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Thursday, December 30, 2010

NYE at the McKane's!

Time to send out the old and bring in the new, my lovelies! I had a wonderful 2010.  It brought many new and exciting things my way, like working as a personal shopper and stylist for some really great women, discovering the joy of skinny jeans, and testing and trying new recipes.  My personal fave is Anne Willan's Saute de poulet au Vinaigre de Vin (Saute of Chicken with Vinegar, Garlic and Tomato for the non-French speaking)  My daughters call this dish "Crack Chicken" because the sauce is so wonderful that it is addictive! My most recent foray was my Taiwanese neighbor's recipe for Mongolian Beef-so much better than the pale imitations at most restaurants.  I do love the challenge of a new dish!

Our plans for this NYE entail hosting our neighbors and my daughter's friend for a lovely evening full of fashion, fab food and fireworks (like the alliteration?) But does this mean I will be in my sweats? Oh, heck no!

 I will welcome the new year's trends and food with a few of my favorites from this year.  I will wear my strapless, empire waisted LBD with pleated hem and a fabulous pair of red, patent leather peep toe heels.  Just to keep things trendy (and since I am growing out my pixie cut), I will adorn my coif with a black and cream headband.  Black nails and a statement necklace will round things out nicely.

NYE by wmckane

For the menu of the evening, I am fortunate enough that my guests are bringing the main attraction of Baked Ziti (Paul is from an Italian family, and it is one of their favorite dishes.)  I will provide the accessories-Crunchy Salad, Deirdre's Famous Hot Artichoke Dip, fresh French baguettes (courtesy of my amazing bread baking husband), and Delectable Coconut Cake.

Crunchy Salad

3 hearts of romaine lettuce, broken into bite sized peices
6 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
6 green onions, finely sliced
1/3 cup sliced almonds, dry toasted
1/4 cup sesame seeds, dry toasted
1 cup (or more if you like) chow mein noodles

To dry toast the almonds and sesame seeds, just place in a dry saute pan on high heat and toss gently until they begin to turn golden.  Remove from heat and pan immediately, for it will go from perfect to nasty in a very short time.

Put all the above ingredients except the chow mein noodles in a large salad serving bowl.


1/4 cup sugar
1 t. salt
1/4 t. freshly ground pepper
3 T. of apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Mix sugar, salt, pepper, and vinegar in a small sealable container (a mason jar works well).  Add vegetable oil, close tightly and shake vigorously.  This should make  a lovely thick vinaigrette.

Toss the salad with dressing and top with chow mein noodles. Nom nom!

Deirdre's Famous Hot Artichoke Dip

2 cans quartered artichoke hearts
1 small sweet onion, diced
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. garlic powder
1 8.8 oz can of parmesan cheese

*This is from my former neighbor and good friend Deirdre.  I don't normally use canned parmesan cheese, but in this case, you don't mess with perfection.  This recipe has made it's rounds to everyone who has ever tasted it.  Yes.  It's that good.

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Mix all the ingredients together except 1/2 the can of parmesan.  Pour into a greased 9 x 9 inch dish.  Top with remaining parmesan.  Bake for 40-45 minutes, golden brown and bubbly. Serve with baguette slices.

Try not to eat the entire pan yourself.  Yeah, and good luck with that.

Delectable Coconut Cake

1 white cake mix
1 can cream of coconut (not coconut milk-they aren't the same thing!)
1 large bag of sweetened, flaked coconut, toasted

To toast the coconut, spread onto a large baking sheet and bake in a 400 F oven for 5-10 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove immediately.

Make the white cake mix to the manufacturer's directions, but use whole eggs in place of the egg whites. Bake in 9 inch rounds according to box directions.

In the meantime, let's make the frosting.

Martha Stewart's Seven Minute Frosting

1 1/2 cups sugar
2 T. corn syrup
6 large egg whites
1 t. vanilla extract

In the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer set over a saucepan of simmering water, combine sugar, corn syrup, 1/4 cup water, and the egg whites.  Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture registers 160 F on an instant read thermometer, about two minutes.

Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Beat on high speed until glossy and voluminous, about 5 minutes. Beat in the vanilla.  Use immediately.

After the cakes have cooled completely, remove one cake, and place it on your cake stand or serving platter.  Using a toothpick or fork poke holes generously in cake, making sure to stay 1 inch from the edge of the cake.  Slowly pour the 1/2 of the cream of coconut on the first cake half, taking time to let it absorb into the cake without flowing over the edge.

Frost the bottom half of the cake with the frosting.  Remove the other cake layer and place on top of the first.  Poke holes and pour the cream of coconut in the same way as the first layer. Frost with remaining frosting.

Sprinkle the cake with the toasted coconut and impress your friends and family with your beauty and skills!

Happy New Year everyone! I hope the next year is filled with confidence, fabulousness, and great food.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Holiday Recovery Period

So, here I am two days after my final Christmas soiree, and I am finally getting my regular groove on (love my festivities, but whew!)

My lovelies, tonight I am cooking in my  Joe's Jeans (Honey Booty Fit), gorg olive green cashmere peasant sweater, and my favorite pair of pony hair leopard print stilettos.  Just to make sure I don't have an unfortunate, I am accessorizing with an apron from Anthropoligie-bit of turquoise and olive it to pull it all together. Hopefully, I look as yummy as the menu! 

The menu is light and veggie-ful to balance out all that holiday baking and splurging.

Puff Pasty Pizza with Sauteed Wild Mushrooms and Feta

8 oz. gourmet mushroom blend (oyster, shiitake, and baby bella) or your own blend
4 T. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup sliced sweet onion
8 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed

Preheat the oven to 400 F, and unfold the thawed puff pastry on a half-sheet baking pan.

In a large saute pan, over medium heat, heat the olive oil and saute the mushrooms, garlic and onion until tender, but not browned.

Place puff pastry (untopped) in oven for 5-10 minutes, just until lightly browned.  Then top with mushroom mixture and crumbled feta.  Bake for 10-15 minutes more until the pastry is golden brown and the feta is lightly golden.  Remove from oven and enjoy while looking fabulous!

As not to forget our need for green...

Arugula with Lemon Vinaigrette and Parmesan

8 oz. arugula
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 t. kosher or sea salt
1/3 cup olive oil
Shaved parmesan reggiano

Whisk the lemon juice and salt together, then begin adding the olive oil bit by bit-whisking continually. This forms and emulsion and results in a dressing that coats well without separating.

Toss the arugula and the parmesan with your vinaigrette. Serve on the side or better yet on top of your luscious pizza! 

Pair all of this with a nice King's Estate Pinot Gris (or your personal preference), and you have the perfect night in.