Texas Caviar

Texas Caviar: When you make something this healthy, it's best to balance it out by eating it with chips.

During our Tastes Like Freedom party, we grilled pizzas, potato and paneer skewers and eggplant for baba ganoush. But I knew I’d need a few things I could whip together beforehand and toss on the table. I remembered I hadn’t made one of my favorite dishes this summer — Texas Caviar. I realize this reveals just how pretentious I can get, but I tried several times to think of a better name for the dish. I settled on Salsa Fresca for the menu for the party … but at least one friend was horrified, thinking I’d taken the Tequila Fresca idea a bit too far and turned it into food. Hadn’t thought of that.

The appeal of the dish is that it’s so easy. You open cans. You put the contents together. You pour on some dressing. You chill it. You immediately remove it from the fridge and eat an inappropriate amount to make sure the flavors are right. You chill it again. You serve it. You continue to eat an inappropriate amount, this time in front of your guests.

I’ve tried to fancy up the flavors quite a bit … and am convinced that the real secret is Seven Seas Italian dressing. Fancy yours up as you like, but the dressing will do the trick. Continue reading

Advertisements

Wine Chill Drops

Like the frozen tears of an angel, Wine Chill Drops let you go from hot and miserable to hot and miserable with a glass of wine in three minutes.

It’s been 103 degrees here lately. Maybe 129. It’s hot. One has to be prepared to deal with these things.

But try as you might, at some point you may find yourself in need of a bottle of white wine that isn’t chilled. Oh no!

Then you grab these Wine Chill Drops from your freezer and balance is restored. In a few minutes, they’ll get your wine to the right temperature, while you properly chill the rest of the bottle.

Technology provides us with many amazing things. This is one of them.

I never meant to leave you.

Really, I didn’t. I’ve been having issues in the kitchen. Unlike the time all of the appliances made a suicide pact, this time the issues are of the camera variety.

I shoot all of the videos myself, while I’m home alone, except for that one time Scott got home from work early and was my vodka soda taste-tester. That’s a lot of moving a tripod around, balancing an iPad to get close-up shots and holding an iPhone over the stove while I stir. Well, I need a new tripod and a better way to stabilize the iPad, and in my hunt for equipment, I’ve neglected you.

I’ll fix it.

Soon.

Let’s still be friends.

Let us celebrate our independence by adhering to a strict dinner-party menu

While the desserts are patriotic colors, I couldn't commit to a true all-American theme. But there will be many coolers of beer. That's a national pastime I can get behind.

My name is Cavan and I’m a planaholic. So it’s no surprise that part of my routine for getting ready for parties now includes creating a menu on my iPad. Mind you, these menus don’t always make it to the actual party. They’re just for me. I mean, the iPad is busy during the party serving as a cookbook and stereo. It can’t just sit around on the table telling people what the food is.

… That’s why you also create labels for each dish.

Other people do these things, right?

Well. Anyway. Here’s what we have in the works for tomorrow’s Fourth of July party at our house.

I will never get tired of grilling pizzas. It seems hard, but is really so simple. Make a dough that’s somewhat thin and easy to handle, brush some olive oil on it, grill it for a few minutes to let it firm up, then hand it over to a party guest to top it. A few more minutes on the grill, and you’re in Pizza Heaven. Or as close as you can get without owning a wood-fire oven. This is yet another cooking trick I picked up from Sweets by Natalie Kay, proving her expertise even beyond sweets.

Another new trick is watermelon granita. Just like the vodka sodas, these started as a fancy desesert from bon appetit that I quickly transformed into a cocktail. It’s easy and magical. Fill your blender about 3/4 full with watermelon cubes (go small to help your blender out), two heavy splashes of lemon juice and a few tablespoons of sugar. Blend. Top with ice. Blend. Taste and add sugar to get to your own sweetness preference. Throw in some glub-glubs* of vodka.

*I stand by my belief that the best cocktails adjust themselves accordingly as the evening goes on, whether this means increasing or decreasing glub-glubs of vodka as the night goes on. The point is, add however much vodka you can handle. And then add a splash more. You can do it. I believe in you.