My graduate classes were filled with people who were either entirely uninteresting or just uninterested in being there and chatting with whomever was sitting next to them. I found this dissapointing. I knew going back to school wouldn't be like going to the high school of fame, but it didn't stop me from thinking how fun that would be. Seriously, how fun would that be?
I digress. Lo and behold, next to me one day sat Jaclyn, a stylish smart girl who laughed at my jokes. The motherload. Now that we are much smarter and have all the higher education we could want, I see her much less than I would like to. However because she enjoys food and is not quite as disaster prone as I am, I love having food nights to catch up and chat about vegetables. Over wine. Obviously.
I found a couple of seemingly worthy recipes. The grand finale was going to be candied apples using a homemade caramel/red wine sauce. Amazing, no? .. No. The fact that I went to gourmet.com for the recipe is probably what doomed me. I don't think they do anything for beginners or those without a natural nack. (nack? gnack? knack?)
Anyway, cups of burned sugar, burned fingers, smoky kitchen, smokey apartment, smoky hallway to the apartment, I finally ran out of ingredients at midnight and went to bed without even cleaning up the kitchen. It almost drove me to drink. Almost. Technically I waited a day to indulge, so that's a almost, right?
Also because I started this blog to be more adventurous with recipes and vegetables I tried a new one. One I seriously have spent most of my life hating. I will never forget the father's day where mom forced us to eat some out of a can and I barfed. Yes barfed. I've hated beets forever. Mushy, awkward flavor, bad teeth. What is to like. I mean yes I made a thousand Dwight Schrute jokes but that only goes so far.
I wore rubber gloves. Those jerks weren't going to leave their mark on me.
Below was as far as I got with the candied apples from this Gourmet recipe. That was the easy part. Minus finding the sticks, I had to go to a craft store. Why would grocery stores not carry these?
Hour 309842329842032984023984 of trying to make the caramel sauce and this is what I had. Maybe it was supposed to be totally runny and thin and not resembling caramel at all. Maybe.
Okay so candy apple fail. The rest of the apps though, were a smashing success.
My beet crustini was based off of the EatingWell in Season Farmer's Market cookbook. Basically it's French Bread topped with pureed roasted beet and cream cheese (okay they used goat cheese but I went the cheaper route this one time). I made two varieties because I thought it would be delicous with green apples. High five Lauren. They were even better! The hot pink color was enough to make me love them. Seriously, can you even believe that is a color found in nature? A trapper keeper color? Also any texture a yucky vegetable flavor can be masked by cheese and fruit, apparently. This was a non fail. A pass, if you will.
Jaclyn made these guys from eatbetteramerica.com. A dried tomatoish tapenade that she already had on hand, with goat cheese and basil leaves on cucumbers. Awesome.
My other contribution was a deconstructed spin/artichoke dip. Basically I took canned artichokes (note to self do not get the large kind next time, they are way way way too large), sauteed a little spinach on them and then topped them with Brie and boiled them until they were melty and delicous. MMMMMmmmmmm Brie. Another keeper.
As in recipe to keep. Not trapper keeper. Are you still thinking of the hot pink dip? Me too.
Jaclyn made a butternut squash pizza. So good!! It had rosemary and carmelized onions on it too. She found the allrecipes.com recipe here.
There was booze too. Duh.
What a great night!