Monday, January 31, 2005

Shoosh! Dinner at the chalet!

Fondue + skiing = Swiss Chalet!

We journeyed from the tropics to the Alps for this week's dinner. To set the mood, we let it start snowing outside...

... and Erik built us a fireplace!

We hung our ski clothes up to "dry" and we were ready for dinner!

We started with 2 different cheese fondues - 3 Cheese (made with Swiss, Gruyere and Havarti) and Cheddar Beer. Served with sourdough bread, apples and nacho chips - mmmm.

The main course was steak and chicken. Unlike old-style fondue, we cooked the meat in hot broth. Works just as well, but much better for you. With the main course, it is all about the sauces - teriyaki, barbeque, sweet and sour, honey mustard, spicy buffalo and herbed ranch.

And what would a fondue dinner be without dessert?! We had both a decadent dark chocolate fondue and a creamy white chocolate fondue, with strawberries, apples, bananas, shortbread cookies and marshmallows. A great way to finish the evening!

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

It's Time to Visit the Ski Chalet!

This week it will snow in San Diego and our dining room will become a ski chalet. Snow, snowballs and fondue - should be fun for all.

If you want to have your own fondue party, here are some recipes to start you off -

Luau - 2005

The luau was a great success! See our guests this Sunday -

(from left to right)

Ionakana (Jonathan)
Keoni (John, my dad visiting from Minnesota)
Lopaka (Bob)
Kukana (Susan)
Kaki (Cathy, my mom visiting from Minnesota)
Kolika (Doris)
Kona (Donna)
Elike (Erik)
Kaklina (Kathy)

We transported our patio to Hawaii for this dinner (or so it seemed with the palm trees, tiki decorations, pineapples and flowers). Erik found an internet radio station from Hawaii to play in the background. See more pictures here!

Here's what we had for dinner. (Click here for the recipes)
blue hawaiians
kalua pig
Teriyaki Chicken
Fruit Plate
Jasmine Rice
Sweet Potatoes
Haupia with Pineapple
Luau Brownies

Monday, January 24, 2005

Luau Recipes - 2005

These are the recipes we served at our luau this year - all were great!

1 oz light rum
2 oz pineapple juice
1 oz Blue Curacao
1 oz Cream of coconut
1 slice pineapple
1 cherry
Blend light rum, blue curacao, pineapple juice, and cream of coconut with one cup of ice in an electric blender at high speed. Pour contents into a highball glass. Decorate with the slice of pineapple and a cherry.

3 lb pork butt
1 1/2 teaspoons liquid smoke
2 1/4 teaspoons Hawaiian salt, or sea salt, or kosher salt
Preheat oven to 350-400 degrees F. Pierce pork butt all over with carving fork. Rub salt and liquid smoke into meat. Place pork fat side up in a roasting pan or deep casserole dish. Cover and roast in oven for 2 1/2-3 hours. Remove the pork from pan and shred with two forks. Makes six servings.

3 to 4 pounds of beef or chicken
Teriyaki Sauce:
2/3 cup shoyu (Asian soy sauce)
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons sherry or white wine
3 clove garlic, minced
1 inch piece ginger, crushed
3 stalks green onion chopped fine
1 teaspoon Chinese 5 spice (optional)
Mix all ingredients. Soak beef 4 hours or overnight in sauce. Bake in shallow pan. Turn pieces over and marinate with sauce. Ten minutes before turning heat off, pour rest of shoyu mixture. Serve with chopped green onions and Chinese parsley. Bake 325 degrees for 1 hour or less depending on how well you like your meat. Medium is best. This is also a great for grilling on the BBQ. Makes about 6 servings.

1 1/2 cups coconut milk
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup corn starch
1/2 cup chopped fresh pineapple
Combine cornstarch, sugar, water, and coconut milk. Stir until smooth. Stir over medium heat until thickened. Lower heat and continue cooking for 10 minutes. Stir in fresh pineapple and pour into a flat pan. Refrigerate until set.

1/2 cup butter
1 (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups sugar plus 1/2 cup
1 1/3 cups unbleached flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract plus 2 teaspoons
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs plus 1 egg
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups shredded sweetened coconut
1 cup chopped mix of roasted and salted macadamias, cashews, and almonds
1 cup canned pineapple tidbits
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease the bottom of a 13 by 9 by 2-inch pan. In a double boiler or in a large microwave-safe bowl in the microwave oven, melt and stir together butter and chocolate chips. To the chocolate mixture add, 1 1/2 cups sugar, flour, 1 teaspoon vanilla, baking powder, salt, 4 eggs, and mix together well. In a separate bowl, mix together the cream cheese, 2 teaspoons vanilla, 1 egg, 1/2 cup sugar, and the coconut. To assemble: layer half of the chocolate batter into the pan. Sprinkle half the nuts and pineapple on top of the batter. Dollop the cream cheese mixture on top, and spread it out across the top. Mix the rest of the nuts and pineapple into the remaining chocolate batter, and pour it over top of the cream cheese mix. Bake for about 40 minutes (check after 35 minutes). The top should be lightly crusted and the edges lightly browned and beginning to pull from the sides of the pan. Cool completely in pan before cutting.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

We're Having a Luau

Since my parents are in town from frigid Minnesota (-54 in Embarrass!) so we thought it would be fun to have a luau.

I've found some good links:
The Hawaiian Luau
Aloha Friends
Luau Crafts
For party supplies

This should get us started!

Monday, January 17, 2005

Caribbean Halibut

You can use this marinade with any white fish - I think it works exceptionally well with halibut.

3 pounds halibut (or other white fleshed fish)
4 shallots, peeled and diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
Juice of 2 limes
Juice of 2 lemons
1 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup white rum
1 cup white wine
1/4 cup soy sauce (low sodium is best)
2 tablespoons chopped rosemary
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

Combine all ingredients except fish in glass or stainless steel pan. Add the fish (remove any bones) and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, no more than 8 hours.

Preheat grill (broiler if grill is not available). Remove the fish from the marinade, reserving the marinade. Grill for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness. Fish should still be slightly translucent in the center - it will continue to cook after it is removed form the grill.

While fish is grilling, boil down the marinade until it is reduced by half. Spoon sauce over fish and serve immediately.

Blackberry BBQ Sauce

This sauce is fantastic!

This makes 1 1/3 cups:

1 1/4 cups blackberries
1/4 cup catsup
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup minced ginger
1 teaspoon pepper
1 or 2 teaspoons hot sauce, to taste
salt, to taste

Whirl all in a blender until the berries are pureed.

Pour into a 1 quart glass measuring cup. Cover loosely with a microwave-safe plastic wrap, leaving a vent for steam.

Cook in a microwave oven at full power, stirring occasionally until berry mixture is reduced to 1 1/3 cups, about 8 minutes. Serve with anything barbecued.

Enchanment Under the Sea - 2005

Getting kids to eat fish can be trying, but nutrition experts say that we should eat 2 servings of fish every week!

So we transformed our dining room into an enchanted sea room - complete with fish everywhere. I found several websites with outlines of different sea creatures which I used as patterns. I cut them out of construction paper and hung them all over the room. I bought some little foam fish and taped them to the underside of the glass dining table, in a pattern that made them look as if they were swimming in a school.

Our dinner:
Carribean Red Snapper
Popcorn Shrimp
Basil New Potatoes
Roasted Asparagus
Sourdough bread
And for dessert -
Fish Cake

With some construction paper and creative decorating, we turned "fish for dinner - yuck!" into fun. We even got the kids to admit that they like shrimp!

Monday, January 10, 2005

Make Your Own Pizza Party - 2005

This is a fun dinner - and not a lot of work! A checkered tablecloth and a flowers in straw-wrapped chianti bottles turn your dining room into a pizza parlor. Play some classic Italian music and you will complete the picture!

For this, we made a personal-sized pizza crust for each guest. We then prepared all kinds of different toppings from traditional (pepperoni, sausage, mozzarella cheese, grilled peppers, onions, olives, pineapple, and mushrooms) as well as some different toppings (grilled chicken, corn, feta cheese, sweet potatoes, artichokes... that kind of thing). I ladled sauce onto each pizza crust and then let everyone make their own. Pop them in the oven for 15 - 20 minutes (until the cheese is nice and melty) and serve!