Monday, October 31, 2011

Cowgirl Dinner Party: The Sabetha Chronicles, Part Four

Did you know that if you mouth the phrase, "Olive juice," to someone across the room, it looks like you've just told them, "I love you"? If you're not ready to commit, we don't suggest it. Although, Mr. Fabuful really does do this to Jo. And, he's serious on both accounts. What does this have to do with the price of eggs? Nothing. Except, we did make Olive Cheese Bread (p.206) for our Sabetha Cowgirl Dinner Party.

Lou is not a big olive fan, and even she liked this bread. It made for a fantastic appetizer as our guests arrived.

We started by roughly chopping the black and green olives.

We diced green onions and mixed these with Monterey Jack cheese, softened butter, mayonnaise and added the olives.

Then we sliced two lovely loaves of French bread length-wise and spread our fine concoction liberally on the halves of bread.

Each half was placed in a tin foil boat, finely crafted by Lou, Jo and Janice. This was placed in the bottom of the oven, underneath some un-named food we were preparing (we believe it was the tenderloin). They baked at approximately 325-degrees for approximately 20 minutes. It's hard to say exact numbers since the bread was bunking up with the un-named food.

Once it was removed from the oven, we let the bread cool, then sliced it. We served it on the deck while our guests avoided the burning olive oil (again, from the un-named food) and the maniacal fire alarm. At least the alarm works. We're just helpful like that.

Everybody loved the olive cheese bread. As Ree suggests, the mixture is also good with crackers. Don't worry, we tried it.

Olive juice.

Happily full,

Monday, October 24, 2011

Cowgirl Dinner: The Sabetha Chronicles, Part Three

We decided that there should be a new candle scent called, "Burgundy Mushrooms", because this is how lovely and fragrant these little guys are. When you walk through the house and smell a pot of Ree's mushrooms boiling, all you want to do is sit down and eat a chunk of meat. And eat like a crazy person. So, imagine our salivating all day as these mushrooms cooked for nine - yes, nine - hours.

For the Pioneer Woman Burgundy Mushrooms (p. 203) we started by washing four pounds of white button mushrooms, placing them in a large pot.

Next, we added two sticks of butter (holla!) and poured in one liter of Burgundy wine (oo-la-la!).

Then the seasonings were added. These included Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, chicken and beef bouillon, dill seed and garlic powder. We also added two cups of boiling water.

This was brought to a boil. We just kind of stood there and watched it. It was rather mesmerizing. Oh, and it did start boil. We defied the phrase, "A watched pot never boils." So there.

We covered them and let them simmer for six hours. Then we removed the lid and allowed them to simmer for three hours. Salt was added, to taste.

These were plated and served with the roasted beef tenderloin and other divine dishes at our Cowgirl Dinner Party. 'Shroomin' it up, country style.

Even if you're not a big fungi fan, these are certainly worth a try. Your home will smell heavenly.

Happily full,

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Cowgirl Dinner: The Sabetha Chronicles, Part Two

And here continues the saga of our Sabetha Cowgirl Dinner Party preparations.

The main dish is P-Dub's Roasted Beef Tenderloin. Ree's recipe calls for a full-sized tenderloin. However, Mr. Fabuful's father, was himself Fabuful, by picking up pre-cut beef tenderloin filets.

We started by preparing the marinade/rub. The recipe calls for two tablespoons kosher salt, followed by three teaspoons black pepper.

The secret ingredient of the rub is one tablespoon of sugar. We then poured in one-third cup plus one tablespoon of olive oil.

Next came the bacon grease. Everything's better with bacon grease. As is snacking on the crispy bacon that created the bacon grease. The mixture was set aside while we prepared the filets.

We melted a bit of butter and added olive oil to the skillet.

We seared both sides of each steak.

Next, we placed a cooling rack on a jelly pan and transferred the seared meat to the rack. We then basted each filet with the previously made rub. We thought we heard singing.

These were placed in the oven at 450-degrees for 10 minutes. At the end of the 10 minutes, we used a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. Ree recommends the meat reach 120-125-degrees.

In the midst of checking the temperature, we failed to realize the amount of smoke the sizzling olive oil on the meat was creating. So, when Lou opened the oven, out came billows of olive oil smoke. Jo stood staring. This was followed by the incessant squawk of the smoke alarm. Thankfully, Jo's lovely sister-in-law, Janice, came to the rescue. She got an arm work-out by fanning the air near the alarm. Did we mention some of our guests had begun to arrive at this point? We always make sure to pull out all the bells and whistles for our guests. We're lady-like and polite like that. Thanks to our Midwestern upbringing.

We plated the medium-rare filets. What a delicious, yet simple-to-prepare, main course for the Cowgirl Dinner Party.

Happily full,

Friday, October 14, 2011

Cowgirl Dinner: The Sabetha Chronicles, Part One

Last weekend, we, along with Mr. Fabuful, Uncle He-Man and The Bean loaded up Goldie (Jo's minivan) and drove to Mr. Fabuful's hometown of Sabetha, Kansas. What's the excitement in Sabetha, you might ask? The really fun girls we could invite to our own version of P-Dub's Cowgirl Dinner Party.

Those of you who have her book know one whole chapter is dedicated to the Cowgirl Dinner Party. Last Saturday afternoon, with our cooking schedule in hand, we cooked. And cooked. Thought that was going to be more epiphanous, huh?

The guest list included Jo's in-laws and friends from the area. What a fun group of gals! One of the easiest things to make for this party was the booze. Yes'm.

In this post, we'll show you how to mix up Ree's Sangria (p. 94). Word to the wise. It tastes like Kool-Aid. Remember this has alcohol in it. We are both lightweights. Thankfully, we had seven other women to share this with.

We started by slicing limes...

...then lemons and green apples.

Next we mixed grapes and pineapple chunks.

We forgot the orange. What's new? Just another day in the life of cooking with Jo and Lou. These are the days of our lives. No sugar? No big deal! The stove is on fire? Eh. That last one really didn't happen. Well, just wait until the Cowgirl Dinner Party Beef Tenderloin post. Please wait on the edge of your seat.

Next, we poured the fruit into the bottom of a large drink dispenser.

The recipe calls for 1.5 liters of red wine, as well as the same amount of white wine. For the red wine we picked Yellow Tail's Merlot.

This went over the fruit first.

Next came Yellow Tail's Pinot Grigio.

Ree's recipe calls for orange-flavored rum and vodka. We had rum, but substituted triple-sec for the vodka.

In the final step we were supposed to dissolve sugar in water, but par usual, we weren't paying attention and poured the sugar directly into the mixture. But, who's telling? Ain't no thang. Nothing a spoon can't fix.

We prepared the sangria several hours prior to the party to give it time to chill in the refrigerator.

This beverage was delicious and enjoyed in moderated amounts. If you don't prefer alcohol, try red and white grape juices in place of the wine and sugar.

Our remaining lemon and lime slices were placed into a second drink dispenser with water. Very refreshing.

Happily full,

Monday, October 3, 2011

Red Velvet? We think not.

As graduates of the esteemed Kansas State University, we could not leave this lovely Red Velvet cake a Boomer-Sooner red. Or worse. Nebraska-Cornhusker red. That's right. We said it.

We made P-Dub's Red Velvet Cake (p. 233) into a lovely Powercat Purple. That's a capital 'p' on purple. That's right. We said it.

We started by blending together shortening and sugar. And brown sugar 'cuz we done run out of white sugar. Par for the course.

Next, we sifted together flour and salt.

In a separate bowl, buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, vinegar and baking soda were blended.

We slowly added the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture by alternating turns, until both were thoroughly combined into the shortening mixture. You still with us? Good. We're not either.

In a tiny green bowl, we placed cocoa powder and Jo's fantastic purple food coloring.

This coloring was blended into the cake mixture. We kept taking pictures of it because it was so pretty to see the marbling of the food coloring and the batter.

But, alas, it was not purple enough for our genes. At this point, we had run out of our choice food coloring, so we began to alternate blue and pink dyes until...

...we giddily reached our ideal Powercat Purple.

The batter was poured into two, round cake pans and baked for approximately 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

Meanwhile, we started in on the icing. Two of the world's greatest things, cream cheese and butter, were whipped into a blissful matrimonial state. We also sifted powdered sugar and added it to the mix, along with a little salt. The final ingredient for the frosting was vanilla.

We decided a royal-purple Powercat cake deserved a great display. Jo literally dug to the back of her cabinet to pull out a crystal cake stand. Oh, so shiny and sparkly. We were entranced. We could have stared at it all evening, but our men demanded cake. Back to work.

We frosted the top of the first cake, adding the second cake on top.

We proceeded to frost the rest of the cake.

Then came time for artsy photos before we cut into it.

Wish we could have shared it with you. It was lovely, and we all happily reminisced about our Kansas State days.

Happily full,