Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Initial Party

Initial Cake
This cake makes me deliriously happy. It turned out even better than I envisioned and that doesn't happen often! I started with this inspiration for an Initial Party. Then I was inspired by a bunch of different cakes that formed into one plan for this cake (more cake details, below).

I cut out a bunch of Ps in different fonts and sizes and attached them to a white tablecloth with double-sided tape.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Wedge Salad

Wedge Salad

Only in Texas could you create a salad so big that it requires a fork and a knife to eat it. Truthfully, I don't think that the wedge salad was created in Texas but we Texans like to claim the origin of many things :).

Wedge salads have been on the trend in the last couple of years, but if you don’t know what I’m talking about, then let me fill you in. A wedge salad consists of a big wedge of crisp lettuce (there is no room for snobbery here, only crunchy iceberg will do), drizzled with chunky blue cheese dressing (ranch dressing will work as well, if you have an aversion to blue cheese), sprinkled with sweet cherry tomatoes, crisp bacon pieces, and finished off with crunchy croutons. Have I sold you on this yet?

I came up with these croutons when I realized I forgot to buy croutons and could not bear to put myself into a hot car to go to the crowded grocery store just for one thing. We’re made of tougher stuff than that, right? We don’t need no stinkin’ store to have croutons.

Wedge Salad with Salt-and-Smoked Pepper Croutons
Serves 4 as a side dish or 2 as a main course salad

For the croutons:
1 ½  cups  large bread cubes from about 2 slices bread (mine were about 1x1x1/2 inch cubes)
2 Tbls. olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. smoked black pepper (if you can’t get smoked pepper, coarse ground black pepper will work too)

In a large bowl, toss the bread cubes with olive oil, salt, and smoked pepper. Spread the bread cubes out on a cookie sheet and bake at 350', stirring a few times, for 10-15 minutes until lightly golden and crisp. Alternatively, you can cook these over medium-high heat in a cast iron skillet for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until crisp and lightly golden. Let cool completely.

For the dressing:
2 oz. crumbled blue cheese
1/3 cup regular or light sour cream
2 Tbls. regular or light mayonnaise
¾ tsp. Worcestshire sauce
2-3 Tbls. buttermilk or regular milk

Mash blue cheese in a bowl, then mix in mayo, sour cream, and Worcestshire. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in 2 Tbls. buttermilk, adding another tablespoon if it’s still too thick. You want to be able to drizzle this over your lettuce but not have it run all over the plate. It’s best if you make this at least one hour before you assemble the wedges. Cover and store in refrigerator up to one week.

For the salad:
1 large head iceberg lettuce, well chilled
12-15 small cherry or grape tomatoes
1/4 cup. crumbled cooked bacon (about 2 slices)
1-1/2 cups croutons
1/4 to 1/3 cup Blue Cheese or Ranch Dressing

Peel off the first couple of outer leaves of your iceberg lettuce. With the bottom of the iceberg facing the counter, give your iceberg a sharp smack on the counter to release the lettuce core. This should make it easy to flip the lettuce over and remove the core. Cut the iceberg in half lengthwise, then cut one half into 2 wedges for a main dish salad or 4 wedges for a side salad. Place lettuce wedges on a plate and drizzle each wedge with 2-3 Tbls. dressing for a big salad or 1-2 Tbls. for a side salad. Sprinkle with bacon crumbles, cherry tomatoes, and croutons. Sprinkle with additional pepper if desired.