Thursday, January 15, 2015

Happy New Year!!


Amy and Leslie hosted their first dinner and did it in fabulous New Years style!  It was gorgeous.  










The tablescape was beautiful and the clocks on the wall and ceiling added the perfect feel for their New Years theme. 


 Even the plates had clocks on them.  So fun!


We each had a card explaining to us "lucky foods for the new year"  the menu for the evening revolved around these lucky foods.


The sparkling cider bottles dipped in gold glitter had our place cards attached to them.


Appetizers: Roasted Turkey, Cranberry and Brie Grilled Cheese, Frozen Grapes, and Caesar Salad  The salad in a glass was such a fun presentation.  And the grilled sandwiches were on of my favorites from the night. 


 All the decor went together so beautifully


Amy and Leslie our hosts for the evening




Pomegranate Fig Salad and Indian Daal Soup  





The main course was Grilled Maple Dijon Pork Chops with Fettucini Alfredo


Dessert was Lucky Snowballs (vanilla ice cream rolled in coconut), strawberries with chocolate drizzle, and chocolate ganache rings.  


Top row: Amy, Mandy, Brenda, Brandi, GG, Carrie, Alisha  Front Row: Emily, Leslie, Alyssa, Brittany, Corinne, Tanya and Katie


We had two take homes for the evening and I think the Chocolate Chip Cookies and Cream Hot Chocolate stole the show for the evening hands down.  Heaven (or heart attack) in a cup.  Mmmmm....

And...I'm pretty sure we all ate donuts for breakfast the next morning. Thanks Leslie and Amy for a wonderful night out!


RECIPES:
Indian Dall Lentil Soup
Ingredients
1 cup red lentils, picked over and rinsed very well
1 large onion, or a couple leeks, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. minced ginger root
1 Tbsp. Ground cumin
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 15 oz. can of tomatoes; or 4 large, fresh tomatoes, chopped
4 cups stock
salt to taste
1 un-waxed, organic lemon
Directions
1. Rinse the lentils very well until the water runs clear.
2. Heat oil in a medium pot and sauté onions, garlic and ginger for 5 minutes until soft. Add a pinch of salt.
3. Add spices and stir for another minute or so, until fragrant.
4. Add tomatoes, 3 slices of lemon and rinsed lentils, then add vegetable stock. Stir well.
5. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the lentils are soft. Squeeze in the rest of the lemon juice.
6. Serve hot with some cilantro, green onions or parsley on top with a slice of lemon. Delicious!
Serves 4
Recipe: Roasted Turkey, Cranberry and Brie Grilled Cheese
Instructions
  1. 2 large pieces sourdough bread
  2. 4-6 ounces roasted turkey breast
  3. 2 ounces blue streaked brie cheese (like cambozola)
  4. 3 tablespoons cranberry chutney
  5. 1 tablespoon butter
  6. Preparation time: 2 minute(s)
Cooking time: 5 minute(s)

Chocolate Chip Cookies and Cream Hot Chocolate
ingredients:
dark chocolate hot chocolate base
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
3 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups cream or half and half
4 ounces 70% dark chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

directions:
dark chocolate hot chocolate base
In a large bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add the milk and cream. Bring it to a simmer, stirring every few minutes. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of the hot milk to the cocoa and sugar, mixing thoroughly to create a paste. Once the entire thing is wet, use a spatula to add it to the milk and turn the heat down to low. Whisk continuously until smooth (do not let it boil), then whisk in the chopped chocolate and vanilla extract.
for chocolate chip cookies and cream hot chocolate: before filling your mug, rub frosting (from the tub is fine!) or honey (you need a sticky substance) along the rim of the mug. Crush 2 chocolate chips cookies into crumbs and press the crumbs into the sticky rim. Fill the mug with hot chocolate, then top it with whipped cream, marshmallows, a big cookie and a cookies and cream HELLO chocolate.

Grilled Maple Dijon Pork Chops
brine
3-4 tablespoons of Kosher salt
2 cups water
2 cups apple juice
whatever fresh herbs or citrus I have on hand.
Throw everything into a small pot on the stove and heat it until the salt dissolves. Then add it to a large ziploc bag, add ice to cool it down, add the chops, zip it up and let it do it’s thing in the fridge for as long as possible. (We did this the night before)

About an hour before you’re ready to grill take the chops out of the brine, give a quick rinse and pat them dry.
Maple Dijon marinade
Here’s what you’ll need…for 4-6 medium sized chops
  • 1/4 cup grainy Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 chopped garlic cloves
  • 1 chopped shallot
  • 1 teaspoon each salt, pepper, and thyme
  • drizzle of light oil like grape seed or similar (this just helps them to not stick on the grill)
Toss the pork chops in the marinade to coat and put them in the fridge for about 45 minutes-hour. (We did 4-5hrs)
Heat up your grill, and toss them on.
About 5-6 minutes on each side for a medium high heat. 

Alfredo
1 pint heavy cream
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp cream cheese
.5 cup Parmesan Cheese
1 tsp Garlic Powder
In a saucepan combine butter, heavy cream, and cream cheese. Summer until all is mleted and mised well.  Add the parmesan cheese and garlic powder. Simmer this for 5-10 minutes on low. You may wish to season with a little salt and pepper.

Baked Chocolate Glazed Donuts

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup dark cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk (I use unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
1/3 cup light or fat free sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons canola oil (or melted coconut oil)
baking spray
Glaze
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk (I use unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Special Equipment:  donut pan, gallon-size zipper bag
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Prepare the donut pan by spraying with baking spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a small bowl, beat the eggs then add the milk, sour cream, vanilla and canola oil. Beat until combined.
Pour the egg mixture into the dry ingredients and mix just until combined.
You can use a spoon to pour the batter into the donut pan, or you can use the following technique. Fold down the top of a gallon-size zipper bag. Stand the bag up in a bowl or measuring cup. Pour the batter into the zipper bag. Get the air out of the bag and seal it up. Carefully cut just about 1/8″ of a corner of the bag. Pipe the batter into the donut pan, filling each well up about 2/3 full. 
Bake the donuts for 7 to 8 minutes. 
Remove from the oven and cool for about 3 minutes in the pan, then remove them and allow them to cool further on a wire rack.
Prepare the glaze by combining all of the ingredients in a medium bowl until smooth. Dip the tops of each donut into the glaze then place them back on the wire rack to set…or into your mouth for quality control. 
Makes 12 donuts.

Chocolate Frosted Donuts

yield: 8 DONUTS

prep time: 30 MINUTES

total time: 40 MINUTES
These chocolate frosted donuts are baked, not fried - and are so simple to make! Cover them completely in sprinkles and you'll find yourself eating more than just one.

Ingredients:

DONUTS

  • 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour (measured correctly)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (gives them that "bakery donut" taste)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup (65g) packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) milk1
  • 1/4 cup (60g) Greek yogurt2
  • 2 Tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

CHOCOLATE GLAZE

  • 1/2 cup (90g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 Tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • rainbow sprinkles

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Spray a donut pan with non-stick spray. Set aside.
  2. Make the donuts: Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and nutmeg together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. Whisk the egg, brown sugar, milk, and yogurt together until smooth. Add the melted butter and vanilla, whisking until fully combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Do not overmix. The batter will be very thick.
  4. Spoon the batter into the donut cavities—I highly recommend using a large zipped-top bag for ease, as pictured and explained in detail above. Cut a corner off the bottom of the bag and pipe the batter into each donut cup, filling 2 ∕ 3 –3 ∕ 4 of the way full.
  5. Bake for 9–10 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Remove from the pan and bake the remaining donut batter. Allow the donuts to slightly cool before glazing.
  6. Make the chocolate glaze: Place the chocolate chips, butter, corn syrup, and water in a medium bowl. Melt in 20 second increments in the microwave, stirring after each time, until completely melted and smooth. Dip the tops of the donuts into the chocolate glaze and then cover with sprinkles. I simply poured the sprinkles into a deep bowl and dipped the tops of the donuts into it. You'll likely have leftover ganache. It's great on ice cream!
  7. Donuts taste best eaten the same day, though they may be covered tightly and stored at room temperature for 2 days.
  8. Make ahead tip: You can freeze the unfrosted donuts for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, warm up to your liking in the microwave, and top with glaze.

Additional Notes:

You can make this recipe into 8-10 muffins using a muffin pan. Bake at the same temperature for 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned.
  1. Skim milk, 1%, 2%, whole, almond milk, soy milk, or coconut milk is OK.
  2. Nonfat, low fat, vanilla, plain, Greek or regular yogurt is OK. Sour cream works too!

Winter Salad with Maple Candied Walnuts + Balsamic Fig Dressing 

Ingredients

  • 4 [DeLallo Fresh SaladSavors® salad topping packs | http://www.delallo.com/saladsavors] (OR 2 cups raw walnuts, 1 cup dried cranberries and 8 ounces crumbled goat cheese)
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 cups mixed greens (I used baby kale and spinach)
  • 2 cups arugula
  • arils from one pomegranate
  • Balsamic Fig Dressing
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fig preserves
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pick out the walnuts from all four of the Salad Savors packets and add them to the baking sheet. Toss the walnuts with the maple syrup, cinnamon, crushed red pepper and salt. Bake for 15-25 minutes, stirring 2-3 time throughout cooking until the walnuts are toasted and golden. Remove from the oven and spread the walnuts in one layer. Allow to cool.
Add the greens to a large salad bowl. Add the pomegranate arils and the cranberries from the DeLallo Fresh Salad Savors. Add the cooled walnuts and gently toss the salad. Add the goat cheese.
To make the dressing, whisk the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fig preserves and salt until combined. Just before serving, drizzle the dressing over the salad and gently toss. Enjoy!
  • Preparation time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Total time: 35 minutes


Monday, December 15, 2014

Girlfriends Christmas Party 2014

We love getting together for our Girlfriends Christmas Party!  It started out more of a typical Gourmet Club style event and has changed into a everybody help with the meal and join in a holiday dessert exchange.  We all go home with a dessert to share with our families and a fun new serving dish.


This year we all brought an appetizer to share. I didn't get individual pictures of some, sorry. 


Mandy brought a yummy hummus dip with tomatoes, cucumbers, olives and a balsamic drizzle.


Brenda brought Crackers and Jalapeño Greek Yogurt Dip


Alisha brought crackers topped with beef, cranberry horseradish cream cheese spread and spiced cranberry jam.


Carrie brought cheese and homemade crackers


Amy brought Jalapeño poppers


Alyssa brought fresh fruit with a peanut butter yogurt dip


Amy brought a fun Holiday Chex Mix


Leslie brought the famous Raspberry Bundt Cake


Nola made Egg Nog Cheesecakes


Emily made Oreo Peppermint Popcorn


Mandy made Fudge


Carrie made a White Chocolate Cranberry Bread


Alyssa made a Bread Pudding


Tanya made a German Chocolate Cheesecake


Corinne made Banana Pudding



Brittany made Peanut Brittle


Brenda brought Pumpkin Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting


and there were some really fun serving pieces to choose from.


Recipes:
Peppermint and Cookie Popcorn

Prep time
Total time
Popcorn is coated with peppermint chocolate candy. Throw in some broken up chocolate cookies for some extra chocolate crunch!
Serves: 8 cups popcorn
Ingredients
  • 1 (10 oz) bag Candy Cane Hershey's Kisses, unwrapped
  • 8 cups popped popcorn
  • 10-15 holiday Oreos, broken into pieces

  • Instructions
  1. In a microwave safe bowl, melt the kisses in the microwave on 50% power in 30 second intervals, until the candy is melted. Pour over the popcorn and stir until coated. Stir in the cookie pieces. Transfer the popcorn to a wax paper lined baking sheet and allow to cool until hardened. Break into pieces.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

A Bewitching Dinnner





In October GG and Brittany hosted a fabulous Bewitching Dinner.  These cute invitations were tied to witches hats for each guest.


Front


Back of Invite 



To add to the "creepy" factor GG's husband had a huge snake whose cage happened to be in the corner of the room we were in.  


More decor


Place Setting 


Menu



Appetizers:  Deadmans toes, witches fingers, deviled eggs and scream cheese an cackles. 


There were also a variety of poisons and tonics to drink...




They might have had creepy names but they tasted great!


Amy and Leslie


Katie and Tanya


Alyssa and Corinne


Brenda and Carrie


Rachel and Alisha


and the host witches of the evening...GG and Brittany


 Emily and Mandy


Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette


Rotten Apple Soda


Deviled Chicken with Potatoes and Beets



Dessert was mini pumpkin cheesecakes with gingersnap crusts, Apple slices dipped in chocolate, 



Take homes were so much fun.  We each got a hand soap from Bath & Body Works, some delicious gingersnap cookies, and an adorable witches hat decoration for future Halloweens.  


Appetizers:

Wicked Witches Fingers
INGREDIENTS
Asparagus
Roasted garlic grape seed oil
Rancher stake rub
DIRECTIONS
Fresh asparagus rolled in roasted garlic grape seed oil, sprinkled with rancher stake rub, broiled for about 5 min until tender.

Cheesy Witch Hat
INGREDIENTS
2 8oz packages cream cheese, softend
½ cup butter softend
2 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 4oz jar chopped pimentos, well –drained
¼ cup poppy seeds
1 large carrot, peeled, sliced thin
DIRECTIONS
Combine all spread ingredients except poppy seed in bowl. Beat at medium speed until creamy. Reserve 2 tablespoons cheese mixture in small bowl. Cover; refrigerate.

Divide remaining cheese mixture in half. Spread one-half into 6-inch circle in middle of serving plate to form brim of hat. Shape remaining half of cheese mixture into 4-inch ball. Wrap each in plastic food wrap; refrigerate 1 hour.

Assemble hat by centering cheese ball in middle of hat brim. Shape ball into cone to form top of witch’s hat. Sprinkle or press poppy seed over entire hat to cover.

Attach carrot slices to form hatband by using reserved cheese mixture. Carefully cover with plastic food wrap; refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Remove from refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving. Serve with assorted crackers and vegetables

Dead Man’s Toes – 
INGREDIENTS
1 lb sliced bacon
1 14oz lil smokies cocktail links
¼ cup brown sugar
DIRECTIONS
1. Cut bacon strips lengthwise into thirds. Wrap a piece of bacon around each sausage link. Secure each with a toothpick. Place onto a foil-lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle with brown sugar.
2. Bake at 350F for 35-40 minutes or until bacon is crisp, turning once. 
Makes about 3-1/2 Dozen

Rotten Apple Soda – 
Jones soda with cute labels

SALAD – ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH SALAD WITH WARM CIDER VINAIGRETTE
INGREDIENTS
1 ½ pound butternut squash, peeled and ¾ inch diced
Good olive oil
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons dried cranberries
¾ cup apple cider or apple juice
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
4 oz baby arugula, washed and spun dry
½ cup walnuts halves, toasted
¾ cup freshly grated parmesan
DIRECTIONS
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the butternut squash on a sheet pan. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, the maple syrup, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss. Roast the squash for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until tender. Add the cranberries to the pan for the last 5 minutes.

While the squash is roasting, combine the apple cider, vinegar, and shallots in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the cider is reduced to about 1/4 cup. Off the heat, whisk in the mustard, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.

Place the arugula in a large salad bowl and add the roasted squash mixture, the walnuts, and the grated Parmesan. Spoon just enough vinaigrette over the salad to moisten and toss well. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately.


MAIN COURSE: 

Deviled chicken
INGREDIENTS

12oz Ale (beer)
¼ cup kosher salt
2 tbs white sugar
1 tbs whole cloves 2 cups ice
2 cornish game hens (1.75 to 2 lbs each)
1 large lemon
2 tbs melted butter
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
DIRECTIONS
  • In a pot over medium high heat, add the wheat beer, salt, sugar and cloves. Cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar and salt have dissolved, remove from heat. Add the ice, stir until dissolved. 
  • Rinse the game hens inside and out, place together in a large bowl. Pour the brine over the hens, refrigerate for 6 to 12 hours. 
  • Preheat oven to 425. 
  • Remove hens from brine, rinse thoroughly and pat dry. 
  • Place in a roasting rack of a roasting pan or on a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet. Cut lemon into quarters. Place one quarter into each hen, place the remaining two in the roasting pan beneath the hens. 
  • In a small bowl combine melted butter, salt and pepper.
  • Brush the hens liberally with the butter mixture. 
  • Roast at 425 for 45 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165. 
Potatoes and beets – 
INGREDIENTS
1 tablespoon extra –virgin olive oil
1 ½ pounds purple potatoes, halved if large
2 bunches red baby beets
DIRECTIONS
Toss potatoes with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer on rimmed baking sheet. Transfer potatoes to oven during the last 20 minutes of chicken's cooking. Bake until tender, about 20 minutes.
Fill a medium saucepan with water. Add beets and salt to taste. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until beets are tender, 16 to 18 minutes. Drain beets. When beets are cool enough to handle, remove skins.

DESSERT:
Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes with Gingersnap Crusts
Apple Slices Dipped in Chocolate

Gingersnap Cookies
INGREDIENTS
1 ½ C butter
2 C sugar
½ C molasses
2 eggs
4 C flour
½ t salt
2 t baking soda
2t each ground cloves, cinnamon, and ginger
½ C sugar for rolling and baking

DIRECTIONS
  • In a stand mixer or large bowl, beat the shortening or butter and sugar until well combined and slightly fluffy. Add the molasses and eggs. Mix well.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, and spices. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in the mixer and stir until just combined.
  • Scoop and roll into 1″ balls. Lightly roll the dough balls in a shallow bowl of sugar. Place on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray or lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.