Cooking with Fash!

28 Dec

So it’s not so much that I can’t cook, it’s just never been a passion of mine. However, I love nothing more than to throw a party or get-together. I’m great at setting a table, picking out décor and pulling together a party-worthy ensemble. In fact, I usually have these things all worked out before I even consider the menu. But a party is nothing without good food and I’m always super happy when I find some easy to make recipes that are both tasty and impressive. The best is when they seem all posh and fancy but you didn’t actually have to work too hard at them. This year for Christmas, I made my first ham and paired it with some make-ahead mashed potatoes. I’ve always had a knack for making the perfect deviled egg as well…thanks to my Grandma Clegg’s cookbook. She typed up ON A TYPEWRITER all her recipes for me and put them in a book that I can use. It was a terrific way to pass along family traditions. I thought I’d pass on some of the tips and tricks of these recipes. That way we can all be fashionable AND festive.

First up though…what to wear when baking? I mean this IS a fashion blog. I find a cute apron puts me in the right mood. Mine is emblazoned with “Will cook for shoes.” LOL It looks like this:

A lovely wedding gift from my friend Jessica...fashionable and practical!

A lovely wedding gift from my friend Jessica…fashionable and practical!

Also, an apron will keep any ham bits or potatoes or what not that might go a flyin’ off your clothes. I am also not the neatest and tidiest of chefs. Now, let’s get to it!


Step 1: Make-Ahead Bake Potatoes

10-12 large potatoes-peeled/not

1 tsp. onion flakes or 1 sml onion

1 (8 0z.) pkg. cream cheese

1 (8oz.) carton sour cream

salt/pepper to taste

garlic powder to taste

1/4 c. butter

paprika (optional)

milk if needed

Boil potatoes till done.  They are done when you can stick a fork through them easily. Pull off skins if you left them on. Mash them and salt/pepper/garlic powder them.  Whip in cream cheese, sour cream and onion flakes/onion.  Add milk if necessary to make potatoes fluffy.  Spread into buttered 9X13 in. pan.  Cover and refrigerate or freeze till ready to use.  Bake at 350 for 40 minutes covered and another 20 minutes uncovered until heated through. When ready to serve drizzle with melted butter over top and sprinkle with paprika if desired.

I will warn you that you need A BIG pot to do this (I actually had to do the boiling in two pots) and whipping in the cream cheese and sour cream takes some elbow grease but other than that, it’s a piece of cake. We just won’t talk about the covert clean up I did of potato clumps that were all over the kitchen. My husband luckily did not see the disaster I made of the kitchen.


Step 2: Perfect Deviled Eggs


6-8 eggs

1 teaspoon white vinegar

¼ cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon prepared mustard

salt and pepper to taste



Place eggs in a pot of salted water (I usually put some white vinegar in the water as well to keep any potentially cracked eggs from running). Bring the water to a boil, and let eggs cook in boiling water until they are hard boiled, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. An egg timer as mentioned on Vanessa’s blog is also useful. Drain eggs, and let cool. I usually hard-boil the eggs the night before and leave them in the fridge overnight to cool. Once cool, remove the shell. I find it easiest to tap first the pointy end and then the fat end and peel from there. Run under water to get the last of the shell off the egg and your fingers. Pat dry.  Cut the eggs in half lengthwise and gently scoop out the yolks. Place the yolks in a medium-size mixing bowl and mash them with a fork. Blend in vinegar, mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper. With a spoon, carefully put the egg yolk mixture back into the egg white “bowls”  but do NOT tamp it down. There will be enough mixture so the whites are overfilled. Sprinkle with paprika before serving. You can also top with a small shrimp or crumbled bacon if that is more your thing.

Step 3: Delicious and Savory Ham.


1 ham bone-in or not (5-7 lb.) NOT spiral cut.

1 ½ cups red wine (sweet wine is best but any red wine will do)

½ cup light brown sugar

½ cup prepared mustard (I used Dijon)

Enough heavy-duty foil to line bottom and cover top and seal. You’ll also need a large baking pan.

Directions: Score top of ham, make paste of sugar and mustard.  Pour wine over ham and then put paste all over ham. Make a tent of foil and seal completely. Bake at 325 degrees for three hours. Ham should be about 160 degrees in the center when done. Let sit for a little while and then serve. And that’s it.

My friend Jessica contributed carrots with a honey glaze and herbs from her garden, crème brule, spicy shrimp aapetizers and yummy rolls. Then we feasted like kings and queens. And I don’t think either of us stressed over it too much. For the record, she wore a very cute Mets apron.

I wore my new black sequined jeans, a red and white striped v-neck sweater, red boots and cozy burgandy fur coat. I served dinner in a cute Mrs. Claus apron. All fashions similar to the ones shown below:

Cute flat red boots, Macy's, Style and Co., $45.99

Cute flat red boots, Macy’s, Style and Co., $45.99

Sequin jeans from Mom. Merry Christmas! Macy's, $49.50

Sequin jeans from Mom. Merry Christmas! Macy’s, $49.50

Red striped sweater, this one is from Shoebuy,

Red striped sweater, this one is from Shoebuy,

Mrs. Claus Apron, Pier 1, $12.38 on sale right now!

Mrs. Claus Apron, Pier 1, $12.38 on sale right now!

Rest assured there were several calls to mom and advice given by my Aunt Carol. I sometimes think I couldn’t cook without them available for emergency calls. Who knew potatoes take so long to boil? But in the end, everyone had a delicious time. The recipes even got the approval of my notoriously picky husband. In fact, it went over so well I didn’t even manage to get photos of the finished products. Hope this helps other women like me out there who’d rather decorate the table than slave over an oven. All the photos have clickable links to where you can purchase the clothing and aprons. Stay warm and whatever you do remember:

Be Fierce. Be Fashionable. Be Yourself.




2 Responses to “Cooking with Fash!”

  1. Vanessa Chapman December 29, 2012 at 7:48 am #

    Sounds like you had a delicious and fashionable time! Love the shoe apron – aside from the shoes and the words, which are great in themselves, I’ve also never seen an apron with such a stylish shape to it – it looks like a dress!

    • heathabe January 9, 2013 at 9:27 pm #

      That apron is really shaped nicely. Which is also helpful in that you can wear it without looking like you’ve been sampling too much of your cooking AND the apron does not billow and stays out of your way.

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