Saturday, February 9, 2008

Diana's Mexican Fiesta with the Pampered Chef

My future sister-in-law Diana hosted a Pampered Chef party last night. Kimberly joined me too and the evening was an amalgamation of tasty food, cool kitchen gadgets and good ol' fashioned female bonding. Hannah, the youngest woman in our circle at only seven months enjoyed herself quite a bit and certainly added her two cents during the Pampered Chef presentation. It also has to be said that Hannah was by far the most fashionable lady of the night--sporting her pink Converse high-tops, and looking gorgeous like nobody's business. Fellas, watch out for this unmistakable fashionista!

Now, for the food...

What We Learned. What We Cooked. And What We Bought.

Learned how to...

1. Perfectly break down ground meat:
Use the
mix 'n chop tool. This thing is so low-tech but it really works. It looks like a small pinwheel, which you use in a turning motion around your pan to break down meat, tomatoes or anything else for that matter. Get one for $9.

2. Make your veggies look puuurty:
Michele, our Pampered Chef consultant showed us how to embellish a pepper with the v-shaped cutter. It looked lovely and was cut into perfect zig-zags after she had her way with it. I'd probably use this technique for a semi-formal get-together with apps and wine. Buy one for $9.50.

What we cooked...

1. The Taco Ring - This dish is super easy to recreate, the best part being that it looks really impressive. All it is is ground beef, Pillsbury crescent rolls and some imagination. If you don't feel like making a hearty one you can always substitute with something sweet like fruit or chocolate. It's very versatile, not too messy and makes for a beautiful centerpiece.

2. Kimberly's Jalapeno Corn Bread: Staying true to her Southern roots, Kimberly spiced up an ordinary cornbread mix with roasted red peppers and a sharp Jalapeno cheese topping. She was doubtful about its taste in the beginning, but an empty platter at the end of the night proved its excellence.

3. Diana's Queso Fundido: What's a Mexican fiesta without some creamy queso? Diana took on the challenge with impeccable results. She used low-maintenance ingredients like Velveeta cheese and RO*TEL diced tomatoes and green chilies, put them in a small crock-pot for 30-40 minutes and ta-da, we had nice, warm queso to enjoy. I also found a similar recipe for it on Kraft foods.

4. Foodista's Chunky Guacamole:
While I like creamy guac, I'm a big fan of the avocado and love to taste its milky texture. I take 4 ripe avocados (if they are not brown and soft enough put them in a brown paper bag and keep overnight - 2 nights) and slice them into 1/2 inch cubes. Squeeze lemon or lime juice over this immediately to prevent inevitable yucky browning. Then slice 1 large or 2 small tomatoes (w/o the juice) and drop them into the bowl. Do the same with 1/2 a large onion. Mix all ingredients together gently with a spoon. Add a lot of salt and pepper to taste and top with fresh chopped cilantro.

What we bought...

While the variety of gadgets spanned further than our imaginations, I personally bought a couple of practical essentials like...

Small Spreader: Great for frosting cakes and cupcakes, which I always struggle with. I'm looking forward to the moment when my sweet creations can look like little masterpieces. $4 each.

Green Santoku Knife: Love the fun color and the size. This baby is practical for cutting fruit and veggies, cheeses, meat--you name it! $16 each.

Mix 'n Chop: As I explained above, I'm fascinated by this easy-does-it meat chopper. $9 each.

We all had a great time and the evening was a fun end to a very looong week. Thanks Diana!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the positive cornbread writeup!! This was such a fun night!! Like Foodista, I am definitely getting the mix n' chop--it will be a huge help for all my ground meat based recipes, such as stuffed peppers, chili, and Jonathan's family sloppy joe recipe (called whimpie--so much better than regular sloppy joes!!)

    But I digress. Some of the tools we saw were the basics, but Pampered Chef does offer some really neat innovations, too. I'm hoping roomie and I will host a party soon!



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