Congrats Geni! Thank you for your support, your tweets and votes for my entre into the Saucy Mama Cooking with Mustard Contest.
Saucy Mama will be contacting you directly to ship you your prize!
I love having family and friends visit. My little villa, as it is referred to, truly is little! I have a beautiful view of a lake in the back that opens my patio and home to a bit more spaciousness, but inside we are all comfy and close! So with that, it’s difficult to invite as many family and friends as I’d like. Though sometimes I think if I did have more room, I’d be hosting a bed and breakfast every weekend!!
My friends Ayesha and Ken are visiting this week. They are definitely my top foodie friends. Ken prepared the Blueberry Basil Vodka Lemonade that has remained one of my top posts and favorite drinks!! Can’t wait to see what drink he’ll be sharing on this trip! (No pressure whatsoever Ken!) Eating out is definitely in the plans as there are great places to dine in the Ft. Lauderdale/Miami area and getting to the ocean views and hot spots are always what my guests and I like to do. So what I do plan for is prepping food for quick bites and appetizers to go with Ken’s drinks. Ayesha is my cooking partner; we love to go out but we also love to get into the kitchen and create fun dishes together.
I’ve simply prepped a few things that she and I will be able to use in whatever we’d like to make. These prepped ingredients are also some of the things I do normally just to have on hand to add to recipes.
The “green” bottle is Cilantro oil. Fresh cilantro, garlic, scallions, salt and pepper are blended with extra virgin olive oil. This can be made up to one week ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator. I’ve used it as a pesto for seafood, swirled into gazpacho or salsas and added to vinaigrettes for an intensity of flavor. The other oil bottle contains whole, sliced fresh garlic and crushed red pepper. I love to infuse olive oil with various flavors including lemon peel and dried herbs. I prefer not to mix a lot of herbs, keeping it mostly simply flavored. Make sure to use the oil within the week and while fresh herbs look so pretty in the bottles, the moisture they contain is prone to bacteria growth so use those within a day or two.
The other jars contain marinated cheese, beans and sun-dried tomatoes. These can be served on the side for meals, mixed into salads and served on an antipasto salad. Sun-dried tomatoes are mixed with salt, pepper, garlic slices and olive oil.
These tomatoes are also good mixed into a frittata or layered in a Panini. The bean relish has chopped celery, andouille sausage, garlic, scallions, olive oil, salt and pepper. This relish is great served as is on the antipasto platter or processed into a chunky puree for a dip or Panini spread.
Fresh mozzarella is cut in cubes and tossed with pepper, crushed red pepper and fresh basil. We can use these on the antipasto plate or top grilled pizza.
Hummus is always a good recipe to have on hand for dips or spreads. I will vary the flavors added in; sometimes heated with spices for a more intense hummus or lighter versions that we can use for breakfast spread on bagels.
My biscotti jar and granola jar are always filled as well and I make sure to pick up various cheeses and jams. Guava and cheese quesadillas are fun to make with Mojitos or Margheritas. The guava paste gives these a nice sweet taste.