Sunday, May 20, 2012

Annual BBQ

The borrowed smoker in our backyard! Our neighbors were very curious when it arrived :) My husband smoked a beef brisket and racks of ribs in it.

A borrowed canopy for covering the patio area.

7 Layer Greek Dip

I pinned this dip on my pinterest.
I made changes to the original recipe.
My version's layers
1 Container of Plain Hummus
1 Small Container of Greek Yogurt
Roasted Red Peppers from a jar – Diced
Marinated Artichoke Hearts from a jar – Diced
1/4 Red Onion – Diced
Crumbled Feta Cheese
Handful of Pine Nuts
Sprinkling of Oregano- dried
Cucumber Slices and Pita Chips for dipping

I layered everything in the order written above and used a square dish with sides for serving because the roasted red peppers were liquidy.

I made this a day ahead of time, put some plastic wrap over it, and pulled it out the next day to serve.

This recipe was a winner and I'll be making it again. Not only did people want the recipe, but people were requesting I bring it to the next event...Memorial Day weekend. How is it almost Memorial Day?

Spring Vegetable Dip
Another dip I pinned on pinterest. I made several changes to the recipe Baked Goat Cheese with Spring Vegetables
1 cup asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 tablespoons butter1 cup chopped green onion, white and green parts
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/4 cups heavy cream because I had leftover from making cheesecake and I don't usually buy whole milk
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
Freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
lemon zest- I didn't measure I zested most of a whole lemon
4 ounces crumbled goat cheese, divided in half

1. Preheat oven to 400.
2. Cook the asparagus in boiling salted water for 2 minutes and drain. Let cool and separate out the tips.
3. Melt the butter over medium heat in a medium-sized saucepan. Add the green onion and cook until they are tender, about 6-7 minutes, stirring regularly, stir in flour until the green onions are well coated, and then slowly pour in the cream, whisking constantly. Bring to a simmer and cook until the mixture is a bit thickened, about 5-10 minutes.
4. Remove from the heat and add the cheddar cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted, and then add a couple grindings of fresh pepper, all the veggies except for the asparagus tips, the herbs, the lemon zest and two ounces of the goat cheese and stir gently.
5. Pour the mixture into a 4-5 cup shallow baking dish. Arrange the asparagus tips on top, pushing them down slightly into the cheese mixture, and scatter the remaining goat cheese over the top.
6. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden in spots and bubbling. Let cool for about 5 minutes, and then serve.

I served the dip with plain pita chips.

Crockpot Bacon Bourbon Baked Beans
I pinned these beans on my pinterest because I was on a search for crockpot baked beans. There were no leftovers, but I didn't really like the beans myself. I think I'm used to baked beans that start with canned beans, add bacon etc, and then bake in the oven. I followed the recipe exactly as written. I started my beans before going to bed, everything went into the crockpot before 11pm so it'd be ready the next day for a party.

1 pound dry navy beans
10 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into pieces
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups water
3/4 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce
1 cup loosely packed brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons molasses
1 cup bourbon1
1/2 tablespoons ground mustard
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce

The night before, add beans to a large pot and cover with water.
Drain the next morning.
Bring beans to a boil in a large pot of water, let simmer for 30-40 minutes, then drain.
While beans are cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add bacon. Cook until crispy and fat is rendered, then remove bacon with a slotted spoon and let drain on a paper towel.
Reduce heat to medium-low and add onion, cooking for 8-10 minutes, until brown and soft.
Add in garlic, cook for 30 seconds, then turn off heat.
Add water, bourbon, brown sugar, bbq sauce, ketchup, ground mustard, vinegar, molasses and worcestershire sauce to the crockpot and whisk well to combine.
Add in beans, onions (and all of the bacon fat) and bacon to the crockpot.
Cover and cook on low for 10-12 hours, stirring occasionally.
After 10-12 hours, turn crockpot to “warm” setting or turn off completely and let sit anywhere from 30 minutes-2 hours, which will help the sauce for the beans thicken even more.

Potato Salad
Boiled red potatoes cut into bit sized pieces
Thinly sliced red onion
Fresh chopped dill
Equal parts red wine vinegar and olive oil
2 Tablespoons sugar

Strawberry Cheesecake
My usual cheesecake recipe plus strawberry topping.
Arrange 1 cup fresh strawberries on top of cheesecake.
Melt 2/3 cup strawberry preserves on the stove in a saucepan with a little lemon juice.
Pour melted preserves over strawberries.

Coconut Macaroons

I used Martha Stewart's recipe for these guys. I this I halved the following recipe because it says it makes 90 macaroons!


2 large egg whites
Pinch of salt
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 bags shredded sweetened coconut (14-ounces each)


Heat oven to 300 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk egg whites and salt until frothy, about 2 minutes. Stir in condensed milk and vanilla. Using a rubber spatula, fold in coconut until well combined.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats. Using a teaspoon and your fingers, form macaroons into 1 1/4-inch mounds about 1 inch apart.
Bake until macaroons are golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer baking sheets to a cooling rack; let cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.