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

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