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!

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