Sunday, December 10, 2006

French - December 2006

Diva: Stacey

Drinks: Ashley
Calvados Cocktail

1 shot of Calvados
1 sugar cube sprinkled with bitters

Makes 1 drink
Pour shot of Calvados into champagne flute. Drop in sugar cube and carefully(it will fizz alot) top off with champagne.

Appetizer: Sara
Mustard Crackers

½ c unsalted butter, cut into T pieces
½ lb grated Gruyere cheese
1 c unbleached all-purpose flour
3 T Dijon mustard
2 tsp dry mustard
1 ½ tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp salt

Place the butter and cheese into a food processor and process till smooth
Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse until a ball of dough forms.
Divide the dough into two.
Place each on a sheet of waxed paper and roll into 8-in logs. Wrap them up in the waxed paper. Then wrap the logs in foil.
Place in the freezer and freeze for 2 hours or until firm.
Preheat oven to 350F.
Butter 2 baking sheets. Cut the logs crosswise into ¼-in slices and place on the sheets. Keep them about 1-in apart because they will spread a bit while baking.
Bake for about 15 minutes or until the edges are just golden brown. Remove and cool on racks.

To go with the crackers:

1 lb mushrooms, coarsely chopped
5-10 shallots, chopped
4 garlic cloves, germ removed, chopped
3 T olive oil
Optional – may use some chopped hard boiled eggs and/or chopped parsley as a garnish.

Heat a large saucepan over med-high heat and pour in the olive oil. Heat the oil.
Add the mushrooms, shallots and garlic and cook, stirring once in a while, until browned.
Season with salt and continue cooking until the mushrooms have given off their liquid.
Continue to cook and stir until the liquid has evaporated.
When the mixture is dry, place in a food processor and pulse to form a chunky paste.

To serve: spoon the mixture into a serving bowl. Garnish if desired and serve with crackers or toast points.

Salad: Lovina
Cucumber Salad with Goat Cheese and Lemon

3 kirby cucumbers, washed and dried
4 large radishes
zest of one lemon
1 c goat cheese crumbles (can also use feta cheese)

2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 T white wine vinegar
1 T finely chopped dill
½ tsp sugar
1 garlic clove, pressed
½ c plus 1 T olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper

Soup: Jen Knight (sub for Mariah)
French Winter Vegetable and Bean Soup w/ Pistou
Serves 4

2 c (packed) fresh basil leaves
½ c drained canned diced tomatoes
3 T freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled


2 large leeks (white and pale green parts only)
2 medium carrots chopped
1 6-ounce white-skinned potato, peeled, diced
3 T water

8 c canned vegetable broth

½ c orzo (rice-shaped pasta)

6 ounces green beans, trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 15-ounce can cannellini (white kidney beans), rinsed, drained

¼ tsp dried crushed red pepper
2 T freshly grated Parmesan cheese 

For pistou:
Puree all ingredients in processor. Season with salt and pepper. (Pesto can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

For soup: 
Combine first 4 ingredients in heavy large pot. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until vegetables are almost tender, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Add broth; bring to boil. Stir in orzo; boil uncovered until orzo is almost tender, stirring often, about 12 minutes. Add green beans; reduce heat and simmer until beans are tender, about 6 minutes. Stir in cannellini and crushed pepper; simmer until heated through, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide pesto among 4 bowls. Ladle soup over pesto; swirl to blend. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cheese. 

Side Dish: Nicole
Gratin Dauphinois (Potatoes)

**I got this recipe from my cousin, born and raised in France now living with her husband (a recognized chef) in Belgium. Sorry I did not convert the measurements, you can easily find that on line if you are going to prepare this yummy dish ☺

2.21 pounds potatoes
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
0.132 gallon milk

Peel and slice finely the potatoes.
Take a large baking dish, rub butter all over and then rub a clove of garlic.
Dress evenly the slices in the dish.
Beat 2 eggs with a little bit of milk and the teaspoon of salt + 1/2 teaspoon of grated nutmeg.
Beat the egg mixture in the rest of milk..
Pour this on the potatoes and dot with butter (you can also add on top shredded Swiss cheese I layered the cheese throughout).
Bake in oven at 428 °F for 50 minutes ( at the end of the cooking if it's to brown you can cover with an aluminum foil)

Gratin is usually for this king of vegetable dish with cheese on top which become brown under the grill or in the oven
Dauphinois is the region of France where this recipe come from it's in the Alps mountains.
Here we cook the potatoes sliced in square in a frying pan with duck grease, boletus mushrooms and garlic.

Entree: Michelle

Scallops Provencal and Tofu Provencal

1 pound fresh sea scallops
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
All-purpose flour, for dredging
4 T (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, divided
½ c chopped shallots (2 large)
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ c chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/3 c dry white wine
2 lemons, 1 cut in ½ and the other on wedges

Sprinkle the scallops with salt and pepper, toss with flour, and shake off the excess.
To get a really nice sear on scallops they cannot be wet. The flour dries the scallops and will help give it a nice brown color when they are sauteed.
In a very large saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the butter over high heat until sizzling and add the scallops in 1 layer, making sure they are not touching. Lower the heat to medium and allow the scallops to brown lightly on 1 side without moving them, then turn and brown lightly on the other side. This should take 3 to 4 minutes, total. Once the scallops have seared, remove them from the pan and place on a plate and cover with aluminum foil.
Melt the rest of the butter in the pan with the scallops, then add the shallots, garlic, and parsley and saute for 2 more minutes, until the shallots have softened.
Pour in any of the juices that the scallops have given off while resting into the saute pan and then add the wine and the juice of one lemon.
Turn up the heat to high and cook until the sauce has thickened to your liking, while scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. This should take a minute or two.
At this point you could add the scallops back to the pan and stir to coat them with the sauce. However, I like the slightly crisp texture of the sear on the outside of the scallop and I find that combining them with the sauce in the pan makes the scallops taste soggy.

Tofu- I just chopped in blocked, bite-sized pieces and followed the recipe the same way, substituting tofu for scallops.

Dessert: Tiffany

Cracked Chocolate Earth with Whipped Cream (Flourless Chocolate Cake)

1 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
1 stick unsalted butter
9 large eggs, separated
¾ c granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
1 c heavy cream, cold
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch spring form pan.

Put the chocolate and butter into the top of a double boiler (or in a heatproof bowl) and heat over (but not touching) about 1 inch of simmering water until melted. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a mixing bowl until light yellow in color. Whisk a little of the chocolate mixture into the egg yolk mixture to temper the eggs - this will keep the eggs from scrambling from the heat of the chocolate; then whisk in the rest of the chocolate mixture.

Beat the egg whites in a mixing bowl until stiff peaks form and fold into the chocolate mixture. Pour into the prepared pan (spray the bottom with nonstick spray) and bake until the cake is set, the top starts to crack, and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out with moist crumbs clinging to it, 20 to 25 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes, then unmold.

While the cake is cooking, make the whipped cream. Whip the cream until it becomes light and fluffy. Dust the cake with confectioners' sugar.

Serve at room temperature with the whipped cream.

WildCard: Erin

Edith Piaf CDs

Lottery: Tamara

Served with candy canes!

Sunday, November 5, 2006

The Great Pumpkin Diva Dinner - November 2006

Diva: Mariah

Drinks: Erin


½ ounce Cointreau liqueur (I may have used triple sec)
2 ounces cranberry juice
4 ounces champagne

Pour Cointreau and cranberry juice in a champagne flute; top off with champagne.

Appetizer: Nicole
Pumpkin Dip

Makes for 6 ½ c (about 25 servings)
Prep: 15 min.
Chill: up to 2 days

4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 15-ounce can pumpkin
2/3 c sugar
1 T pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp vanilla
Ground nutmeg
Assorted crackers

In a very large mixing bowl beat the cream cheese, pumpkin, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth. Transfer to a bowl or storage container. Cover and chill up to 2 days.

Transfer to a serving container and sprinkle with nutmeg. Serve with crackers. Makes 6-1/2 cups (about 25 servings).

Salad: Ashley
Warm pumpkin salad with polenta and candied pumpkin seeds

1 ½ c yellow cornmeal (not coarse)
7 ½ c water
2 ¾ tsp salt
2 ½ T unsalted butter
1 T sugar
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp paprika
¼ tsp cayenne
½ c raw green (hulled) pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1 T fresh pomegranate juice (see cooks' note, below) or cranberry juice cocktail
2 tsp Sherry vinegar
1 T minced shallot
6 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 small cheese pumpkin or butternut squash (2 lb), peeled, quartered lengthwise, and seeded
1 (6-oz) piece Parmigiano-Reggiano
8 oz arugula, trimmed

Prepare polenta:
Bring cornmeal, water, and 2 1/4 teaspoons salt to a boil in a 4-quart heavy saucepan, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until polenta is creamy and tender, about 50 minutes. Remove from heat, then stir in 11/2 tablespoons butter and cool slightly.

Spoon polenta onto center of a lightly buttered large baking sheet, then spread evenly into a 10- by 7-inch rectangle (about 1/2 inch thick).
Cover with plastic wrap, then poke several holes in wrap with a small sharp knife and chill 2 hours.

Candy pumpkin seeds:
Melt remaining tablespoon butter in a heavy saucepan over moderate heat.
Stir in sugar, cumin, cinnamon, paprika, cayenne, and 1/4 teaspoon salt, then cook, without stirring, until caramelized. Add pumpkin seeds and cook, stirring occasionally, until seeds are puffed and golden. Transfer to a plate to cool. When seeds have hardened, break up any clumps with your fingers.

Make vinaigrette:
Whisk together pomegranate juice, vinegar, and shallot and let stand 5 minutes.
Whisk in 3 tablespoons oil, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste.

Roast pumpkin:
Preheat oven to 450°F.

Cut pumpkin quarters crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices.
Toss with 1 tablespoon oil and salt and pepper to taste in a shallow baking pan and arrange slices in 1 layer. Roast in middle of oven until just tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven, then cover with foil to keep warm.

Fry polenta while pumpkin roasts:
Trim polenta into a 9- by 6-inch rectangle.
Cut polenta into 6 (3-inch) squares, then halve each square diagonally. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet until hot but not smoking, then cook polenta in 2 batches, turning once, until golden brown, about 8 minutes (if necessary, use remaining tablespoon oil for second batch). Transfer as cooked to a plate and keep warm, covered.

Assemble salad:
Shave 12 strips from cheese with a vegetable peeler.

Whisk vinaigrette, then toss arugula in a large bowl with enough vinaigrette to lightly coat.

Place several pieces of pumpkin and 1 piece of polenta on each of 6 plates. Top with arugula, more pumpkin, and remaining polenta. Sprinkle with candied pumpkin seeds and top with parmesan shavings, then drizzle with remaining vinaigrette.

Cooks' notes:
Polenta, spread on baking sheet and not yet fried, can be chilled up to 1 day.
Candied pumpkin seeds can be prepared 3 days ahead and kept in an airtight container at room temperature.
To juice a pomegranate, firmly roll it on a work surface until it feels softer, then cut a small hole in skin and squeeze.

Soup: Brenda (sub for Michelle)

Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin puree (2 cans or make own, I used cans of
organic unsweetened pumpkin)
1 yellow onion
3-4 cloves garlic
2-3 carrots
1/2-1 c mushrooms (I used shitake)
vegetable stock
pumpkin seeds
olive oil

Sauté onion, garlic, chopped carrots and mushrooms in olive oil for 3-5 minutes. Add 2 cans pumpkin and 2 c. vegetable stock, stir together. Add pinch of ginger and nutmeg to taste, but start small and add sparingly! Allow to simmer gently until carrots are tender. Roast pumpkin seeds in olive oil and salt. Add salt to soup to taste. Add vegetable stock as needed to achieve desired thickness of soup. (I needed to add in additional cup or two.) Serve warm with pumpkin seeds as a garnish.

Side Dish: Tiffany

Stuffed Mini Pumpkins with Stuffing, Green Beans and Tempeh

¾ c onion, diced
½ c celery, diced
2 tsp dried or 3 tbsp. minced fresh parsley
¼ tsp thyme
¼ tsp sage
¼ tsp salt
pinch cayenne pepper
4 c bread cubes (whole grain)
10-12 T strong vegetable broth* (up to 3/4 cup)
1 c steamed Green beans
1 c sautéed Tempeh

Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a small frying pan, sauté onion and celery until tender with the parsley, sage, salt, cayenne (or regular pepper, if you prefer). This should take about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, combine the bread cubes with onion mixture, green beans, tempeh and vegetable broth, adding slightly more if the bread is very absorbent (some need more liquids), and mix well. S Salt or pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, cut the top off the pumpkins. Using a large spoon, scoop out the seeds and strings. Place the pumpkins upside down in a pan with 1/3 inch of water. Bake for 15 minutes. Carefully turn the pumpkins upright and fill with stuffing mixture. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the stuffing is minutes crisp and golden and the groups are soft.

Serve immediately.

Entree: Tamara
Pumpkin Ravioli with Sage and Pine Nuts

1 c pumpkin puree**
3 tablespoons finely minced shallot or white onion
4 tablespoons olive oil or margarine
3 tablespoons soy milk or other nondairy milk
1 tablespoon sherry or sweet vermouth
1 tablespoon vegan parmesan cheese (optional)
pinch of nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
pasta dough or wonton wrappers
several sprigs of fresh sage
pine nuts


Step 1: Make the filling. In a large skillet, heat half (2 tablespoons) of the oil or vegan margarine over medium heat. Add the chopped shallot or onion and cook until soft, 2-3 minutes. Add the pumpkin puree and cook until slightly dry, about 2-3 more minutes. Add the soymilk, sherry or vermouth, and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper. Cook about 2 more minutes.

At this point you can save the filling and make the ravioli another day if you wish.

Step 2: Make the ravioli, using about 2 tsp of filling per ravioli and sealing the edges with water. It should make about 16 ravioli. At this point, you can store the ravioli by placing them on layers of wax paper or parchment paper in a sealed container in the refrigerator for a day or two if you aren't ready to cook them. Wonton wrappers may turn gooey-looking where they are in contact with the filling, but they should come out OK after boiling.

If you are cooking them the same night you make them, let the formed ravioli rest while you bring a large pot of water to a boil. This is a good time to chop the sage and toast the pine nuts. (Toast the pine nuts in a small dry pan over medium heat, shaking every couple of minutes until they are browned to your taste.) Boil the ravioli 2-3 minutes, then remove and pat dry.

Step 3: Dress the ravioli. Either wipe clean the skillet you used for the filling or use a fresh one (make sure its roomy). Heat the remaining half (2 tablespoons) of the olive oil or vegan margarine over medium heat and add the chopped sage. Add the cooked ravioli (leave plenty of room - do it in several batches if necessary) and sauté for about 2-3 minutes per side. Plate and sprinkle with toasted pine nuts.

*Assuming you have premade dough or wonton wrappers. If you make your own pasta, it will take longer.

**A 15-ounce/425g can of pumpkin contains 1 3/4 c. I've cooked my own fresh pumpkin, and I've used canned, and to my picky palate, canned tastes every bit as good, its a hundred times easier, and its never stringy. So I recommend canned pumpkin all the way.

Serves: 2-4

Preparation time: 30-40 minutes

Dessert: Stacey
Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

2 c pumpkin
4 eggs, beaten
1 c oil
2 c sifted flour
1 c brown sugar
1 c granulated sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp nutmeg

Blend pumpkin, eggs and oil in a mixing bowl. Blend all the dry ingredients together, then fold into pumpkin mixture.
Pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 mins.
Remove from oven and cool to room temp. before frosting with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

3 oz. cream cheese softened
½ c butter softened
½ c powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 ½ tsp light cream or milk

Mix cream cheese with butter. Whip in sugar, vanilla and cream. Spread over pumpkin bars.

WildCard: Sara

Stuffed Mushrooms

Clean and de-stem 3 dozen mushrooms, save stems.
1 small white onion, minced
6 cloves garlic, minced
½ stick butter
1 c pumpkin seeds, finely chopped
1 c Parmesan cheese, finely grated
2 T pumpkin seed oil
Salt, pepper, paprika

Finely chop clean mushroom stems, sauté with garlic, onion, and pumpkin seeds, until onion is wilted. Let mixture cool. In large bowl mix sautéed ingredients with spices and Parmesan. Fill mushroom caps with mixture and drizzle with pumpkin seed oil. Bake mushrooms at 350° for 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Serve hot.

Pumpkin seed humus

2 c cooked, cooled, and drained garbanzo beans
6 cloves garlic
3 T Pumpkin seed oil
3 T Tahini
3 T lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste.

I used a food processor to blend all ingredients together. Serve with warm pita bread.

Lottery: Lovina

Sunday, October 8, 2006

Moroccan - October 2006

Diva: Lovina

Drinks: Tiffany
Moroccan Cocktail

2 oz. Vodka
½ oz. cardamom-infused simple syrup*
½ oz. lemon juice
½ oz. pomegranate juice

*Cardamom Simple Syrup - Bring 1 cup of water and a 1⁄4 cup of whole cardamom to a boil. Stir in 2 cups of sugar - stir until fully dissolved. Remove from the heat and allow to cool; keep in the refrigerator for 3 days, then remove the cardamom.

Sharbat (Apple Milk Drink)
2 Red apples
2 T Sugar
2 tsp Rosewater (scant teaspoons)
2 c Cold rice, soy or regular milk
Shaved ice

Peel and cube the apples. Place in the blender jar with sugar, perfumed water and milk. Whirl at high speed 15 seconds. Serve, with shaved ice if desired, in small glasses. Yield: 2 to 4 servings.

Appetizer: Stacey
Moroccan Meatballs

3 T red or green curry paste
½ c coconut milk
¾ lb. ground turkey
¾ lb. ground beef
1 onion, diced and sautéed
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 c bread crumbs
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp nutmeg
pinch of cayenne
salt and pepper

Stir curry paste and coconut milk together, set aside. Combine remaining ingredients, adding only enough breadcrumbs to make the meat less sticky. Shape into small balls. Coat each ball with curry-coconut mixture and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 425 degrees until sizzling and lightly browned (about 15-20 mins). Serve warm with rice or make extra curry coconut mixture for a dipping sauce. Makes 30 meat balls.

Salad: Nicole
Eggplant Salad

2 eggplants (2 lbs total)
1 tsp salt
3 T olive oil
1 T butter
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 T minced red sweet bell peppers
¼ tsp cayenne, to taste
1 tsp ground cumin
1 T dry sherry

2 T olive oil
2 T lemon juice
3 dashes black pepper, to taste

4 T sliced black olives
2 T golden raisins
1 T dried currants
2 tsp, chopped fresh parsley

Peel the uncooked eggplants, then cut into 1x3-inch (approx) slices.
Lay on a cookie sheet, sprinkle with the salt, and allow to “sweat" and drain for 30 minutes.

Rinse well and pat dry with paper towels.

Heat oil and butter in a skillet and fry the slices until both sides are golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Set cooked slices on paper towels to drain of excess oil.

Cut into 1/2-inch pieces and mix with the garlic, bell pepper, cayenne, and cumin.
Return eggplant to the skillet, add 1 Tbsp sherry and sauté on low until liquids have evaporated, about 5 minutes.

Transfer to the serving bowl, sprinkle with the dressing ingredients, and let cool.
When ready to serve, toss the salad, garnish with black olives, golden raisins, currants, and parsley.

Makes 6-8 servings

Soup: Ashley
Moroccan Chickpea Soup

1 ½ c dried chickpeas
8 c water
1 (35-oz) can whole tomatoes, drained
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 small celery rib (including leaves), finely chopped
3 T unsalted butter
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp black pepper
½ tsp cinnamon
2/3 c chopped fresh cilantro
4 c vegetable broth (preferably organic) or chicken broth
1 c lentils
½ c chopped fresh parsley

Prepare chickpeas: Soak chickpeas in water to cover by 2 inches 8 to 12 hours. Drain chickpeas and rinse well. Transfer to a large saucepan and add 8 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until tender, 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours. Cool chickpeas and drain, reserving cooking liquid. You should have about 2 ½ cups liquid (if not, add more water). Coarsely purée tomatoes in a food processor. Cook onion and celery in butter in a 4-quart heavy pot over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add turmeric, pepper, and cinnamon and cook, stirring, 3 minutes. Stir in tomato purée, 1/3 cup cilantro, chickpeas with reserved liquid, vegetable broth, and lentils. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until lentils are tender, about 35 minutes. Stir in parsley, remaining 1/3 cup cilantro, and salt to taste.

Side Dish: Michelle
Moroccan Rice Pilaf

1 tsp safflower oil
½ c finely chopped onion
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp cayenne pepper
1 c brown rice
1½ c vegetable stock or water
¼ c raisins
salt to taste
black pepper
¼ c sliced almonds

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a small ovenproof pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the onion, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until the onions become translucent but not brown. Add the paprika, cumin, cayenne pepper and stir. Add the rice and stir to coat evenly with butter. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the stock and the raisins and bring to a boil over high heat. As soon as the stock comes to a boil, cover the pot and place in the oven for 25 minutes. Add the salt, pepper and almonds and fluff with a fork.

Entree: Erin

Marinated Shrimp Kabobs

1 lb. lg. fresh shrimp
1 (8 oz.) can unsweetened pineapple chunks, undrained
2 T. sesame oil
2 T. soy sauce
¼ tsp white pepper
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp ground ginger
6 onions
6 cherry tomatoes
1 green pepper, 1 inch pieces
Hot cooked rice, optional

Put and devein shrimp, leaving tails on. Drain pineapple, reserving juice. Combine pineapple juice and next 5 ingredients in shallow dish. Mix well. Add shrimp and toss. Marinate in refrigerator at least 1 hour stirring occasionally.

Cook onions in boiling water to cover 4 to 5 minutes or just until crisp tender and drain. Put all on kabobs alternating vegetables and shrimp. Broil 4 to 5 inches from heat 2 to 3 minutes on each side, basting frequently. Serves 6.

Dessert: Tamara

M'hanncha (The Snake) is a lovely dessert that can be served hot or cold. It is a traditional Moroccan dish.

150g chopped almonds
75g granulated sugar
1 T butter, melted
2 tsp orange flower water
1 tsp ground cinnamon
8 sheets phyllo pastry
Ground cinnamon
icing sugar

Put the Sugar, butter, orange flower water, almonds and cinnamon in a blender until the mixture is smooth.
Divide the mixture into 8 equal portions and place each lengthways down the side of one piece of phyllo pastry. Roll the pastry around the mixture. The finished thing should resemble a Sausage shape.
Coil it into a kind of snail's shell then set aside and cover with a damp tea towel. Repeat this with all 8 pieces.
Heat the butter in a large pan and then fry the pastries until they are browned on both sides.
Sprinkle the pastries with cinnamon and icing sugar and serve. They can be left to cool if you wish to eat them cold.

WildCard: Mariah (absent)

Lottery: Sara

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Things that make you go hmm - September 2006

Diva: Ashley

Drinks: Michelle

Appetizer: Lovina
Fried Dill Pickles

1 qt. dill pickles, thinly sliced
1 ¾ c all purpose flour, divided
2 tsp red pepper
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp pepper
2 tsp garlic salt
½ tsp salt
3 dashes hot sauce
1 c beer
Vegetable oil

Dredge sliced pickles in 1 cup flour; set aside. Combine remaining 3/4 cup flour and dry ingredients; add hot sauce and beer, mixing well. Dip dredged pickles into batter. Deep fry in hot oil, 375 degrees until pickles float to surface and are golden brown. Drain on paper towels; serve immediately.

Yield: about 2 1/2 dozen appetizer servings.

Spicy Ranch Dipping Sauce

3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons minced green onions
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon horseradish

Whisk together ingredients. Garnish, if desired. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.
Yield: Makes about 1 cup

Salad: Stacey
Walnut salad dressing

2 green onions, finely chopped
1 T fresh parsley, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp paprika
1 T tarragon
3 T white wine vinegar
3 ½ c mayo
2 ½ tsp salt
½ tsp white pepper
½ c finely chopped walnuts
¾ c buttermilk

Toss dressing with mixed greens with bacon, fontina cheese, tomatoes, English cucumber.

Soup: Nicole
Curried Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
The Hotel Del Coronado Cookbook by Beverly Bass

2 T Butter
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
1 large or 2 medium butternut squash (about 3 lbs.) peeled, seeded and cut into chunks
6 c Chicken Stock
2 ½ tsp curry powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in a heavy stock pot or Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add onions and sauté until golden but not browned, about 15 min. Add the squash, apples, potatoes, stock and curry powder. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the vegetables are very tender, about 30 min.

In batches, puree the mixture until smooth in a food processor. Return soup to the stock pot or dutch oven and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

Soup may be stored in refrigerator for up to four days

Side Dish: Sara
Grilled Peaches with Blue Cheese and Spicy Honey

Spicy Honey
½ c honey
Juice of 1 lemon
¼-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Heat on low – stir until warm and uniform

6 peaches – halved
place cut side down on hot grill (medium heat) for about 1-2 minutes. Flip and cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from grill; add cheese crumbles to pit area. Drizzle with spicy honey.

Entree: Tiffany
Swordfish in a Sesame Seaweed Spaetzle Crust

8 Filets of fresh Swordfish
4 c flour
4 Eggs
1 T salt
Olive Oil
1 sheets Japanese roasted Nori
1 T black Sesame seeds, roasted
1 ½ c mashed potatoes

Lemongrass Dressing (double for the amount of fish above)
¾ c Raspberry vinegar
3 stalks lemongrass
2 bulbs shallots, minced
1 tsp Ginger
2 T Olive oil
1 T sugar

Step One: Make Spaetzle
Make Mix flour and salt ingredients in large mixing bowl. Beat eggs individually; add to dry ingredients. After all eggs are mixed, add small amounts of water. Crush Nori and mix with sesame seeds and add to batter. Beat with a wooden spoon to create thick, yet elastic, pasta.

In a large pot, boil 6-8 cups of water. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Force the batter through spätzle machine to produce dough shape. Cook pasta 3-5 minutes stirring through 3 boiling points. Remove with a large draining spoon to cold plates, spreading the pasta to the edges of the plate to drain.

Step Two:
Make Mashed Potatoes
Cook potatoes until soft. Mash with veggies broth. Set aside.

Step Three: Make Lemon Grass Dressing
Blend all ingredients in a blender and pass through a strainer or cheese cloth.

Step Four: Assemble and Cook Fish
Spread mashed potato on one side of each filet and press spaetzle into potato. Heat oiled skillet and place fish, spaetzle side down. Cook until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Flip over and place skillet in a preheated 400 degree oven until fish is cooked, about 4 to 5 minutes. Drizzle with Lemongrass Dressing.

Dessert: Erin
Gorky’s Beet Cake

4 eggs
2 c sugar
1 c oil
2 c unbleached flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
3 c shredded fresh beets
1 c chopped walnuts

Beat together eggs, sugar and oil until fluffy. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in large bowl. Add to egg mixture and stir well to blend. Add vanilla beets and walnuts. Beat together 1 min. Pour into a 13 x 9 inch baking pan and bake @ 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes.

Almond Sauce
1 8oz package cream cheese, softened
½-¾ c whipping cream
1 tsp almond extract

Blend together cream cheese, whipping cream and almond extract in blender or mixer until fluffy. Spoon onto cake or serve separately to dollop cake.

WildCard: Tamara
CD of Songs that make you go Hmmmm….

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Colors - August 2006

Diva: Michelle

Drinks: Carrie Caselton - Blue (sub for Sara)
Blue Hawaiian Boones Farm!

Appetizer: Tiffany - Green

3 vine-ripe tomatoes, 1/4-inch thick slices
1 pound fresh mozzarella, 1/4-inch thick slices
20 to 30 leaves (about 1 bunch) fresh basil
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Coarse salt and pepper
Crusty baguette cut into 1/4-inch thick slices

Layer alternating slices of bread, tomatoes and mozzarella, adding a basil leaf between each, on a large, shallow platter. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Salad: Erin - Red
Harry’s Strawberry and Tomato Salad

6 ounces (1 cup) cherry tomatoes, halved
1 c (about 1/2 pound whole berries) small strawberries, trimmed and halved
1 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 T aged balsamic vinegar
1 T finely grated lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
½ tsp table salt
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
2 heads Boston lettuce, halved and cores removed
2 tsp fresh chives, minced

In small mixing bowl, toss together tomatoes, strawberries, oil, vinegar, zest, salt, and pepper. Let marinate at room temperature 10 minutes.

To serve, place lettuce-head halves on 4 plates. Top each with tomato-strawberry mixture. Sprinkle with chives.

Soup: Tamara - Yellow

Sweetcorn and Potato Chowder

550g (20 oz) potatoes
1 large onion
1 sweet green bell pepper
125g (4oz) mushrooms
2 cloves garlic
2 stock cubes
285g (10oz) sweetcorn kernels (1x326g can, drained and rinsed)
1 bay leaf
1 tsp mild mustard (e.g. garlic mustard)
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Black pepper to taste

Peel and chop the potato, onion and green pepper. Slice the mushrooms, halving them first if they are large. Chop the garlic finely. Dissolve the stock cubes in a pan with 1 liter (35 fl oz, 4 1/2 c) water. Bring to the boil, then add everything else except the mustard, herbs and seasoning. Simmer for about 25 minutes until the vegetables are just tender. Add the mustard and thyme, and simmer 5 minutes more. Season to taste with black pepper and serve.

Side Dish: Mariah – Purple
Cabbage Slaw

3 c shredded napa or Chinese cabbage
1 large navel orange, peeled and sectioned
¼ c chopped watercress
2 T. canola oil
2 T. rice wine vinegar
2 tsp sugar
¾ tsp grated fresh gingerroot
¾ tsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
Dash of pepper
1 T chopped walnuts

Cabbage Slaw
2 ½ c bagged cabbage slaw mix or shredded cabbage
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 c fresh spinach, torn into bite-size pieces
2 T chopped fresh parsley, if desired
2 T rice wine vinegar
2 T white wine vinegar
1 T light soy sauce
1 T sesame oil
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp finely chopped peeled fresh gingerroot
Dash of salt
Dash of pepper
1 T sesame seeds, toasted*

Toss cabbage, carrot, spinach and parsley in large bowl. Mix or shake vinegars, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar and gingerroot. Pour dressing over cabbage mixture; toss. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

To serve, stir in salt and pepper; sprinkle with sesame seed.

Entree: Lovina – Green
Roasted Salmon with Cilantro Pesto

2 lbs. fresh salmon fillets
1 clove garlic
1 c cilantro leaves, loosely packed
2 T. olive oil
2 T. lime juice
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
2 ½ ripe roma tomatoes\raw, seeded and chopped

Preparation Preheat the oven to temperature 400°F. Make the pesto in a food processor or blender; process the garlic, cilantro, oil, and lime juice until creamy. Season to taste. Spray baking pan with oil and place the salmon skin-side down. Spread the pesto on the salmon, cover with the chopped tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Bake uncovered for 15 to 18 minutes.
(Serves 4)

Dessert: Absent
Chocolate Bars from Ashley’s lottery bags

WildCard: Nicole - Blue
Blueberry-Blue Cheese Dip

This perfect blend of delicate sweetness and tangy, full-bodied flavor comes together in a snap. Serve with fresh raw vegetables, crackers or apple slices.

6 oz. Danish blue OR Maytag blue cheese, crumbled
1 ½ c fresh OR thawed frozen blueberries
1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese
½ tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ to ½ tsp. hot chili sauce
½ c finely sliced green onion, green part only
½ c chopped walnuts

Place blue cheese and blueberries in bowl of a food processor fitted with metal blade and blend until smooth, about 2 minutes. Transfer mixture to a bowl and stir in remaining ingredients. To give the flavors time to meld, cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or as long as 3 days.
Makes 3 cups.

Lottery: Ashley
Colored gift bags and chocolate bars

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Relaxed Literary Vegan Meal - July 2006

Diva: Tamara

Drinks: Nicole

Red and white wine

Appetizer: Mariah
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Assorted veggies with a bread bowl and spinach dip.

Spinach Dip

1 pkg. sautéed spinach drained
1 can artichokes chopped
1 c vegan mayonnaise
1/3 cup Parmesan-style cheese, grated
1 c Monterey Jack-style cheese, coarsely grated
2 cloves garlic, minced

Thaw and squeeze excess moisture from spinach using a clean kitchen cloth, cheesecloth, or strainer. Combine all ingredients, reserving 1/4 c. of Monterey Jack-style Cheese.

Bake in preheated 350 degree oven until top is bubbly.

Salad: Sara
Red is Best by Kathy Stinson and Robin Baird Lewis

1 whole red cabbage finely chopped
1 hole red onion, ½ moon slices
Red grapes to suit
Almonds to suit
1 whole red pepper, ¼ moon slices
1 whole pink lady apple, cubed

Mix together in a big bowl. Add any other seasonally available red edible veggie or fruit. Dress with favorite salad dressing.

Soup: Lovina
Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver

Carrot Soup with Ginger and Lemon

¼ c (1/2 stick) butter
1 ½ c chopped onion
1 T finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 ½ tsp minced garlic
1 ¼ pounds medium carrots, peeled, chopped (about 3 cups)
2 tomatoes, seeded, chopped (about 1 1/3 cups)
1 ½ tsp grated lemon peel
3 c (or more) chicken stock or canned low-salt broth (veggie broth)
2 T fresh lemon juice
4 T sour cream
1 small carrot, peeled, grated

Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 4 minutes. Add ginger and garlic; sauté 2 minutes. Add chopped carrots, tomatoes and lemon peel; saut 1 minute. Add 3 cups stock and bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover partially and simmer until carrots are very tender, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly.

Puree soup in batches in blender. Return soup to pot. Mix in lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)

Bring soup to simmer, thinning with more stock, if desired. Ladle into bowls. Top each with sour cream and grated carrot.

Side Dish: Stacey
East of Eden by John Steinbeck

Broccoli, Red Pepper, and Almond Couscous--courtesy of The Vegan Chef

1 c onion, diced
1 T olive oil
4 c broccoli, half small florets and half chopped stems, divided
1 ½ c red pepped, diced
1 T garlic, minced
2 c water or vegetable stock
3 T lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 ½ c couscous
¾ c almonds, roughly chopped
¼ c freshly chopped dill
¼ c freshly chopped parsley

In a large saucepan, sauté the onion in the olive oil for 3 mins. Add the broccoli stems and continue to sauté the mixture an additional 3 mins. Add the broccoli florets, red pepper, and garlic and continue to sauté an additional 4 mins, stirring often. Add the water, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and bring the mixture to a boil. Add the couscous, stir, cover, remove the saucepan from the heat, and set aside for 5 mins. Using a fork fluff the couscous while stirring in the remaining ingredients. Taste and adjust seasonings. Yield: 1 1/2 quarts

Entree: Ashley
Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins

Beet and Goat Cheese Salad with Pistachios

Makes 8 servings.
3 large red beets (1 2/3 lb without greens)
2 large golden beets (1 lb without greens)
¼ c minced shallot
2 T fresh lemon juice
¾ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ c pistachio oil
4 oz soft mild goat cheese**
3 T salted shelled pistachios (not dyed red), coarsely chopped
1 oz mâche (also called lamb's lettuce), trimmed (4 c)

Special equipment: a 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter (without handle; at least 2 inches high)

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Separately wrap red and golden beets tightly in double layers of foil and roast in middle of oven until tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Unwrap beets.

While beets are cooling slightly, whisk together shallot, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a small bowl, then add oil in a stream, whisking.

When beets are cool enough to handle, slip off and discard skins.
Separately cut red and golden beets into 1/4-inch dice and put in separate bowls. Add 2 1/2 tablespoons dressing to each bowl and toss to coat.

Place cookie cutter in center of 1 of 8 salad plates.
Put one eighth of red beets in cutter and pack down with your fingertips. Crumble 2 teaspoons goat cheese on top, then one eighth of golden beets, packing them down.
Gently lift cutter up and away from stack. Make 7 more servings in same manner. Drizzle each plate with 1 teaspoon dressing and scatter with some pistachios.

Toss mâche with just enough remaining dressing to coat and gently mound on top of beets.
Serve immediately.

Cooks' notes:
• Beets can be roasted and diced 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.
Bring to room temperature before using.
• Molded beet salad (without mâche) can be assembled 45 minutes ahead and kept, covered, at cool room temperature.

**I made a mock goat cheese out of firm tofu, vinegar and lemon juice. I made it up as I went so I have no idea what the quantities are. Just went by taste.

Dessert: Erin
Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Depression Era Inspired Chocolate Cake

3 c flour
6 T cocoa
1 tsp salt
2 T vinegar
2 c cold water
2 c sugar
2 tsp baking soda
¾ c vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla

Mix dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients. Stir until smooth. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Makes 2 layers of a 2 layer 8-9 inch round cake or one small sheet cake. Frost when cool. Eat!


1 lb confectioner’s sugar
¼ tsp salt
1/3 c (2/3 stick) non-dairy margarine, room temp
¼ c orange juice, lite
2 tsp vanilla extract

Mix the sugar, salt and margarine. Add the liquid. Beat until smooth, adding more liquid if necessary. Use immediately (frosting will harden).

WildCard: Tiffany (absent)

Lottery: Michelle

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Old Favorite/New Challenge - June 2006

Diva: Erin

Drinks: Stacey - New Challenge
Peach Wine Sangria

1 c fresh basil leaves, plus 8-110 sprigs
½ c sugar
¼ c fresh lemon juice
2 cans peach nectar (23 oz total)
1 magnum white wine
1 large peach diced

Put basil, lemon juice and sugar in a small pan. Bruise leaves by mashing with wooden spoon. Add 1 can nectar and bring to a simmer, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat, let stand 5 minutes. Pour through a mesh sieve, discard basil leaves. Stir in wine, peach and remaining can of nectar and sprigs. Chill at least 1 hour and serve over ice.

Appetizer: Tamara – Old Favorite
in a New Challenge Vegan Recipe
Spinach Dip

Makes about 3 c
2 medium cloves garlic
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
10 ounces fresh or frozen spinach
3/4 pound soft tofu, crumbled
2 tsp dried oregano
1-1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
pinch of ground black pepper to taste

If using fresh spinach, wash it very carefully, trimming stems and faded leaves; if using frozen spinach, defrost and drain extremely well. Combine the garlic, lemon juice, and oil in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Gradually blend in the spinach and then the tofu, processing or blending until the mixture is smooth. Transfer to a serving dish and serve chilled.

Salad: Mariah

Soup: Sara – New Challenge

Tortilla Soup--Recipe from cooking light

6, 6 inch corn tortillas
Cooking Spray
1 ¾ vertically sliced onion
4 peeled garlic cloves
2 c chopped tomato
2 stem dried seeded pasilla or 1 dried ancho chile
6 c veggie broth
Epazote leaves (I think I used bayleaves)
¾ c queso fresco
1/3 c peeled avacado
1 Large Lime cut into wedges

Preheat oven to 400 Degrees

Cut tortillas into 1/4 inch strips. Place strips on baking sheet, bake at 400 for 8 minutes or until golden. set strips asside.

Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray, add onion and garlic. Saute until golden. Place onion mixture and tomato in blender or food processor, blend until smooth.

Recoat pan with cooking spray. Add chiles, saute 1 minute or until fragrant. Remove chiles, cool completely remove and discard stems, chop chiles.

Place pan over medium high head, add tomato mixture and cook 15 minutes or until mixture is very thick (like tomato paste), stirring frequently. Add broth and bay leaves bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Strain mixture through fine mesh sieve over a bowl. Discard solids.

Ladle soup into bowls divide the cheese tortilla strips and avocado evenly. Sprinkle each serving toasted chile and lime wedge.

Side Dish: Lovina – New Challenge
Zucchini and Carrot Ribbons with Brie, Black Pepper and Parsley
Serves 4

1 large green bell pepper
1 T sunflower oil
8 oz. Brie
2 T crème fraiche (or sour cream)
1 tsp lemon juice
4 T milk
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 T fresh parsley, finely chopped, plus extra to garnish
salt and pepper
6 large zucchini
6 large carrots

Sauté the green pepper in the sunflower oil until just tender. Place the remaining ingredients, except for the zucchini and carrots, in a food processor and blend well. Place the mixture in a saucepan and add the green pepper.

Peel the zucchini. Use a potato peeler (or mandolin) to slice them into long, thin strips. Do the same with the carrots. Put the zucchini and carrots in separate saucepans, add just enough water to cover, then simmer for 3 minutes, until barely cooked.

Heat the sauce and pour into a shallow vegetable dish. Toss the zucchini and carrot strips together and arrange them in the sauce. Garnish with a little of the finely chopped parsley.

Entree: Nicole – New Challenge
BBQ Ribs

Ribs of your choice
Apple cider
BBQ sauce of choice
3 T Kosher salt
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp. ground cumin

Rinse and pat dry the ribs. Trim off membrane and excess fat. Soak/marinate in apple cider over night (I put it in a zip lock bag). Mix remaining ingredients to make a rub. Remove the ribs from cider and rub with seasonings. I have a smoker BBQ so I set the temp. at 225 F and slow cooked the ribs until done. I think they cooked for 2-3 hours. Brush with choice BBQ sauce 20 min. before they are done and again in the final 10 min of cooking time.

Dessert: Ashley – New Challenge
Strawberry Cream Filled Profiteroles

½ c whole milk
1 stick + 1 T unsalted butter
¼ tsp salt
1 c all-purpose flour, sifted
5 large eggs
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
½ c water

Strawberry cream
1 c whipping cream, chilled
1/3 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla
8 oz mascarpone cheese at room temperature
1 c sliced strawberries

Powdered sugar
Chocolate sauce and mint sprig

Preheat oven to 350. In a medium saucepan combine the milk, butter and salt with ½ c water. Bring to a boil. Add the sifted flour and stir with a wooden spoon until a dough forms. Continue stirring over medium heat for ~3 minutes.
Transfer dough to the bowl of a standing mixer. Stir at low speed for a few minutes to lower the temperature of the dough. Increase speed to medium. Add eggs 1 at a time. Mix until a smooth, cool dough forms, ~4 minutes. Use a #9 tip or a soup spoon to form puffs ~ 2 inches in diameter on a parchment-lined sheet. Brush with beaten egg yolk. Bake for 45 minute or until golden. Cool on a wire rack. Slice like a bun, with a serrated knife.

Strawberry cream
In a medium bowl, combine mascarpone and strawberries. Set aside Using electric mixer, beat cream, sugar and vanilla to soft peaks. Stir ¼ of the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture to lighten. Fold in remaining whipped cream.

Fill profiteroles with strawberry cream. Top with powdered sugar and chocolate sauce. Garnish with mint and slice strawberry.

WildCard: Michelle – New Challenge

1 c heavy whipping cream,
4 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
½ c plus 2 tablespoons white all purpose flour
2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
¾ c water
3 T butter
1 T granulated sugar
¼ tsp salt
3 eggs, lightly beaten Fresh
Powdered sugar

Warm ½ cup of the cream on stove, in double boiler, do not scald!
Pour hot cream over chocolate in small bowl; stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Stir in remaining ½ cup cream.
Cover; refrigerate at least 3 hours or until mixture is well chilled.
Whisk chilled mousse until soft peaks form.

Meanwhile, for profiteroles, preheat oven to 375°F.
Combine flour and cocoa powder in small bowl; set aside.
Bring water, butter, granulated sugar and salt to a simmer over medium heat in saucepan. Add flour mixture all at once and stir vigorously until mixture leaves sides of pan and forms into a ball.
Remove from heat; place dough in large bowl. Add eggs; whisk until smooth and very thick.

Lightly spray mini-muffin-pan with vegetable oil.
Place equal-sized pieces of dough into wells of pan.
Bake 28-30 minutes or until dough is puffed and tops are slightly cracked.
Remove from oven and make a small cut in side of each puff to release steam.
Remove from pan to cooling rack; cool completely.
Fill each puff with mousse, I think I used a ziplock bag, with the tip cutoff to fill.
Sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar; serve immediately.

Lottery: Tiffany

Monday, May 15, 2006

Breakfast at Tiffany’s - May 2006

Diva: Tiffany

Drinks: Lovina
Champagne Lemon Granita

Best for a late afternoon brunch.

4 scoops lemon sorbet
2 oz. citrus vodka
2 oz. Champagne or sparkling wine
2 sprigs fresh mint

On low speed, blend sorbet pouring vodka steadily bit by bit. Add Champagne or sparkling wine. Serve in chilled glasses and garnish with mint.


One part Extra Dry Champagne
One Part Delicious Cranberry Juice

Appetizer: Erin
Fruit Dip

1 Jar Marshmallow Cream
8 oz cream cheese
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp grated orange rind

Beat with mixer

Use fresh pineapple, strawberries, mandarin oranges, apple, banana (may want to use lemon juice on apple and bananas)

Salad: Tamara
Strawberry-Belgian Endive Salad

2 large Belgian endives
2 c sliced strawberries
½ c sliced kiwifruit
¼ c paper-thin slices red onions
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 ½ tsp honey
1/8 tsp salt
pinch ground nutmeg

Slice the endives, widthwise, into ¼-inch thick semicircles. Toss in a large bowl with the strawberries, kiwi and red onion.

In a small bowl, stir together the lemon juice, oil, honey salt and nutmeg. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine.

Soup: Michelle
Peach Yogurt Soup

2 16-oz containers of plain Brown Cow yogurt
½ c honey
1 t cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
1 qt jar canned peaches

Mix all the ingredients together

Side Dish: Sara
Breakfast Potatoes with Rosemary and Mushrooms

6 large red potatoes, diced
8 large button mushrooms, quartered
5 cloves garlic, minced
¼ white onion
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
¼ c balsamic vinegar
¼ c vegetable oil
2 T butter
salt and pepper to taste

Soak rosemary and garlic in balsamic vinegar for 20 minutes to infuse flavors.
Heat oil in large frying pan or wok. (I used my new birthday wok!!)
Add onions until cooked.
Slowly add potatoes stirring frequently.
In another pan, sauté mushrooms in butter, when cooked, add to potato mixture
I wanted my dish to have some crisp so I popped it in the broiler for a few minutes and flipped them a couple of times before serving.

Entree: Stacey
Quiche Lorraine

1 single-crust pie pastry
6 slices of bacon
1 medium onion, sliced
3 beaten eggs
1 ½ c milk
¼ tsp salt
dash nutmeg
1 ½ c shredded Swiss cheese
1 T flour

Line unpricked pastry shell with a double-layer of foil. Bake at 450 for 8 minutes. Remove foil and bake 4 minutes. Remove from oven and lower temp to 325. Cook bacon in skillet till crisp. Reserve 2 T drippings, crumble bacon and set aside. Cook onion in reserved drippings till tender, not brown. In a small bowl stir together eggs and spices. Add bacon and onion. Toss cheese with flour, then add to egg mixture. Pour egg mixture into pastry shell. Bake at 325 for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Dessert: Nicole
Fruit Tartlettes

1 ¼ c all-purpose flour
¼ c sugar
½ c cold butter
2 beaten egg yolks
1 T chilled water

In a food processor, place the steel blade in the work bowl. Add flour, sugar, and butter. Process with on/off turns till pieces are the size of small peas. Stir together egg yolks and water. With machine running, quickly add liquid through the feed tube. Stop machine as soon as all liquid is added. Process with 2 more on/off turns. Remove dough and shape into a ball.
For easier handling, cover dough with plastic wrap and chill for 30-60 minutes.

Divide the dough into 12 equal balls. Roll each ball into a 4-inch circle to line the cups of a muffin pan. Bake them for about 12 minutes.

1 (1.3 ounce) envelope whipped topping mix
½ c cold milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
½ c confectioners' sugar
Assorted fruit

In a small mixing bowl, beat the topping mix, milk and vanilla on low speed until blended. Beat on high until soft peaks form, about 4 minutes. In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Fold in whipped topping mixture. Spoon into tart shells; top with fruit. Refrigerate leftovers.

WildCard: Ashley
Tiffany boxes (pound cake with hazelnut filling and fondant)

Pound Cake:
2 c sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring)
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 c granulated sugar
1 T grated orange zest
1 tsp grated lemon zest
2 sticks (½ pound) unsalted butter, softened
4 large eggs, at room temperature 30 minutes
½ tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325°F with rack in middle. Butter an 8 ½- by 4 ½-inch loaf pan. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix together sugar and zests with an electric mixer at low speed until sugar is evenly colored, then add butter and beat at high speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in eggs 1 at a time at medium speed, scraping down side of bowl frequently, then beat vanilla. At low speed, mix in flour mixture until just incorporated. Spread batter in loaf pan and rap pan several times on counter to eliminate air bubbles. Bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 1 to 1 ¼ hours. Cool in pan on a rack 30 minutes, then run a knife around edge of pan and invert cake onto rack. Cool completely, top side up.

Chocolate Hazelnut filling is Nutella.
Cut pound cake into squares the size of the desired box. Use two squares per box. Spread Nutella in between pound cake squares. Coat entire cake lightly with Nutella. Cover cake with blue fondant. Make bows with white fondant.

Lottery: Mariah

Sunday, April 9, 2006

Tantalizing Thai – April 2006

Diva: Nicole

Drinks: Mariah
Thai Iced Tea

Thai Tea from the Co-op (Good Earth) with star anise, cinnamon, and vanilla. The steeped tea then is flavored with sugar, and after being cooled is mixed with cream and often condensed milk for a refreshing creamy drink add vodka with a real doozy!

6 c water
1 c Thai tea
¾ c sugar
6 T cream
6 T condensed milk

In a kettle, bring the water to a boil. Place the tea in a teapot or glass container. Pour the water over the tea and let steep until bright orange in color, 3 to 5 minutes. Strain into a clean container, such as a pitcher (or, if in tea bags, remove the bags). Add sugar and stir to dissolve. Let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Fill 6 tall glasses with crushed ice and add tea to 3/4 full. Add 1 tablespoon cream and 1 tablespoon condensed milk to each glass.

Appetizer: Ashley
Potstickers with Prawn and Cilantro

1 package gyoza or wonton wrappers

1 egg, lightly beaten
¼ tsp salt
1 c ground pork (not lean)
4 ounces shrimp meat, finely chopped
6 shelled and deveined prawns, finely chopped
5 water chestnuts, fresh or canned, finely chopped
4 T shredded carrot
¼ c chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 T minced green/spring onion
1 T minced ginger
1 T soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
Freshly ground black or white pepper, to taste

Lightly beat the egg with the salt. Place the pork in a bowl, add the shrimp, prawns, water chestnuts, carrot, cilantro, green onion, ginger, egg, soy sauce, sesame oil and pepper. Place a small bowl of water on the work area. Lay out one of the gyoza wrappers in front of you. Dip your finger in the water and moisten the edges of the wrapper. Place a heaping teaspoon of filling in the middle of the wrapper. Fold the gyoza wrapper over the filling and pinch the edges to seal it shut. (You may want to use a cornstarch/water mixture to make this easier). Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet or wok.When oil is ready, carefully add the dumplings and cook on high heat until golden brown (about 1 minute). Without turning the dumplings over, add ½ cup of water and cover. Cook for about 1 minute to cook the raw filling and then uncover and continue cooking until most of the liquid is absorbed.

Vegetarian Potstickers

½ pound firm tofu
½ c finely shredded carrot
½ c finely chopped bok choy
¼ c finely chopped water chestnuts
¼ c finely chopped bamboo shoots
¼ c finely chopped garlic chives
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 T dark soy sauce
½ tsp sesame oil
¼ tsp salt
1 package potsticker or gyoza wrappers
2 T oil for frying the dumplings

Drain the tofu, cut into cubes and mash. Wash and prepare the vegetables. Combine the tofu with the remainder of the ingredients and seasonings. Lay out one of the gyoza wrappers in front of you. Dip your finger in the water and moisten the edges of the wrapper. Place a heaping teaspoon of filling in the middle of the wrapper. Fold the gyoza wrapper over the filling and pinch the edges to seal it shut. (You may want to use a cornstarch/water mixture to make this easier). Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet or wok. When oil is ready, carefully add the dumplings and cook on high heat until golden brown (about 1 minute). Without turning the dumplings over, add ½ cup of water and cover. Cook for about 1 minute to cook the raw filling and then uncover and continue cooking until most of the liquid is absorbed.

Salad: Tiffany
Green Mango Salad

2 firm green mangoes
¼ c dry shredded unsweetened coconut
2 c bean sprouts
½ c fresh basil
3-4 spring onions, sliced
handful of peanuts or cashews, left whole or roughly chopped

2 T soy sauce
2 T lime juice
1 T brown sugar (loose, not packed)
1-2 fresh red chillies, de-seeded and minced, OR 1-2 tsp. Thai chili sauce

Place the coconut in a frying pan or wok (no oil required). "Dry-fry" the coconut (as if you were stir-frying it) for 2-3 minutes over medium heat, or until it turns a light golden-brown and is fragrant. Set aside. Tip: Once the coconut is toasted, remove it from the pan right away and place it in a bowl, otherwise it will keep on toasting!

Peel off the green skin of the mangoes and discard. Grate the orange flesh of the mangoes into a mixing bowl. Prepare the dressing by mixing together all the salad dressing ingredients in a bowl or cup. Set aside.

To the bowl of shredded mango, add: bean sprouts, basil, spring onions, plus half the toasted coconut. Toss well to combine. Add the dressing and toss again. Place on a serving platter. Sprinkle the nuts over top plus the remaining toasted coconut, and enjoy!

Soup: Erin
Lemon Grass-Tofu Soup

A little note about this and other soups: lemon grass, galangal root and lime leaves, the trio of flavors that give many Thai soups their distinctive taste are unchewable, but form dictates that they be left in the soup. It is then up to the soup slurpers to avoid eating them. Furthermore, though lemon grass is easy to find, galangal root and lime leaves are not so easy. They can be substituted with ginger root and lime juice respectively as indicated in the recipes.

4 c water
1 stick lemongrass
4 lime leaves (or 2 tbsp lime juice)
1 inch galangal root (or ginger root)
2 fresh hot chilies
3 T fish sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 ½ tsp chili paste
2 oz button mushrooms, quartered
5 chicken breasts/tofu
3 T lime juice
Fresh coriander leaves

Heat 4 cups water in a soup pot to boiling.

Smash the lemon grass with the flat of a chef's knife once, and then cut into 1- inch pieces; tear the lime leaves into thirds; and slice the galangal into thin rounds. Reserve all three of these ingredients together.

Crush the fresh chilies and cut in half. Reserve separately.

When the water has boiled, add the reserved lemon grass/galangal/lime leaves. Boil for 1 minute. Add fish sauce, sugar and chili paste. Boil for another 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and boil for 2 minutes. Add partially/completely cooked chicken and lime juice (3 tbsp plus the other 2 tbsp if you haven't used the lime leaves) and lower heat to medium-high. Cook until chicken is done. Transfer to a soup tureen, decorate with fresh coriander leaves and serve immediately.

Side Dish: Tamara

Thai Marinated Cucumbers

1/3 c white vinegar
¼ c sugar
¼ c water
¼ tsp salt
1 large cucumber
¼ c chopped roasted peanuts

In a small pan, combine vinegar, sugar, water and salt; cook over medium heat, stirring, until liquid boils and sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Peel or score cucumber, if desired and cut lengthwise into quarters; then cut quarters crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Place in a serving bowl, pour marinade over cucumbers; stir to blend. If made ahead, cover and refrigerate for up to 2 hours. Top with peanuts before serving.

Entree: Sara

Scrumptious Shrimp in Yellow Curry

½ lb cooked shrimp
1 T veggie oil
1-2 mixed bell peppers, halved and sliced
1 large onion, white, chopped
1 T fresh ginger, minced
2-5 cloves garlic, minced
2 T yellow curry paste
2 cans light coconut milk
2-3 red potatoes
2 carrots julienned
1 T curry powder (equal parts turmeric, coriander, mustard)
pinch cayenne
1 T fish sauce (or soy sauce)
1 T sugar
3 spring onions chopped

Heat oil in large sauce pan or wok. Brown onion, add ginger and garlic. Add curry paste and mix well. It’s okay if globby, it will meld. Add coconut milk. Add carrots and potato. Boil uncovered until potatoes are cooked. Add shrimp (or tofu), bell peppers, fish sauce (or soy). Add sugar, chilies and curry. Simmer 5 minutes. Serve alone or with rice. Adjust as needed for salt, heat and veggie needs.

Dessert: Lovina
Fried Bananas with Thai Ice Cream

Fried Bananas

1 pound bananas, about 6 or 8. Traditionally small Asian bananas are used but you can use any bananas.
1 c rice flour
1 c all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 c water
½ c coconut milk
½ tsp salt
¼ c sesame seeds
3 T sugar
¾ c shredded coconut
4 c oil for deep frying

Peel and slice each banana lengthwise into four slices. In a mixing bowl, combine all the batter ingredients and stir just to mix together. Heat the oil in a deep fryer or wok to 375 degrees F. Dip each piece of banana into the batter to completely coat, and deep fry until golden brown. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Serve with Thai ice cream.

Thai Ice Cream

2 c coconut milk
1 c water
4 eggs
1 tsp of vanilla or rosewater
pinch of salt
2 tsp of shredded coconut
sprigs of mint for garnish

Stir fry the coconut until golden brown. In a saucepan, heat the coconut milk and water over medium heat, stirring continuously for a couple of minutes. Do not allow to boil.

In a bowl, beat two eggs, plus two yolks, then add the other ingredients, and whisk gently.

Transfer the mixture to a double boiler and gently boiling water, and slowly blend in the hot coconut milk, stirring until the mixture thickens to form a continuous slightly sticky coat on the back of a spoon lifted from the mixture.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool, then transfer to a ice cream maker. Let the mixture work in the ice cream maker for 20-30 minutes then transfer the metal bowl to the freezer.

WildCard: Stacey
Thai-phoon Cocktails

one part mandarin vodka
two parts fresh squeezed orange juice
two parts sweet and sour mix

blend in blender with lots of ice
pour into a large glass. Float champagne on top and garnish with a fresh wedge of lime and a straw.

Lottery: Michelle

Sunday, March 5, 2006

Spring Equinox Delights – March 2006

Diva: Mariah

Drinks: Ashley
Lawn Boy

6 shots Vodka
3 cubes Ice
1 dash Sugar
1 handful Mint

Put the ice in a blender, pour the vodka over it, toss in the mint, and fill with limeade. Blend until smooth, adding sugar little by little until it's just right. More vodka may be added during blending as well. Serve Lawn Boy in a Pitcher

Appetizer: Sara
Sesame Snap Peas

4.5 lbs snap peas and green beans
1 bunch spring garlic (garlic scapes or garlic onion)
2 red bell peppers cut into strips
2 red onions cut into ¼ moons
2 c cashews
3 T minced garlic
1 block tofu, cubed
¼ c nutritional yeast
1 c sesame oil
1 T salt
½ c safflower oil
½ tsp red pepper flakes
½ c tamari
¼ c brown rice vinegar
2 tsp sugar

Heat safflower oil in wok with ½ tsp salt. Add tofu – fry until golden brown, toss hot tofu and nutritional yeast in a large bowl. In wok heat sesame oil, ½ tsp salt, red pepper flakes, cashews. Cook for 5 minutes, stir frequently. Add all veggies and garlic, fry 10 minutes longer. Add Tamari, vinegar, sugar. Mix in a large bowl with tofu. Chill ½ hour.

Salad: Lovina

Spring Salad

3 c washed baby spinach leaves
3 c washed and torn salad greens
1 c sliced strawberries
2 kiwi fruit, peeled and sliced
¼ c sliced almonds
¼ c sliced mushrooms
¼ c snow pea pods
¼ c mandarin orange slices.
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced


¼ cup orange juice
2 T honey
1 tsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp poppy seeds
2 T olive oil

Toss together the spinach leaves, salad greens and other salad ingredients in a large bowl. for dressing, combine the orange juice, honey, mustard, poppy seeds and salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl until well mixed. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking constantly until the dressing is mixed. Toss the dressing with the salad or serve on the side.

Yield: 6 Servings

Soup: Stacey
Chicken Artichoke Soup

3 lg. boneless chicken breasts
1 onion, diced
2 cans cream of chicken soup
2 cans cream of celery soup
2 jars marinated artichoke hearts
2-3 cans chicken broth
½ lb. pepper jack cheese, grated
½ lb. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
½ c half and half
fresh thyme

Simmer chicken and onion until chicken is cooked through. Drain, shred and set aside. Combine soups and broth in a large pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add cheese. Stir until melted. Add chicken, onions, half and half and spices. Heat through. Enjoy!!

Side Dish: Nicole

Broccoli with Garlic Butter and Cashews

1 ½ pounds fresh broccoli, cut into bite size pieces
1/3 c butter
1 T brown sugar
3 T soy sauce
2 tsp white vinegar
¼ tsp ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 c chopped salted cashews

Place the broccoli into a large pot with about 1 inch of water in the bottom. Bring to a boil, and cook for 7 minutes, or until tender but still crisp. Drain, and arrange broccoli on a serving platter.
While the broccoli is cooking, melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Mix in the brown sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, pepper and garlic. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat. Mix in the cashews, and pour the sauce over the broccoli. Serve immediately.

Entree: Tiffany
Spring Risotto with Lemon, Asparagus, and Peas
Serves 4

1 T olive oil
3 small shallots, about 1/2 cup
1 ½ c Arborio rice
6 c vegetable stock
1 pound asparagus
1 c frozen spring peas
2 tsp lemon zest
2 T lemon juice
¾ c grated parmigiano reggiano

In a medium saucepan, bring your stock up to a simmer. Meanwhile, dice the shallots, and snap off the woody ends of the asparagus. If the asparagus is quite thick, you may want to also peel them. Then chop on the diagonal into 1/2 inch pieces.

In a broad-bottomed sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook until soft. Then add the rice and stir to coat.

One ladle-full at a time, add the stock to the rice and stir constantly until completely absorbed before adding more stock. After about ten minutes, add the asparagus, and continue adding stock until the rice is soft and risotto creamy, about 20 or 25 minutes, adding the peas in the last minute.

Remove the risotto from the heat and stir in zest, juice, and cheese. The risotto will continue to thicken, so you should hurry your dinner guests to the table and serve them as soon as you can.

Dessert: Erin

1/3 c butter/marg softened
1 package yellow cake mix
2 ½ c sliced baking apples/peaches/plums/pears
½ c sugar
1 T cinnamon
1 c sour cream
2 egg yolks or 1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut butter into cake mix (dry mix) until crumbly. Pat mixture lightly into an ungreased oblong pan (13 x 9 x 2), building up the sides slightly.

Bake for 10 minutes. Arrange fruit on warm crust. Mix sugar & cinnamon. Sprinkle on fruit. Blend sour cream and egg/yolks. Drizzle over fruit.

Topping will not completely cover fruit. Bake for 25 minutes more or until edges are light brown. Do not overbake. Serve warm.

WildCard: Tamara
“Springy” Garden Herb Bread

1 ½ c water
2 T butter
4 c bread flour
2 T dried milk (I omitted this)
2 T sugar
2 tsp salt
1 T chives
1 T Marjoram
1 T Thyme
1 tsp basil
1 ½ tsp fast rise or 2 tsp active dry yeast

If using fresh herbs, double amounts.
I replaced the chives and basil with fresh chopped rosemary.

Use white, rapid or delay bake cycles on your bread machine. Or use dough cycle and bake in the oven at 375 for about 20 minutes.

Lottery: Michelle

Sunday, February 5, 2006

Urban Cowgirl/Sophisticated Southern – February 2006

Diva: Stacey

Drinks: Tamara
Southern Peach

Peach Schnapps
Orange Juice
Cranberry Juice

Mix and serve with orange wedges.

Appetizer: Nicole

Nonstick cooking spray
1 slightly beaten egg
8 slices bacon, crisp-cooked and finely crumbled (about ½ cup)
½ c fine dry bread crumbs
½ c snipped fresh basil
¼ c plain yogurt or dairy sour cream
½ tsp ground black pepper
¼ tsp salt
2 pound uncooked ground turkey

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line two 15x10x1-inch baking pans or large baking sheets with foil. Lightly coat foil with nonstick spray; set aside.
In a large bowl combine egg, bacon, bread crumbs, basil, yogurt, pepper, and salt. Add ground turkey; mix well. Shape into 75 one-inch meatballs (about 1 tablespoon each). Place on pans.
Bake on separate oven racks for 15 to 20 minutes or until no longer pink. Serve with sauce or skewered. Makes 25 (three-meatball) servings.
I served these with the Alfred sauce but some of the other options sound good too!
Alfredo Sauce: In a saucepan combine one 16-oz. jar purchased Alfredo sauce and ¼ cup milk. Heat through. Stir in 8 slices crisp-cooked, crumbled bacon (about ½ cup). Season to taste with pepper. Sprinkle sauce with ½ cup snipped fresh basil.
Sweet and Sour Chili Sauce: In a saucepan combine one 10-oz. bottle sweet-and-sour sauce; 1/3 cup mango nectar; 1 tsp. chili powder; 1 large clove garlic, minced; 1/2 tsp. finely shredded lime peel; and 1/4 tsp. salt. Heat through over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.
Peach Sauce: In a saucepan melt 2 Tbsp. butter. Add 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans and 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion. Cook over medium heat about 5 minutes or until onion is tender and pecans are toasted. Stir in 2 Tbsp. yellow mustard and 2 Tbsp. molasses. Add 3 cups coarsely chopped fresh or thawed frozen peaches. heat through. Just before serving, stir in 2 Tbsp. snipped fresh parsley.

Salad: Ashley
Greens with cornbread croutons and choice of ranch dressing or buttermilk bacon dressing

Bowl of mixed greens

Cornbread croutons:
I used Jiffy cornbread mix. Prepare cornbread according todirections. Cool, cut into small cubes and toast in oven until golden brown

Ranch dressing:
¾ c plain yogurt
½ c mayonaise
2 T powdered cultured buttermilk
2 T finely chopped fresh parsley
2 T finely chopped celery leaves
1 ½ tsp fresh lemon juice
1 ½ tsp Dijon mustard
¾ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp fresh dillweed
1 clove garlic, minced
fresh ground black pepper to taste

Whisk first 3 ingredients in large bowl. Mix in remaining ingredients.
Cover and chill at least 1 hour to blend flavors.

Buttermilk Bacon:
¾ c plain yogurt
½ c mayonaise
3 T powdered cultured buttermilk
2 T finely chopped parsley
1 ½ tsp fresh lemon juice
1 ½ tsp Dijon mustard
¾ tsp onion powder
1 clove garlic, minced
3-4 sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled
fresh ground black pepper to taste

Soup: Tiffany
Creamy Corn Chowder

6 red potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 c whole kernel corn
½ c green bell pepper, chopped
½ c sweet onion, chopped
1 T red pepper flakes
2 c vegetable broth
1 (12 ounce) package low-fat, firm silken tofu
salt to taste

Place potatoes in a large pot of salted water and bring to a boil. Cook until tender, about 30 minutes; drain.

To the potatoes add corn, bell pepper, onion, red pepper flakes and vegetable broth. Boil for about 15 minutes; remove from heat.

In a food processor or blender puree all but 1 1/2 cups of the vegetable and broth mixture with the tofu. Process in batches if necessary. Combine the pureed mixture with the remaining 1 1/2 cups vegetable and broth mixture, and cook over low heat for 5 minutes; do not boil. Season with salt to taste.

Side Dish: Erin
Creamed Spinach

2 pounds fresh spinach, washed and tough stems removed
2 T unsalted butter
½ c finely chopped shallots
1 tsp minced garlic
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp nutmeg
½ c heavy cream

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the spinach and cook for 2 minutes. Drain in a fine mesh strainer, pressing with a large spoon to release as much water as possible. Finely chop and set aside.

Melt the butter in medium saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring, until soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the spinach and cook, stirring, just until the liquid is released. Add the cream, salt, pepper, and nutmeg, and cook until the cream is reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve immediately.

Entree: Mariah
Crunchy Lemon Catfish

3 T Duke’s canola oil, divided
4 (4-oz) catfish fillets
¼ c oat bran
¼ c yellow cornmeal
1 tsp Sauer’s thyme leaves
1 tsp grated lemon peel
½ tsp Sauer’s paprika
¼ tsp salt or to taste

Brush an aluminum foil-lined 12x8x2 inch baking pan with 1 T oil. Brush both sides of fillets with remaining oil. To prepare breading mixture, combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Dredge fish fillets in breading mixture, coating each well. Arrange in the baking pan. Bake in a pre-heated hot oven (425 F) for 10 minutes, turning fish fillets over halfway through cooking time. Bake until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Do not overcook as fish will become tough.

Dessert: Michelle
Almond Peach Cake

1 ½ c finely ground almonds
2/3 c unbleached white flour
¼ t salt
6 egg yolks
3 T amaretto
¼ t vanilla
13 c sugar
6 egg whites
1 t cream of tartar
1/3 c sugar
Whipped cream

Preheat the oven to 325. Butter and flour a 10-in Bundt pan
Stir together almonds, flour salt, set aside. Beat the egg yolks at high speed for about 6 mins until they are thick and lightly colored. Add the Amaretto and vanilla. Gradually add 1/3 c of sugar beating until it is dissolved. Set this mixture aside.

Wash and dry beaters thoroughly. In a large bowl, combine the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1/3 c sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Gently fold yolk mixture into the white. Then gently fold in the flour mixture, 1/3 at a time.

Pour the batter into the bundt pan and bake for 45-55 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Invert the pan onto a plate. After about 30 minutes, loosen the sides of the cake from the pan with a knife and remove the pan.

Serve topped with peaches and whipped cream.

I think I just made the whipped cream with heavy whipping cream, sugar, and a dash of the amaretto, whipping with the egg beaters until it was the consistency I wanted it to be.

WildCard: Lovina
Gourmet Cheesy Grits

1 quart milk
½ c butter
1 c uncooked grits
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground white pepper
1 egg
4 oz Gruyere cheese, grated
½ c grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Bring milk to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Add ½ c butter and grits. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is the consistency of oatmeal (about 5 minutes). Remove grits from heat. Add salt, pepper, and egg, beating until well combined. Add Gruyere cheese. Pour into a greased 2 quart casserole dish. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.