Monday, January 26, 2009

Go Cards!

If you're pulling for the Arizona Cardinals in this year's Superbowl, then here's a little extra help in creating the ultimate Superbowl Party Spread.

Tastes & Treasures, a cool little story-filled cookbook from the Historical League of Tempe, is actually loaded with simple yet impressive recipes like Halibut with Penne and Basil Pesto. Obviously, this dish should be saved for another night, but here are some party ideas and recipes that are sure to impress guests and keep the crowd cheering.

Tamales Tamales Tamales. Serve different kinds of tamales, like Green Tamales and Homemade Chicken Tamales and let guests select their own toppings like Ancho Cilantro Vinaigrette or Cherry Chipotle Sauce.Other delicious entertaining options include:
Wild Game Chili
Duck Cakes with Spicy Nopales Salsa
Mexican Bean Dip (recipe follows)
Cowboy Caviar

Mexican Bean Dip
1 (16-ounce) can refried beans
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon taco seasoning mix
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded white Cheddar cheese
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 tomato, chopped
1 green bell pepper or jalapeno chile, chopped
1/2 cup sliced black olives

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spread the beans over the bottom of a 9- or 10-inch quiche dish or pie plate. Mix the sour cream and taco seasoning mix in a bowl and spread over the beans. Sprinkle with the cheeses. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle with the tomato, bell pepper and olives. Serve with tortilla chips.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Recipes Worth Sharing on QVC

This morning, Sheila Thomas presented her compilation cookbook, Recipes Worth Sharing on QVC and their stock (all 4,000 copies) SOLD OUT within three minutes!!!!

Sheila did so great and the food she prepared looked amazing. Way to shine, Sheila!

Check the video out here:

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Easy Dips for Superbowl Smarties

These two dips are from Peeling the Wild Onion, which won 2nd Place in the Tabasco Community Cookbook Awards' national competition.

In the spirit of Superbowl Parties, and the fact that you always need to have a good dip recipe on-hand, here are two to try!

Texas Caviar
1 (15-ounce) can white corn, drained
1 (15-ounce) can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons salsa
1 tomato, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
1 tablespoon hot red pepper sauce
Handful of chopped cilantro

Combine the corn, black-eyed peas, salsa, tomato, bell pepper, onion, dressing, hot red pepper sauce and cilantro in a bowl and mix well. Let stand for a few hours for the flavors to blend before serving.

Yields 6 to 8 servings

Buffalo Chicken Dip
16 ounces cream cheese
1 (12-ounce) bottle ranch or blue cheese salad dressing(I'm loving the sound of this already)
2 cups diced celery
2 to 3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 (5-ounce) bottle hot sauce
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Colby jack cheese

Combine the cream cheese, salad dressing and celery in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook until smooth, stirring constantly. Stir in the shredded chicken and hot sauce. Pour into a 9x13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle the cheese over the top. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 25 minutes. Stir the melted cheese thoroughly into the dip.

Serve with crackers, veggie sticks, chips.....a spoon!

Yields 15 to 20 servings

Friday, January 23, 2009

2008 Tabasco Awards

Every year the McIlhenny peeps, the saucy ones who make the even spicier Tabasco Sauce products, issue the Tabasco Community Cookbook Awards.
This year, Favorite Recipes Press has five titles on the list of awards recipients.

Peeling the Wild Onion from the Junior League of Chicago of Chicago, IL earned second place in the national competition. This modern cookbook with its chic design also draws on the Windy City’s historic roots, as Chicago means “wild onion” in local Native American culture. With recipes organized by the four seasons that are so intensely experienced in Chicago, this book is a culinary trip through the great city.

A Thyme to Entertain: Menus & Traditions of Annapolis from the Junior League of Annapolis, Inc. of Annapolis, MD earned third place in the national competition. Loaded with amazing local recipes and highlighted by symbolic watercolor graphics throughout, this is a genuine community cookbook because it inspires the reader to experience Annapolis and surrounding areas firsthand. Upon pouring over its pages, one can’t resist the desire to spend an afternoon in a Chesapeake Bay vineyard, or to enjoy a crab feast and then stroll through the historic bay town of Annapolis.

Sunny Days, Balmy Nights – Entertaining Miami Style from the Young Patronesses of the Opera of Miami, FL earned the Southern regional award. Talk about serving up culture: this book is a fun, colorful, and diverse culinary trip to paradise. Sunny Days, Balmy Nights offers up summer year-round with its tropical influences, tastes of Cuba, tons of brilliant entertaining ideas, and wonderful recipes for savoring seafood.

California Mosaic from the Junior League of Pasadena of Pasadena, CA earned the West regional award. California is truly a geographical mosaic, from its people and their histories and cultures, to the diverse landscapes and cities. California Mosaic celebrates this flavorful existence with a beautiful selection of recipes that are like taking a trip around the world.

Stir Ups, which the Junior Welfare League of Enid of Enid, OK published in 1982, was one of two books inducted into the honorable Walter S. McIlhenny Hall of Fame. Stir Ups was honored for having sold more than 100,000 copies.
All of the books except Sunny Days, Balmy Nights are available online at The Cookbook Marketplace:

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Changing Face of Community Cookbooks

Midtown Magazine of Raleigh, NC, wrote a great article on "The Changing Face of Community Cookbooks" and it features two of FRP's clients and their books.

1.) The Junior League of Raleigh's You're Invited
2.) Ravenscroft School's Excellent Courses

The article points out that a book like Excellent Courses both preserves the school's legacy and traditions and raises funds in a meaningful manner.

The article also makes a good point that community cookbooks are "snapshots" of local communities. They are user-friendly, with recipes that range from easy to more elaborate.

What's significant is that community cookbooks have become refined collections of local culinary cultures, thanks to publishers like Favorite Recipes Press, who helps community groups create cookbooks that are very professional and legit because they are created through a rigorous process of recipe selection and testing, creative design, manufacturing, etc.

Favorite Recipes Press has a distribution division too, which is called The Cookbook Marketplace and is loaded with community cookbooks. There are monthly deals and discounts too: check it out!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Vanilla Honey Butter

There's something perfect about a couple smooth scoops of vanilla ice cream after a light dinner.
An avid vanilla-fan, I was ignorant to the ways of Nielsen Massey Vanillas until I discovered their cookbook, A Century of Flavor, that Favorite Recipes Press helped produce. Apparently, this company has been creating amazing, really pure and intense vanilla flavors since 1907.
They released this cookbook to celebrate their centennial, and every single recipe sound amazing.
The Fresh Basil-Tomato Soup with Vanilla calls for their Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract.
The Creamy Vanilla Sweet Potatoes calls for their Tahitian Pure Vanilla Extract; Salmon with Vanilla Balsamic Marinade.
There is even a Delicious Vanilla Honey Butter. Holy cow.

Delicious Vanilla Honey Butter
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2 tablespoons sifted confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract

1.) Combine the butter, confectioners' sugar, honey and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Beat using an electric mixer until creamy.
2.) Use on pancakes, waffles, cornbread, biscuits, muffins, popovers or scones.

Superbowl XLII - Eat like a Steeler

When I was a wee little thing I overheard adults talking about a Superbowl Party. I had no idea what such an event entailed, but if there was a party, I was pretty sure I should be invited. I asked said adults if there was, indeed, bowling to look forward to at said party. Despite the heckling that ensued, I attended and greatly enjoyed my first Superbowl Party that year, and have reveled in them ever since.

Although I have always been disappointed there's never any bowling involved.

So it looks like the Steelers and Cardinals are to face off in Superbowl XLII. (While I rather dislike the Steelers, I'm quite pleased that 37-year-old Kurt Warner and the Cardinals have rallied to make it this far. I love this sort of comeback story: this is what sports are all about!)

I'm perusing some books from Pennsylvania and Arizona. While FRP hasn't published anything out of Pittsburgh (Steelers...don't take my distaste for your team personally...we're totally game to do a cookbook of all Roethlisberger's favorites if you are...), we do have a couple of books from the state, including the Main Line I'm putting together a little Superbowl Party Spread for each team.

We'll start with a Steeler's Menu. From the looks of things...they eat rather hearty...

For beverages, the Football Punch in Entertaining Thoughts (JL of the Lehigh Valley) and the Beer Margaritas in Main Line Entertains (Saturday Club) sound like fun times...the Beer Margaritas are a fascinating concept: like a 2-for-1....delicious.

For snacky-snacks, I'd whip up the following:

- Bambini (Main Line Classics)

- Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus Spears (Main Line Entertains...sound fancy but are really easy)

- Greek Six Layer Dip (Main Line Entertains)

- Spicy Sausage Bites (Entertaining Thoughts)

- Pesto Cheescake (Entertaining Thoughts)

I'll list a couple of the recipes in-full...shoot me an e-mail if you want the others that I haven't listed....OR....just get a copy of these cookbooks for keeps at The Cookbook Marketplace. They're all great for home cooking and entertaining and offer a hefty taste of Pennsylvania.

Beer Margaritas
Juice of 2 limes
Margarita salt
2 Corona beers, chilled
1/2 cup good quality tequila
1/2 cup thawed frozen limeade concentrate
Lime wedges (garnish)

Moisten the rim of 4 margarita glasses with the lime juice and press into salt to coat. Mix the beers, tequila and limeade concentrate in a pitcher. Pour into the glasses and garnish each with a lime wedge.
Serves 4

Spicy Sausage Bites
2 pounds spicy sausage
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon sage
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup chili sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce

1.) Combine the sausage, beaten egg, bread crumbs and sage in a large bowl and mix until well blended. Shape into 48 +/- balls. Brown the sausage balls in a large skillet over high heat. Remove from heat and drain.
2.) Combine the ketchup, chili sauce, brown sugar, vinegar and soy sauce in a bowl and mix well. Pour over the sausage balls.
3.) Simmer, covered, over medium heat for 30 minutes. You may also place in a covered baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Serve warm.

*You could also make ahead and simmer in a crock pot....would be transportable if you're going to a party too....
***You could also add a bunch of minced garlic to the meat balls to really spice these up...can't ever have too much garlic....