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

1 comment:

mvpjmp said...

Joe and I have tried twice to make the beet chips. They got better the second time, but still weren't as good as Bonnie's. I ended up buying the Terra chips to satisfy my craving. We also made the Lebanese Veg Soup and that turned out fantastic! My husband absolutely loved it. It will definitely become a regular recipe in our soup collection.