Monday, October 10, 2011

Wine (but mostly a FOOD) Tasting!

In the last few years I've realized that cooking good food makes me really happy. My cooking style now is unlike the "food preparation" style of my child-rearing years: hamburger helper, rice-a-roni, spaghetti and scalloped potatoes (not that there's anything wrong with that!). That food was easy, quick and inexpensive, and met the need to fill our bellies (on a shoestring budget!). But with kiddos gone for the most part, it's such fun to prepare different (translation: fresher and more expensive) foods. Jack has developed a palate that I never thought was possible; he was strictly a meat and potatoes guy, who now likes my versions of moo-shoo vegetables, baked sweet potato fries with rosemary, and mushroom-dill perogies (still doesn't care for artichokes, though, I'm working up to them). So a few weeks ago, when we decided to have another wine tasting, I immediately started searching for new recipes, while he looked forward to the wine. Who knew?!

This concoction is the fig portion of fig and kalamata olive tapenade, absolutely my favorite dish of the night!

I doubled the recipe and threw in some green olives for good measure.

Then I topped a block of feta and a block of cream cheese each with this fabulous blend of salty and sweet. Yummo!

I've had that hankerin' for pumpkin, so I found these on my food gawker obession. Errr, website. Pumpkin cheesecake brownies. I've only made brownies from scratch a few times, and that part was easy. Adding the pumpkin cheesecake mixture was a different story, however. I got to the part where you mix the two, and was kinda like "huh?" Maybe I baked them too long; they were a tad drier that I hoped.

But PRETTY (and actually pretty tasty), so who cares?! ; )

This idea for a centerpiece came from Laura N., who sent it to me the night before in a text, via Pinterest. I love my friends!

I also made a pumpkin cream cheese spread with walnuts, a goat cheese log rolled in fresh herbs (that would have been for YOU, Laurie C!), and caprese skewers! The links are below:

(for the spread)
for the skewers.

Sorry kids! I'll be a good-cooking-Grandma instead!
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