Sunday, May 27, 2012

Making Memories on Memorial Day Weekend...(a Foodbuzz 24x24 event)

This Saturday, May 26th, I was able to put on a party sponsored by Foodbuzz.  I was honored to be one of the 24 food bloggers selected for the Foodbuzz 24×24 event this month.  I submitted my proposal in hopes of being selected but I was so shocked when I was actually picked!  It took a lot of planning and preparation – but it turned out to be a great day, full of good food and friends.  I couldn't have done it without the help of my amazing husband - who lovingly washed dishes after every round of cooking during the days leading up to the event, as well as helped in preparing some of the food.  

The food focused on my favorite summer activity: grilling! "Sweet and Spicy" was the theme.  The main dish featured sweet and spicy BBQ grilled chicken.  For side dishes I chose to make sweet potatoes on the grill, grilled corn on the cob, and cream cheese stuffed jalapeños wrapped in bacon and then of course…grilled!  The drinks consisted of sparkling sangria with fresh fruit, blueberry mint mojitos with fresh mint from my herb garden, and select microbrew beers (from the best breweries in Wisconsin!).   Dessert featured cupcakes decorated like the American flag, homemade mint chocolate ice cream, and peaches and cream ice pops. 

Our friends Zach & Ann were gracious enough to host this event with a group of our friends.  They have an amazing grill and Zach played the role of “grill master” as I handed him all the food and gave instructions for grilling times & techniques.  Everyone had a great time playing croquet and other yard games, and the patio was perfect for lounging, laughing, and soaking up the sun.

Thank you to Foodbuzz and our friends for making this day possible!  

You can find all the recipes used below! :) 

The fixins for blueberry mojitos on the bar

Every one had a mason jar with a tag to write their name on it for their drinks

Chocolate & Red Velvet cupcakes

Wisconsin micro-brewed beers 

White Peach Berry Sangria

Blueberry Mojito 

Grilled stuffed jalapenos wrapped in bacon

The grilled corn & jalapenos

These jalapenos were a hot hit! 

Grilled sweet potatoes & corn

They forced me to put down the camera and be in a photo! (from left: me, Ann, Sam)

Zach, the grill master helping me with all the grilling!

Sweet potatoes with maple vinaigrette

Grilled corn on the cob

BBQ chicken

Corn on the cob slathered with jalapeno garlic butter....yummmm.....

A rousing game of croquet

Peaches and Cream ice pops

Fresh mint chocolate ice cream

Zach & Ann - the great hosts who let me take over their kitchen and opened up their home for the party!

You can watch a slideshow of all the pictures from the day here.

The recipes: 
Blueberry Mojitos

Ingredients: (per serving)
1/4 cup blueberries
2-4 fresh mint leaves (chopped)
2-3 fresh lime wedges
Light Rum
7Up or Club Soda
1 TBS sugar (optional - depending on your sweet tooth!)

Mash blueberries, mint, lime wedges and sugar in cup or pitcher until berries and lime break down and become juicy. Add ice, rum, and soda. Garnish with fresh mint and lime wedges. Enjoy!

White Peach Berry Sangria

1 (750 ml) bottle of dry white wine
¾ cup peach schnapps
½ cup lemonade
¼ cup sugar
4 peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced
¾ cup blueberries
1 cup seltzer water
1 cup lemon-lime soda

In a large pitcher, combine dry white wine, peach schnapps, and lemonade.  Add sugar to peaches and blueberries in bowl. Let the sugar dissolve with the fruit.  Add fruit to pitcher. 

Refrigerate sangria until well chilled.  Before serving, add seltzer and lemon-lime soda. Serve over ice, and use a slotted spoon to include sliced peaches and blueberries with each serving.

Grilled Stuffed Bacon Jalapeno Peppers

10 fresh jalapeno peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 package bacon (slices cut into thirds)

Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat.  Spread cream cheese to fill jalapeno halves. Wrap with bacon. Secure with toothpicks.

Place bottom side of peppers down on the grill, and cook until bacon on the bottom is crispy.

Remove from grill and place in baking dish. Put dish in oven and broil on high for 5-10 minutes or until top of bacon is crispy. 

Source: adapted from The Pioneer Woman
Sweet & Spicy Grilled BBQ Chicken
For the chicken:
Vegetable oil cooking spray, for grates
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons chili powder
coarse salt & ground pepper
10 chicken breasts
Barbecue Sauce (see below)

1.  Heat grill to medium.  Lightly oil grates.  In a small bowl, combine paprika, chili powder, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; toss each chicken breast in spices and rub into the chicken. 
2.  Grill chicken, turning often, until cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes (if browning too quickly, move to cooler part of grill).  During final 5 minutes of cooking, baste chicken with barbecue sauce.  Serve chicken with reserved sauce. 

BBQ Sauce

2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Heat about 2 tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook slowly without coloring for 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, give the sauce a stir, and turn the heat down to low. Cook slowly for 20 minutes to meld the flavors. Once the sauce is done cooking, remove about 1 cup of the sauce and reserve for serving alongside the chicken at the table.  The rest of the sauce will be used for basting the chicken while grilling. 

Source: adapted from The Bitten Word

Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Maple Vinaigrette
4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into ½ inch rounds
1/4 cup olive oil

For the vinaigrette
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. spicy brown mustard
1 Tbsp. vinegar
Dash of cinnamon
2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
2 Tbsp. olive oil

Preheat grill to medium.
Toss potato rounds with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Grill 8-10 minutes on each side, until the potato is lightly grilled and fork-tender.
Whisk together the garlic, mustard, vinegar, cinnamon, maple syrup, and olive oil.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Drizzle the vinaigrette over the sweet potato slices and serve.

Source: adapted from Confections of a Food Bride
Grilled Corn on the Cob with Jalapeño Garlic Butter

10 ears of corn (or however many people you are serving)
Jalapeño garlic butter (see recipe below)
Asiago cheese, shredded (basil flavored if possible)

Preheat grill to medium. Peel back the husks of the corn without removing them. Remove the silks and recover the corn with the husk. Soak in large bowl of cold water for 30 minutes.  (I put them in a cooler because I didn’t have a big enough bowl).  Remove corn from water and shake off excess. Place the corn on the grill, close the cover and grill for 15 to 20 minutes.

Unwrap corn and brush with the garlic butter. Sprinkle with the asiago cheese and serve. 

Jalapeño Garlic Butter

1 stick unsalted butter, slightly softened
5 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
4-5 slices of jalapeño peppers, chopped (from a jar – or ¼ fresh jalapeño, seeded and chopped)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine butter, garlic, jalapeño, salt, and pepper in a food processor and process until smooth.  Set aside or refrigerate in small bowl until ready to use.

Source: adapted from Bobby Flay

Peaches and Cream Ice Pops
Makes 6
Sugar syrup:
¼ cup + ¼ tablespoon caster (superfine) sugar
1/3 cup water
Cream layer:
¼ cup heavy cream, lightly whipped
¾ tablespoon powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste
Peach layer:
1 ¼ cup peaches, peeled, pitted and chopped
sugar syrup, cooled

Start by making the sugar syrup: place sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Let come to a boil, boil for 1 minute then remove from heat and cool completely.
Place the cream, powdered sugar and vanilla bean paste in a bowl and fold gently to combine. Spoon the mixture into 6, ½ cup capacity popsicle molds and place in the freezer for 20-30 minutes, or just until they start to firm. Insert a stick in each mold and freeze for 1 ½ hours.

Place the peach and sugar syrup in a blender and process until very smooth. Divide the peach mixture between the popsicle molds, topping the cream layer. Freeze for 4 hours or until completely frozen.

To unmold the pops, remove the molds from the freezer 5 minutes before serving and run the bottoms under some warm water. Remove carefully and serve immediately.

Source: adapted from Technicolor Kitchen

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups milk (I actually used lactose free since that’s what we had on hand but you can use any kind!)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 – 1 ½ cups fresh mint leaves
Few drops green food coloring (optional)
3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate blocks

In a medium saucepan set over medium-low heat, whisk together the milk, cream, and half of the granulated sugar. Bring the mixture just to a boil. Remove from heat and add the mint leaves; let steep for 20 to 30 minutes. Blend the milk/mint mixture using an immersion blender. After steeping, return the mixture just to a boil over medium-low heat.

While the milk/cream mixture is reheating, combine the yolks and remaining sugar in a medium bowl. Using a hand mixer on low speed or a whisk, beat until mixture is pale and thick. Once the milk/cream mixture has come to a slight boil, whisk about ¹∕³ of the hot mixture into the yolk/sugar mixture. Add another ¹∕³ of the mixture, and then return the combined mixture to the saucepan. Using a wooden spoon, stir the mixture constantly over low heat until it thickens slightly and coats the back of the spoon.  Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Stir in the vanilla extracts and food coloring.

Transfer the mixture to a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap.  Be sure to press the plastic wrap down to the surface of the custard to prevent a skin on top. Refrigerate overnight (or at least until the custard is chilled).

Freeze the custard using an ice cream maker about 15-20 minutes.  In the last few minutes of processing the ice cream, finely chop up the chocolate and add it to the ice cream. Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container, and freeze for a few additional hours to allow it to harden.  Serve in waffle cones or bowls and enjoy!

Source: adapted from my kitchen addiction


Nicki Behnke said...

This looks awesome and delicious. Are you sure you don't want to move to Eau Claire? ;)

Katie said...

You friends WHO LIVE NEARBY have NOOO idea how lucky they are!! Wanna be roommates again??? Or come host a dinner party at my house??? ;) I'll take any one of those delicious treats. You're amazing!! I wanna know more about how you won/what you wrote?! You should share!!

Jacky said...

Looks like a fabulous party!! The drinks look awesome, love me some Spotted Cow. And the food even better. Great job.