Saturday, February 25, 2012

Jarlsberg - An Old Friend From Norway & #EWR12

As far back as I can remember, my family has always had a wedge of that familiar yellow-wax-rinded cheese in the cheese drawer. So when I saw that Jarlsberg USA was looking for bloggers to share their favorite memories about Jarlsberg in order to enter to win a scholarship to Eat, Write, Retreat, an AMAZING food blogger conference taking place in DC in May, it felt like they had designed the contest specifically with me in mind. The hardest part for me is narrowing it down to just one memory! Jarlsberg has been such a fixture in my life, it's contributed a nutty sweetness to fettuccine alfredo, it has filled numerous quesadillas, it has been cubed into salads and been melted into cheesy scrambled eggs.

Anyone who knows me is aware that I can be very particular about what I eat. I have very strong opinions on what is and is not tasty food. What people don't know is that I have actually mellowed a lot over the years. And I do mean A LOT. My parents could tell you stories...but let's not go there. I will tell you one of my own, as a small child I had a number of different food phases, like the time when I only wanted fish sticks or the time when I ate nothing but toasted fluffier-nutter sandwiches for weeks. There was one constant though, one thing my mother knew she could fix and set in front of me and I would eat it. Every time. A big plate of buttered noodles topped with a cloud of finely grated Jarlsberg. Actually, I should probably have my mother writing this post, as she is probably the happiest person thinking back on all of the tantrums averted due to Jarlsberg =). As an adult, with my own refrigerator, Jarlsberg is still a fixture in my cheese drawer and on my table. 

It would really mean a lot to me to be the recipient of the scholarship to Eat, Write, Retreat. I am taking baby steps to improve my blogging. I recently bought a new camera to help me improve my picture quality and am slowly but surely figuring out how to use it. I've actually been to a couple of blogging conferences before, but when you only have a point and shoot, it's hard to get a lot out of the photography sessions, so I welcome the opportunity to learn, new camera in hand, from some of the best. 

In homage to my 5 year old self, may I present Cheesy Noodles:
1 c cooked spaghetti noodles
1 tsp room temperature butter
1/4 c finely grated Jarlsberg
Toss noodles with butter, top with Jarlsberg, grind oodles of black pepper over it (Yes, I was a strange little kid) and enjoy!


Sunday, February 5, 2012

#SaucySuperBowl Bacon-Wrapped, Stuffed Shrimp #SundaySupper

Technically, I have never watched the Super Bowl. Shocking, I know, but I just don't find football that interesting. Of course, I'm tempted to watch for the commercials, but I know after spending $3.5 million for 30 seconds, I will be seeing a lot of those in the weeks to come, as the advertisers try to get there moneys worth. Then, there's also the halftime show, but you don't know exactly when that will occur, and that would mean accidentally watching football, so, no thank you. All that said, you're probably wondering why I'm posting a recipe for a Super Bowl party. That is easy, I love throwing parties and hors d'oeuvres are my very favorite thing to make!

Some of the great members of my food blogging tribe teamed up with Intensity Academy to create dishes using their fun sauces. I was sent the Chai Sweet Chili sauce to try and I loved it! It has a great sweet-hot kick to it, with the chai flavors lightly flavoring the background. When I started brainstorming what to do with it, I kept thinking seafood. At first I was going to do skewered salmon cubes glazed in the sauce, but in the end, I had some shrimp in my freezer that were calling to me, so I decided to stuff them with the sauce and cream cheese and wrap them in bacon, after all, you can't go wrong with bacon!

cream cheese

18-20 jumbo shrimp, peeled, de-veined and butterflied (see picture below)
1 8 oz block softened cream cheese
3 tbs Chai Sweet Chili sauce
10 slices good bacon, cut in half

Preheat your broiler with the oven rack about 4" from the heating element. I wish I could give you a temperature, but my oven just has the settings High and Low when you engage the broiler. For this recipe I set it on High. In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese and chili sauce. Spread a heaping teaspoon full down the middle of each shrimp. Then fold the shrimp back together and wrap with a half slice of bacon, trying not to overlap the bacon (it won't cook evenly if the edges overlap). Place all wrapped shrimp on a non-stick sheet pan and broil 4 minutes, then, using tongs, flip all shrimp and return to the oven for an additional 4 minutes under the broiler. Serve immediately with plenty of additional Chai Sweet Chili sauce to dip the shrimp in.

If you are looking for more inspiration for your own Super Bowl party or would just like to add a few new hors d'oeuvres to your culinary repertoire, please take a look at the recipes developed by my fellow tribe mates.

Renee at Magnolia Days made cheesy Chili Skins

Donna from Cookistry is taking a more healthful route with her Chai Thai Teriyaki Zucchini Rounds

Sunithi of Sue's Nutrition Buzz also went with shrimp in her Hot n Sweet Glazed Pineapple Shrimp Kebabs

Isabel, the creator of #SundaySupper and author of Family Foodie is putting out Pepperoni Pizza Dip AND Chai Thai Meatballs, such an overachiever ;)

Erin from Big Fat Baker has made Pulled Pork on Homemade Kaiser Rolls

Launie of Teeny Tiny Kitchen has whipped up Coffee Smoked Gypsy Gold Dust Chicken

Samantha at The Little Ferraro Kitchen is bringing her famous Fish Tacos

Jeff, the Catholic Foodie, is spicing things up with his Chai Chipotle JalapeƱo Poppers

Rashmi from Primlani Kitchen is pairing sweet and heat with her Chai Sweet Chili-Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache

Of course, no party is complete without a few libations and Eileen from Wine Everyday mixed up a nice Sangria for us

I hope everyone has a wonderful Sunday, bon appetite!