By Lisa Fischer | Photography by Jamison Mosley
Valentine’s Day can be a real buzzkill for so many. Some don’t like the hype or the pressure of gift-giving, and others don’t have anyone they’re interested in. So how to handle the dilemma?
Tell Cupid to get out of the way – you have a Galentine party to host. What’s that? It’s when the ladies get together and celebrate their own holiday. I hosted my own this year complete with an easy menu, adult beverages, a perfect dessert and memorable florals. (Reporter’s note: Guys, you aren’t off the hook if your gal does a Galentine party. This is a substitute she initiates).
Legacy Wine & Spirits on Chenal Parkway in Little Rock provided the charcuterie (who knew they had meats and cheese?) along with the pretty margaritas and even dessert! The dessert was – are you sitting down? — cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory! Yes, those are sold exclusively at Legacy Wine & Spirits in Central Arkansas liquor stores. Tanarah Luxe Floral provided a beautiful centerpiece – no matter the occasion, Tanarah and her team can get it done.
I chose a simple menu because you don’t want to be in the kitchen working over a hot stove and whirling margaritas. And the margaritas are clearly the priority here.
I started with Migas from my muse, the Pioneer Woman. I met Ree Drummond once in her early days (pre-Food Network fame), and she follows me on Twitter (you can, too, @lisafischersaid) but I really like the way she eats. So for the entrée, I used her Migas recipe. Never had Migas? Oh, goodness. It must be Spanish for “really good eggs and cheese you can eat for dinner.” Then I whipped up cilantro-lime rice (you have to start making this to impress your friends); I made PW’s restaurant salsa (that’s what her buddies call her: Pioneer Woman is PW to the millions of groupies) and I mashed avocados with crushed garlic, lime and salt for the guacamole. You want to try this for yourself? You don’t even have to invite anyone over. But you’ll want to once you see how impressive you are in the kitchen.
We ended our night with lots of laughs and the chocolate cheesecake from Legacy Wine and Spirits. Getting together with gal friends is a good thing. Even if you practically have to make up a holiday to do so.
Recipe adapted fromThe Pioneer Woman // Serves 12
1 can (28 ounce) whole tomatoes with juice
1 can (10 ounce) Mexican Rotel (diced tomatoes and green chilies)
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, quartered and sliced thin
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
chopped cilantro (at least half a bunch)
1/2 whole lime juice
Note: This is a very large batch. Use a 12-cup food processor, or process the ingredients in batches and then mix everything together in a large mixing bowl.
Combine whole tomatoes, Rotel, onion, garlic, jalapeno, sugar, salt, cumin, cilantro and lime juice in a blender or food processor. Pulse until you get the salsa to the consistency you’d like. Refrigerate salsa for at least an hour. Serve with tortilla chips or cheese nachos.
Recipe adapted fromThe Pioneer Woman // Serves 6
12 large eggs
1/4 cup half-and-half
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 corn tortillas
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green pepper, roughly chopped
1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped
1 jalapeno, seeds and membranes removed, finely diced
4 plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 cup cotija cheese, grated (may substitute cheddar)
½ bunch of cilantro, chopped
In a bowl, whisk together eggs and half & half. Salt and pepper eggs, then set aside.
In a small skillet over medium heat, heat oil and fry each corn tortilla just until crisp. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Chop tortillas and set aside.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, combine the olive oil with the butter. Add onions and the peppers and cook until they start to turn brown/black, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add diced jalapenos; stir to combine. Add tomatoes and stir, then add tortilla pieces, stirring gently to combine.
Reduce heat to low. When the heat has decreased, pour egg mixture into skillet. Stir gently to cook with the peppers, folding mixture very gently as it cooks. Add in grated cheese and chopped cilantro, and stir to combine. And you’re done!
Oven-Baked Cilantro-Lime Rice
Serves 6 – 8
2 cups long-grain white rice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 cups boiling water
2 tablespoons lime juice
½ cup chopped cilantro
additional lime wedges for serving
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking pan with butter or oil. Combine the rice, cumin and salt in the pan and stir to distribute the spices. Spread in an even layer. Pour in the boiling water and lime juice.
Cover the pan tightly with heavy duty aluminum foil, sealing all the edges. Bake the rice for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and stir. If most of the water has not been absorbed, bake uncovered for an additional 3-5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 3-5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and lightly stir in the cilantro. Serve with additional lime wedges, if desired. Enjoy!