Most of my long-time readers know this already, but for the new readers who do not, Bryan and I met at a wedding. My best friend growing up, Meredith, married one of Bryan's pledge brothers, Nathan. It was a fairytale moment when we sat at the rehearsal dinner table together, him a groomsman and me a bridesmaid, looked into each other's eyes and knew it was meant to be. JUST KIDDING...he had no interest in me for a good 24 hours, which was after the newly married couple had left and we sat at the country club having a jolly good time. Eight months (to the day) from when we met, Bryan proposed and I said yes. I say all of this to tell you that we spent New Years weekend with Meredith and Nathan. Like I said on Friday, this never happens, so we were both pretty excited to get in time with each of them.
Meredith and I grew up spending many weekends at my house cooking. Before we were able to drive, and probably weekends that I was in trouble, we spent hours in the kitchen learning the ins and outs of cooking. Though we have not cooked together in years, it just came naturally as we planned the New Years Eve party at her house. I sheepishly admit that I prefer to throw gatherings by myself, which includes doing all of the decorating and cooking alone. Often times when I cook with another person, I find myself staring over their shoulder or telling them what to do differently.
I kinda like things done my way. With Meredith, it all comes so naturally and we balance each other out so well, that I did not realize until later that I had not given a second thought as to what she was doing on the other side of the room. Total confidence. Love.
2 teaspoons expeller-pressed canola oil
1/2 pound mixed mushrooms, finely chopped
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
3 ounces cream cheese
6 ounces (about 1 3/4 cups) shredded pepper jack cheese
1 1/2 cups sliced baby spinach leaves
2 chipotles in adobo (from a can), minced
Preheat oven to 375°F. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add mushrooms and onions and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until mushrooms have released their liquid and are both dry and lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
Spread mushrooms and onions over the bottom of a small ovenproof casserole or gratin dish.
In a large bowl, combine goat cheese, cream cheese, pepper jack cheese, spinach, and chipotles. Toss until combined. Spread cheese mixture evenly over mushrooms and bake until bubbling, about 25 minutes. Serve hot.
Serves 6 to 8 as an appetizer (Makes about 3 1/2 cups).
Jalapeno Salami with Cheese and Crackers
Whiskey Cream Sauce
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup diced onions
1/2 cup whiskey
1/2 cup beef stock or broth
Dash of salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 to 1/2 cup heavy cream
Cook the onions in the 3 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat for a few minutes. When the onions are brown, turn off the burner temporarily.
Pour in the whiskey. As soon as it evaporates, turn the burner on medium-high heat and pour in the beef stock. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste, then allow the mixture to bubble up and reduce by half.
Whisk in the remaining tablespoon of butter, then reduce the heat to low. Whisk in 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup cream, according to your taste. Allow the sauce to simmer and thicken for a few minutes. Serve over beef.