Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Fayetteville Favorites: Hammontree's and Hog Haus

Here's a tribute to two of my favorite restaurants in Fayetteville - two great local restaurants that add to the locale and culture of Dickson Street and Fayetteville: Hog Haus Brewery and Hammontree's Gourmet. :o)

Hog Haus

Spotlight On: Brat and Stein Night! Giving new meaning to Mondays. :o)

That's right 32 oz. of beer (choose any of Hog Haus's in house brews - the Woodstock Wheat and FatBoy Blue are my personal favorites!) and a huge (probably actually several) brat on a bun - that you can top with onions, beer cheese dip, and/or sauerkraut (PLUS, homemade potato chips & German potato salad) ALL for only $9. Every Monday. Pair with their fabulous balcony overlooking Dickson (IMHO, the best in Fayetteville), and you have the best ending to a Monday ever. :o)

Hammontree's Gourmet Grilled Cheese

Spotlight On: Celebrating their 1 Year Anniversary w/a new addition to the menu - hotdogs!

That's right, Hammontree's is no longer just gourmet grilled cheeses, but now also gourmet hotdogs (key word = gourmet)! :o) If you know anything about me, then it should be no surprise to you that I ordered the Aloha Dog for my first gourmet hotdog experience, and YUM! Like I said before key word = gourmet: this is no ordinary hotdog, but instead this is a smoked mozzarella and chicken sausage topped with grilled pineapple, jalapenos, teriyaki sauce, and pepperjack cheese served on a scali roll. Megan ordered the Apple Dog - a chicken and apple sausage topped with caramelized onions grilled apples, pomegranate mustard, and melted brie cheese also served on a scali roll. If your mouth isn't watering, you might want to check your pulse. Definitely worth checking out, although it's still hard to pull yourself away from their fabulous selections of grilled cheese sammiches! Good luck making this tough decision!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Dick's Housewarming Party! :o)

One of my very best friends, Richard Watkins, just recently finished building his first home, so naturally, to celebrate, we all got together to celebrate with an adult evening of grilling and catching up on his brand new patio. His home is absolutely lovely, and quite impressive too! :o)

Just for this fun summer occasion, I adapted my very own Raspberry Cupcake Recipe, and they did indeed turn out beautifully, if I do say so myself. Very tasty too. :o)

Raspberry Cupcakes with a Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

1 pkg. classic white cake mix
1 1/3 c. water
3 large egg whites
2 tbsp. melted butter
2 tsp. almond extract
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 6 oz. tub fresh raspberries, cut into small pieces (about fourths)
(extra tub of raspberries for garnish)

3 c. powdered sugar
1 c. butter (softened)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. heavy whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare muffin pan with cupcake liners. Using an electric mixer, beat together the cake mix, water, egg whites, butter, and extracts until well blended. Carefully fold in the cut raspberries. Spoon batter into muffin pan (about 1/3 c. per cupcake, makes between 18-20). Bake cupcakes for 15-20 minutes, until light golden brown on top. Cool completely on wire rack.

While cupcakes are cooling, prepare the frosting. Combine the butter and powdered sugar together in a large bowl and mix using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment on low speed until well blended. Then continue to mix on medium for another 3 minutes, give or take. Then add the vanilla and heavy cream. Beat on medium for another minute more, adding more cream as necessary to reach the desired consistency.

Once fully cooled, frost cupcakes and top with a fresh raspberry. :o)

Note: The cake decorating aisle with the wedding stuff at Wal-Mart has all kinds of cool stuff for pretty reasonable - such as my brand new cake decorating kit with tips and frosting decorator dispenser (about $10) and the pretty cupcake tree in the picture ($13). These things make decorating so easy and fun, as well as your finished product beautiful! (I'm easy to amuse... Haha.) Enjoy! :o)

Well, after I left Wal-Mart with all of the necessary ingredients for my cupcakes, I was headed to the liquor store to get something to drink and contribute for the housewarming party, when it hit me... What better summer drink than Sangria?!?! So, I stopped in the liquor store for the cheapest bottle of red wine I could find, and then went back to Wal-Mart to complete my new shopping list, haha. But it was so worth it.

Basic Sangria

1 bottle red wine (any kind works, so pick your favorite kind and buy the cheapest bottle! I used a $5 bottle of cabernet)
1 shot of brandy
2 limes
1 lemon
1 orange
1/4 c. sugar
2 cups club soda

Pour wine in a large pitcher. Cut fruit into wedges or slices and squeeze juice from fruit into pitcher, then toss in the fruit wedges or slices (after having removed the seeds). Add sugar and brandy, mix well. Let sit overnight. Just before serving, add the club soda.

For immediate consumption, stir well and serve over ice. :o)

Upon arriving at Dick's lovely new home, we, of course, got the grand tour, and then we set to work in the kitchen. Dick had this new recipe for an avocado dip that our friend Stephanie had previously made, but I must admit, we were all a little skeptical as we watched it being made, lol. But it tastes much better than it looks, I promise! Also, the poor dear's hand mixer died earlier in the week, so we tried mixing it together with a spoon to no avail, then tried a potato masher with no success, until Dick finally said "to heck with this!" and put it all in the blender, and TA DA! Haha, we were enjoying this new dip in no time then. Once we got it all finished, Dick looked at the original mixing bowl, and commented, "I should probably get a different bowl to put this in now, huh?" Imagine my excitement to be able to say, "Then you should open your gift!" See below, the lovely green dip displayed in Dick's brand new Razorback serving dish - my housewarming gift (cute, huh?). :o)

Dick's Avocado Dip

1 pkg. cream cheese
1 small container sour cream
1 avocado
1 cup finely grated cheddar cheese

Combine the first three ingredients in a large bowl, and mix with electric mixer until smooth. A blender works too if your mixer happens to be broken, haha. :o)

Top with cheese and enjoy with tortilla chips.

It was really a wonderful party with some great friends celebrating Dick's beautiful new home. We had a great time, and enjoyed lots of good food! Congratulations once again, Dick, and thanks so much for having us all over! The host with the most! :o)