• What Have I Done For You Lately…

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Meta

Quick, Simple, Fancy Appetizers

Hello Cooking Friends,

I don’t know about you, but I love quick and simple appetizers that everyone thinks took you forever to make, and are super complicated.

Baked Asparagus Citrus Habañero

Citrus Habañero Asparagus

I have two standbys that I used this weekend for a bring-appetizers-to-share event. I would like to share with you because I got so many “how did you make this?!?!” comments this weekend. I am going to share multiple variations for both just to be fair to all palates!

#1) ‘Fancy’ Asparagus

What you need: 1 bunch of asparagus, flavored olive oils, flavored balsamic vinegars, and various spices, as desired.

Preheat your oven to 350, and spray an 8×8 pan with cooking spray (I prefer aluminum ones to bake-and-take-and-toss when I’m going somewhere not at a house).

Keep the rubber bands on your asparagus and rinse the stems in cold water for a few seconds. Then, using a very sharp and long knife (i.e. not a paring knife), cut the bottom 1 inch off the asparagus stems. This is key to taste and keeping the rubber bands on is key to sanity. It also lets you cut your asparagus to mostly equal length quite simply!

So now we have our rinsed, prepped asparagus, remove the rubber bands and dump the stems into your pan (layers are perfectly fine). Over top of this you will drizzle and sprinkle your olive oils and spices. Bake for 12-18 minutes, until they’re to your desired tenderness (18) or crispness (12). I usually do about 15 minutes, to get it right in the middle!

A) Citrus-Habañero: pour about 3 tablespoons of Butter Olive Oil evenly over your asparagus. Drizzle about 2 teaspoons of Citrus Habañero Olive Oil evenly over top you asparagus. Bake.

B) Peppery Citrus: mix together 1 tablespoon orange juice and 1 teaspoon Lemon Pepper Olive Oil, and pour over top the asparagus. Using a peppermill or grinder, sprinkle about 2 teaspoons of fresh ground pepper over top the asparagus. Bake.

C) Garlicky Mushroom & Fig: mix together 2 teaspoons each Garlic Mushroom Olive Oil and Fig Balsamic Vinegar, 1 teaspoon of dill weed, and 1 teaspoon of fresh ground pepper. Pour over asparagus evenly. Bake.

D) Butter & Bacon: sprinkle about 2 teaspoons worth of Bacon!Bacon! over top, evenly. Pour 2 tablespoons of Butter Olive Oil evenly over asparagus & bacon. Bake.

E) Garden Veggie: sprinkle about 2 teaspoons each worth of Garden Veggie and Dried Tomato & Garlic Pesto mixes evenly over asparagus. Pour 2 tablespoons of Butter Olive Oil, OR pour 1 tablespoon melted butter plus 1 teaspoon Sun-dried Tomato Parmesan & Garlic Olive Oil, evenly over asparagus & spices. Bake.

**Note, 2 tablespoons butter olive oil is equivalent to just under 1/4 cup melted (unsalted) butter.

#2) Rumaki

BBQ Barbeque Rumaki Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts

BBQ Rumaki

What you need: toothpicks, 1 package bacon, 2 cans diced & drained water chestnuts, sauce as desired.

Preheat oven to 350, and either line a cookie sheet with foil or use an 11×7 pan – spray either one with cooking spray.

The basics of what you will do: cut your bacon strips into thirds, and then wrap 1 of these strips around 1 diced water chestnut. Stick a toothpick through starting where the wrap ends, and going through the water chestnut to the other side. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until bacon is to your taste (crisp or soft). This does 2 things for you: 1) this keeps the bacon from getting messy and going everywhere while baking, and 2) creates an instant ‘serving’ option for guests to enjoy these without getting more utensils dirty!

So here are some ways to flavor the rumaki!

A) BBQ Rumaki: Take a barbeque sauce of your choice, I used the Laurel Gray Crazy ‘Bout Butts BBQ Sauce, and pour about 1/4 cup into the bottom of your pan. Place your tooth-picked rumaki into the pan in rows, and then drizzle another 1/8 cup of the sauce over top of the rumaki. Bake.

B) Ginger-Soy Rumaki: Place your tooth-picked rumaki in the pan in rows. Meanwhile, mix together 1/8 cup low-sodium soy sauce, 1 tablespoon Butter Olive Oil (or 2 tbspn melted butter), dash of cumin, and 2 teaspoons ground ginger. For the ginger, if you happen to have pickled ginger on hand, you could substitute either 1 teaspoon of the pickled liquid OR 2 teaspoons of blended pickled ginger (solids only) for the ground ginger. Mix this well. Pour over rumaki and bake.

C) Garden Veggie Rumaki: Place your tooth-picked rumaki in the pan in rows. Sprinkle Garden Veggie and 2 tablespoons Garlic Mushroom Olive Oil over the asparagus, evenly. Bake.

So I sincerely hope that you enjoyed these, and if you try them, please let me know which version you tried (even if it’s your own) and how you liked them!

Craft You Later,
Beth

Anniversary Gift Acrylic Painting

Hello Craft Friends,

I apologize for how long it’s been since I’ve done a true “craft” post, it’s been a bit crazy trying to find something to do that I think others would like. And to be fair, this idea (actually going painting) was actually my friend’s idea, not mine.

However we saw a Groupon deal for a company called Wine & Design (Charlotte location of course), and we decided to go painting one evening together. Now, we didn’t indulge in the wine part, however this is a place you can bring your own snacks and bottles of wine to enjoy throughout the class. It was a really cool concept, really fun class, and we will be doing it again for sure!

Anniversary Painting – Two Love Birds!

That all said, once we decided to do the Blue Love Birds class, we had our date chosen, and now we just needed to figure out what we would do with our paintings. My friend had a wall in her house in mind, while I decided that it would make a perfect 33rd Wedding Anniversary gift for my parents! So there, we had our plan all done, woohoo!

We get to the class early, as instructed, and got setup with our aprons, acrylic paints and brushes. We got to chose our stool to sit on, and decided to go by the windows so we could have the sun with us. It is a second story location, so it’s a pretty view into the neighborhood it’s near. Now to paint!

Start with your blank canvas on the easel, and paints & brushes nearby!

Paint your canvas completely black to set the background up!

Outline everything with white, then color in the white-for-good parts with more detail!

Detail your blue, pink and purple as desired, and finish up your correction touches!

…and voilà! A gift that just needs a frame to complete it!

Because I am real shy, I asked the people at the studio about frames, and they said they actually have some wood frames that they sell from a guy who makes them locally. Since I figured that it would cost about $250 to frame it at a fancy place, and the frame was very cool looking, I decided to spend the $35 and get one from the studio. What do you think?

Framed Paining Anniversary Gift

My parents, the ultimate ‘love birds’, absolutely loved this work I did. Granted I get my craftiness from my mom, so they are both pro-homemade gifts, however…they still liked it! 😉

So try something like this out for a ‘fancy’ craft project, and check out your local art studios for frames before you buy a canvas – to make sure you can frame it in your price range and your canvas fits in alright! 🙂

Craft You Later,
Beth

%d bloggers like this: