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Sunday, January 1, 2012

NYE Soiree!

Chorizo and potato pizza 
Pork shoulder sliders with pickled cucumbers 
Blue cheese dip and veggies 

Candied bar mix
Mom's secret peanut sauce 
Avocado and shrimp summer rolls 
Banana bread cupcakes with molasses cream cheese frosting 

New Years Eve 2012, where to begin... 2011 has been quite an amazing year for me. 2011 marked many new beginnings, to name a few: getting hitched, starting interior design classes, joining a new band, traveling to Hawaii and beginning this food blog! What better way to embrace the new year than throwing a party and cooking all sorts of great treats! No matter how hard you try to take the pressure off of NYE, drama and unattainable expectations always seem to creep into the fun of celebrating the new year. In my eyes, I felt that having my own party would solve the problem of the endless question of "what to do?!". I absolutely love throwing a party, especially if cooking is involved so what could go wrong?? Well, practically nothing unless you call the New Years Day hangover an error in planning ;). Last year Adam and I threw a holiday party and served among other things, a nut and pretzel bar mix and summer rolls. Both items were a hit, as well as simple to throw together so I decided to make them again this year. The spring rolls this year featured an amazing peanut sauce my mom made and for the rolls, I added creamy avocado and rice noodles. I love the addition of the avocado which accents the crisp vegetables and fresh herbs. I will of course be giving out the recipes below, so be sure and check them out. New this year were a blue cheese vegetable dip, chorizo and potato pizzas, pork shoulder sliders courtesy of my best bud Natalie and banana bread cupcakes. I had made up the blue cheese dip for for a chicken drumstick dinner featured a few posts back. I still had extra blue cheese to use up, so I whipped up another batch (recipe featured in previous posting). The chorizo pizza I new I wanted to try, because I have been craving this spicy sausage for a while. Chorizo is a Spanish or Mexican pork sausage featuring smokey peppers and paprika. I pan-fried thin potato rounds, caramelized onions and used fresh queso fresco to complete this mouthwatering pizzas. My friend Natalie brought over a delicious pork shoulder, which we placed onto crispy baguette slices and topped with a pickled cucumber for a sweet and sour note. I will have to gather the pork recipe from Natalie and get back to you for the recipe. Finally for dessert, I made banana cupcakes from a recipe I found on the Food Network. I loved the addition of molasses in the frosting and the moist bread quality to the cupcakes. I will definitely make this recipe again. Overall the party was a success and I was left with little remains, which marks a win in my book. Now if only I could make up a cure for the Sunday blues...

Chorizo & Potato Pizza's with Caramelized Onion & Queso Fresco 
1 pizza dough 
4 chorizo links
2 potatoes, thinly sliced
Olive oil 
Oregano, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder
2 sweet onions, chopped into rounds
1 cup crumbled queso fresco 
3/4 cup pizza sauce
1/2 cup fresh parsley 

Preheat oven to 450, with pizza stone inside to heat. Place onions in pan with olive oil and simmer on low-med for 30 minutes, or until caramelized. In another pan, heat olive oil over med-high heat and crisp potatoes with oregano, salt, pepper, onion and garlic until lightly browned, place on a paper towel. Add chorizo into pan and break up and cook until browned. Dab off extra grease with paper towels. Knead pizza dough into a large round and place on a cutting board sprinkled with corn meal to prevent sticking. Add pizza sauce, potatoes, then the onions, chorizo and finally the crumbled cheese. Cook for about 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned. Garnish pizza with parsley and serve! 

Candied Bar Mix
Handful of mixed nuts and pretzels (about 4 cups)
4 tbsp butter 
4 tbsp brown sugar 
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 300. Add butter, sugar and spiced into sauce plan and simmer until boiling, mix well. Pour sauce over nut and pretzel mix. Place mix onto cookie sheets and cook about 25 minutes, tossing occasionally. Cool on sheet and keep at room temp. 

Mom's Peanut Sauce
Peanut butter
Rice vinegar 
Apricot Nectar 
Garlic, ginger 
Chili paste

Mix together ingredients in whichever quantity you need tasting as you go. Garnish with cilantro (exact quantities are unknown). 

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