Sunday, February 8, 2009

Mardi Gras - Let the Good Times Roll - February 2009

Diva: Stacey

Drinks: Tamara
Mardi Gras Hurricanes

Serves 10-12

12 ounces light rum
12 ounces dark rum
10 ounces grenadine, or passion fruit syrup (I used grenadine)
10 ounces fresh orange juice (I doubled it.)
10 ounces sour mix, or fresh lime juice (I used lime juice)
3 T superfine sugar, or more to taste
1 large orange, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices

Mix all the ingredients in a tall pitcher or large pot and stir to dissolve the sugar. Pour into a punch bowl and add the ice cubes and orange segments. Serve in tall glasses over ice with straws. (Omit alcohol for virgin version and increase the orange juice to taste.)

**These turned out to be very strong. In future you may want to decrease the rum a bit and increase the orange juice. For the non-alcoholic you will want to increase the juice and maybe add bubbly water.)

Appetizer: Erin
Hearts of Palm

1 14 oz can hearts of palm
3 T green onion, chopped
¼ c sour cream
1/8 tsp cayenne
¾ c parm cheese
2/3 c mayo
2 T pimento, chopped (little jar)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Drain hearts of palm and chop finely. Reserve 1 T of parm cheese and green onion. Mix hearts of palm thoroughly w/ remaining ingredients. Spread mix into shallow baking dish and sprinkle w/ reserved parm cheese and onion evenly over top. Bake 20 min or until hot and bubbly. Run quickly under broiler to brown top.

Serve with crackers or bread. Wheat thins or baguette slices are perfect.

Salad: Sara
Citrus Sunburst Salad

For the Vinaigrette (I doubled the recipe)
1/8 c Raspberry (or Pomegranate) Vinegar
1 T Dijon Mustard
1 T Honey
1 tsp Orange zest
1/3 c Vegetable (or Grapeseed) oil

Whisk together the vinegar, mustard, honey and orange zest until well incorporated. Pouring slowly, whisk in the oil until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper.

For the Salad
1 c Pecans
1 ½ T butter
2 T Sugar
2 tsp Chili powder
6 c Mixed Salad Greens (I used romaine and red leaf)
½ c Dried Cranberries
4 0z Feta, crumbled (I omitted for the Mardi Gras Theme)
2 Medium oranges peeled with a knife and cut into segments (I used blood oranges)
1 Pomegranate separated (I was unable to find one, but it really is a nice addition to the salad)

Melt butter in a non-stick saute' pan on high heat. Stir in the pecans and cook for about 2 minutes. Toss the sugar and chili powder in with the nuts. Continue to cook for an additional 2-4 minutes until the sugar has just started to melt. Remove to a sheet pan covered with parchment paper and let cool completely.

Portion out the salad on to plates and serve with cranberries, orange segments, pecans, and in lieu of pomegranate I use red pepper strips for added color. Very yummy and good for you salad!

Soup: Bonnie
Potato Garlic Soup

Equal parts russett potatoes and red potatoes. (I used about 4 c. each)
1 large T of minced garlic
4 heads of garlic w. the top 1/3 of the heads cut off and the paper removed for the most part
2 large leeks
2 T veg broth paste
1 c heavy cream
fresh chopped thyme (few tbs)
few bay leaves
about 3 T butter
1 T oil
salt and pepper

On med heat butter and oil, add leeks. Cook until half done then add minced garlic and cook for while longer. Add potatoes water, bay leaves, veg paste and garlic bulbs. Cook until done then lower heat. Remove bay leaves and garlic. Smoosh garlic out of bulbs and use how ever much you want. (I used it all.) Use submersion blender to puree to desired consistency, add thyme and cream.

Side Dish: Mariah
Smothered Green Beans

1 quart green beans, broken in short pieces
1 small onion, sliced
2 T shortening
1/3 c water
1 small sprig of parsley
Pinch of thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
Dash of Worcestershire
Add Blacken Cajun Seasonings to taste

Sauté beans and onions in grease for a few minutes, until onions are wilted. Add water, parsley, thyme, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil. Lower to simmer and cover. Cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. (A large can of green beans can be substituted for fresh, using 1/3 cup of the liquid, & adding beans and other ingredients after onion is sautéed.) Servings: 4

Entree: Ashley

Brown Sugar and Bourbon Ribs

Be sure to remove (or score) the membrane on the underside of the ribs so that the seasonings can penetrate and fully flavor the meat. Even better, ask the butcher to remove the membrane.
For Divas, I used boneless pork ribs

Yield: Makes 4 servings

Basting sauce
½ c (packed) golden brown sugar*
½ c apple butter*
½ c bourbon whiskey
¼ c apple cider vinegar
3 T apple cider*
2 T Dijon mustard

*I pressed apples from my tree instead and decreased the sugar.

1 T coarse kosher salt
1 T (packed) golden brown sugar
1 ½ tsp dry mustard
1 ½ tsp dried thyme
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 ½ tsp cayenne pepper
2 2- to 2 ¼ -pound racks baby back pork ribs (I used 5 lbs of boneless and 2 pkgs of firm tofu)

1 large onion, sliced
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
6 thin rounds peeled fresh ginger
1 ¼ c apple cider

For basting sauce:
Whisk all ingredients in medium bowl to blend.

For ribs:**
Mix first 7 ingredients in small bowl. Using small sharp knife, loosen membrane from underside of each rib rack and pull off (or score membrane). Rub 1 tablespoon seasoning mix into each side of each rib rack. Place ribs in large roasting pan. Cover and chill at least 6 hours and up to 1 day.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Lift ribs from pan. Scatter onion, cinnamon stick, and ginger in pan. Pour in cider. Return ribs, meat side down, to pan; cover pan with foil. Roast ribs until meat is tender and begins to pull away from bones, about 2 hours. Uncover; cool at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Grill ribs until heated through and slightly charred, about 5 minutes per side. Brush generously on all sides with basting sauce. Grill until sauce becomes sticky glaze, about 3 minutes longer per side. Transfer rib racks to cutting board. Cut racks between bones into individual ribs. Arrange on platter and serve, passing remaining sauce separately.

**I let the ribs sit with the rub for 2 hours, then put the ribs and the ingredients listed for the roasting pan part into my crockpot and cooked it on low for about 8 hours. I then followed the grill part except I had to use a veggie grill pan since the meat was practically falling apart at that point.

Dessert: Aven
Apricot Raspberry King Cake


1 c milk
¼ c butter
2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
2/3 c warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
½ c white sugar
2 eggs
1 ½ tsp salt
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
5 ½ c all-purpose flour
1 baby doll!

Scald milk, remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup of butter. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in the warm water with 1 tablespoon of the white sugar. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

When yeast mixture is bubbling, add the cooled milk mixture. Whisk in the eggs. Stir in the remaining white sugar, salt and nutmeg. Beat the flour into the milk/egg mixture 1 cup at a time. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 2 hours. When risen, punch down and divide dough in half.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease 2 cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.

1 pkg cream cheese
½ cucp powdered sugar

beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth

½ cup raspberry jam


1 ½ c sugar
¼ c water
½ c butter
¼ c apricot rum
1 tsp rum extract (optional)

Boil sugar and water, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add butter and simmer until thick and syrupy. Remove from heat and add rum and extract.

Roll dough halves out into large rectangles (approximately 10x16 inches or so). Spread the cream cheese filling evenly over the dough, then the jam over the cream cheese and roll up each half tightly like a jelly roll, beginning at the wide side. Bring the ends of each roll together to form 2 rings. Place each ring on a prepared cookie sheet. With a knife make cuts 1/4” deep at 1 inch intervals. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Push the doll into the bottom of the cake. Frost while warm with the glaze. Another layer of glaze can be added when cake is cool.

Whomever receives the baby in their slice is supposed to have good luck and is supposed to throw the next party and/or make the next cake!

Wild Card: Tina (sub for Lovina)
Tabasco-Cheddar Biscuits

1 ½ c cake flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
4 T cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
½ c low-fat buttermilk
1 tsp Tabasco red pepper sauce

Preheat oven to 400 F and coat baking sheet with cooking spray.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and alt in large bowl. Stir in butter and cheese. Stir in buttermilk and mix until dough just comes together. Scrape out onto well-floured work surface and pat dough to ½ inch thickness. Cut out biscuits with 2 ½ inch diameter round cutter. Repeat with remaining scraps of dough until you have 8 biscuits and transfer biscuits to prepared baking sheet.

Sprinkle red pepper sauce on tops of biscuits. Bake 12-15 minutes or until puffed and golden. Serve hot.

Lottery: Colleen