in five: easy hollandaise sauce

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Since the season of brunch is officially upon us (Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day…), I thought I’d share another foolproof brunch star. Hollandaise is the holy grail of brunch, really… does it get any better than a perfect eggs benedict? But its reach extends far beyond the benedict. Try it over roasted vegetables (asparagus and broccoli, particularly), or as a topping for a savory crepe (you can buy them pre-made at most grocery stores). And leftover sauce can even be used in casserole-land. Talk about taking your chicken and rice to the next level! Not only that, but since you’re likely to have some leftover Easter ham, this is a great breakfast-for-dinner option to help you use up those leftovers. If you’re feeling especially lazy, you can forgo the poached eggs and slice a leftover hard-boiled Easter egg over the top… true, you won’t have that runny yolk goodness, but with all that delicious hollandaise pouring over the top, I suspect you’ll hardly miss it.

While traditional hollandaise recipes are daunting… okay, scary… I promise you, this one is an absolute no-fail. Four ingredients, five minutes, and you’ll be wowing a crowd. Trust me. — Becki S.
Click to see how it’s done! (more…)

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from the archives: great recipes for springtime entertaining

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Spring is here! And so begins the onslaught of events: Easter, Mother’s Day, graduations, bridal showers… Need we go on? And with those events comes entertaining, of course! So we scoured the vast Shelterrific archive to find our very best recipes for your springtime brunches and soirees. Here’s what made the cut:

Appetizers & canapes:
Mascarpone stuffed dates
Crab meat canapes
Parmesan walnut salad in endive leaves
A super fast shrimp appetizer
Dungeness crab and asparagus “cocktails”

Brunch (we’ve got brunch COVERED):
Leek and potato galette pictured above, from way back in 2007!
Cinnamon Rolls
Spinach and caramelized onion tart
Bacon candy
Ree Drummond’s breakfast puffs
Wild mushroom and pancetta tart
Asparagus and gruyere tart
Orange cranberry pecan bread
Caramelized onion and goat cheese tart
Chicken pear turnovers

Veggies and sides:
Cider glazed sunchokes and carrots
Asparagus, raw and roasted
Jamie Oliver’s simple vegetable soup
Perfectly puffy popovers

Desserts:
Coconut bread pudding with banana macadamia nut caramel sauce
Gammy’s carrot cupcakes (or muffins)
Grandma B’s rosemary nut roll cookies
Amped up red velvet cupcakes
Butterscotch marble blondie drops
Cherry cupcakes with best vanilla frosting

Now it’s your turn to share — what are your favorite time-tested recipes for entertaining?

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resources for outdoor decorations

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It’s time … time to clean off our decks and patios and get ready for summer barbecues and relaxing outside! Why not make your outdoor space a little more enjoyable with some outdoor decorations? Here are some of my favorite sites to get you started.

Pearl River
Located in New York City’s Chinatown, this store has a great selection of Chinese lanterns and garland that would be perfect for decorating a covered deck.

Save-on-Crafts
A gold mine of planters, pots, string lights, birdcages, and solar lanterns, all at great prices!

The Macbeth Collection
Looking for something you can customize? The Macbeth Collection has tubs, buckets, and vases that you can have made with your favorite colors and patterns.

And, a good standby of course is Cost Plus World Market, whose consistent stock of outdoor carpets, string lights, and patio furniture fits almost any budget. What are your favorite places to shop for outdoor decorations? — Rebecca F.

Photo credit: Rebecca Firlik

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get whipped with alcohol infused whipped cream

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There are few things that whipped cream can’t improve on. Pie, milkshakes, cake- there’s a whole list of already fantastic things that whipped cream makes even more fantastic. The question remains, how do you improve on whipped cream? Enter Cream: an adults only, alcoholic whipped cream. Cream comes in six flavors: caramel, cherry, chocolate, raspberry, orange, and vanilla. Their website is chock full of recipes for shots, hot drinks, cold drinks, and (of course) desserts that are sure to be just as well-received if not slightly more sophisticated than Jell-o shots at your next bash. — Katie D.

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real life test kitchen: baked fish tacos

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Every few weeks I invite former colleagues over for a casual dinner to talk about our new career paths, holidays, and whatever’s new in our lives. After a few months of dinners, one menu item was requested so much that we made it a tradition — baked fish taco night! The recipe is super easy and pretty much guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser. I generally use frozen tilapia from my local grocery store, but you could use just about any mild white fish. Serves 2-3, depending on your appetite. — Rebecca F.
Click for the recipe, after the jump! (more…)

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