Tonight, one contestant battles appetizers. Will she win?

Spinach Carrot Cheese Spread

Sometimes I see my kitchen as a cooking show challenge. With only the ingredients available she must create a dish that will wow the judges. Will she win or will it be forks down? My cooking metaphors would need a lot of spice to make it on major network TV. As is, it’s a subdued show — not a lot of dramatic pauses and nothing I whip up is as fancy as the dishes featured in other shows, but I do wow myself quite often.

When mom called me the day after grocery day to tell me that my brother’s birthday plans included a homemade meal and could I bring an appetizer, I set myself the challenge. I’d already challenged myself to be very lazy that day and to not drive anywhere. I won all three challenges.

Which is a lot more difficult than you might be inclined to acknowledge. For instance in order to keep the lazy challenge I couldn’t bake anything. Though I based it off the memory of a sorta recipe from Smitten Kitchen it’s a recipe that is meant to not be a recipe. I’ve featured this cheese dip at three different parties in three different ways. This is the first time I’ve added vegetables. In order to keep the appetizer challenge I couldn’t just throw in all the ingredients and hope for the best. No, I thought about how a small bit of Gorgonzola would become a flavoring rather than the flavor. The number of spinach leaves had to be carefully guessed against the small rectangles of leftover cream cheese and Monterrey Jack. I think it was my best version yet.

Not only did I manage an appetizer, but there were also cocktails.

Later that same week, realizing that my grocery shopping had been a little imprecise I cooked up this zucchini, mushroom, and pasta dish. Notice how the zucchini isn’t just sauteed (like I usually do) — I’m calling it a sweeps week.

It’s kinda just showing off now isn’t it?

Spinach Carrot Cheese Spread

It’s good I’m a regular on this game show. This weekend’s regularly scheduled grocery shopping is being replaced by the Austin Food Blogger Alliance’s Byte of Texas Conference. That’s a mouthful. Buh-duh-bum. If you want to know how I’m faring check in with me on Twitter @bybrynne. I’ll probably be the one trembling in a corner, yearning for a drink that won’t be offered until Sunday, wondering why I got myself into this weekend long networking learning event when I could be at home baking a cake following a lovely morning hike with the dog. Although, I’ve been practicing networking. I can now talk about dogs and fitbits with complete strangers. So, really, all bets are on the table.


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