Under My Nose
Bella Swan needs a change in pace, a slower groove to enjoy the simple pleasures life has to offer her. She moves from the Big Apple to the Big Easy, from subways to streetcars, from nouveau chic to historically quaint, from a large Manhattan apartment near Park Avenue to a shotgun house with her eccentric aunt, in Mid City and off Canal Street. She's ready for love, commitment and that happily ever after, but does she have the patience to wait out her heart's desire? It's frustrating to be right, 'under his nose'.
A/N: Thank you to the readers who review every chapter. There are a handful of you. I appreciate the love, and I find your input very helpful. When we get into further chapters, I will send you another surprise. Again, thank you for your constant support.
Thank you to the readers who follow and favorite that I am unable to send a thank you PM.
Again, you will find pictures on my author's page of Sally's house, the tent, the wedding aisle, the cake, Bella's dress, shoes, bouquet and garter, Sally's dress, Esme's dress, Mama Jean's dress, the tuxedos. A picture of Julia and a picture of her headdress. If there is something you want to see, please let me know.
BPOV: March 31 and April 1
(The Wedding part one:)
I hang up with Edward all smiley and goofy.
Mom, Esme, and Mama Jean are downstairs in the kitchen overseeing the staff. Appetizers are the topic of discussion, so Alice and I took off.
Alice sits next to me, both of us with rollers in our hair, and separators between our toes, protecting the wet polish from any smudges. We are in one of the bedrooms at the back of the house. I throw open the doors and walk out onto the balcony. Alice follows.
We both stand at the railing looking over the backyard.
"Oh, Bella, it's so beautiful," she coos.
Yeah, it is.
The towering white tent is in the center of the yard. There are two rows of white floral, pedestal pots with the same architectural, trim as the house with large, white mums, white roses and white orchids overflowing from them, creating the wedding aisle. Some of the pots are on a square white pedestal giving an uneven effect to the arrangements. On both sides, there are chairs of clear, sturdy acrylic with white leather cushions lining the grass, fifteen chairs by fifteen, creating two large squares on each side of the aisle.
The opening of the tent hosts the chuppah; a canopy of all white flowers. So, we can get married and escape quickly into the tent.
Alice counts silently. "Bella, there are four-hundred and fifty chairs."
I solemnly hum, "Yeah."
The tent is open, and we can see the staff setting the tables. The linens, the chairs and the napkins are all white. Jesus, there is a humongous, white and crystal chandelier hanging overhead in the center of the tent. There are pedestal pots with white flowers all around the tent walls.
Alice points in amazement. "Bella, this is fit for royalty."
"And all we wanted was a small wedding," I mumble.
Esme pokes her head into the room. "Pizza will be here any minute." She giggles and walks away.
"Well, let's get downstairs for that pizza." I smile.
We take each step slowly and carefully guarding our nails, holding onto the banister with care.
Alice and I stand at the bottom of the stairs and stare. The grand hall is a carbon copy of the backyard. Just in case of rain, I think.
Off to the side, I see the cake.
It is gorgeous, I grumble to admit it. Giving in to all the wedding pressures, I didn't bake, frost or decorate it. Amelia, her crew, and Carlisle put their heads together to create the ultimate, wedding cake extraordinaire. Seven layers of a simple white cake with buttercream frosting and seven different fillings to please the taste of every guest. I look closely and see the trim designs of the house on the cake.
I scream in my head, "Everything matches."
Alice looks up at me, wrinkling up her nose. " I forgot what I wanted to ask you, after seeing all the wedding hoopla. What were you and Edward yacking about tickle sticks, pickles and dickles?" She laughs, poking fun of me.
I glare. "Don't make fun of me, Lady, your man was stuck on a pole and Emmett couldn't get him off."
Alice deeply thinks, rather talks to herself. "Yeah, that's Jazz, he loves poles." She turns to me. "When we were about fifteen, he wanted to pole dance." She stutters, "Purely for the athletics. If you understand Jasper, he does things most people wouldn't have a clue to want to understand."
"One of those creative masterminds?" I ask.
"Yeah, Jazz really does march to a different beat." Alice smiles, "But I like his music, always have."
I giggle. "Yeah, Edward just asked for a pole in the bedroom. I think the strippers inspired him."
"I swear those two are easily influenced." Alice mumbles as she checks her toes.
We walk toward the kitchen. "So, when is your friend coming?"
"She's catching a very late flight tonight with a few layovers. So, we won't see her until breakfast. Mom arranged for a car to pick her up."
"You know, Jasper or Emmett would have gone to get her."
"I think our boys are going to need to sleep in a bit." I laugh. "Edward wasn't actually drinking, but I think Jasper and Emmett were tipping the bottles. Plus, let them stay put and get here on time."
"Oh, I'm sure Carlisle will set them straight, and your dad." Alice reassures.
My cell buzzes and I have a text from Edward.
"Hey Baby. I'm starved. We are headed home. Em was pissed, but when I told him about the food you prepared, he calmed down. Please, tell Alice that Jasper is okay. We finally got him off the pole.. Love you, your loyal, true blue missing you, fiance."
I text back. "Hope you like the food. Love you, your loyal, true pink missing you, fiancee."
Mom pushes all of us into the sitting room. It's a cozy setting with a large fluffy sofa and soft, barrel chairs with stools to put our feet up.
The pizza guy finally shows his face. As he leaves the pizza boxes on the coffee table, he stops short. There is another knock on the door, and four police officers rush into the room as two of them pin the poor kid up against the wall.
"Sorry, ladies, we've been looking for this kid all night. He has been delivering some pretty hot pizzas," one officer says.
We watch in horror as they begin to cuff him. Then, one officer walks over to me grabbing the edges of the chair, and turning me to him. "We heard there was a wedding tomorrow. You the bride?" I nod. "Well then, you were looking for some …
A bass beat thumps loudly overhead, the lights dim and the other officers let the pizza boy loose. All five in a perfect 'V' formation stand in front of me and start to gyrate.
Alice starts to scream and yelp, moving to the music with her hands over her head, as my mother looks at me with this badass grin.
I point at her. "You didn't".
She nods and moves to the music singing, 'Naughty Night', shaking her head, "Yeah, I did."
Esme and Mama Jean are up and moving as I just sit here in shock. Everyone is dancing. Mom grinds on one officer, helping take his shirt off while rubbing her hands all over his pecs. Alice bounces from the pizza guy to another officer. Mama Jean and Esme strip one stripper down to his skivvies. He holds them both around the waist as they dance from side to side.
And, oh yeah, oh wow, I get a lap dance. I mean it's a lap dance, because the cop … dancer… whatever he is down to his tightie-whities and grinding his huge, no massive dick in my face, sinking me into the back of the chair.
Okay, now any other time I would play along, have some fun, give the dancer something to get excited about, but I am hours away from walking down an aisle and saying 'I do' to the perfect man.
I politely smile allow the guy to get his rocks off, then once the music ends I run to the bathroom.
"Bella, are you okay?" Mom says on the other side of the door.
"I'm okay. Fine. I'll be right out." I clear my throat. "Just washing my hands."
I exit the bathroom to find the ladies sitting around the coffee table eating pizza with no sign of the Chippendales. "Um, sorry to have ruined your time."
Mom puts an arm around my shoulder. "No, I should be the one to apologize to you, JujuBee. It's just that you're getting married on April Fool's, so why not?"
"No, it was okay. It just felt weird. No offense, Esme, but I don't want any guy's penis in my face." I bite the inside of my cheek. "Unless it's Edward."
"Oh Bella, you own his penis, dear. I only diapered it, cleaned up after his teenage, masturbation years and, now it's all yours." Esme declares openly.
I turn beet red.
Mama Jean takes a bite of pizza, swallows and says, "Since you have his dick, he's not acting like one." She shyly looks over at Esme. "Sorry."
"Oh nothing to be sorry for, Jean, he was a huge dick." She takes another bite of pizza.
I sit and grab a piece. "Ah, don't you find this rather weird talking about your son's penis?"
"No, Bella. I'm hoping you come back from you honeymoon pregnant." Esme smiles … broadly. "Edward's my only hope, since Emmett doesn't want to settle down."
"You never know with Emmett. He's full of surprises."
Okay, after strippers, pizza and tent construction, I can barely keep my eyes open. Alice and I head up to bed. Mom will wake us when BB arrives.
I get a call from Edward that he and Jasper are staying in the living room, something about Richard and Carlisle going to get Charlie and drag him back to the apartment, while Emmett is fast asleep on the floor.
We say 'good night', hang up, and I fall readily asleep with visions of a large variety of penises marching in front of me. They have legs and arms and faces on their heads with weird looking beards and mustaches. Oddly enough, their hair is slicked down with bodily juices. Eeew. Some wear sombreros and others wear top hats. One extremely large phallic starts to sway with a cane, and I see he wears tap shoes and does a quick shuffle, shuffle tap.
The last thing I remember is Esme telling me I own Edward's dick as she hands it to me with a piece of paper that I have to sign. It's a contract to take home and practice baby making.
Nelly sings in the background, 'It's getting hot in here', I feel feverish and fade to black.
Blaring rays of sun fill me eyes as I slowly open my tired lids. There is a heaviness on my chest, and a tightness around my waist. I look down to see Alice's head resting on my left boob and look up to see BB's head next to mine, and her arm wrapped around me.
I sit up quickly knocking Alice on to the floor and throwing BB to one side. I jump her. "BB!" I shout. "Why didn't you wake me when you got in?"
"You looked so peaceful and tired. I didn't have the heart." She smiles. "Hey, Girlie, you're getting married today!" We both scream, get up and bounce on the bed, holding onto one another.
Alice leans her arms on the mattress. "Can I join?"
I motion for her to come up. "Oh Alice, I'm sorry."
She crawls up. BB and I grab hold of her and the three of us bounce, screaming, 'awwwwwwww'.
As we bounce, I introduce Alice to BB. "Alice, this is my friend, BB. BB, meet Alice."
We continue to bounce a few more minutes until the mother brigade rushes in.
Mom runs in out of breath, "What's wrong?" She still holds part of a bagel in her hand.
Esme and Mama Jean stand at the door grinning as we bounce to a halt.
I stare at my mother; my amazing mother and cry, "I'm getting married!"
BB and Alice grab me tightly. Now, my BB is five feet eight inches tall, and my five foot two inch frame is under her chin while Alice who is barely five feet tall, curls into my back.
Mom pops the rest of the bagel into her mouth and struggles to get on the bed, wrapping her arms around us.
Esme and Mama Jean help one another up onto the bed as all six of us hold one another tightly and ball our eyes out.
With puffy eyes and reddened noses, BB and I sit as the hairstylists brush and spray our hair. Alice finally rushes into the room, a little frazzled.
I look up at her. "You okay?"
Alice smiles. "Yeah, I'm good." She giggles.
"That good, huh?" I giggle, too.
"Just spoke to Jazz and they're all up. Edward's pissed he can't talk with you, but he sends his love and can't wait to marry you." More giggling.
I blush and bite my inner cheek as BB grabs it. "You'll put a hole there, Bella!"
I take a huge breath.
"Nervous?" BB pokes.
"No, anxious. I know you'll like him." I grab her hand.
Alice adds, "He's a great guy."
"I've heard, but his brother sounds like a piece of work," BB quips.
"He's harmless, but he'll want a piece of you." Alice nods her head.
BB stares at her nails and blows at them. "Bring him on." She smiles.
We all laugh.
We are still in robes when a cameraman comes in to film pre-wedding preparations for Renee to view.
Alice walks out first in her soft, blush-pink chiffon dress that's full length with a wide strap over her left shoulder. The gentle touch of rosebud- ruffled lace the details on the one-side. The bodice hugs her small frame giving her a fuller dimension from the shirred skirt. Her dark hair flows to the other side balancing the full effect of the ensemble.
BB's dress is the color of lavender passion. Over her right shoulder, the chiffon gathers and drapes around the left side hugging her ample breasts. BB is a tall girl with an hourglass figure, and the shirred skirt emphasizes her curves. Her long, honey-blonde hair sweeps to the right side with a flowing cascade of waist-length curls.
The cameraman takes close-ups and full shots so Renee can see the details of the dresses.
I stand in front of the full-length mirror as he films me doing a basic, slow twirl to show off all the angles of my gown. I surprise myself that the dress is a bit looser than my last fitting, but it still compliments my figure. I love the sweetheart neckline and white lace. I run my hands down the sides of my hips and turn to look at the back. Then, I slowly look up into the camera and smile. I want Renee to see I am happy.
He follows me down the stairs where Alice, BB and my mother and father wait for me.
From the massive back windows, I can see everyone is in place. Edward stands to the right under the chuppah with Emmett and Jasper. We have a Rabbi and a Minister to officiate a quick, simple ceremony while we will pledge our love and devotion.
Julia stands with Hank right outside the door. She looks so sweet with the tulle and flowers on her headpiece and her mane braided with flowers.
Alice is all smiles and bounces in place.
I lean close to her. "Alice, do you have to pee?"
She beams. "No, no, I'm fine." She giggles loudly.
I shake my head and BB shrugs and whispers to me, "The fuck I know what she's so antsy about, but I heard her squealing in the bathroom."
Mom grabs my hand. "We are about to begin."
I squeeze my mother's hand. "I'm ready. Let's get this show on the road."
Charlie stands next to me. "Well, Kiddo, it's almost time." He hugs me deeply. "I'm so proud of you."
My eyes tear up. "Thanks."
The four-piece, string quartet begins to play and we move towards the back doors.
Mom motions for Alice to go and she exits the house, walks down the path, turns left to begin her walk down the aisle. Within seconds, she bursts out into screams, "I can't hold this in any longer." She runs towards Jasper. "We're pregnant!"
He meets her halfway, she jumps into his arms as he swings her around and they cry happily. "We're going to have a baby!"
The guests applaud, Emmett whistles, and my poor Edward looks around.
And my mother yells, "That's wonderful news. We'll celebrate later, but there's a wedding going on here! Alice and Jasper move your tushes."
Hand in hand, they both stand in their places making goo-goo eyes at one another. Edward shakes Jasper's hand and hugs him, and Emmett hugs them both. The guests all laugh.
Hank escorts Julia down the aisle. She brays softly as she heads towards Edward. Edward reaches out to pet her back. I hear him say 'good girl", and Hank stands with her behind Emmett.
Mom turns to me and sighs. "Thank God the mule didn't take a crap."
I look at her with surprise. "Julia wouldn't do that."
Charlie chuckles. "Bella, she's an animal, they do that."
The music continues as BB begins to walk out of the house, down the path and turns left to walk down the flowered aisle. Her head is slightly bowed, but as she looks up in Edward's direction, her pace falters.
As if in slow motion, BB stands still as Emmett strides to the front of the aisle. His look is of shock and wonderment.
Tears begin to flow down his cheeks as he stands … frozen … staring at BB.
His mouth opens with a heave … "oh my God, it's you!"
Hmmm, so BB is a 'You"... But who is the you? See you next Friday with The Wedding: Part Two.
A/N: Thank you to my Beta, Fran. I appreciate her time, her proper grammar and quick pen. Another great find by PAD!
To Robseve and Postapocalypticdepository (PAD), my pre-readers that give their unselfish time and creative input. Both of these ladies are inspirations and true friends.
Now, let me rec Postapocalypticdepository stories, since she so graciously rec'd mine.
Skater Boy and Boarder Girl: 10137826
Never Judge by the Cover: 9056924
Boys Will Be: 8868006
Rude Awakenings: 8876785
It's a New Dawn, It's a New Year: 8862243 (complete)
And to: Midnight-Confessions 9182601 by ohgeefantasy
Careless Hearts 9881551 by ohgeefantasy
Pudding Cup: 10189248 (Entry in The Bad Boys of Twilight Contest. Awards: First Place Public Vote & Two Judges)
And to: Edward Cullen FBI Special Agent and Psychic 9626040 by Dinia Steel (complete)
Sequel: Edward Cullen & Friends - Down on the Bayou 10204063
And a shout out rec to: BURN 8999279 by compass54
Also, found this story: Finally in Phoenix 9987411 by laughablelamb
AND: A Crack in the Door 8874295 by jane-with-a-y
AND:New Beginning 10175667 by LadyBeck
And thank you to all the readers, whether you review or not. I enjoy every comment and suggestion. Yes, NOLA (New Orleans, LA) is an exciting place to live. And to combine the old world with the new is a challenge, but the humor is quite a serious business. My objective is for all of you to smile, after each chapter.
appetizersSeared Beef Tenderloin Mini Sandwiches with Mustard-Horseradish Sauce
⅔ cup fat-free sour cream
¼ cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, minced
2 tablespoon horseradish
1 ½ lbs beef tenderloin, trimmed
½ teaspoon pepper, freshly ground
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 cups watercress, trimmed
1 French bread baguette, cut diagonally 16 pieces
2 tablespoons capers
½ cup parmesan, freshly shaved
Combine first 4 ingredients, stir well with a whisk. Cover and chill.
Secure beef at 2" intervals with twine. Sprinkle beef with pepper. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, spray pan with cooking spray. Add beef to pan; cook 15 minutes, turning frequently. Let stand for 15 minutes. Cut into 16 slices. Sprinkle with lemon juice.
Arrange watercress evenly on bread slices. Place 1 beef slice and about 1 tablespoon of sauce over each bread slice. Arrange capers and cheese evenly over sauce.
Modern Cheese Balls
1 cup wasabi-coated green peas
1 cup granola
¼ cup ginger snaps (about 5)
¼ cup finely grated Parmesan
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
2 11-oz logs of goat cheese
Grind peas in food processor. Spread the crumbs on a plate.
Shape cheese into balls. Roll balls in coatings.
Shrimp Cocktail with Red and Green Sauces
For the shrimp:
4 quarts water
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
1 onion, cut into 8 wedges
1 bay leaf
48 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined (about 2 lbs)
1 ½ cups packed fresh, flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1 ½ tablespoon sliced almonds
3 tablespoons cold water
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon capers, drained
2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 garlic clove, peeled
¼ cup bottle chili sauce
¼ cup ketchup
2 tablespoon horseradish
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 drops hot pepper sauce
To prepare shrimp: combine first 5 ingredients in a Dutch oven. Bring to a boil and cook, covered, 5 minutes. Add shrimp, cook, uncovered, 3 minutes. Drain; discard bay leaf and onion. Rinse shrimp with cold water. Chill one hour.
To prepare salsa verda: combine flat leaf parsley and the next 10 ingredients in a blender. Process until smooth. Pour into a bowl, cover and chill.
To prepare horseradish sauce: Combine chili sauce, ketchup, horseradish, and two tablespoons juice. Add hot pepper sauce. Cover and chill.
Panko-Crusted Crab Bites with Roasted Pepper-Chive Aioli
12 oz shelled cooked crab
¼ cup celery, finely diced
¼ cup chives, finely diced
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 large egg
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon hot sauce
1 ¼ cup Panko
Make sure there are no shells in the crab.
In a large bowl combine celery, chives, mayonnaise, egg, mustard and hot sauce; mix well with a fork. Add crab and ¼ cup Panko. Gently mix.
Take one cup Panko and place in a shallow bowl. Shape crab mixture into 24 cakes. Coat each side of cake with Panko. Place cakes in oiled baking pan and bake at 475° for 15 - 18 minutes, until golden brown.
Roasted Pepper-Chive Aioli. In a small bowl mix, mix ⅓ cup mayonnaise, ¼ cup chopped, canned red peppers (drained), 1 tablespoon minced chives, 2 teaspoon lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon minced garlic. Spoon a dollop of this mixture onto each cake.
Ham and Cheese Skewers
½ lb ham, in cubes
1 (5 oz) blue cheese wedge, make 60 chunks
1 large apple, cut into slices
1 bunch fresh watercress
60 skewers (wood or metal)
Thread ham, cheese, apple and watercress onto skewer. Watercress should be on the bottom of the plate.
Greek Olive Cups
1 ½ cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
½ cup pimento-stuffed olives or other green olives, chopped
½ kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
⅓ cup pecans, chopped and toasted
⅓ cup pine nuts, toasted
2 ½ tablespoons mayonnaise
2 pkgs mini phyllo dough shells
Combine 1 cup cheese and the next 5 ingredients in a medium bowl. Remove phyllo dough shells and fill with olive mixture and play on ungreased baking sheets. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining ½ cup of cheese. Bake at 375° for 12 to 15 minutes.
Smoked Salmon Dip
8 oz cream cheese
½ cup sour cream
2 tablespoons capers
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped dill
4 oz smoked salmon, coarsely chopped
Raw vegetables, crackers and appetizer breads
Mix all ingredients and serve on top of veggies, crackers and appetizer breads.
2 cans (15.5 oz) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 garlic cloves, crushed
½ cup water
¼ cup tahini (sesame paste)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Place beans and garlic in a food processor; pulse 5 times or until chopped. Add 1/2 cup water and remaining ingredients; pulse until smooth, scraping down sides as needed.
Serve on veggies, pita bread, chips.
Mini BLT Cups
for the BLT cups:
24 grape tomatoes
24 pieces of lettuce or spinach
¼ cup crumbled crisp cooked bacon (3 pieces)
24 pieces of bacon for garnish
for the chipotle aioli:
1 egg yolk, room temperature
1 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ cup grape seed or other neutral flavored oil
1-2 teaspoons chipotle in adobe sauce
½ teaspoon soy sauce
½ teaspoon miso
¾ teaspoon sugar
3-4 drop liquid smoke
salt to taste
aioli: In a medium bowl whisk together the room temperature egg yolk with the lemon juice and Dijon mustard. Slowly add the oil in a very small stream whisking constantly. If the oil starts to build up and not become incorporated, stop pouring and whisk the aioli aggressively. Continue whisking and pouring the oil in slowly until it is completely incorporated.
Combine all other ingredients in a small blender; I like to use the magic bullet for this. Blend well and then stir into aioli. Salt to taste.
To assemble to BLT cups:
Cut the bottoms of the tomatoes off (they will stand on their tops.) Gently squeeze and roll the tomatoes between your fingers to remove the pulp.
Stuff 1 piece of arugula (or other lettuce) into each tomato cup. Then place ½ teaspoon of bacon (you don't need to be exact here!) into each. Top with a squeeze of chipotle aioli and a piece of bacon for garnish.
Beluga Lentil Caviar on a Blini
Beluga lentil caviar:
½ cup black Beluga lentils
2 cups waters
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons capers packed in brine, minced
2 tablespoons brine from the caper's jar
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon miso paste
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 ¼ cups milk
3 tablespoons butter, melted
½ bunch fresh chives, minced
Make the beluga lentil caviar: Rinse the lentils and put them in a small pot with the water. Bring to a
gentle simmer, cover, and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the lentils are soft.
Drain the cooked lentils and place them in medium bowl. Add the salt, capers, and caper brine. Mix well
and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours, and a maximum of 2 days
Make the sour cream sauce: Mix the vegan mayonnaise with the Miso Mayo in a small bowl and refrigerate until needed.
Make the blini: In a medium bowl, combine the flours and baking powder. Whisk the milk and melted butter into the flour until a batter forms. Allow the batter to rest a few minutes.
Heat a large nonstick pan over medium heat. Add a small dab of butter to the pan or spray it with nonstick cooking spray. To form each blin, pour a little more than a tablespoon of batter into the pan. You can usually cook 4 to 6 blini at a time. Wait until the pancakes begin to show air bubbles all over the tops and the bottoms are brown. Flip the blini over and cook until golden brown.
Using the back of a spoon, spread a small amount of the Sour "Cream" on each blini, add a teaspoon of the beluga lentil caviar, and top with a pinch of minced chives. Serve immediately.
24 large dates
12 slices bacon, sliced crosswise
⅓ cup crumbled Stilton cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place 24 toothpicks in a small bowl filled with water; let soak 15 minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and fit with a wire rack; set aside.
Halve dates lengthwise being careful not to cut all the way through. Place a small amount of cheese in the center of each date. Wrap a piece of bacon around each date. Secure bacon with a toothpick.
Place dates on prepared baking sheet. Bake until bacon is cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes.
Goat-Cheese Stuffed mushrooms
Olive oil for baking sheet
3 slices white sandwich bread
1 small garlic clove, finely minced
1 log soft goat cheese, crumbled
½ cup fresh parsley leaves
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 pkgs white button mushrooms, stems removed
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet.
In a food processor, pulse bread and garlic until fine crumbs form; set 1/2 cup aside. To food processor, add goat cheese, parsley, and red-pepper flakes. Season with salt, and pulse filling until combined.
Spoon filling into each mushroom, and roll filled side in reserved breadcrumbs. Place on prepared baking sheet; bake until mushrooms are tender and lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes.
Chicken Liver Pate with White Truffles
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
⅓ cup olive oil
½ cup diced yellow onions
1 lb chicken livers, trimmed and halved
6 tablespoons cognac
1 small fresh white truffle
Butter the inside of a small crock; set aside. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent, 8 to 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low; add livers, and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring frequently, until just cooked through, about 15 minutes. Lift livers from pan; transfer to a bowl until completely cool.
Return pan to medium heat; add cognac. Tilt pan to ignite cognac; cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat; set aside until cool.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the reserved livers and the pan juices. Chop the truffles, and add them and the butter to food processor. Process until almost completely smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer pate to prepared crock, smooth the top, cover well, and refrigerate up to 3 days, until ready to serve.
Gruyere and Parmesan Beignets
½ cup unsalted butter
1 ¼ cups Gruyere cheese, finely grated
1 ½ cups Parmesan, finely grated
4 large eggs
Vegetable oil for frying
In a large pot over medium-high heat, bring 1 cup water and butter just to a boil. Whisk in flour and stir with a spatula to blend completely. Transfer mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
Add cheeses and mix on high speed until well combined. With mixer on low, add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition; season with salt. Transfer batter to refrigerator and let chill for 30 minutes.
Drop tablespoon-size balls of batter about 1-inch apart onto 12-by-2-inch pieces of parchment paper; refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 3 days. Beignets may also be frozen for up to 1 month.
Fill a large heavy-bottomed pot 4 inches high with oil. Heat oil until it reaches 350 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer. Working in batches, carefully place entire piece of parchment into hot oil. Using tongs, carefully remove parchment from oil and discard. Fry beignets until golden and crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Serve immediately.
And please, review … it makes me happy.
Next up: EPOV The Wedding: Part Two