Thank you to Emily for all of the time and energy you have put into keeping this blog up-to-date and organizing this group of ladies! It's a unique opportunity to get a bunch of middle-aged (can I say that?) women together to get their creative juices flowing and host beautifully themed dinners with amazing foods. I think I can speak for everyone when saying we love you and all that you do for others. We will miss having you sit across the table chatting and taking pictures. Feel free to come crash a few future dinners!
Emily and Mandy are no longer with our Gourmet Club group due to a surprising move across states by Emily. We will miss both of them a ton!! The baton has been passed to Alyssa to keep up the blog since the dinners will keep going back in Oregon/Washington. We must keep the legacy going!!
(So prepare yourself for a post written entirely in 3rd person by me, Alyssa)
This was Alyssa's first dinner with her new partner Tania! Alyssa and Tania handed out their invitations at the dinner before summer began. It was the perfect enticing invitation to keep us excited through the summer!
A homemade baguette with freshly made strawberry jam!
A few months later we were finally able to come and enjoy! At the entrance we were treated with a French welcome...
All courses were served at Alyssa's bar-height table to make it feel classically bistro. The table was decorated in a rustic feminine French decor with floral and pink china, pearls, lace, and some burlap. The place cards were little canvases Tania painted herself with the autograph as our name! So creative!
Of course there were eiffel towers too
The menu was hung on the wall and written in French!
(Sorry for the blurry photo. The top sign says "Bon Appetit!")
For our appetizer we had a cheeseboard with a Monte Cristo (battered and deep fried ham/turky/cheese sandwich with raspberry jelly and powdered sugar), bacon spinach hollandaise crepe, and a savory herbed dijon galette (freeform pie)...
The salad course included Salad Lyonnaise which has crispy bacon, croutons, a dijon lemon bacon dressing and a poached egg! The egg is not something I've ever thought of eating on my salad but it was delicious! It tasted like deconstructed breakfast. Mmmm
For dinner we had beef bourginon, herbed mashed potatoes, and gougeres (cheese pate a choux). Alyssa and Tania would make Julia Child proud!
We were stuffed by the time dinner came but you always have room for dessert!
Dessert began with hot vanilla milk in various adorable little tea cups...
and was followed by chocolate pot de creme (delectable!), a vanilla salted caramel poached pear, and a fresh baked palmier.
The display in the dining room was set up like the classic French bakery Laduree's front display window. After eating we got to "shop" at the bakery and fill our bags with pastries, sweets, and souvenirs- eiffel tower teaspoons, a bag of palmiers, a bag of chocolates, and much much more!
It was elegant and the food was delicious. Made us all want to take a trip to Paris!
Two Gourmet Club Ladies were missing so Alyssa was able to invite two ladies from church who helped her out this summer with Girls' Camp. It's always fun to have extras! (Don't worry- it's sparkling pear juice)
- 6 slices of bread
- 6 slices Provolone Cheese
- 6 slices Swiss Cheese
- 6 slices turkey
- 6 slices ham
- 1 Cup flour
- 1 egg
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 1/4 Teaspoon salt
- 1 cup of water
- powder sugar for topping
- raspberry jam for dipping
- In a large pot or deep fryer, heat 1 to 2 inches of vegetable oil to 350 degrees.
- To assemble sandwich, layer one slice of bread, ham, provolone cheese, turkey, and swiss cheese, and then another slice of bread.
- Secure all 4 corners of the sandwich with toothpicks.
- For the batter, in a bowl beat the egg. Add flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and water and mix until all smooth.
- Dip sandwich in batter, coating all edges and sides.
- Carefully fry sandwich until golden brown on each side.
- Remove from oil and place on a paper towel covered plate to soak up the extra oil.
- Sprinkle with powdered sugar, remove toothpicks, and serve with your favorite raspberry jam.
Spinach Bacon Crepes with Hollandaise Sauce
3 Tbsp. butter
2 cups fresh sliced mushrooms(I used crimini)
½ medium sweet onion, finely diced
½ lb. bacon, cooked and finely chopped
1 cup frozen chopped spinach, well drained before measuring (I used 1 box)
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese (I used tomato & Basil)
½ cup Parmesan cheese (freshly grated)
½ cup heavy cream
I added 1 garlic clove finely chopped
DO NOT add salt or pepper. It will be plenty salty.
I used a crepe batter or you can make your own,
1 ½ cups milk
1 ½ cups flour
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
I used Knorr, my favorite or you can make your own,
½ cup butter
2 egg yolks
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
To make filling: Saute mushrooms and onions in 3 Tbls. butter. Add cooked an finely chopped bacon, spinach, feta, parmesan cheese and cream. Take off heat and set aside.
To make crepes: Put milk, eggs, flour and veg. oil in blender and blend until smooth. Make crepes however you desire and set aside. I used a crepe maker.
Fill crepes with the spinach mixture and place in 9x13 baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Take out and top with sauce and serve.
To make sauce: In saucepan on low heat, melt ¼ cup butter with the lemon juice. Slowly add and temper egg yolk and cook on low until thickened slightly. Slowly stir in the rest of the butter. Take off heat and pour over crepes.
- 2 yellow onions, peeled and sliced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 refrigerator pie crusts (1 box)
- 1 egg white, beaten
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 heirloom tomatoes, sliced
- 2 zucchini, thinly sliced
- ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
- Sprigs of fresh thyme leaves
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat a large sauté pan over medium heat and melt the butter and olive oil together. Add the sliced onions, season with salt and pepper and reduce the heat to simmer and slowly cook the onions for about 40-45 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions are soft and caramelized. Set aside to cool.
- Cut one of the refrigerator pie crusts into a roughly 7 X 9-inch square, so that you trim the rounded edges from the crust and discard or save for another use. Place the pie dough on one half of a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Lightly brush the bottom of the crust with the beaten egg white. Spread 1 tablespoon of the Dijon mustard on the crust, leaving a 1-inch border of plain pie crust all the way around the edge. Scatter half of the caramelized onions on the mustard then layer 2 rows of zucchini slices down the middle of the crust. Top with slices of tomato and sprinkle with thyme leaves and half of the feta cheese then drizzle with a little additional olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the long edges of the pie crust over and then the short edges over the zucchini slices. Repeat the process with the other crust.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake the galettes for 15 minutes or until the crust is golden and the vegetables are softened.
- Slice and serve warm or at room temperature.
5 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1⁄2"-strips
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 small shallot, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
8 oz. frisée, torn into bite-size pieces ( I used endive, similarly bitter and frilly )
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
Boil bacon and 1 cup water in a 12" skillet. Reduce heat to medium-high; cook until water is evaporated and bacon is crisp, 35–40 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Transfer 3 tbsp. bacon fat to a large bowl. Add lemon juice, mustard, shallot, salt, and pepper. While whisking, slowly drizzle in oil until vinaigrette is emulsified. Add reserved bacon and the frisée; toss and divide between 4 plates.
Boil a 4-quart saucepan of water; add vinegar, reduce heat to medium, and, using a slotted spoon, swirl water. Crack eggs, one at a time, into a ramekin, and slide into water; cook until whites are set, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, divide eggs between plates; garnish with more black pepper.
10 lbs beef cut in 3” cubes- Pan seared in olive oil
4 cups burgundy wine
2 cups balsamic vinegar
3 tsps each of dried thyme, oregano and rosemary
1 head of garlic minced
1 bag of frozen pearl onions
1-2 boxes of Crimini mushrooms cut in quarters
1 ½ bags of carrots (peeled and cut into bite sized pieces)
Cover and cook 2 ½ hours at 400 degrees.
Top with frozen peas and let cook with “carry-over” cooking when you take it out of oven.
(I used the crock pot. 4 hours on high and then turned down to warm)
Parmesan and Mozzarella Gougère
Yields about 35-50 Gougère.
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup water
- 8 tablespoons butter
- ½-1 tsp of kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- a pinch of cayenne
- 2 cups bread flour
- 1 cup fresh grated Mozzarella
- 1 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
- 4 large eggs
1. In a small sauce pot heat milk, water, butter, and salt to a simmer over medium low heat. Stir in the onion powder, garlic powder, rosemary, and red pepper.
2. Add the flour and stir quickly in one direction. The flour will absorb into the liquid and form a dough. It will look lumpy at first but smooth out. Stir until the dough pulls away from the pot, about two minutes.
3. Transfer the dough to a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Turn on low and allow to cool slightly.
4. Add the eggs one at a time mixing until each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next. If you are finishing the dough in the pot, do the same thing, just stir vigorously to incorporate the egg. After all the egg has been added stir in the cheese.
5. Use a 2 Tablespoon scooped and gently rounded them out on a Silpat. Bake at 425* for 10 minutes and reduce the temperature to 375* for an additional 20 min. The gougères are done when golden brown on top and puffed up. Serve hot.
VANILLA POACHED PEARS WITH (SIMPLE) SALTED BUTTER CARAMEL SAUCE
2 Bosc or Bartlett pears
1 vanilla pod
a little lemon zest
1/2 cup sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 cup water
125g (8 Tbs) good quality butter
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
a pinch of sea salt
300mls (1-1/4 cup) cream
Peel the pears and remove the core at the base with a melon baller, taking care to leave the stems intact. Place the pears onto a plate and sprinkle with a few drops of lemon juice to prevent them from browning.
Combine the sugar, water, lemon zest and scraped vanilla bean in a deep saucepan and stir over a medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Lower the heat (or use a heat diffuser), add the pears and poach gently for up to an hour, basting the pears gently every so often. The idea is to very gently poach the fruit in the syrup, and not allow it to boil. The pears will remain intact and the flesh will be perfectly delicious. Allow to cool, refrigerate overnight if you wish. Serves 2, but simply add more pears for more serves.
To make the caramel sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan and add the sugar. Stir over a low heat without boiling until the sugar dissolves. Bring the sauce to the boil, then simmer, uncovered and without stirring, for two to three minutes. Remove the pan from the stove and wait for the bubbles to die down before stirring in the cream and sea salt. This amount makes about 11/2 cups of caramel sauce. The sauce keeps well in the refrigerator for two or three days. Serve the sauce over the vanilla poached pears, gently reheated, or serve chilled.
Chocolate Pots de crème
9 oz high-quality semisweet chocolate, chopped and placed in blender
1 ½ cups WHOLE MILK
1 ½ cups HEAVY CREAM (1/2 cup will be used for topping)
6 large egg yolks
5 Tbls of granulated sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 Tlbs of confectioners sugar for whipped cream topping
Place the chocolate in a blender. Whisk the milk, 1 cup of cream, egg yolks, granulated sugar and salt in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the spatula and almost boiling, 5 to 6 minutes. Immediately pour the milk mixture over the chocolate in the blender. Cover and hold the lid with a thick kitchen towel; blend until combined and smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the blender as needed. Divide the chocolate mixture among ramekins or small cups and refrigerate until set, about 2 hours. Whip the remaining ½ cup cream and the confectioner’ sugar with ta mixer or in the blender until soft peaks form. Top the chilled pots de crème with whipped cream. Topped with curled chocolate.
1 Package Frozen Ready Rolled PUFF Pastry. (contains 2 sheets)
3 1/2 Tablespoons or 50 g butter, melted
1/2 Cup or 100 g Granulated or Demerara Sugar
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon (optional)
1. Take the puff pastry from the freezer and allow to fully defrost IN the packaging.
2. Preheat oven to 400 F or 200 C.
3. Unroll the pastry and flatten it on the plastic wrapper. Sprinkle sugar (and cinnamon if using) evenly all over the pastry and take a rolling pin and LIGHTLY roll over the sugar so as to press it gently in to the pastry. Be careful not to roll hard so you keep the shape of the pastry.
4. Take one side and tightly roll the pastry toward the middle. Stop when you get to the middle. Then take the other side of the pastry and roll toward the middle. Wrap the pastry in the plastic sheet you were using underneath and pop in the fridge for 20 minutes to firm up. Repeat with the other sheet of pastry.
5. Take the pastry from the fridge and cut in to 1/4 inch thick slices. Place flat on a parchment lined baking sheet, a couple of inches apart so they can grow in the oven! Brush the tops lightly with the melted butter and another light sprinkling of sugar. Bake for approximately 12 – 15 minutes or until the cookies puff up and turn golden brown. Keep an eye on them because they will burn very easily!
6. When done, use a fish slice or similar and transfer the cookies to a cooling rack.
These will store, once cooled, in an air tight container for a few days. They are delicious eaten as they are, or as I do, with a scoop of ice cream!
Hot Vanilla Milk
1-½ cups low fat milk
⅛ cup French vanilla liquid creamer
1 Tbs sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Blean, warm, and serve!