a day in the life, making appetizers!

A day in the life of Wannebechef

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Its the day before the Big Day, 11/11/11. There is to be a HUGE celebration at the museum honoring Veterans. There are lots of dignitaries staying on the premises. I got a phone call yesterday afternoon, asking if I was available to “do” hors d’oeuvres for tonight, for 12 adults+ kids. They need to be the best of the best. After a quick brain squeeze, I came up with a plan and headed into town for Big Turkey’s physical therapy appt, as well as shopping for the prep ahead.

So, here we go:

6:30 am, woke, spent time in the Word.

7:15 am made a breakfast 2 eggs on toast for Gardener and I.

7:30 am, got a quick shower

8:30 am, helped Little One with her school work,

9:00 am, visited a bit with Gardener when he came in for break

9:15 am, went out to van to bring the groceries from last night’s trip (its colder than a refrigerator outside at night, and we were tired when we got home)

9:30 am, started cooking. First up was the brie en croute. Let me start by saying that I used the recipes and inspiration for a couple of my dishes from the America’s Test Kitchen, All Time Best Holiday Recipes, 2011. I HIGHLY recommend this magazine and its counter-parts,  Cook’s Illustrated and Cooks Country. If you like Julia Child’s books, you’ll like these. I like them because, just like Julia, they test, test, re-test, taste, adjust, and keep at it until they’ve got it fool proof for the home cook, plus they explain their reasoning why X didn’t work and Z was the better choice.


roll out store bought puff pastry to 12" square and then trace a 9" circle and cut. Brush edges with beaten egg.

pleat the pastry around the brie

open the pleats and then brush the whole thing with egg. This will go into the oven for 20 minutes, at 400'

here they are, all puffed and pretty, ready for their apricot jam and almonds

here they are all dressed up for the fancy occasion, with almonds and pomegranate seeds

I know the brie is very simple for such a special occasion, BUT it’s one of my Boss Lady’s favorites.

10:00 am, While the brie was in the oven I started on the mushrooms,

in the bowl of a food processor add: 4 oz goat cheese, 2 oz cream cheese, 1 TBSP olive oil, 1 TBSP chopped fresh basil, 1 TBSP chopped fresh tarragon, 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme, 2 cloves garlic, minced, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp pepper

pulse 1 piece of hearty white bread, and add it to: 1 TBSP fresh parsley, 3 garlic cloves and 2 TBSP oil, toss to combine. This is your topping.

10:20am, remove stems from 24 mushrooms, toss with 1/4 cup oil, 1 tsp lemon juice, a bit of salt and pepper.

line the pan with foil and use a rack, this is the secret to mushrooms with a pleasant texture as opposed to mushy and slime.

10:40, am

after 20 minutes at 450, turn them over and roast for an additional 10 minutes

10:50 am

put your cheese filling in a ziplock and snip off the corner. Fill each mushroom (which are now pleasantly roasted dry and nicely browned)

11:00 am

turn each filled mushroom over into the bread crumb topping and bake 10 minutes more.

here they are toasted a lovely brown

11:15 am start the next appetizer: smoked salmon spread. There isn’t much to this one, I just took a block (8oz) of cream cheese, 4 oz of smoked salmon (lox style), lemon juice, about 1 cup of sour cream, 1/2 a pkg of ranch seasoning mix, and 1 pkg of knox gelatin I softened in about 3 tbsp boiling water and whizzed at all in the food processor. I sprayed my mold, poured in the salmon mixture and put it in the fridge.

here it after a couple of hours in the fridge

11:45 am, wash up the sink load of dishes, clear counter space. Have a bite to eat.

12:05 pm, head up to museum for some items for the next and final dish.

12:30 pm, come back home and visit with Gardener while he finishes his lunch of homemade lentil stew from last night’s dinner.

12:40 pm, get back in the kitchen for the last hoorah. I am bushed by now.

in a bowl, mix together about 3/4 cup mayonnaise, 2 cups of sharp shredded cheddar cheese, add about 1/2 cup cooked bacon bits, 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce, some sauteed onions.

roll out some pie dough and cut out shapes

place 1 tsp of cheddar bacon filling on a cut out and brush the edges with beaten egg. Top with another cut out and seal edges.

here they are, brushed with egg wash and ready for their trip in the oven, 375 for 20 minutes or so.

some leaves to go with the turkeys

I didn't plate them, because I wanted Boss Lady to be able to reheat them and serve them warm. They are pretty though.

2pm. Pack everything into the van and head over to Boss Lady’s place, so she can rest easy knowing the appetizers are done.

2:30, come back home and tackle the dishes again, the counters, the floors.

3:45 pm, SIT down for 15 minutes, turns into 30. Decide I’m feeling frumpy and “fluffy” and a walk always seems to help. I have to get it in gear though, because the sun is already setting.

4:20 pm, I get outside and hit the road with my ipod and my sweat shirt. Feels good. I should have gotten out sooner, I don’t want to turn back towards home, but its pretty dark. Wish I could run, but even just this fast pace walk is making me remember I injured my hip somehow. Darn it. I feel so good, just to be moving and the tunes are perfect. Wish I could run and run in the moonlight.

5:00 pm, home and time to start dinner. and my blog.

6:30 pm, dinner is done (burritos) and I’m nearly finished writing.

next will be kicthen clean up, AGAIN, then some time with my books and magazines and plans for the upcoming dinners and gatherings. Next week I am cooking the Senior’s Turkey dinner for them, and we are attending a 4-h potluck, need to decide what to bring.

Hope you all have a great evening! See you soon.


About wannebechef

I am a mom of 3 home schooled kids, wife of 19 years, head chef/manager of cafe and a personal chef and event planner.
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