Friday, November 30, 2007

Bad, bad, bad.

I know. I've been a horrible blogger. But round these parts, it's been a crazy time known as end-of-semester crunch time. I haven't had a minute to stop and think since the last time I posted.

I would like to say thanks for all of the kind words of encouragement and all of the prayers. Being at the funeral was completely surreal and one of the hardest things I've gone through. There are still days I can't believe she's gone, but I'm doing my best to carry on and remember her the way she'd want to be remembered. Please continue to keep her family and friends in your thoughts over the holidays as they all celebrate the first without her lovely presence.

And I know that there has been a lack of food posting on here lately, but I ask for your patience while I finish tying up my loose ends at school. I'm doing my best to make it through to December 10th, which is when all of my projects are due (yes, all 14 of them). I promise to have some lovely holiday recipes fit for entertaining after that - you just gotta hang on.

Now excuse me while I take the next day or two to celebrate December 3rd, a day I've been looking forward to for quite awhile - my 30th birthday!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Today I received some terrible news that a very good and special friend of mine passed away suddenly, leaving behind 2 beautiful young daughters and a wonderful husband, Bill. The shock and sadness felt over the loss is almost overwhelming.

We met in such a weird way many years ago. We both belonged to a knitting email list and she contacted me after discovering we were about the same age. We emailed constantly and spent hours on IM and the phone talking about almost everything in our lives. After a few years of an online friendship, we finally met when she flew down to see me. The instant we met, we knew we'd be friends for life. We had an instant connection that made if feel as if we'd been friends for a lifetime. She was a constant presence in my life and we helped each other through some of the most significant events in our lives.

We spent the years alternating visits, me flying up to New Hampshire to see her or her flying here to see me. I just emailed her earlier this week about coming down for my birthday in a few weeks, and although she was unable to, we were making plans to visit each other in the near future.

She was beautiful, fun, vivacious, and an incredible mother. She had a way of lighting up a room with her presence, was liked by everyone that met her, and was an amazing person. I will miss her terribly. Please pray for her family and friends as they come to terms with the loss.

The Biffs

I love you, BIFF.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Red Pepper and Feta Spread

I can't believe the holidays are rapidly approaching. And with those holidays are plenty of opportunities to entertain. It's always key to have a few solid recipes that not only can be thrown together at a moment's notice but are also versatile enough to suit a variety of purposes.

That's why I love this recipe. This recipe originally started out as a dip for fresh vegetables but can be used in a host of ways. Here I've made some cups out of baby seedless cucumbers and piped the spread into it. It's got a great tangy flavor that's kicked up ever-so-slightly with the green peppercorns. It's also a great festive color and is sure to be a hit at any of your upcoming functions. The best part - only has 4 ingredients, so you can make it anytime!

If you don't use this as a dip, try these different uses:
*Spread on a tortilla, roll, and slice into pinwheels
*Use as a great sandwich starter
*Pipe into phyllo cups for a great little appetizer
*Serve on endive leaves
*Pipe onto melba toasts, bagel crisps, crackers, etc

Red Pepper and Feta Spread

Red Pepper and Feta Spread
4 tbsp olive oil
2 red bell peppers, deseeded and sliced
1/2 red jalapeno or serrano pepper, deseeded and sliced
4 oz feta cheese
1 tsp green peppercorns in brine, drained and minced (optional)

Heat olive oil over low heat in a heavy pan. Add peppers and saute over low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until peppers are completely soft. Remove from pan and place onto a paper towel-lined plate to get rid of some of the excess oil. Place into food processor and process until smooth. Add feta and process until smooth, about 5-8 minutes. Add peppercorns and pulse until mixed in well. Allow to chill in the refridgerator for 30 minutes or so for flavors to meet. Enjoy!

Monday, November 05, 2007

It's here - it's really here!

I can't believe we're already in the beginning of November. It seems like just yesterday I was enjoying 90-degree weather and walking around in sandals. But fall is here, as is the ending part of my semester.

Man, it's been crazy around here. Between classes and work and life, I just haven't had the chance to make it into the kitchen. Of course that doesn't mean I haven't been enjoying some good food. I actually had some lovely appetizers at one of our new local restaurants, Fenz, over the weekend. Although the atmosphere feels as if you've walked into the middle of one of your parent's parties, I think they have some solid food offered on the menu. Everyone from the hostess to the busboys recommend the Pickle Fries, so we ordered them. I must admit they were rather tasty. Forget what you know about pickles - when you deep-fry them, they become a completely different animal. Served with a lovely aioli, they were quite the tasty treat. As their companion, we ordered the french fries which are liberally doused with the nectar of the gods, aka. truffle oil. I'm of the opinion that there isn't anything a little truffle can't make better, so these were a very lovely little nibble.

I hope to be back later on this week with some new Fall recipes, as well as a new Top 5 on my sidebar. But while you're waiting, go ahead and take a peek through the archives - there are plenty of great recipes that would come in handy on a cold evening.