Sunday, March 14, 2010

Alice in Wonderland - March 2010

Diva:  Tamara

Drinks:  Aven
White Rabbit

2 oz. vanilla vodka

1 oz. vanilla liquer

2 oz. vanilla simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water with 1-2 vanilla beans)

1 oz. half and half

shake together and serve over ice

Egg Cream

cream soda and with a splash of half and half over ice

Appetizer:  Sarah M.  (Sub for Erin)
Stuffed Mushrooms with Sun-Dried Tomato

24 mushrooms (about 2 1/2 pounds), the stems removed and chopped fine,  reserving 1 cup, and the caps left whole
12 ounces sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained, reserving 4  tablespoons of the oil, and the tomatoes minced
⅓ c finely chopped shallot
1 tsp finely chopped garlic
2 tsp fresh basil, chopped fine
3 T heavy cream
3 T cream cheese
freshly grated Parmesan for sprinkling the mushrooms

Brush the mushrooms caps with some of the reserved tomato oil and arrange them, stemmed sides down, on the rack of a broiler pan. 
Broil the mushrooms caps under a preheated broiler about 6 inches from the heat for 2 minutes, or until they are barely softened, and arrange them, stemmed sides up, in one layer on a baking sheet.
In a large skillet cook the shallot and the garlic in the remaining reserved oil over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, or until they are softened.
Stir in the reserved mushroom stems, the tomatoes, the basil, cream, cream cheese, and salt/pepper to taste.  Cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 10 minutes. 
Divide the mixture among the mushroom caps, and sprinkle it with the Parmesan. Bake the stuffed mushrooms in the middle of a preheated 350°F oven for 12 to 18 minutes, or until the filling is heated through.

(Modified from

Soup:  Bonnie

Mock Mock Turtle Soup

1 ½ pound turtle meat (I  used fake chikin’ meat since everyone says turtle tastes like chicken anyway!)
2 ¾ tsp salt, in all
¾ tsp cayenne, in all
6 c water
1 stick butter
½ c flour
1 ½ c chopped onions
2 T minced shallots
¼ c chopped bell peppers
¼ c chopped celery
3 bay leaves
½ tsp dried leaf thyme
2 T minced garlic
1 c chopped tomatoes
½ c Worcestershire sauce
3 T fresh lemon juice
½ c dry sherry
¼ c chopped parsley
½ c chopped green onions
4 hard boiled eggs, finely chopped
2 T chopped green onions
2 T chopped hard boiled eggs

Put the turtle meat in a large saucepan with 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne and the water. Bring to a boil. Skim off any foam that rises to the top. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes. With a slotted spoon transfer the meat to a platter. Cut the meat into 1/2 inch dice and reserve the liquid. In another large sauce pan, combine the butter and flour over medium heat, stirring constantly for 6 to 8 minutes to make a dark roux. Add the onions, shallots, bell peppers and celery. Stir occasionally and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the vegetables are slightly tender. Add the bay leaves, thyme and garlic, cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and the turtle meat. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes stirring occasionally. Add the Worcestershire sauce, the remaining salt and cayenne, the turtle stock (about 6 cups) lemon juice, and sherry. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the parsley, green onions, and eggs and simmer for 45 minutes. Garnish with green onions and chopped eggs.

(From, Emeril Lagasse)

Salad:  Mary Ellen (Sub for Mariah)
Blackened Portobello-Mushroom Salad

¼ c red wine vinegar
¼ c balsamic vinegar
¼ c tomato juice
1 T olive oil

2 tsp Dijon mustard

2 tsp stone-ground mustard
¼ tsp coarsely ground pepper
4  (4-ounce) portobello mushroom caps (about 5 inches wide)

1 T Cajun seasoning for steak (such as Chef Paul Prudhomme's Steak Magic)

2 tsp olive oil
Cooking spray
16 c gourmet salad greens

1 large tomato, cut into 8 wedges
½ c thinly sliced red onion, separated into rings

1 (15-ounce) can cannellini or other white beans, rinsed and drained
¼ c (1 ounce) crumbled blue cheese

Combine first 7 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add mushrooms to bag; seal. Marinate 10 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove mushrooms from bag, reserving marinade.
Sprinkle mushrooms with Cajun seasoning. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat until hot. Add mushrooms; cook 2 minutes on each side or until very brown. Cool; cut mushrooms diagonally into thin slices.
Arrange 4 cups salad greens on each of 4 plates. Top each with mushroom slices, 2 tomato wedges, and onion rings. Sprinkle each with 1/4 cup beans and 1 tablespoon blue cheese. Drizzle the reserved marinade evenly over salads.

(From Cooking Light)

Side Dish:  Ashley
Caterpillar Rolls

sushi rice
rice vinegar

toasted nori sheets
avocado, sliced thin

cucumber, some matchstick and some sliced paper thin lengthwise
carrot, matchstick
garlic tamari marinated tofu, matchstick

Cook rice with the ratio of 1 1/4 cups water to 1 cup rice (I tripled the recipe).  Cook until rice is fairly dry but not totally stuck to the bottom of the pot. While rice is cooking, mix vinegar and sugar together at a ratio of 1tsp of sugar to 2Tbs of rice vinegar.  Warming the vinegar helps the sugar to dissolve.  Dump rice into a bowl.  Pour vinegar solution over rice and gently mix together being careful not to crush the rice.    

To make rolls:
  Scoop a layer of rice onto a piece of plastic wrap covered bamboo roller.  Spread into a square.  It helps to have wet hands.  Place a sheet of nori over the rice.  Place your filling lengthwise about 3/4 of the way across the bottom edge.  Roll and gently squeeze into a log.  Lay avocado or cucumber slices over the roll.

With a sharp wet knife, cut into slices.

Serve with soy sauce and wasabi

Entrée:  Lovina
The tea party scene in Alice in Wonderland undoubtedly influenced my entrée selection. Seems like all small girls at some point are fascinated by all the action of a tea party. However, how many of us have ever been to a real tea party? I decided to make some yummy tea sandwiches and finger foods to reminisce on my childhood memories of this movie and enjoy my own delightful tea party with friends.

Cucumber and Mint Sandwiches

½ c butter, softened
2 small English cucumbers
¼ fresh mint leaves
2 tsp orange zest
1 loaf salted french bread, thinly sliced

Peel the cucumbers, halve them lengthwise, and cut crosswise into very thin slices. Combine mint leaves, butter, and orange zest in a small bowl and stir together until creamy. Spread butter mixture generously over bread and top with cucumber slices. Cut bread into 4 small squares or triangles and arrange on a serving plate. Garnish with orange slices and mint leaves.

Radish Flower Sandwiches

1 c cream cheese
2 T chopped chives
2 T chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 T chopped radish
4 T radish jelly (This was a home-made gift from my dear friend Kathy)
Salt and pepper
1 loaf salted french bread, thinly sliced

To decorate:
20 small radishes, thinly sliced
Fresh chive blades
Fresh parsley springs

In a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese with the chives, parsley, radish, and jelly under mixture is smooth. Salt and pepper to taste. Spread mixture over bread and top with radish slices. Cut bread into 4 small squares or triangles and arrange on a serving platter. Sprinkle with chopped chives and garnish with parsley springs.

Mushroom Profiteroles

I promised Ashley I would make some yummy mushrooms to go with her sushi "caterpillars", just like the caterpillar and the mushroom from Alice in Wonderland, but I just wasn't finding inspiration to go along with my tea party cuisine. But this recipe turned out to be a good one!

For the pastry:
4 T butter
ground white pepper
1 c flour
4 large eggs

For the mushroom filling:
½ pound mushrooms
3 T butter
2 large shallots, minced
2 tsp dried tarragon
½ c half and half (or heavy cream)
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 T chopped flat-leaf parsley
fresh ground pepper
several whole flat-leaf parsley leaves

Prepare the pastry: Preheat over to 400 degrees. In a heavy saucepan, combine butter with 1/2 cup water and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Bring to a rolling boil then reduce heat to low and add flour all at once, stirring vigorously until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan and forms a ball. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Add 3 of the eggs one at a time, beating vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes after the addition of each until the batter becomes smooth and satiny. Combine the remaining egg with 1 teaspoon water to make a egg wash and set aside.

Drop the batter by teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto a buttered baking sheet, rounding into little mounds with the spoon. Mounds should be about 3/4 inches in diameter. Brush the tops of the mounds with egg wash. Bake in the center of oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until mounds are puffed and golden brown. Let cool on wire racks.

Prepare the filling: Finely chop mushrooms in a food processor with a bit of liquid. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat, add shallots and cook for 1 minute. Add mushrooms and tarragon. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until all the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Stir in cream and nutmeg and simmer over low heat, stirring frequently for about 15 minutes or until the cream has been entirely absorbed by the mushrooms. Season with lemon juice, chopped parsley, salt and pepper. Keep mixture warm.

To assemble: Make a small slit on the side of each pastry puff and spoon about 1 teaspoon of the filling into the center. Arrange a parsley leaf on the filling of each puff so that it extends over the edge of the puff and pat the tops in place. Arrange puffs on a platter.

(All recipes adapted from Crabtree and Evelyn Cookbook: A book of light meals and small feasts, 1989)

Dessert:  Sara
A tart for when Alice is small and tartlets for when she is tall!

Chocolate-Espresso Kahlu’a Tart

With a press-in-the-pan cookie and hazelnut crust and liqueur laced mousse filling, this deep, dark, chocolate dessert is impossible to resist.  Serve it with cups of strong coffee or espresso or snifters of Kahlu’a:

Makes one 11-inch tart
For the crust:
2 c hazelnuts (9 oz)
1 ⅓ c finely ground chocolate wafers (~22)
½ tsp instant espresso powder (I used decaf ground espresso)
¼ tsp salt
½ c (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled

For the mousse:
½ c Kahlu’a (I used coffee flavored liqueur)
½ c unsweetened cocoa powder
2 large eggs, separated
1 tsp instant espresso powder (I used decaf espresso)
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 T unsalted butter
1 c heavy cream
6 T sugar

Make crust: Preheat oven to 375. Spread hazelnuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet; toast until skins split and flesh turns deep golden brown, tossing halfway through, 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven; reduce oven to 325. While still warm, rub nuts in a clean kitchen towel to remove skins (some will remain). Let cool completely, then finely grind in a food processor.

Stir together ground nuts, cookie crumbs, espresso powder, salt, and butter. Press into bottom and up sides of and 11-inch round tart pan with removable bottom. Chill 30 minutes.

Place tart pan on a baking sheet; bake until firm to the touch, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make Mousse: In a bowl, whisk together Kahlu’a, cocoa, egg yolks, espresso powder and salt. Melt chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a pan of simmering water. Whisk in liqueur mixture. Cook, whisking until mixture is thickened and registers 160 on an instant read thermometer. Let cool completely.

With an electric mixer on medium speed, beet cream just to stiff peaks. Whisk egg whites and sugar in the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer set over (not in) a pan of simmering water. Cook, whisking, until sugar is dissolved and meringue registers 160 on thermometer.
Attach bowl with meringue to mixer. Whisk on medium speed until soft peaks form. Raise speed to high, and beet until peaks are stiff and glossy but not dry, and meringue is completely cool. Using a flexible spatula, gently but thoroughly fold chocolate mixture into meringue, then fold in whipped cream. Spread evenly in cold tart shell. Chill until set, at least 1 hour, or up to overnight.
(From Martha Stewart’s Holiday Sweets)

Chocolate-Caramel Tartlets

Makes 40(ish)
If you cant find fleur de sel, us another type of sea salt (I used large).

For the tart shells:
2 ½ c all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
½ c unsweetened cocoa powder
½ c sugar
¾ tsp fleur de sel
½ c (1 stick) cold unsalted butter cut into small pieces
3 large eggs, lightly beaten

For the filling:
1 c sugar
½ c water
½ c heavy cream
3 T ruby or tawny port
2 T cold unsalted butter cut into small pieces
1 oz bittersweet chocolate finely chopped
1 c roasted salted blanched almonds finely chopped
fleur de sel for sprinkling

Make tart shells: In a food processor, pulse flour, cocoa, sugar, and fleur de sel until combined. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles course meal. With machine running, add eggs through the feed tube; process just until dough comes together. Turn out dough onto a work surface; shape into a disk. Wrap in plastic. Chill 30 minutes, or up to overnight.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to about 1/8 inch thick.  Using a 3-inch cookie cutter, cut 10 rounds from dough. Transfer remaining dough to a flour dusted baking sheet; chill.

Fit dough rounds into ten round tartlet pans (each 2 ¼ inches in diameter). Trim edges of dough flush with rims. (Chill scraps on baking sheet.) Chill shells 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350. Prick bottoms of dough all over with a fork. Bake until firm, about 12 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool completely before unmolding.
Working in batches of 10 and using remaining dough (reroll scraps), repeat steps 2-4 to make 40 shells in all.

Make caramel filling: Heat sugar and the water in a small saucepan over medium-high, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Continue to cook, without stirring, until syrup comes to a boil, occasionally washing down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent crystals from forming. Let boil, swirling pan to color evenly, until syrup is dark amber. Remove from heat.

Carefully stir in cream and port (mixture will spatter). Add butter and chocolate; stir until melted and mixture is smooth. Let cool until slightly thickened but still pourable, about 20 minutes.

Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon chopped almonds over bottom of each tart shell. Spoon caramel mixture into shells, filling almost to the top. Sprinkle with remaining almonds and fleur de sel. Chill until ready to serve, up to 3 hours.

(From Martha Stewart’s Holiday Sweets)

Wild Card:  Stacey

Lillet-Basil Cocktail

1 c Ice
½ c Lillet Blanc
2 T Gin
2 T orange juice
¼ c basil
1 cucumber spear
1 cinnamon stick

Shake ingredients in shaker and serve with cucumber and cinnamon garnish.


Lottery:  Colleen

Bonnie - the Queen of Hearts!


Connie said...

This theme turned out so cute!

Tamara said...

Yes it did - I didn't have a ton of time to get it all together but I had lots of fun getting the decorations I could up and the food was fab, as always. Thanks for helping me decide on a theme!