Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Talking Guac

We were invited over to dinner last weekend by a couple who I work with at the Areboretum. They had an absolutly wonderful meal planned, much of it was done ahead of time, allowing them more time to talk with us than bustle around the kitchen.

I've often done the work upfront for dinner parties that we have. Something you can make a day (or even two) ahead of time will save hours of stress and planning the day of.
Some things, however, can not be rushed.
Simple dishes like guacamole, where there are very few ingredients, are always best when served right away.
Another dinner evening with friends brought out and equally wonderful meal, but with more of it prepared at the table. As quickly eaten as it was made. They served a guac side dish that was so yummy! Plus it was in a super cute pig morter bowl. I really need to get one of those....
Simple Guacamole
2 avacados, soft to the touch
1 tomato, chopped
1/4 cup red onions, chopped
2 tbsp lime juice
2 jalapeno peppers, sliced
1 tbsp cilantro, chopped
Stir together until just mixed. Keep in refrigerator, covered in plastic till ready to serve. Always best when prepared right before ready to be eaten. Serve with blue corn chips.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Missing Spring

My spring yard is here somewhere....

There are little signs of desparate plants, trying to push up through the still feet of snow that buried them in the winter. They are trying.

The other day I took a shovel that pile, attempting to help them out. All I got was a few blisters and further frustration at our plow service. I think I'll have to wait this one out...

I diagramed (I know, nerd alert) my yard out last year. It only took me 3 years of living in our town house to finally plant some real flowers. There are many houses around us with wonderful, continually blooming gardens, wonderful in both spring and summer. Color coordinated and height planned to show the maximum number of blooms.

Once the snow melts we'll see how it turns out. I have mini iris, tulips and daffodils.

I hope the bunnies stay away from them....

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Irish Cream Cheesecake

Again, March rolls in filled with baseketball, Corned Beef, and teasing warm weekends. Here in Minnesota we still have piles of snow and I watch with envy as other parts of the country start into spring.

Well I can control the color of some things. Most notably the green cheesecake we made for the upcoming St.Patrick's Day week.

The cheesecake recipe is a simple one, adapted from my sister who made the best cheesecakes growing up in Wisconsin. I added some Irish Cream flavoring and green food coloring in different layers to make a cake which resembles Irish Coffee. I may have to try adding some instant cappachino next year....

Basic Cheesecake
3 tbsp butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups graham crackers, crushed
1/4 cup hazelnuts, crushed

2 packages cream cheese, room temp
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp Irish Cream flavoring (or other extract)
2 eggs

Melt butter in a bowl and add sugar, graham crackers and hazelnuts. Make sure there is enough butter to be slightly sticky and press into a spring foam pan.

Mix cream cheese, sugar, and flavoring until smooth in a blender. Add eggs one at a time until well mixed. Pour into pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until slightly browning at edges and still a little jiggly in the middle. Let cool on counter and chill for atleast 4 hours. Slice and serve.

* I double the cheese mixture and time to bake for a thicker slice.