Happy Little Cottages By The Sea

Cottage Charm, Coastal Calm

September 26, 2009

The Deen Family Dinner minus the Deen’s


Now that the busy, busy season is over ( but we are still busy with visitors during this glorious September season!) we have a bit of time on our hands to have some fun. Hallie, one of our favorite Tybee friends put together this little dinner party last weekend . Here is her invitation:
“I’m writing to invite you over to my home on Saturday evening for the first of many Deen Family Dinners (minus the Deen’s). This time we will split the responsibility and have everyone bring something — the only pre-requisite is that it has to be a Deen Family recipe (i.e. a recipe from any one of their cookbooks or their websites). This can be any Deen Family recipe from Paula to Jamie, Bobby to Bubba. I will provide the main course — which will be something from the boys new cookbook Take It Easy (which is a fantastic cookbook ….you must stop by Seaside Sisters and buy you one). Hallie”


We all loved the idea and I jumped on this big time. I so enjoy cooking especially with a theme attached. We starting the evening out with Cucumber Martini’s and Candied Bacon …. yes- an appetizer only our Paula could put together. The recipe is from the Deen Family Cookbook-you basically lay bacon on a cookie sheet, pour bourbon on top and then sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake until crisp… People couldn’t stop with just one piece! This is right up there with Paula’s Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding we make for the annual holiday party! 


Here’s the items I made an amazing appetizer- shrimp dip , then a savory Blue Cheese Cornbread Bread Pudding ( btw– did any of ever use the word savory to describe food before we all started watching the Food Network? I know I didn’t!) For desert I made the big thick Carrot Cake with pecans and coconut from Corrie Hiers ( Paula’s niece) complete with Cinnamon Cream Cheese frosting! On top of the cake, I had soaked dried apricots in bourbon and then placed on top fo the cake to look like little carrots and then fresh mint on top to look just like miniature carrots.All of my recipes I prepared came from the Deen Family Cook book which you can see on http://www.pauladeen.com/  


As you can see from the pictures, even Paula showed up for the party. True- she was a little stiff and didn’t move from the one spot – guarding the buffet table, but she didn’t stop smiling! We knew she was having lots of fun. As did all of us!

More figs!

Thank you Martha for this amazing recipe you sent to share! We’re looking forward to your return to Tybee this fall! I spent the morning kayaking the Back River this morning and thought about you and all your many friends who love these waters so much.

Everyone- here’s the tremendous recipe to enjoy!

Fig and Stilton Salad


3/4 cup ruby port
1/4 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons hazelnut oil or walnut oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tablespoon mild-flavored (light) molasses
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1-2 cups figs, quartered
Note: You may substitute the wines for any red, and the oil with vegetable or olive oil. Also, I substituted honey for the molasses.
1 5-ounce bag mixed baby greens (about 10 cups loosely packed)
4 ounces Stilton cheese, crumbled (about 1 1/4 cups)
Whisk everything but the figs in a medium bowl to blend. (Dressing can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
Bring vinaigrette to simmer in heavy large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Simmer until dressing is slightly syrupy, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add figs and simmer for another 5 minutes. Cool slightly. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.
Divide greens among 6 plates. Sprinkle cheese over greens. Ladle warm dressing and figs over salads and serve.