Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Country Livin'

I am always telling my children, "Just because we live in the country, does not mean that we have to act or look like country bumpkins." SO, it is with some reluctance that I tell you about my entry into Kitchen Play's Cocktail course of the January Progressive Party.

Introducing the Redneck Martini.

This is my version of Cooking With Books, Bloody Mary Martini.

I feel some explanation is in order. I desperately wanted to make this Bloody Mary Martini, but I had no dry vermouth or vodka or martini glass in the house. I try to be frugal by not making unnecessary trips to town (especially when I have to take 5 children with me) and let's face it...how would it look if the homeschool mom shows up at the liquor store and Bed, Bath and Beyond to purchase said liquors and said martini glass, during school hours with her children in tow?? NOT GOOD. That is a newspaper headline just waiting to happen folks.

So, being the resourceful woman that I am, I called my husband to tell him that I needed dry vermouth and vodka for a martini recipe and could he pretty please pick some up on his way home from work. I didn't dare ask him to pick up a martini glass too, I mean, that would have just been pushing it a little too far don't you think?

My adoring husband heard martini and brought home gin and dry vermouth so I had to roll with that. So my only variations to this lovely cocktail is that I used gin, rather than vodka and a canning jar, rather than a martini glass! Don't fret - it still tastes wonderful! Oh! The other variation was that my celery had gone limp in the produce drawer so I had to string the Lindsay Olives on a wood skewer! I think the wood skewer compliments the canning jar just perfectly!


Roasted Vegetable Greek Salad

This is another Kitchen Play Progressive Party entry. I am SO glad I decided to make this salad.
One word for this salad: GOURMET.
It was not hard to make and so very worth it!

Here are my veggies going into the oven, sorry about the shadow:
These veggies roasting in the oven, made the house smell divine. The children kept asking what was for supper and I was definitely salivating in anticipation.

This is the kind of salad you dream of serving your guests. Believe me, if you do, they will never forget it!

They are tossed in with the cooled roasted veggies and then tossed with the dressing.
Then the whole thing is topped off with feta cheese.
Presents well and tastes wonderful.

Here is the recipe. My only variation was that I added garlic cloves to the veggies before roasting. We love garlic and it just seemed like the thing to do!
Once again, Kitchen Play has provided me with another great recipe.

Why I love Kitchen Play.

Have you heard of the Kitchen Play Progressive Party Menu?

In a nutshell (from the Contest page at Kitchen Play):

Each Progressive Party at Kitchen Play features a giveaway designed to include as many bloggers in the fun as possible. To participate, simply recreate one of the original courses revealed that month and post about the experience on your own site. Variations, alterations and ingredient substitutions are allowed and encouraged. Only one recipe per entry is required (even if the original Kitchen Play post contains more than one).

Now, I love to participate because it forces me to make things that I normally would never even dream of making. I admit it, I'm in a menu-planning rut!

But, check out this yummy entree that I made just last night:

This was NOT my normal roast chicken. It was crunchy goodness on the outside and juicy deliciousness on the inside. The black bean relish on top was simply gourmet. 

Here's a close up of the relish. See all the yummy Lindsay Black Olives?

The breading on the chicken is really great. I hate breading things because the breading normally falls off during the browning, but this stuck and had great taste! I was able to make it gluten-free by using gluten-free bread crumbs and brown rice flour instead of white flour. You really must try THIS recipe. Thanks Kitchen Play for another great menu!

Buenos Dias, Mi Amigos!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Minestrone Soup with Lindsay Olives

First and foremost, an apology for my long hiatus from blogging! The desire to blog is not lacking, but the time to do it is.

I love to cook, bake and create in the kitchen. With 5 children home with me, things can get a bit crazy while Mama is focused on a recipe. I try to give them all jobs or things to keep them busy, but sometimes they end up entertaining themselves. This is what they did while I pulled the Minestrone Soup together:

This was just one of the shapes they taught our 2 year old (she's the short one in the pink tutu!).

Okay, now back to the soup. This is my entry in Kitchen Play's Progressive Party Menu. January's sponsor is Lindsay Olives. You do know that I can not post a recipe whose star is olives without the "child-with-olives-on-fingers" picture, right??

Now that THAT is out of the way. We made the Minestrone and Black Olive Soup. Our only variation in this recipe is that we used spinach instead of kale and shredded mozzarella instead of sliced. The star of the show:

This month's sponsor: Lindsay Olives!

Can you smell the deliciousness?

This made a perfect lunch on a blustery-kind of day!

Thank you Kitchen Play and Lindsay Olives for this month's Progressive Party! I'm looking forward to trying the other recipes!