Sunday, February 10, 2008

Award Winning - February 2008

Diva: Sara
Drinks: Stacey
Mandrini Cocktails

Makes one drink:

1 ½ ounce Absolut Mandarin vodka
2 ounces sour mix
¼ fresh orange wedge
½ ounce Chambourd Black raspberry liquor
martini glass

Fill cocktail shaker half-way full with ice. Add vodka, sour mix, and squeeze in orange (and toss it in shaker). Shake like crazy to get it really cold. Strain into martini glass and then slowly add Chambourd. It will sink to the bottom making a pretty layered drink. Garnish with a fresh lime wedge.

Appetizer: Mariah
Endive topped with blue cheese/goat cheese sautéed mixed nuts and spicy cayenne honey drizzled on top.

Simply-- Chop your favorite nuts toss a dash of cayenne in the pan with some olive oil, sauté until golden brown. Soften cheese of your flavor spread inside endive leaf, sprinkle nuts atop cheese and drizzle with warmed honey.

Enjoy the Deliciousness of simplicity...

Salad: Aven
Bean Sprout Salad

2 c bean sprouts
1 c pea sprouts
¼ c green spring onions
2 T sesame oil
2 T soy sauce
2 T toasted sesame (just put the sesame seeds onto a tray and in a 350 degree F oven until golden - about 5 minutes)
1 T granulated sugar
1 T vinegar (rice wine)
¼ c red bell pepper, cut into strips
¼ c golden raisins

Mix bean sprouts, pea sprouts and onion in a bowl.
Combine oil, soy sauce, sesame seeds, sugar, vinegar and pepper.
Mix well.
Pour over sprouts.
Toss before serving.
Sprinkle raisins on top.

Soup: Tamara
Gold Soup

1 liter vegetable stock
1 ½ kg butternut pumpkin, weighed before preparing (I used acorn squash)
500 g kumara (gold sweet potato)
350 g carrots
1 onion
3 T chopped parsley (optional)
1 ¼ c red lentils, washed
3 c water, may need to add a little extra
½ tsp crushed garlic (optional)
½ tsp pepper (optional)

Add the stock to a large cooking pot or boiler. Everything will be added to the pot as it is chopped/prepared.
Cut pumpkin and kumara into chunks, no bigger than 2 inches square, removing any skin and seeds. Add to the pot.
Peel and chop carrots and onion. Add to the pot.
Wash and drain the lentils. Add to the pot.

Add all remaining ingredients and some extra water if the veggies are not covered. You may need to add some more water or stock during the cooking- so just keep your eye on it. If there is not enough liquid the soup may stick to the bottom of your pot (maybe not such a bad thing if you catch it in time. Once when I made this soup it had stuck to the bottom and tasted like it had roasted pumpkin in it).

Bring to the boil, Boil for approx 30 minutes, or until the largest veggie pieces are soft when poked with a knife. Stir occasionally to ensure the lentils do not burn onto the bottom of the pot.
Remove from heat and purée with either a stick blender used in the pot or by using a food processor. To make the soup thinner, just add some extra water or stock.
Serve with a little sour cream and maybe a sprinkle of freshly chopped parsley.

Side Dish: Ashley
Grilled Vegetable Napoleon

slice polenta into 1/3 inch rounds. Brush with oil and grill until brown on both sides.
roast a red bell pepper and cut into 8ths, depending on size.
soak portabella caps in a balsamic vinaigrette , olive oil, balsamic, basil, oregano, salt and pepper
grill chunks of red onion until slightly charred and softened
gouda cheese, grated, to taste

grill the portabella caps until softened and mostly cooked through.

Stack the polenta and veggies into two layers. I used the above order.
Skewer to hold stack in place and bake in a 350 oven for about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Entree: Lovina
Filet Mignon with Merlot Sauce (award winning at Sara’s)

Servings: Serves 6.

1 750-ml bottle Merlot
2 14 ½-ounce cans low-salt chicken broth
1 14 ½-ounce can beef broth
2 T (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 T all purpose flour
1 T olive oil
6 6-ounce filet mignon steaks (each about 1 inch thick)
Freshly cracked pepper
¼ c chopped shallots
1 T chopped garlic
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme

Boil wine, chicken broth and beef broth in heavy large saucepan over high heat until mixture is reduced to 2 cups, about 1 hour. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Mix butter and flour in small bowl. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle steaks with salt and cracked pepper. Sauté steaks until medium-rare, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to plate. Add shallots, garlic and thyme to skillet; stir 30 seconds. Add 1 ½ cups reduced wine mixture to skillet (reserve remainder for another use). Bring mixture to boil, scraping up any browned bits. Add butter mixture and whisk until smooth. Boil sauce until thick enough to coat spoon, about 2 minutes. Serve steaks with sauce.

Vegetarian version: Replace steaks with portabello mushroom and chicken broth with veggie broth.

(Green Onion Mashed Potatoes)
Servings: Serves 4.
2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
½ c whipping cream
¼ c (1/2 stick) butter
1 bunch green onions, sliced (about 1 1/3 cups)

Cook potatoes in pot of boiling salted water until very tender, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring cream and butter to simmer in heavy small saucepan over medium heat, stirring often. Mix in green onions. Remove from heat. Cover and let steep while potatoes cook.

Drain potatoes thoroughly. Return potatoes to same pot and mash. Add cream mixture and stir until blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 2 hours ahead. Cover; let stand at room temperature. Rewarm over low heat, stirring often.)

Dessert: Colleen
Blue Ribbon Pound Cake

2 sticks butter
3 c sugar
6 eggs
3 c flour
½ pt. whipping cream
2 tsp vanilla

Cream butter and sugar together; add eggs one at a time,
beating well after each addition. Add flour and whipping
cream, alternately. Add vanilla. Pour into large tube pan
that has been greased and floured. Bake at 325 degrees for
one hour and 25 minutes. let cool in pan for one hour.

WildCard: Erin

Ron Jeremy Pictures!

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