Sunday, December 14, 2008

World Tour - December 2008

Diva: Erin

Drinks: Stacey
Champagne Cocktails

1 part champagne
1 part pomegranate juice
huckleberries for garnish

Mix and enjoy.

Mango Lemonade

1 part lemonade
1 part mango juice
huckleberries for garnish

Mix and enjoy.

Appetizer: Mariah
Sweet Potato and Bocconcini Skewers (New Zealand)

1 large sweet potato cut into large chunks
1 T of olive oil
1 tsp of dried chili flakes
1 T of cilantro seeds
1-2 cloves
½ tsp of sea salt
2 mozzarella balls or 1 container of small bocconcini balls
1 small container of pesto
Wooden cocktail skewers
Mortar & pestle for grinding

Makes approximately 20

If you are using large mozzarella balls, then cut them into bite-sized pieces and marinate them in the pesto for at least 1 hour. If you're using little bocconcini balls, they are small enough and so not need cutting so just marinate them as they are.

Pre-heat the oven to 375F (190C).

Place the sweet potato chunks in a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 35-40 minutes or until firm but tender.

Remove from oven and cool. Once cooled, cut the sweet potato into 1 inch (2cm) cubes.

Using a mortar and pestle, grind together the chili flakes, cilantro seeds and salt until the ingredients are quote fine.

Press down one side of the sweet potato into the spice mix and then first skewer on a piece of pesto mozzarella followed by a piece of spiced sweet potato. Repeat process.

Salad: Aven
Moroccan Orange and Olive Salad

5 navel oranges
1 ½ c kalamata olives
2 bunches spinach

½ c olive oil
2 T red wine vinegar
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp cayenne
pinch sugar

Section the oranges and put them in a bowl with the olives. Mix up the dressing and pour over the oranges and olives and marinate for at least one hour. Spoon this mixture over the spinach and sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Soup: Tamara
Vietnamese Hot Pot

4 c low-sodium vegetable broth
2 stalks fresh lemongrass, pounded with rolling pin or mallet and cut into 3-inch lengths
½ c cilantro (I left this out)
¼ inch piece fresh ginger, cut into 6 rounds
4 cloves garlic peeled
2 Thai chilies (I just put in some chili paste)
¼ c low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
2 T light brown sugar
1 T rice wine vinegar

1 lb broccoli florets or Chinese broccoli, cut into pieces
16 large white or cremini mushroom caps, stems removed
2 stalks bok choy, cut into ½-inch slices
8 small potatoes
16 prepared vegetable dumplings, ready to cook*
1 lb snake beans or green beans, trimmed
12 oz seitan, cut into bite-size pieces*

*I omitted these items and prepared less dippers because it would have been a lot of food for a soup course!

5 oz dry rice noodles or rice vermicelli
1 c bean spouts
hoisin and chile sauces, optional

To make broth: bring vegetable broth and 5 c of water to a boil in electric wok or electric skillet over medium-high heat. Add lemongrass, cilantro, ginger, garlic, chiles, soy sauce, brown sugar and vinegar. Reduce heat to low, and simmer 30 minutes. Remove lemongrass, ginger, garlic and chilies with slotted spoon and discard. Place broth in center of table for communal dipping.

Let guests dip vegetables, potatoes and dumplings in simmering broth to cook. (Most vegetables take 2-3 mintues, potatoes and dumplings 5 minutes.) Serve with sauces

To make soup: when all the dippers have been cooked, add rice noodles and sprouts to broth (and any uneaten dippers can remain in the souop). Simmer 5 minutes or until noodles are tender. Serve garnished with onions, mint cilantro and peanuts. Add hoisin and or chile sauces if desired.

Dipping Sauces (nuoc cham chay)

Sauce #1

¼ c soy sauce
¼ c freshly squeezed lime juice or white vinegar
¼ c pineapple juice
¼ c fresh or canned pineapple chunks
3 T sugar
2 tsp Asian sesame oil
2 tsp salt
2 T coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1 T coarsely chopped garlic
¼ tsp chili-garlic sauce, chopped fresh hot chilies, dried red chili flakes, or other hot sauce

Combine all the ingredients in a mini food processor or a blender and blend until smooth. Serve in small bowls at room temperature, or cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
Makes about 2/3 cup.

Sauce #2

3-4 tsp lime or lemon juice (start with the smaller amount & adjust to taste; in a pinch, vinegar can be used instead)
4 tsp wheat-free tamari or soy sauce
3 tsp sugar
6 tsp (2 Tbsp) water
Dollop (about a tsp) of chili-garlic paste, to taste OR a clove of minced garlic plus minced serrano pepper, to taste
Finely shredded or julienned carrot for garnish (optional)

Stir the first four ingredients together in a small bowl or shake in a jar until all the sugar has dissolved. Stir in the chili-garlic paste. If using fresh garlic and serranos, I add an extra splash of lime juice or vinegar to balance the flavors. Add the shredded carrots, and serve in individual bowls for dipping. Makes about 3/8 of a cup

Sauce #3

¼ c whole fermented soybeans*
½ c water
1/3 c coconut milk
2 T rice vinegar
3 T chopped yellow onions
2 T sugar, omit with Hoisin
1 T ground chili paste, to taste
1 T chopped roasted peanuts

Place the first six ingredients into a blender and process until smooth. Transfer to a pan and bring to boil over moderate heat. Reduce heat when it boils and simmer until thick enough to coat a spoon about 5 minutes. If too thick add a bit of water. Set aside to cool.

Garnish with the paste and peanuts. Also you can use garlic, chilies and ginger.

Keeps 2 weeks.

*If you can't find the soybeans omit it and use 1/3 cup hoisin sauce and leave out the sugar.

Side Dish: Ashley
Pan-fried Tofu and Bok Choy with Vietnamese Caramel Sauce

2 (14-ounce) blocks extra-firm tofu, rinsed
½ pound shallots (4 to 5 large)
1 c vegetable oil
1/3 c sugar
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
½ T finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
3 T soy sauce
3 T rice vinegar (not seasoned)
1 1/3 c plus 2 tablespoons water
2 T cornstarch
1/3 c loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1/3 c loosely packed fresh mint leaves
steamed or sautéed baby bok choy

Drain tofu and fry shallots:
Halve tofu crosswise, then cut lengthwise into fourths to form 16 slices. Put tofu slices between several layers of paper towels to drain, replacing towels as needed, until ready to use.
Finely chop enough shallots to measure 1/2 cup and reserve. Cut remaining shallots crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices and separate into rings. Heat oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet (preferably cast-iron) over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then fry sliced shallots in 2 batches, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 1 1/2 to 3 minutes per batch (watch closely, as shallots can burn easily). Quickly transfer shallots as fried with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon oil from skillet and reserve skillet.

Make sauce:
Cook sugar in a dry 1- to 1 1/2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, undisturbed, until it melts around edges and begins to turn golden, then continue to cook, stirring, until all of sugar is melted and turns a golden caramel.
Add reserved chopped shallots (use caution; caramel will bubble up and steam vigorously) and cook, stirring, until shallots shrink and are very fragrant, about 45 seconds. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Stir in soy sauce, vinegar, and 1 1/3 cups water and simmer, stirring, until any hardened caramel is dissolved, about 1 minute.
Stir together cornstarch and remaining 2 tablespoons water until smooth, then stir into sauce and simmer, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes. Remove from heat and keep warm, covered.

Panfry tofu:
Heat oil remaining in skillet over high heat until hot but not smoking. Meanwhile, blot any excess moisture remaining on tofu with paper towels, then add to hot oil in skillet in 1 layer. Fry tofu, turning over once, until golden and crisp, 7 to 10 minutes total. Transfer to clean paper towels to drain briefly.
Reheat sauce, then serve tofu topped with sauce, basil, mint, and fried shallots.

Cooks' Notes:
·Sauce can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, uncovered, until completely cooled, then covered. Reheat sauce over moderately low heat, thinning it with additional water if necessary.
·Shallots can be fried 1 day ahead and cooled completely, uncovered, then kept at room temperature in an airtight container lined with paper towels.

Entree: Lovina
Chicken Curry (Sri Lanka)

double to make 12 servings

2/3 c chopped onion
5 large garlic cloves
2 T chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 T curry powder
1 T ground cinnamon
¾ tsp dried crushed red pepper
½ c chopped fresh ciliantro, divided
12 chicken thighs
2 T vegetable oil
2 c canned unsweetened cocunut milk
1 c canned chicken broth
½ tsp turmeric
Freshly cooked rice

Blend first 6 ingredients and 1/4 c cilantro in processor to paste, stopping frequently to scrape down the sides of bowl. Rub paste over chicken.

Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken and brown on all sides, about 6 minutes. Add coconut milk, broth, and tumeric. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until chicken is cooked through, turning once, about 30 minutes. Transfer chicken to plate. Boil liquid in skillet until reduced to sauce consistency, about 4 minutes. Season with salt. Return chicken to skillet, heat through. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cilantro. Serve over rice.

Vegetarian version:

Red bell pepper and shallot curry

½ c vegetable oil
1 T cumin seeds
3 cups thinly sliced shallots (about 10 large)
1 bunch green onions (about 6), white and pale green parts separated from dark green parts, all chopped
1 lb plum tomatoes (about 4 large), chopped
3 lg jalapeno chiles, seeded, finely chopped
1 tsp ground tumeric
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp black mustard seeds
3 large red bell peppers, thinly sliced

Heat vegetable oil in heavy large skillet, over medium-high heat. Add cumin seeds and cook until aromatic (do not allow seeds to turn dark brown), about 30 seconds. Add shallots and white and pale green parts of green onions. Cook until golden brown, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, jalapenos, tumeric, paprika, and mustard seeds to skillet. Simmer mixture about 10 minutes. Add bell peppers and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover skillet and cook until bell peppers are soft, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Season curry to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in chopped dark green parts of green onions.

Dessert: Colleen
Chocolate Fondue (Switzerland)

dark chocolate chips
evaporated milk

melt and enjoy fruit, pound cake, angel food cake, etc.

Pumpkin Pound Cake

2 c sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp salt
3 tsp cinnamon
1 ½ c oil
2 c. flour
2 tsp soda
1 ½ c pumpkin

Blend together sugar, eggs and oil. Add dry ingredients and add alternately to first mixture with pumpkin. Mix well. Bake in greased and floured tube pan at 350 degrees for 1 hour. (I baked in two 9x5 inch loaf pans)

Peanut butter fudge

1 c peanut butter
1 c butter
1 lb powdered sugar

Microwave butter and peanut butter on high 2 minutes. Stir. Microwave for another 2 minutes. Stir in powdered sugar. Place in 8x8 inch pan lined with greased wax paper. cover with wax paper and refrigerate.

In a large bowl, cream together the confectioners' sugar and shortening until smooth. Gradually mix in the milk and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth and stiff, about 5 minutes. Color with food coloring if desired.

Wild Card: Sara

Flag Cookies

Sugar Cookie Frosting

4 c confectioners' sugar
½ c shortening
5 T milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
food coloring

In a large bowl, cream together the confectioners' sugar and shortening until smooth. Gradually mix in the milk and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth and stiff, about 5 minutes. Color with food coloring if desired.

The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies

1 ½ c butter, softened
2 c white sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 6-8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.

Decorate with frosting. Sara made flags for each of our families' nationalities. They looked amazing. These are the flags she created:

Russian Federation

Lottery: Bonnie

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Vegan Thanksgiving - November 2008

Diva: Tamara

Drinks: Stacey
A selection of red wines

Pomegranate Mint Coolers

1 quart Pomegranate juice
3 limes-sliced
fresh mint leaves
Ginger ale

In a pitcher, muddle the mint leaves (about one cup) with the limes. Add pomegranate juice. Fill a glass with ice, add 1/2 ginger ale and 1/2 juice. Cheers!! (would be good with Absolut Currant vodka also!!!)

Appetizer: Ivy (Sub for Mariah)
Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Red Pepper Apple Chutney

2 red peppers, seeded and diced
2 onions, diced
¼ c sugar
2 Tablespoons dried currants
¼ c cranberries, halved
3 garlic cloves, slivered
1 tsp mustard seeds
¾ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp sea salt
2/3 c cider vinegar
¼ c apple cider
1 apple, peeled, cored, and diced

Combine all ingredients except the apples in a non-reactive saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat, cover pot, and simmer 30-35 minutes. Stir in apples and cook uncovered until they become tender and the mixture thickens, approximately 10-15 minutes.

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, diced
½ tsp rosemary, diced
½ tsp sea salt
pepper to taste

Toss potatoes with olive oil, rosemary, and garlic. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast the slices at a high broil until surface starts to bubble and is slightly brown, flip and repeat on the other side. Potatoes should be slightly crispy around the edges, but still somewhat soft.

Spoon chutney onto the potato rounds and enjoy.

Salad: Lovina
Shaved Brussel Sprouts with Currants and Chestnuts

½ c apple cider
½ c dried currants
1 ½ pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed
2 T olive oil
1 7- to 8-ounce jar whole peeled chestnuts, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (substituted hazelnuts)
5 T butter
1 ½ T balsamic vinegar

Bring cider to boil in small saucepan. Remove from heat. Add currants; let soak 30 minutes. Using processor fitted with slicing disk, push brussels sprouts through feed tube and slice. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill currant mixture. Wrap brussels sprouts in paper towels, then enclose in resealable plastic bag and chill.

Heat oil in large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add chestnuts; sauté 2 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer to bowl. Add brussels sprouts to skillet; sauté until beginning to wilt, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water and butter; sauté until most of liquid evaporates and brussels sprouts are tender but still bright green, adding more water by tablespoonfuls if mixture is dry, about 7 minutes. Stir in chestnuts, currant mixture, and vinegar; sauté until heated through, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl.

Soup: Ashley
Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Vegan Cider Cream

4 baking pumpkins or kabocha squash, each about 2 lb., quartered and seeded
Olive oil as needed
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
6 shallots, thickly sliced
2 celery stalks, thickly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
¾ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 T minced fresh sage
12 c vegetable broth
1 c plain soy yogurt
½ c apple cider, reduced to 2 Tbs. and cooled

Position 1 rack in the upper third of an oven and 1 rack in the lower third, and preheat to 425°F.

Divide the pumpkins among 2 baking sheets. Drizzle the pumpkins with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the pumpkins, cut side down, on the baking sheets. Roast, turning the pumpkins occasionally, until they are tender and beginning to brown, about 45 minutes; rotate the baking sheets halfway through the roasting time. Let the pumpkins cool, then scoop the flesh into a bowl.

In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, warm 2 Tbs. olive oil. Add the carrots, shallots, celery, salt and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic, nutmeg and sage and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute. Add the pumpkin flesh and broth, cover the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth.

In a bowl, whisk the yogurt until smooth. Whisk in the reduced apple cider until blended. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and drizzle with the cider cream. Serve immediately. Serves 12 to 14.

Side Dish: Colleen
Garlicky Mashed Sweet Potatoes

1 large head of garlic
1 T finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 T olive oil
4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (8 c
2 large apples, peeled and diced (2 c)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp balsamic vinegar

Preheat the oven to 375. Cut top off garlic, exposing cloves. Place on a piece of foil and top with chopped rosemary. Drizzle with olive oil. Wrap loosely with foil, and bake 50-60 minutes, or until soft and golden.

Place sweet potatoes and apples in a pot with enough water to cover. Add salt cover pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer 10 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are soft.

Drain and reserve 1 cup cooking water. Transfer to serving bowl.

Squeeze roasted garlic cloves into sweet potatoes and apples. Add balsamic vinegar, and mash, adding cooking water as necessary to adjust texture for creaminess. Season with pepper and serve hot.

My thoughts for next time... I put 1.5 heads of garlic in the potatoes because I generally add more garlic than a recipe asks for and roasted garlic is mild. This was a bad call on my part. I thought the potatoes were too garlicy (which is saying a lot for me) so I would stick to the recommended 1 head next time. Also, I didn't end up using any cooking water as suggested by the recipe and I thought the potatoes were a little "watery". Next time I would try steaming them instead of boiling. I might add a little plain soy yogurt for creaminess and tang too.

Entree: Bonnie
Seitan Pot Pie

1 c potato, diced
1 c chopped onion
Pearl Onions
1 c peas
1 c chopped carrot
¼ c all-purpose flour
1 c vegetable broth
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
4 c chopped seitan
2 pie crusts (either store bought or your own recipe)

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Sauté onion, celery, carrots and potatoes in butter for 10 minutes.
Add flour to sautéed mixture, stirring well Cook one minute stirring constantly.
Gradually stir broth into vegetable mixture
Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until thickened and bubbly
Stir in salt and pepper; add seitan and stir well.
Pour into shallow 2-quart casserole dish and top with pie shells
Cut slits to allow steam to escape.
Bake for 40-50 minutes or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly and cooked through.

Homemade Seitan

1 ½ c vital wheat gluten flour
¼ c nutritional yeast flakes

Puree of the following: vegetable broth, sautéed onion, roasted garlic, lemon zest, thyme, sage

Simmering Broth:
10 c water or vegetable broth
½ c soy sauce

In a large bowl, mix together Vital Wheat Gluten Flour and nutritional yeast flakes.

Pour the pureed ingredients into the dry and combine with a firm spatula, knead dough for about 3 minutes until a spongy, elastic dough is formed. Let dough rest for a couple of minutes and prepare your broth, but don't start boiling it.

Now roll your dough into a log shape about 8 inches long and cut into 3 equal sized pieces. Place the pieces in the broth. It is important that the water/broth be very cold when you add the dough, it helps with the texture and ensures that it doesn't fall apart. Partially cover the pot (leave a little space for steam to escape) and bring to a boil.

When the water has come to a boil set the heat to low and gently simmer for an hour, turning the pieces every now and again.

Now you've got gluten. Let it cool in the simmering broth for at least a half an hour. It is best if it cools completely.

What you do next depends on the recipe you are using. If it calls for gluten use it as is. If you want to store some of it for later use put it in a sealable container covered in the simmering broth.

If your recipe calls for seitan cut your pieces up as desired. I prefer to use a cast iron skillet for the frying because it produces the best flavor and texture. Use as little oil as possible to coat the bottom of the skillet, 1 teaspoon may suffice. Heat the skillet over medium high and add your gluten. Cook for about 20 minutes, turning the pieces occasionally. And there you have it. Yummy seitan.

Wild Card: Sara
Rose's Baked Artichoke Hearts

1 ½ c fresh breadcrumbs
¼ c finely chopped fresh curly leaf parsley
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (¼ c)*
2 ounces Pecorino Romano, grated (¼ c)*
1 T mixed dried herbs such as thyme, oregano, and savory, or Italian seasoning blend
1 tsp coarse salt
Freshly ground pepper
3 packages (9 ounces each) frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and drained
2/3 c extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for baking dishes
¼ c fresh lemon juice (from 2 lemons)
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
2 garlic cloves, minced (2 teaspoons)

*instead of cheese, take a block of tofu and crumble and sautee until dried out some. Add a tablespoon of nutritional yeast and mix.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine breadcrumbs, parsley, cheeses, herbs, and salt in a medium bowl, and season with pepper.

Brush oil inside two 4-cup, 9 1/2-inch ceramic baking dishes. Divide artichoke hearts between dishes, and spread into a single layer. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture over artichokes, pushing it into cracks between hearts. Tap bottom of dishes on counter to settle breadcrumb mixture.

Whisk oil, lemon juice and zest, and garlic in a small bowl. Drizzle dressing evenly over breadcrumb topping. Cover dishes with parchment, then foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Increase temperature to 375 degrees. Uncover, and bake until breadcrumbs are golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve immediately.

Dessert: Erin
Fall Fruit Crumble

2 c fresh or thawed frozen cranberries
2 firm-ripe pears such as Bartlett, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 apples such as Gala, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 c sugar, divided
1 ½ T cornstarch
¾ tsp pure vanilla extract
1 c old-fashioned oats
½ c all-purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened (or 1/2 c Soy Garden natural buttery spread)

Preheat oven to 425°F with rack in middle.

Stir together fruits, ½ cup sugar, cornstarch, and vanilla and place in a buttered shallow 2-quart baking dish.

Stir together oats, flour, salt, and remaining ½ cup sugar. Blend in butter with your fingertips until mixture forms small clumps. Scatter over fruit and bake until juices are bubbling and topping is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly before serving.

Lottery: Aven

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Let There Be Light - October 2008

Spherical Expansion of Light (Centrifugal), 1914
Gino Severini, Italian Painter (Cubism/Futurism)

Diva: Sara

Drinks: Lovina

Sage Lemondrops

1 ½ oz vodka
½ oz Pomegranate liqueur
1 T freshed squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp sage infused simple syrup
1 oz soda water
lemon sorbet

Pour the first 5 ingredients over ice in a martini shaker. Shake briskly. Pour into a glass with 2 balls of lemon sorbet for a light finish.

Simple syrup was prepared on the stovetop then the fresh chopped sage was added after mixture cooled.

Fresh Lemonade

Fresh squeezed lemon juice
Soda water
Lemon Sorbet

Mix the fresh squeezed lemon juice with sugar and water to taste. (I prepared it on the sweet side). Pour over ice, filling glass ¾ full. Top with soda water to fill. For a light finish, add 2 balls of lemon sorbet.

Appetizer: Bonnie
Beet Chips

Slice beets' thinly, it's best to use a mandolin.
Place a double layer of paper-towels on the microwave plate, layer beets on paper-towel not overlapping, sprinkle with whatever spices you wish (I used sea salt and dried dill), top with a double layer of paper-towels.
Cook for however long, varies w/microwave (I did about 6 min).
When ready beets will be sort of spongy to the touch, some may be ready before others particularly ones on the edge.
Take out and place on a flat surface. If they crisp up after cooling they are ready, otherwise place back in microwave for a few more seconds.

Dill sour-cream dipping sauce

2c. sour-cream
1-2 fresh dill
couple dashes garlic powder
couple dashes sea salt
couple dashes white pepper
zest of a whole lemon

Salad: Mariah
Watermelon and Red Onion Salad Recipe

1 T shallots, chopped
1/3 c raspberry vinegar
1/3 c fresh or frozen raspberries, pureed and strained
2 tsp honey (or to taste)
1/3 c olive oil
2 medium red onions, thinly sliced
2 bunches watercress, stems removed
8 c watermelon, cut into 1-inch cubes
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
Whisk together the shallots, vinegar, raspberry puree, honey, and olive oil in a medium bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Separate the onions into rings. Pour the vinaigrette over the onions and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.

To serve, arrange a bed of watercress on each plate. Top with the cubed watermelon and drape the red onion rings on top. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and garnish with the mint leaves, if desired.

Yield: 6 servings

And an alternative salad:

Sweet Cucumber and Mandarin Orange Salad Recipe

1 medium cucumber, peeled and sliced into very thin rounds (about 2 cups)
1 (11-ounce) can Mandarin oranges, drained (about 1-1/4 cups)
1 medium Vidalia onion, sliced into very thin rings (about 1 cup)
2 tsp granulated sugar
1/3 c distilled white vinegar
1 tsp chopped fresh tarragon
Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a serving bowl, combine the cucumbers, Mandarin oranges, and sweet onions rings.

In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and vinegar until the sugar dissolves. Pour the vinegar sugar mixture over the cucumber salad. Toss well. Add the chopped salad. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Chill the salad before serving.

Yield: 4 servings
Note: You may substitute any other fresh herb for the tarragon if you wish.

Soup: Brenda (sub for Erin)
Lebanese Vegetable Soup

1 large Spanish onion (or yellow), chopped (~2 cups)
2 T olive oil
3 med-lg carrots, chopped (2 ½ cups)
¼ tsp ground red pepper
1 tsp ground red pepper
2-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ c copped potatoes
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
4-5 c vegetable stock*(see note)

2 large tomatoes
1 14 oz can artichoke hearts (actual recipe calls for 2 cans but when I used this much the artichoke hearts were overwhelming)
¾ c canned or cooked chick peas and reserved cooking liquid

¼ c chopped fresh parsley
2 lemons, cut into wedges

Note: for stock, use a combo of vegetable stock, chick pea cooking liquid, artichoke heart brine, and/or some fresh lemon juice

In a large soup pot, sauté the onions in the olive oil for about 5 minutes.
Stir in carrots. Cover. Stir again for ~3 minutes.
Add red pepper, coriander, and garlic.
Cover and cook for a few more minutes.
Add the potatoes, salt, and 2 cups of the stock. (I usually add more stock here so that it covers the potatoes)

Cover and bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are nearly tender. Be careful not to overcook them. Gently stir in tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and cooked chick peas. Salt to taste. Cover and simmer for 3-4 minutes, just to heat the tomatoes. Add the remaining 2-3 cups of stock or even more if brothier soup is desired. Heat gently. It is important not to overcook or boil this soup. The potatoes, artichoke hearts, and tomatoes should be heated just enough to blend the flavors or they might lose their shape and disintegrate. If this happens, garnish with more chopped tomatoes. The soup will still taste great.
Sprinkle each serving with fresh parsley and a lemon wedge.

Side Dish: Tamara
Because my side dish flopped and was unsuitable to serve, last minute I whipped up mashed potatoes with soy butter, salt, pepper and soy milk using a hand mixer till light and fluffy.

Side Dish: Aven

Side Dish: Tina (another sub for Erin!)
Squash Soufflé

1-1½ lb squash, cooked (I roasted mine)
3 T butter, softened
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ c plus 2 T sugar
2 T flour
3 eggs

Mash suash with the butter, cinnamon and ¼ c sugar, flour and 1 egg yolk (save the white).

Beat 3 egg whites until soft. Add 2 T sugar slowly and continue to beat until stiff peaks form.

Gently fold egg whites into squash. Put into greased casserole dish at 350 for 38-45 minutes.

Entree: Ashley
Butternut Squash Soufflé

1 butternut squash/2 c puree**
3 T butter
3 T flour
1 2/3 c milk
5 egg yolks
6 egg whites
maldon salt
freshground black pepper
dash vinegar
fresh sage

**Slice squash lengthwise, scoop seeds out, drizzle with olive oil, and bake at 350°F for a little over an hour untill tender. Let cool, scoop squash out of the rinds, and mash well or puree.

Melt butter over a low heat, wisk in flour untill all lumps are gone. Add milk and simmer 2-4 minutes until thickened. Remove from heat, stir in squash puree untill smooth, and let cool. Season with salt and pepper and stir in egg yolks and sage.

Beat eggwhites, dash vinegar, and pinch of salt until stiff. Fold the eggs and squash mixture together. Pour into lightly buttered individual or a large souffle dish and bake 40-50 minutes at 350°F. Serve immediately.

Dessert: Tamara and Sara
Light-Hearted Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Cake
1 ½ c unbleached white flour
1/3 c unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 c sugar (or sugar substitute – Splenda works well)
½ c vegetable oil
1 c cold water or chilled brewed coffee
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 T cider vinegar (I’ve use white vinegar)

Preheat oven to 375F. Generously oil 8-inch square or round baking pan (or heart shaped pan). Dust with sifted cocoa, or line bottom of baking pan with parchment paper. (I just leave it in the pie plate and serve from there so this step isn't necessary unless I’m making a layered cake, in which case I make two cakes from springform pans)

Sift flour, cocoa, soda, salt and sugar. In another bowl, combine oil, water or coffee and vanilla. Pour liquid into dry, and mix until smooth. Add vinegar and stir briefly; baking soda will begin to react with vinegar, leaving pale swirls in batter. Without wasting time, pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Serve cake from pan, or, when cool, transfer to plate. (If making cupcakes, 15 minutes at the same temp should do it.)

Melt some chocolate chips and whisk with some soy milk and spread over top for extra gooey-ness.

Wildcard: Colleen
Paperwhite Bulbs in Glass Vases with Rocks

Place on pebbles or in forcing vases as prescribed for hyacinths and crocus, and put them in a cool (55 F) room inside a brown paper bag. Roots will appear quickly. when the top shoot is two inches tall, bring into a light room (but keep from direct sun).

The bulb should not be submerged in water, but should rest on something damp.

Lottery: Stacey

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Autumn Equinox - September 2008

Diva: Bonnie

Drinks: Colleen

Pear Mojitos

2 parts pear vodka
2 parts pear juice
2 parts club soda
1 part simple syrup
5-10 mint leaves per drink
3 slices asian pear per drink

muttle the pear and mint. add liquid and ice. shake and serve.

Appetizer: Sara
Aged Cheddar with Apple Wedges and Cider Reduction

2 c apple cider
2 tsp chilled butter
8 (1-ounce) slices walnut or other nut bread, toasted and halved
½ pound Shelburne Farms or other aged cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
2 Granny Smith apples, cored and each cut into 16 slices

Bring cider to a boil in a large saucepan; cook until reduced to ½ cup (about 15 minutes). Remove from heat. Add butter; stir with a whisk until butter melts.

Place 2 bread halves on each of 8 dessert plates. Divide cheese evenly among bread halves. Place 2 apple slices on each bread half. Drizzle 1 tablespoon cider reduction around each serving.

Rosemary- Maple Cashews--An addictive salty- spicy cocktail snack...

4 c raw cashews
2 ½ T pure maple syrup
1 ¼ T extra-virgin olive oil
½ T minced fresh rosemary
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375°F.
In a large bowl, toss cashews with the maple syrup, olive oil, rosemary and cayenne.
Spread the cashews on a large rimmed baking sheet and toast for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned. Immediately season the cashews with salt and pepper; let cool, tossing occasionally.

Yield: 4 cups
Cooking Tips: The cashews can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Pumpkin Seed Cornmeal Bread

1 1/8 tsp active dry yeast
1 ½ c water, at room temperature
1 ¾ c plus 1 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 c cornmeal, plus more for sprinkling
1 T kosher salt
1 1/3 c toasted pumpkin seeds (6 ounces)

Dissolve 1/8 teaspoon of the yeast in 1 cup of the water. Stir in 1 ¾ cups of the flour. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand overnight in a warm spot. Dissolve the remaining 1 teaspoon of yeast in ¼ cup of the water. Put 1 cup of the cornmeal in a large heatproof bowl. Bring the remaining ¼ cup of water to a boil, then stir it into the cornmeal and let cool. Stir in the salt, both yeast mixtures and the remaining 1 1/3 cups of flour to make a soft dough. Transfer to a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 15 minutes. Knead in the pumpkin seeds. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour.
Turn the dough out onto a work surface and gently fold 4 times. Return the dough to the bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Sprinkle a baking sheet with cornmeal. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and divide in half. Shape each half into a round loaf. Set the loaves on the baking sheet and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.
Set a pizza stone on the middle rack of the oven and preheat the oven to 500°. Fill a roasting pan with water and set it on the bottom rack. Make 3 slashes in the tops of the loaves; transfer them to the stone and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 450° and bake for 20 minutes longer. Let the loaves cool on a rack for 45 minutes before slicing into eighths.

Salad: Tamara
Arugula Salad with Roasted Grapes

2 c seedless grapes
6 medium shallots, unpeeled
6 T olive oil
2 T red wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
1 tsp fresh thyme
3 bunches of arugula or watercress, heavy stems removed (¾ pounds)
2 oz. pecorino cheese, thinly sliced**

Preheat the oven to 375 F and line baking sheet with parchment paper. Place grapes on one half prepared baking shet, and shallots on the other half. Roast 20 minutes, or until grapes are shriveled, turning grapes every 10 minutes. Transfer grapes to bowl, and set aside. Roast shallots 20 minutes more, or until tender. Transfer shallots to bowl, and cool 10 minutes.

Cut off root end of each shallot and squeeze pulp into blender. Add oil, vinegar and mustard, and season with salt and pepper. Blend until smooth. Transfer to bowl, and stir in thyme.

Toss arugula with enough dressing to coat. Divide arugula among 6 plates and top with roasted grapes and pecorino slices. Store remaining dressing in fridge up to 1 week.

**I topped it with sliced almonds instead of the pecorino.

Soup: Mariah

Carrot Soup with Sesame Seeds and Fresh Chives

5 T butter
3½ c chopped peeled carrots
1 c chopped leeks OR green onion tops
½ c chopped celery
6 c low-salt chicken broth or vegetable broth
½ c whipping cream
½ c sour cream
1 tsp oriental sesame oil
2 c ½-inch bread cubes (from day-old crustless French bread)
1½ T sesame seeds, toasted
2 T chopped fresh chives

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add carrots, leeks, and celery. Cover and cook until vegetables soften slightly, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add broth; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 25 minutes. Cool slightly.

Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth. Return soup to pot. Whisk cream, sour cream, and ½ teaspoon sesame oil into soup. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)

Melt remaining 3 tablespoons butter with remaining ½ teaspoon sesame oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add bread cubes and sauté until golden brown and crispy, about 4 minutes.

Bring soup almost to simmer over medium heat. Ladle into bowls. Mound croutons in center of each. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and chives and serve.

Side Dish: Ashley
Fall Rice Pilaf

This was all done without measuring; to taste
Equal parts wild and brown rice, cooked separately and mixed together(about 6 cups cooked).

Sauté 1 large yellow onion until soft; add 2 garlic cloves, minced and about 1 tsp each of cinnamon, cumin and ginger. Saute for 1-2 minutes. Add to rice mixture. Add about 1/4 tsp eack of salt and pepper

In a separate bowl, combine 2 diced, skin on apples (I used winesap) with about 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar and the above spices (enough to lightly coat apples, to taste). Add to rice mixture. Add dried cranberries and walnuts to taste. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Entrée: Aven

Stuffed Summer Squash
Makes 16 servings

8 small summer squash
butter or olive oil
1 med onion, finely chopped
1 large bell pepper, finely chopped
2 peaches, peeled & finely chopped
½ bunch parsley, minced
2 c cooked ground beef or sausage
(veggie version – 2 c cooked lentils)
2-4 c bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste

Cut squash in half and scoop out the seeds and some of the flesh. Brush inside of squash with butter or oil and sprinkle with salt. Saute onion and pepper in oil or butter. In a large bowl mix remaining ingredients thoroughly. Depending on the size of your squash add more or less bread crumbs. Pack each squash with filling and place in an oiled baking dish. Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes or until squash is soft when poked with a fork.

Dessert: Lovina

Flourless Chocolate Torte

½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes, plus ½ T for greasing
1 pound semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
¼ c orange liquor
1 tsp instant coffee
8 large eggs
¼ c sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
To make in a torte fashion: Using ½ tablespoon butter grease a 9-inch springform pan and line bottom with a parchment round. Cover pan underneath and along sides with foil and set in a roasting pan.

To make in a cupcake fashion: line small cupcake pan with cupcake liners. Set aside. (This is what I did!)

Bring a medium saucepan of water to boil.
Combine the chocolate, butter, and orange liquor in a bowl set over simmering water or in the top of a double boiler. Melt the mixture, stirring constantly, until smooth and creamy, about 5 minutes; reserve.
Meanwhile combine eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until frothy and almost doubled in volume, about 5 to 10 minutes. Fold 1/3 of egg mixture into chocolate mixture using a rubber spatula. Repeat this process 2 more times - until all of egg mixture has been folded into chocolate mixture.
Pour batter into prepared pan. (If using a springform pan, you will need to pour enough boiling water into the roasting pan to come about halfway up the sides.) Bake until cake has risen slightly and edges are just beginning to set, about 40 to 45 minutes for springform pan or about 20 minutes for small cupcakes. Remove cake and cool on wire rack to room temperature. Remove foil, cover, and refrigerate overnight. Alternatively, remove cake from oven and place in freezer to cool quickly.

Remove cake from refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving. Remove springform pan sides, invert cake onto a large plate, and peel away the parchment paper from bottom. Reinvert cake on another large plate or serving platter. If serving cake alone, you can garnish with confectioners' sugar or cocoa powder immediately before serving.

Poached Pears with Ginger and Port

4 ½-inch piece fresh gingerroot
9 c water
6 firm-ripe Bartlett, Anjou, or Comice pears, with stems intact
1½ c sugar
¾ c Tawny Port
1/3 c fresh lemon juice
¾ c mascarpone cheese
2 T heavy whipping cream
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp finely grated orange zest
dash cardamon

Peel gingerroot and slice thin; cut the slices into thin strips. In a saucepan large enough to hold pears lying on their sides, bring 9 cups water to boil with gingerroot, sugar, Port, and lemon juice, stirring until sugar is dissolved.

Peel pears, leaving stems intact, and cut a thin slice from bottom of each if necessary to enable pears to stand upright when served. Arrange pears on their sides in poaching liquid, adding water as necessary to just cover. Simmer pears, turning them occasionally, until tender, 20 to 40 minutes depending on ripeness. Carefully transfer pears with a slotted spoon to a bowl and boil poaching liquid until reduced and slightly syrupy.

In a small bowl, whisk together the mascarpone, whipping cream, cardamon, sugar, and orange zest.

Pour sauce over pears. Pears may be made 1 day ahead and cooled in sauce before being chilled, covered. Serve pears warm or chilled, with dollops of the mascarpone whipping cream.

WildCard: Stacey
Homemade Maple-flavored Syrup

1 c water
1 c white sugar
1 c brown sugar
1 c light corn syrup

Put all ingredients in a pan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add 1 tablesppon of maple flavor. Store in the fridge

Lottery: Erin
Served with caramels

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Under Construction - August 2008

Diva: Aven

Drinks: Sara
Power Screwdriver

2 oz vodka
2 ½ oz O J
1 oz coke

serve on ice

California Screwdriver--(Flathead)

2 oz vodka
1 ½ oz Grand Marnier
2 ½ oz Club Soda
2 ½ oz OJ
Serve over Ice

Italian Screwdriver--(Philips)
1 ½ oz Vodka
3 oz OJ
2 oz Grapefruit Juice
Splash of Ginger ale
Serve over ice

For Non-alcoholic versions, simply omit alcohol.

Appetizer: Ashley
Frittata with chorizo, mushrooms and goat cheese

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 chorizo sausage links, large diced
1 c chopped red onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 ½ c chopped fresh wild mushrooms

9 large eggs
¼ c cold water
¾ tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
¼ c plus 2 T chopped fresh thyme

Heat olive oil in large nonstick broilerproof skillet over medium heat. Add chorizo and onion and sauté until onion begins to soften, about 7-8 minutes. Add garlic; continue cooking for 2-3 minutes being careful not to burn garlic. In a small skillet, lightly saute mushrooms in your choice of butter or oil or both (I use ½ and ½).

Preheat broiler. Whisk eggs, ¼ cup water, salt, and pepper in medium bowl to blend. Pour eggs into skillet with chorizo mixture. Stir 1 minute. Add ½ cup chopped thyme; stir 30 seconds. Reduce heat to low and cook without stirring until almost set, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle mushrooms on top and gently push into the top layer of the eggs. Sprinkle goat cheese on top.

Broil frittata just until firm, about 1 minute. Using spatula as aid, transfer frittata to serving platter. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons chopped thyme. Cut frittata into wedges and serve.

Salad: Brenda (Sub for Colleen)

Salad Bar

Lay out an assortment of greens, veggies and toppings, including blue cheese crumbles and few dressings. Allow each Diva to construct their perfect salad.

Balsamic Vinaigrette

Chop up two cloves of garlic.
Place garlic in jar
Cover with olive oil (oil to vinegar ratio is about 2:1)
Add twice as much balsamic vinegar
Add pepper, white pepper, salt, celery salt, cumin, and oregano
SHAKE it up!
That's it. Otherwise any veggies that you like to add to your greens with some bleu cheese crumbles to top it off is great.

Zesty Creamy Salad Top

2 heaping T mayo or nayonaise
4 T lemon juice
1 T cumin
1 tsp white pepper

add more of each to taste

Soup: Lovina
Cheese Tortellini Soup with Ground Turkey Meatball’s
(a hearty workman’s soup)

For soup:

3 chopped carrots
3 stalks chopped celery (with leaves)
1 large onion chopped
2 tsp fresh thyme
2 T. olive oil
8 c. water
8 tsp vegetable bouillon or substitute water and bouillon with vegetable broth
salt and pepper to taste
24 oz bag frozen cheese tortellini

For meatballs:

1 ½ lbs ground turkey
2 slices whole wheat bread crumbs
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
parsley pesto (see below)
2 T canola oil
Parsley pesto

½ cup torn Italian parsley
½ cup pine nuts
1 T. olive oil
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper

Freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
Fresh chopped parsley

In large Dutch oven, heat olive oil and add celery, carrots, and onion. Sauté over medium heat until the onion softens. Add fresh thyme and sauté for 2 minutes. Add water and bouillon (or vegetable broth) and salt and pepper. Bring to boil. Add cheese tortellini and boil until the tortellini float to top.

In the meantime, prepare the meatballs. Preheat oven to 375. In a large mixing bowl, blend together ground meat, bread crumbs, eggs, salt and pepper, and parsley pesto, using hands to mix. Heat a skillet with 2 T canola oil. Using a teaspoon, portion out meatballs about 1 inch in diameter using hands to form. Place meatballs into heated skillet and cook until browned. Turn meatballs over. After they are browned on both sides, remove from skillet and drain on paper bag or towels. Once all the meatballs have been drained after cooking, place them in a shallow baking pan and place in heated oven for 10-15 minutes to cook through.

Place soup in bowls. Top with meatballs, and garnish. Serve immediately. Serves 8-10.

Side Dish: Stacey
Asparagus, Peas and Basil

¼ c finely chopped shallots
3 T butter
2 lbs. asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
10 oz. package frozen peas, thawed
1 tsp salt
¾ c fresh basil leaves, torn

Cook shallots in butter over medium heat until tender (about 4 mins.). Stir in asparagus, peas, salt, 1/2 t. pepper, then cover and cook over medium heat for 8 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in basil and season with more salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!!

Entrée: Erin

Panini Bar

Extra virgin olive oil
Prosciutto, thinly sliced
thinly sliced whole-milk mozzarella cheese and/or smoked mozzarella cheese (I love the smoked mozz!)
tomato slices
fresh basil leaves
Moscow Co-op salted French bread (yummy!)
Black olives, sliced
Fresh spinach
Roasted red bell peppers
Salt and Pepper, optional
Whatever other ingredients you can think of!

Spritz the bread sides that will be touching panini grill with olive oil. Layer prosciutto, mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil (and/or other toppings of your choice) over bottom of bread. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, if desired. Place other bread slice on top.

Prepare grill (medium heat or just plug in). Grill sandwiches until bread is golden brown and cheese melts, pressing occasionally to compact, about 5 minutes per grilling session.

Dessert: Bonnie
Flat Tire Ice Cream Sandwiches

Betty Crocker oatmeal cookies
Breyers Ice Cream

Sandwich ice cream between two cookies and serve!

WildCard: Mariah
Note Books in honor of the concept De-construct, Reconstruct, Create and Inspire!!

Lottery: Tamara

Sunday, July 13, 2008

1950s Pool Party - July 2008

Diva: Colleen

Drinks: Aven
Divalicious Tiki Punch

1 oz white rum
1 ½ oz cherry schnapps
2 oz pineapple juice
1 ½ oz sweetened coconut milk

Mix well and pour over ice. Garnish with pineapple wedges and cherries.

For non-alcoholic version substitute cherry soda for the schnapps and ginger ale for the rum.

Appetizer: Stacey

Stacey's Ultimate Cheese Ball

16 ounces cream cheese
2 c shredded cheddar cheese
2 T chopped green bell pepper
2 T chopped onion
2 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp lemon juice
generous dash cayenne pepper
generous dash salt
1 ½ c pecans, chopped

Blend well with an electric mixer the cream cheese and cheddar. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Turn out onto waxed paper and shape into a ball. Roll in chopped pecans. Wrap in plastic wrap and let ripen in fridge for 24 hours. Serve with assorted crisp crackers and vegetables. Enjoy!!

Salad: Bonnie

1 c yogurt (preferably Greek variety)
½ large cucumber pealed, seeded and finely diced,
1 large garlic clove finely diced
juice of ¼ a lemon,
salt and pepper to taste.

Flavors will develop with time; is best to make at least half a day ahead.

Guacamole dressing

3 ripe avocados diced
1 large garlic clove chopped
¾ c olive oil
¼-½ c re-constituted raisins

Place all ingredients in a blender, mix, add water till desired consistency. Season with approximately ½ T cilantro, and salt and pepper to taste.


heirloom and vine ripe tomatoes
butter and romaine lettuce
pepper crusted bacon or tempeh bacon.


The croutons were made of pre-sliced sourdough bread. Mix olive oil with salt and pepper in shallow dish. Cut bread into slices approximately 1 inch across and brush with olive oil. Place in 400 degree oven for maybe 3 min. When slightly browned take out and cool. When able to handle rub croutons with garlic clove.

Soup: Erin
Chilled Moroccan Tomato Soup
Serves 4-6

2 med tomatoes, diced
1 stalk celery, minced
1 scallion, finely chopped
1 qt chilled tomato juice
¼ c chilled orange juice
1 T olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp cinnamon
2-3 T fresh lemon juice
Tabasco or other hot pepper sauce to taste (rooster sauce—whatever you like to refer to it as—is my fav)

In a saucepan or large refrigerator container, combine the tomatoes, celery, scallions, tomato juice, and orange juice.

In a small skillet on low heat, warm the olive oil. Sauté the garlic, cumin, paprika, and cinnamon for just a minute, being careful not to scorch them. Stir the spice mixture into the soup, and add lemon juice and Tabasco to taste. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.

**Note: Best when made ahead of time. The flavors meld after sitting for a few hours or a day.

Side Dish: Sara
Dangerous Baked Beans:

4 c dried navy or white beans
½ pound bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces ( I had this on the side, but would change the flavor immensely if cooked with the beans)
2 onions, thinly sliced
8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 T chopped fresh ginger
2/3 c brown sugar
1 c dark molasses
¼ c Dijon style mustard
1 T dry mustard
3 T prepared horseradish
2 c tomato sauce
1 T white pepper
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 quarts stock

Soak beans overnight--covered by 3 inches of cold water. Drain.

Preheat oven to 325. In 5 ½ quart Dutch oven combine the (bacon), onions, garlic, and ginger. Cook over medium high heat until onions are wilted--about 10 minutes. Add the drained beans, brown sugar, molasses, Dijon mustard, dry mustard, horseradish, tomato sauce, and salt and pepper. Sir to mix well. Add enough stock or water to just cover the beans. Cover the pot and place in oven. Cook for 4 hours, stirring every hour and check the stock level--add more if needed.

Remove lid and continue baking for 2 hours, or until beans are tender and the color of deep caramel. Cover and let the beans sit for 15 minutes prior to serving. Enjoy.

Entrée: Mariah
Earth Shattering Kabobs

Annie's Italian dressing
Cherry Toms
Beets (blanch them first)
Beef or Tempeh

Cube and chop these yummy foods pour dressing over and let then sit for a few hours.

Find someone who knows how to BBQ (: drizzle extra dressing over kabobs for an extra zip. Be aware that the operator of the BBQ is focused and not to0 excited or buzzed so that they can pay attention to their work and not accidentally break the Pyrex with all the extra dressing in it. When cooked to you liking ENJOY ENJOY ENJOY!

Dessert: Tamara

Apple Brown Betty

2 c sliced apples
1c fresh bread crumbs
¾ c brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
3 T butter
½ c water

Mix apples, all but 2 T of bread crumbs, brown sugar, cinnamon. Add the melted butter and pour into a buttered baking dish. Pour the water over the whole mixture. Use remainder of crumbs and a little melted butter for top. Bake 45 min in a moderate oven at 350. Serve hot or cold with hard sauce.

Hard Sauce

4 T butter
1 c confectioner's sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp lemon extract
1 tsp boiling water

Cream butter, add water and the sugar gradually. Stir until the sauce is creamy. Add vanilla and lemon extract. Set in refrigerator to harden serve cold.

WildCard: Ashley
Tiki Fruit Cups

Rum syrup
¼ c Bacardi 151
½ c water
½ sugar
1/8 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp vanilla

Combine and boil. Pour over watermelon and honeydew

Lottery: Lovina
Served with bubble yum gum!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Summersault into Summer - June 2008

Diva: Mariah

Drinks: Aven and Mariah
For a refreshing summer cooler, put 4 cups of watermelon chunks (no seeds), 1 cup of ice, and the juice of half a lime into a blender. Blend until smooth.

Individual Bengal Spice Decaffeinated Sun Teas

Appetizer: Tamara
Oregano Pesto

¼ c pine nuts, toasted
2 c fresh oregano, firmly packed
1/3 c fresh parsley
14 garlic cloves (yes, really. Fourteen)
¼ c white wine
1 slice roasted or fresh red bell pepper
Pinch sea salt
½ - 1 c olive oil

In a blender or food processor, combine pine nuts, basil, parsley, garlic, wine, bell pepper and salt with ½ cup olive oil. Blend. Keep blending and adding olive oil until pesto has reached its desired consistency.

Pesto Torte
2 (8 oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1 c, or 2 sticks butter (yes, 2 sticks!!) softened
1 small jar oil packed sun-dried tomatoes
10 oz. container refrigerated pesto
½ c grated Parmesan cheese

In medium bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until well blended. Mix pesto and cheese in small bowl. Line two 8 oz. custard cups with plastic wrap. Divide cream cheese mixture into four parts. Spoon 1/4 of cream cheese mixture into each custard cup.

Sprinkle each with 1/4 of the tomatoes. Spread 1/4 of the pesto mixture over tomatoes. Repeat layers until all the mixtures are used.

Fold plastic wrap over each torte, sealing well. Chill overnight until firm. Unmold, remove plastic wrap, and serve with crusty French bread slices or sturdy crackers. Serves 8 to 10

Bread Stix Dough
1 ½ c warm water
2 T olive oil
2 tsp salt
4 ¼ c flour
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp yeast
(I added dried oregano)

Use dough cycle on your bread machine.

Salad: Ashley
Grilled Peaches over arugula with goat cheese and prosciutto

¼ c balsamic vinegar
3 T honey
3 peaches, pitted and each cut into 6 wedges
cooking spray or olive oil
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
dash of kosher salt
10 c arugula
2 oz thinly sliced prosciutto
2 T crumbled goat cheese

Bring vinegar to a boil in a small saucepan over med-high heat. Reduce heat, and simmer until vinegar is reduced to 2 T (about 2 minutes). remove from heat; stir in honey. Cool to room temperature.

Fry prosciutto in a small amount of olive oil until crisp. Let drain on paper bag or towel. Crumble.

Prepare grill to high heat. Place peach wedges on grill rack coated with cooking spray or olive oil; grill 30 seconds on each side or until desired grill marks appear but peaches are still firm. Remove from grill; set aside.

Combine oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add arugula, tossing to coat. Top with peach wedges, goat cheese and prosciutto.

Drizzle balsamic syrup over the top and toss together.

Soup: Aven
Corn Chowder

½ sweet onion
olive oil/butter
2-3 tsp basil
2-3 tsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika
1-2 shots Tabasco
salt and pepper
5 ears of corn
3 medium potatoes
1 red bell pepper
4 carrots
¼ c sour cream
½ c milk
1-2 c water

Dice and boil potatoes, set aside. Brown onion in oil or butter with spices and Tabasco. Add corn, pepper and carrots and sauté until soft. Add potatoes and puree half of soup. Add water, milk and sour cream, simmer 15-30 minutes. Garnish with fresh parsley or chives.

Side Dish: Lovina

Two-corn Polenta with Tomatoes, Basil and Cheese

2 tsp olive oil
2 c chopped onion (2 medium)
4 c fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 c fresh corn kernels (about 2 ears)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 c instant dry polenta
½ c (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 c chopped tomato
½ c chopped fresh basil

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion to pan; cook 8 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in broth, corn, and garlic; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Slowly add polenta, stirring with a whisk until polenta is thick (about 5 minutes). Add cheese, stirring to melt. Stir in salt and pepper. Remove from heat; sprinkle with tomato and basil. Serve immediately.

Entrée: Sara
Summer Fajitas

1 lb Chicken, Quorn or Tofu marinated in the following:
2 T Lime Juice, Olive or Vegetable oil
1 T: Oregano, Paprika, Cumin
1 tsp: Chili powder, Salt, Red Pepper Flakes
¼ c of finely chopped cilantro

Marinate meat for 2 hours
Marinate Tofu overnight
Marinate Quorn cutlets 20 minute

Sauté protein until mostly cooked and add:

1 c Red, Green, and/or yellow peppers
mushrooms 1/2ed or 1/4ed
½ c Onion

I served it lettuce wrap style on red leaf lettuce with fat free sour cream and chopped avocado.

Dessert: Stacey
Buttermilk Pound Cake

3 c cake flour
6 eggs
1 lb. butter, softened
1 lb. sugar (2 ½ c)
2 tsp vanilla
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
***serve with fresh berries and whipped cream

Sift the flour, soda, and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Stir in salt and sugar. Next add butter--I use my KitchenAid at this point. Add the eggs, whole. Slowly add buttermilk then the vanilla. After it is thoroughly stirred, turn the mixer up to medium for a few minutes, then up to high for 1 minute. If the mixture seems too thick add just a touch more buttermilk.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease and flour a standard tube cake pan. Pour cake batter in, and bake for about 1 hour and 10 mins. Avoid opening the oven door too much as this will cause the cake to collapse. Test with a toothpick. Allow cake to cool for 20 mins. in the pan, then gently remove.

WildCard: Dorothy Yellin

1 c butter
1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese
2 c flour
¼ tsp salt
1/3 c sour cream
½ c sugar
1 T ground cinnamon
1 c finely chopped walnuts
½ c finely chopped raisins
1 c fruit jam or preserves (apricot, strawberry, raspberry)

Cut the butter and cream cheese into small pieces. In the food processor, pulse together the flour, salt, butter, cream cheese, and sour cream until crumbly. Shape the mixture into 4 equal disks. Wrap each disk and chill for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. In a bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, walnuts and raisins. Set aside.

Lightly flour a work surface area and roll each disk into a 9-inch round, keeping the other disks chilled until you’re ready to roll them. Spread each circle of dough with a light layer of the jam. Divide the sugar/nut filling among the disks, and press lightly into the jam. With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut each round into 12 wedges or triangles. Roll the wedges from the wide end to the narrow end, so you end up with a point on the outside of the cookie. Place on the prepared baking sheets with the point side down.

Bake in the center rack of the oven fro 22 minutes, or until lightly golden. Cool on wire racks. Store in airtight containers. They also freeze very well for up to 2 months.

Lottery: Mariah and Sara

Spices for Summer Fajitas included! All you Divas need to add are the protein and the veggies, the oil, and the lime juice, some heat and your foodie love!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Belgian - May 2008

Diva: Stacey

Drinks: Ashley
Belgian Beers

Chocolate Drink
Heat 2 cups whole milk and one split vanilla bean in a saucepan over moderate heat. When just about to boil, but do not let it boil, remove from heat and stir in 8 0z dark Belgian chocolate. Either drink hot, or put in a blender with ice and blend until smooth. Top with whipped cream.

Appetizer: Erin

Endive, stilton and pear tart
Serves 8.

2 T unsalted butter
2 heads Belgian endive, cut crosswise into 1-inch slices
½ c chopped shallots
1 tsp curry powder
3 large pears, peeled, cored, coarsely chopped
1 T balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar

1 17¼ ounce package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed (2 sheets)
1 large egg, beaten to blend (glaze)
1 c crumbled Stilton cheese
3 T chopped fresh chives

Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add endive, shallots and curry; sauté until endive is golden, about 8 minutes. Add pears and vinegar and cook until pears are tender, about 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl and cool.

Preheat oven to 425°F. Place both pastry sheets on lightly floured work surface. Cut one 9-inch round from each pastry sheet. Place 1 round on heavy cookie sheet. Brush pastry with egg. Stir cheese and chives into endive mixture. Arrange endive mixture atop pastry round, leaving 1/2-inch border. Cover with remaining pastry round. Press and crimp edges to seal. Brush tart with egg. Using small sharp knife, cut small hole in center of tart. Freeze 10 minutes.

Bake tart until puffed and golden brown, about 25 minutes. Let tart stand 1 hour before serving.

Salad: Sara
I prepared a salad of mixed greens or mesclun, with Belgium endive cut crosswise. I also added
quartered artichoke hearts
sliced apples
grape tomatoes
raw almonds
gorgonzola cheese slices

The dressings were:
Cranberry White Wine Vinaigrette
2 Tablespoons each of White wine vinegar, Concentrated Cranberry juice (sweetened), and olive oil.
Salt and pepper to taste

Spicy Tarragon vinaigrette
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 ¼ teaspoon fresh tarragon, minced
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 small garlic clove, crushed and finely chopped
1/3 cup olive oil

Soup: Lovina – Absent

Side Dish: Mariah
Brussel Sprouts Gratin

1 ½ c Half And Half
2 Pounds Brussel Sprouts
Salt -- to taste
3 Ounces Bacon -- chopped
Pepper -- to taste
1 Pinch Nutmeg
3 T Gruyere Cheese -- grated

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lightly butter a gratin dish. In a small saucepan, simmer the cream over medium heat until reduced to 3/4 cup about 10 minutes. Trim the base of the sprouts, discard the tough outer leaves and rinse well. Place the sprouts in a medium sized saucepan with salt and cold water to cover. Bring to a boil and continue boiling for 1 minute. drain and refresh under cold water. Combine sprouts and bacon in gratin dish. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Pour the cream over and top with cheese. Bake until nicely browned and crisp about 15 minutes.

Serves 4

Entree: Tamara
Stuffed Tomatoes – One of Belgium’s Favorite Summer Dishes

4 firm, ripe beefsteak tomatoes
salt to taste
1 T unsalted butter
½ medium onion, finely minced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
2 T tomato paste (I used more)
1 sprig fresh thyme or ¼ tsp dried thyme
freshly ground black pepper to taste
¼ tsp sugar, if needed
1 T finely minced fresh parsley

1 slice (1 in thick) firm white bread, crusts trimmed (I used whole wheat, and I think you could use more than 1 slice)
½ c milk (I used rice milk)
1 T unsalted butter
½ medium onion, minced
¾ pound lean ground meat (a mixture of pork and veal or all beef) (I used Light Life TVP)
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 large egg, slightly beaten (I used Ener-G egg replacer but I think you can leave it out)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Cut a thin slice off the top of each tomato. Use a teaspoon to scoop out the pulp, leaving the walls ¼- ½ -inch thick. Reserve the lids and the tomato pulp. Sprinkle the insides of the scooped-out tomatoes with salt and turn them upside down on a plate to drain.

Melt the butter in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until translucent, about 7 minutes. Do not let it brown. Add the garlic, the reserved tomato pulp, the tomato paste, and thyme. Simmer, covered, over low heat for 35 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If the tomatoes are on the tart side, add the sugar. Puree the sauce in a blender or food processor until smooth Sprinkle with parsley.

Preheat the oven to 350 F

Prepare the stuffing: Let the bread soak in the milk in a small mixing bowl for about 10 minutes. Melt the skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened but not browned. Squeeze the bread dry and discard the milk. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sautéed onion, bread, ground meat, garlic, egg, and parsley. Season well with salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Generously butter a glass or enameled baking dish just large enough to hold the 4 tomatoes.. Fill the tomatoes with the meat stuffing and place the reserved lids on top. Place the tomatoes in the buttered dish and bake for 35 minutes. Reheat the tomato sauce and serve each tomato with some sauce spooned over it.

Dessert: Aven

Strawberry Mousse
1 Pound Strawberries -- sliced
2 T Granulated Sugar
1 T Kirsch Or Grand Marnier
½ c Confectioner's Sugar
1 ¼ c Whipping Cream

Directions Place half the strawberries in bowl and sprinkle with the granulated sugar and kirsch. Let macerate for 15 minutes. Puree the remaining strawberries together with the confectioner's sugar. Whip the cream into stiff peaks. Reserve a quarter of the whipped cream for garnish and refrigerate. Carefully fold the remaining cream into the pureed strawberries. Arrange the macerated strawberries in 4 wine glasses, reserving a few slices for garnish. Fill the glasses with strawberry cream, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours. Pipe the reserved whipped cream through a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and decorate with sliced strawberries.

Grandmas Gaullets

1 dozen eggs
1 pound real butter (not margarine), softened
3 cups white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
4 3/4 cups white flour
4 teaspoon baking powder
4 teaspoons vanilla
(makes about 12 dozen thin gaullets.)

Mix in order, thoroughly. Refrigerate dough overnight or at least several hours (it is easier to work with) Preheat iron to medium (if you do not have heat settings on your iron, simply preheat.

Place about a teaspoon and a half in center of bottom grid of iron, if you have an iron that makes multiple "cookies" put a teaspoon of dough in each area.

Close iron and cook until golden brown. It will take about 30 seconds for thin cookies and up to 2 minutes for waffle thick cookies.

You will need to use a spray cooking oil such as PAM to keep the cookies from sticking. I use a non-stick pizzelle iron for convenience, it is very similar to the old iron that my Grandma used. The exception is that my iron is electric, poor Grandma had to stand over an open flame.

These gaullets take several hours to cook (12 dozen !), make sure you have enough time before you start.

Lottery: Colleen

Sunday, April 13, 2008

California Wine Country - April 2008

Diva: Lovina

Drinks: Tamara
Red and White Wines from the California Wine Country
White Grape Juice with sparkling water mixed over ice.

Appetizer: Sara
Avocado Taco Rolls

I used IndiaLife Tortillas

8 Avocados
1/4 c lime juice
Mashed together

Cilantro Sauce:
1/3 C Lime Juice
1/3 C Olive Oil
2 bunches of Cilantro stems and all
1/2 jalapeño pepper seeds and all
whipped up together in my food processor

Mole Sauce--

4 ½ c chicken broth
3 T olive oil
1 c finely chopped onion
3 T chopped garlic
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
2 ½ T chili powder
3 T all-purpose flour
2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (I usually use Hershey Special Dark, it has a sweetness that mellows the sauce)

Heat oil in a large saucepan over med/low heat. Add onion, garlic, oregano, cumin and cinnamon. Cover and cook until onion is almost tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Mix in chili powder and flour, stir for 3 minutes. Gradually whisk in chicken broth. Increase heat to med. high. Boil until reduced, about 35 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Whisk in chocolate; season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Salad: Erin
Spinach-Orange Salad

½ c fresh orange juice
¼ c Sherry wine vinegar (I used both Sherry cooking wine and wine vinegar)
3 T honey
1 T fresh lime juice
¾ tsp chili powder
¾ c olive oil

2 6-ounce packages baby spinach (I used mixed greens and spinach)
4 oranges, peel and white pith removed, quartered, cut crosswise into
¼-inch-thick slices
2 c matchstick-size strips peeled jicama
1 avocado, peeled, seeded, cubed
½ c chopped red onion
¼ c chopped fresh cilantro

Whisk fresh orange juice, Sherry wine vinegar, honey, fresh lime juice and chili powder in large bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in olive oil. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.

Combine remaining ingredients in another large bowl. Toss salad with enough dressing to coat lightly.

Soup: Stacey
Homemade Tomato Soup
Serves: 6 Servings

1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
¾ c extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 stalk celery, diced
1 small carrot, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 c chicken broth
1 bay leaf
2 T butter
¼ c chopped fresh basil leaves
½ c heavy cream, optional

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Strain the chopped canned tomatoes, reserving the juices, and spread onto a baking sheet, season with salt and pepper, to taste, drizzle with 1/4 c of the olive oil and roast until caramelized, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat remaining olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the celery, carrot, onion and garlic, cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the roasted chopped canned tomatoes, reserved tomato juices, chicken broth, bay leaf and butter. Simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add basil and cream, if using. Puree with a hand held immersion blender until smooth.

For garnish:
1⁄4 c extra virgin olive oil
2 c basil leaves
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

Heat a medium sauté pan over high heat. Add the olive oil and the garlic. Cook the garlic until it begins to turn golden brown, stand back and add the basil leaves (they will pop and splatter slightly). Fry the basil until crisp. Using a slotted spoon remove the basil and garlic to a plate lined with a few layers of paper towel, season lightly with salt and reserve the oil.
To serve: ladle the hot soup into bowls and garnish with a few crispy basil leaves, slices of fried garlic, and a drizzle of the reserved oil.
Serve this soup as the perfect partner to a hot grilled cheese Panini.

Side Dish: Nicole
Ravioli with Butternut Squash, Sage and Hazelnuts in a Marsala Sauce

6 Ts shallots, chopped
1 ½ c hazelnuts, toasted and crushed
5 c Marsala cooking wine
2 c white wine
1 pound cold butter, cubed
1 bunch sage, chopped
2 T olive oil

Cook the shallots and hazelnuts in a medium-sized saucepan. When the shallots become translucent, add all of the Marsala and white wine to begin reducing. Reduce until there is about two c of liquid remaining. Reduce heat to a high simmer and begin adding the butter very slowly, stirring constantly. Once all of the butter has melted into the sauce, add the sage.
Cook the ravioli (recipe follows) and toss with olive oil. Add the freshly made Marsala Sauce and serve.

Pre-made butternut squash ravioli can be purchased at local pasta shops during the fall, or you can make your own. A good recipe from the Food Network's Emeril Lagasse follows:

3 T minced shallots
1 c roasted butternut squash puree
3 T heavy cream
3 T grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus 2 ounces
1 recipe pasta dough, rolled out into wide ribbons, about 1/4-inch thick
1 T finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
Pinch nutmeg
Freshly ground white pepper

In a large sauté pan, over medium heat, melt 1 T of the butter. Add the shallots and sauté for 1 minute. Add the squash puree and cook until the mixture is slightly dry, about 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the cream and continue to cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in 3 Ts cheese and nutmeg, to taste. Season with salt and pepper. Cool completely.

Cut the pasta ribbons into 3-inch squares. Place 2 tsp of the filling in the center of each pasta square. Bring 1 corner of the square to the other, forming a triangle and seal the pasta completely. Add the pasta to pot of boiling salted water. Cook until al dente, about 2 to 3 minutes or until the pasta floats and is pale in color.**
Remove the pasta from the water and drain well. Season the pasta with salt and pepper.
**Editor's Note: You can also use pre-made wonton wrappers instead of making your own pasta
Makes 6 servings. Enjoy!

Entrée: Colleen
Margarita Pizza:

Bread Machine Basic Dough
1 1/3 c water
¼ c extra virgin olive oil
3 ½ c unbleached all purpose flour
1 T sugar
1 ½ t salt
2 t SAF yeast

put ingredients into bread machine on dough cycle. remove immediately at end of cycle. divide into desired # of portions. knead a few times and cover with a damp towel to rest for 30 minutes. can refrigerate 24 hours and let rest for 20 minutes before using.

~2 T olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic sliced thin
1 can diced tomatoes

heat oil. add garlic and sauté for 60 seconds or so. add tomatoes and reduce until liquid has evaporated and sauce is thick and will not run when moved with a spoon. (hope that makes sense).

fresh tomatoes sliced thin
fresh mozzarella sliced thin
fresh basil sliced in strips

assemble pizza and bake at 450 until crush is golden brown. (7-20 minutes depending on thickness of crust)

For the Goat cheese Pizza:

Blue Corn Meal Crust
1 ½ c water
¼ c olive oil
3 2/3 c flour
1/3 c cornmeal
1 t salt
2 t yeast

follow same directions as above. When I made this crust I was surprised because it was very, very sticky and I ended up having to add quite a bit more flour. I didn't measure. sorry!

Rosemary infused olive oil:
add chopped fresh rosemary and garlic to olive oil and infuse at least over night. I didn't measure this either.

Caramelized onions:
small onion - slice in 1/4 inch rings
several T olive oil

heat oil. add onions, sprinkle lightly with sugar and sauté over medium heat stirring frequently until onions are caramel in color (maybe 20 minutes or more?). when nearly finished, add a splash of vinegar and cook for about another minute. cool completely.

light layer of mozzarella cheese
caramelized onions
thinly sliced pear (I coated in OJ to preserve color for travel)
thinly sliced dried fig
crumpled goat cheese

Dessert: Mariah
Poached Pears with Chocolate Carmel Sauce

1 c pear nectar
1 c dry white wine
½ c honey
4 slightly under-ripe pears, peeled, halved, cored
4 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
Vanilla ice cream or Good Karma Rice Cream

Stir pear nectar, white wine and sugar in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves and syrup comes to boil. Add pears to syrup in saucepan. Cover pan, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until pears are tender, about 8 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer pears to plate. Increase heat to medium-high and boil poaching liquid until reduced to 3/4 c, about 8 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Add chocolate; whisk until chocolate melts and sauce is smooth.
Place 1 warm pear half, cut side up, on each plate. Top with vanilla ice cream and warm chocolate sauce. Or cover pears and chocolate sauce separately and refrigerate up to 2 days; then serve pears cold with ice cream and sauce, rewarming sauce, if desired.

WildCard: Aven
Gorgeous handmade grape earrings for all.

Lottery: Ashley
Bottle corks – prize winner received a bottle opener!