Chelsea and I decided Saturday, while we were up to our elbows in chopped onions and spaghetti noodles, that this whole “Blog Swap” thing was going to be rather nerve wracking. I mean, here’s how I look at it. Some of you know me. Some of you don’t. Usually, when I am writing on my own blog, my writing decisions affect only me. (Maybe my husband too.) But here I am, hammering out a blog post on someone else’s blog, and there are all these people reading, with all these expectations. SO MUCH PRESSURE.
To quote a conversation from yesterday:
Me: “I made Sangria. Is it too early to start drinking?” (It was 11am.)
Chelsea: “No! Never!”
So maybe I’ll just have a glass of leftover Sangria and proceed.
I’m not going to bother talking about myself. I do enough of that on my blog. But I do want to tell you that 1) Chelsea is a genius, 2) I now have enough food to last until Christmas, and 3) it’s great to spend the day with a fellow blogger.
Chelsea arrived at my house around 10:30. I had previously (like, the night before) had full intentions of getting up early(ish), getting in a work-out, showering, and being 100% prepared for her arrival. But sometime between the time I woke up and 10am, I ended up doing nothing of the sort and instead stuffed mine and my husband’s faces with cinnamon rolls and watched “Iron Chef” on the Food Network (which, come to think of it, was probably a good choice of program considering the activities lined up for that day). When she got here, I was brushing my teeth and apologizing for my dirty kitchen floor. As you well know, Chelsea lives in a house she calls “Hurst Castle.” That’s a little intimidating, given the fact that my whole house is probably the same size as her living room, from the way it sounds. Oh well, my kitchen is painted the cheeriest shade of apple green, that should cover a multitude of smallness, right?! Anyway, we rolled up our sleeves, donned our super cute aprons, strands of pearls (provided by me, so we could be “just like Julia!”) and started cooking. We cooked and cooked and cooked and cooked. 5 recipes, doubled, ended up making 26-1/2 8×8 foil panfuls of food. That’s 13 for me, and since I am a nice person (and Chelsea beat me at arm wrestling), 13.5 for her.
Let me just say: this was Chelsea’s idea, and it was a GREAT ONE. Now, whenever I get done with a hard day of work and have a hungry husband on my hands, all I have to do is pop one of these gleaming silver packages in the oven and… VOILA! Instant dinner! It’s like having a maid. (Probably not, but since I’ve never had a maid, I can pretend.)
I think the best part of the day (besides the Sangria, which I can’t take credit for either – credit goes to Emeril – click herefor the recipe) was spending all day with a fellow blogger. Our conversation never veered from these 3 topics: husbands, food, and blogs. The only thing I can liken it to is dudes (or girls, I ain’t no sexist) talking about sports. They can talk about it for hours, and if you’re not into all that, it can sound kind of boring (not to mention confusing). The same goes for blog-talk. My husband was in the other room periodically and I’m sure he was thinking, “Who is Bon Bon Rose? What is SITS? WHAT ARE THEY TALKING ABOUT?” But we couldn’t stop talking about blogging. When she left that evening, after a second batch of Sangria, some really bad television, a delicious pizza that was NOT homemade, and The Mexican on DVD, I had a big grin on my face. Michael asked me, “Did y’all have fun? Do you think you’re becoming better friends?” To which I answered, “I think we’re already pretty good friends.” True, maybe this was only the 4th time we’ve seen each other in real life, but when you have such a huge part of your lives in common, and when you can email and comment and read and write and blog and facebook each other all the live-long day, what’s to stop you from being friends? Really, really good friends? BF4EV, even?
Suddenly, I’m not scared to post on Roots & Rings. We’re all family, right? Or at the very least, blog friends?
For kicks, here are the recipes I brought to the table. I doubled them both.
Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas (I got this recipe from my mom)
3-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 medium onion
1 can green chilis (or 3/4 c. salsa)
3 T. butter
12 corn tortillas
1 lb. grated Cheddar/Jack cheese
1/2 saved chicken broth
Boil chicken, cool, and shred (save broth). Preheat oven to 325. Saute onion in butter. Combine onion, soups, broth, chilis, and stir. Cut 6 tortillas into small pieces and cover bottom of 9×13 pan. Spread 1/2 chicken over tortillas, then 1/2 sauce and 1/2 cheese. Repeat layers. Bake 30-40 minutes until bubbly and brown.
I would just like to say that when you double 3 tablespoons of butter, you end up with almost an entire stick of butter. Chelsea never batted an eyelash when I dumped that much butter into my cast iron skillet. It was then I knew we’d be friends forever.
Mediterranean Tuna Casserole (I ripped this recipe out of some food magazine – I am not trying to say I made it up. There now, no one can sue me.)
1/3 c. olive oil, plus more for baking dishes
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 lb. wide egg noodles
2 red bell peppers (ribs and seeds removed), thinly sliced lengthwise
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
5 cups whole milk
4 cans (6 oz. each) tuna in olive oil, drained
1 can (14 oz.) artichoke hearts, drained and thickly sliced
5 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 c. finely grated Parmesan
Step 1: Preheat oven to 400. Lightly oil 2 8″ square (or other shallow 2 quart) baking dishes. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook noodles until 2 minutes short of al dente according to package instructions; drain, and return to pot.
Step 2: Meanwhile, in a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat oil over medium. Add bell peppers; season with salt and pepper. Cook until crisp-tender, 4-6 minutes. Add flour, and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Gradually add milk, stirring until smooth. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a simmer.
Step 3: Remove from heat, add mixture to noodles in pot, along with tuna, artichoke hearts, and scallions. Season with salt and pepper, and toss. Divide between prepared baking dishes, and sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake until golden and bubbling, about 20 minutes.
So there you have it. Chelsea should be posting her recipes over on my blog; if she doesn’t, let’s all agree to annoy her until she does.
And the moral of the story is: go grab a friend, a bunch of ingredients, and a kitchen. Cook for a few hours, drink some wine, and laugh a lot. Then guest blog for each other.
And get over your blog fright.