. The technique called chiffonade is one we briefly touched on in class. You take your herb leaves and roll them up and make chops with your knife along the roll. It leaves you with very small ribbons to incorporate in your recipe.

This is my knife:

My baby

It’s a Wusthof Chef’s Knife, and I use it every day. Mr. J got it for me for our anniversary last year. I love this thing. It’s due for a sharpening soon. It’s very important to use a sharp knife and always keep your fingers tucked away while cutting. To keep your fingers out of the way, make a cup or “C” shape with your hand. I use my nails to grip what I’m cutting and to stabilize everything. The instructor taught us to keep our elbows in and rock the knife back and forth, basically leaving the tip of the knife on the board. The fast chopping that you see chefs on TV doing takes LOTS of practice, and you’re in no hurry to lose a finger tip!

Chicken and shrimp fajitas

In class, we made chicken and shrimp fajitas, salsa fresca, and crudites to serve with dip. Our recipe packet also came with a guide to make chicken stock. We broke down a half chicken, something I’d never done before. It was interesting to see what we pay extra for in the grocery and how easy it is to do yourself. We chopped lots of veggies: celery, carrots, onions, jalapenos, peppers, tomatoes, garlic, mushrooms, etc.

Crudites and dip

This dip was very tasty. Here’s the recipe:

1-10 oz. can of Mexican-style tomatoes

1 garlic cloves, minced

1 t chili powder

4 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 cup cilantro leaves, loosely packed (about 1/2 of a bunch)

1/2 cup sour cream

1 t lime zest

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Cover, chill, and enjoy!

My knife block

This is my arsenal. The top left is the honing rod. It helps to smooth out the edges of the knife, but it does not sharpen it. Top right is another chef’s knife. Middle left is a great bread knife. Middle right is kitchen shears (also great for chiffonade-style cutting). Bottom left is where my favorite chef’s knife lives. Bottom right is a small paring knife. There are 6 steak knifes all along the bottom. These work great as well.

Also, check out my cake decorating and pasta making class recaps.

Caprese Mac & Cheese

Posted by on May 22, 2011 in Try Something New | 0 comments

I cooked up a great little side dish last night: Caprese Mac & Cheese. I made hamburger steaks and mac & cheese, but I wanted to add a little umph to mine.

I chopped up about 4 leaves of basil using the chiffonade method. I chopped two Campari tomatoes in a small dice. In a small bowl, I combined 1 serving of prepared mac & cheese with 1/4 cup of Kroger’s Italian Blend shredded cheese plus the tomatoes and basil and a dash of S&P. I must say it was quite a tasty improvement! Sorry I don’t have a picture…I ate it all before I could make one! 😀


Posted by on May 13, 2011 in Come Together | 0 comments

I’m headed to my first Steeplechase tomorrow. 

I’m bringing Texas Caviar, and I thought I’d share my recipe. I got inspiration from several recipes, and this sounds like the best route to go. I’m about to make it tonight and let it marinate overnight. Serving with tortilla chip strips.

12 oz. corn (I’m using frozen, but you can used fresh or canned.)
1 can BEP (black eyed peas)
1 can black beans
Chopped tomato (2 large), green bell pepper (1), jalapeno (2, seeds/stem removed), onion (1/2 large)

6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
6 tablespoons olive oil (not extra virgin)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 minced garlic cloves
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

You know I’m making my dressing with this guy.