Sunday, August 19, 2012

Post event review

I'd like to take credit for the entire barbecue, but all I really did was had an idea (thanks to Amber), send out an email, set-up a Facebook group, cleaned house and ran some errands around town.

Fran was in charge of recipes, rib prep, southwestern salad, baked beans, peach cake and sangria.
N blew the pathway and deck clean of blossoms/leaves, mowed the grass, cleaned the chairs and smoked the ribs.

Lise helped with the pups and keeping things organized and tidy.

And (as equally important) guests brought chairs, a table, beer, wine, cider and so much delicious food. I wish I'd taken a photograph before we all dug in.
AND I just (yes, right now) learned that several guests worked hard at setting up the desserts and ice cream on the table.

What would I change next time?
  • Add the sparkling water to the sangria before serving and put out a bowl of sliced oranges to add to each glass. 
  • Think about grilling something that takes less time
  • Think about how to illuminate the yard to keep the party going
  • Making so much food, guests can just show up and enjoy
  • Any other thoughts?
Peach cake recipe
Southwest Salad
Alton's rib recipe
Pink Lemonade Pie (may or may not be recipe Kristi used, plus she subbed oreos for graham crackers)

Here's the sangria recipe we made (we quadrupled the recipe using 2 Bota boxes of Malbec & Red-volution, but left out 1/3 of the sugar and half the spices):

Easy Sangria
Cooking Light MAY 2003

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: about 3/4 cup)
1 (1.5-liter) bottle dry red wine, divided
2 tablespoons brandy
2 tablespoons Triple Sec (orange-flavored liqueur)
1/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
5 whole cloves
3 whole allspice
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
2 cups sparkling water, chilled
8 orange wedges
5 lemon slices
5 lime slices
Combine 1/2 cup wine, brandy, liqueur, and sugar in a 2-quart glass measure, stir to dissolve sugar. Stir in the remaining wine, juices, cloves, allspice, and cinnamon. Chill at least 2 hours.

Strain mixture into a pitcher, and discard spices. Just before serving, stir in sparkling water and the remaining ingredients.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Tomatoes, Rice, Corn and Green Chiles

Fran took the following recipe and turned it into a rice sidedish. Other than exchanging the quinoa for rice and using grape tomatoes instead of stuffing the mixture into tomatoes, her recipe is pretty much the same.
And it was amazing.
Baked Tomatoes with Quinoa, Corn, and Green ChilesPhoto by: Photo: Romulo Yanes; Food Styling: Simon Andrews; Prop Styling: Helen Crowther

Baked Tomatoes with Quinoa, Corn, and Green Chiles

These tomatoes are stuffed full with super healthy quinoa, sweet fresh corn, pobalno chiles, and lots of shredded cheese. Fresh lime juice adds a burst of citrus freshness. It's a delicious side or meatless main.
Cooking Light JUNE 2012
  • Yield: Serves 6 (serving size: 1 stuffed tomato)
  • Hands-on:55 Minutes
  • Total:1 Hour, 20 Minutes
  • 2 poblano chiles
  • 2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 4 ears)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 large ripe tomatoes (about 4 pounds)
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 ounces colby-Jack cheese, shredded (about 1 cup packed)
1. Preheat broiler to high.
2. Cut the chiles in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place chile halves,
skin side up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten with hand. Broil 8 minutes or until
blackened. Place in a paper bag; close tightly. Let stand 10 minutes. Peel chiles.
Coarsely chop chiles; place in a bowl. Add corn and onion to pan; broil 10 minutes,
stirring twice. Add corn mixture to chopped chiles; stir in oregano, oil, lime juice,
1/4 teaspoon salt, cumin, and black pepper.
3. Cut tops off tomatoes; set aside. Carefully scoop out tomato pulp, leaving shells
intact. Drain pulp through a sieve over a bowl, pressing with the back of a spoon to
extract liquid. Reserve 1 1/4 cups liquid, and discard remaining liquid. Sprinkle
tomatoes with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Invert tomatoes on a wire rack; let stand 30 minutes.
Dry insides of tomatoes with a paper towel.
4. Place quinoa in a fine sieve, and place sieve in a large bowl. Cover quinoa with
water. Using your hands, rub the grains together for 30 seconds; rinse and drain.
Repeat the procedure twice. Drain well. Combine reserved tomato liquid, quinoa,
1/4 cup water, and the remaining salt in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil.
Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
Remove from heat; fluff with a fork. Add quinoa mixture to corn mixture; toss well.
5. Preheat oven to 350°.
6. Spoon about 3/4 cup corn mixture into each tomato. Divide cheese evenly
among tomatoes. Place tomatoes and tops, if desired, on a jelly-roll pan. Bake
at 350° for 15 minutes. Remove from oven. Preheat broiler. Broil the tomatoes
1 1/2 minutes or until cheese melts. Place tomato tops on tomatoes,
 if desired.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Juggling and adjusting

It won't be an easy year, but I will find joy in the smiles, hugs and accomplishments of the short folk. Whether it's on the faces of the children or watching their progress or having a family return with a younger child, I will find it.

I love kindergarten. It's true, it can be challenging at times, but oh so rewarding. 

This year's challenge? This is the first time I will have worked with a teacher who's not wholly confident or bubbling over with ideas over the task ahead. It's her third year at our school and her third grade. I imagine that would be tough for anyone. 

The juggling part comes from knowing exactly how my last teacher (we worked together for 6+ years) would be setting up and preparing for the coming days. I had no idea how difficult it would be to not go on auto-pilot with no clear direction. 

I enjoy telling people that I'm Robin to my teachers' Batman personas, but my inner Batman has begun sitting on my shoulder egging me on. Hopefully, he doesn't find a pitchfork to prod me with.

Wish me luck.