Sunday, December 11, 2011

WWSD - What Would Stacey Do? - December 2011

Diva:  Erin

Drinks:  Tiffany
Selection of wines.

Appetizer:  Aven
Cauliflower and Carmelized Onion Tartlettes

1 large head of cauliflower (~2 lbs)
2 large thinly sliced yellow onions
4 T butter
2 pkgs puff pastry dough
6 oz. pancetta (omit for vegetarian version)
2 T dijon mustard
2 eggs
8 oz. mascarpone cheese (2 pkgs.)
½ c whipping cream
pinch nutmeg
1 c grated gruyere
½ c grated parmesan cheese
salt and white pepper

makes 24 tartlettes

Melt butter in saute pan.  Chop cauliflower and toss with half of the melted butter, sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast at 425 for 40 minutes or until tender, turning once.  Add onions to remaining butter, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook over medium heat for 40 minutes or until golden, stirring occasionally.  While onions and cauliflower are cooking cut and arrange puff pastry in muffin tins. Spread a dollop of mustard on pastry and lay pancetta inside.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 and bake pastry for 20 minutes.  While pastry is baking whisk eggs with mascarpone, white pepper and nutmeg.  Stir in gruyere.  When cauliflower is cool enough to handle cut into small pieces.

To assemble tarts spread a layer of onions on top of pancetta, arrange cauliflower on top of onions, pour as much egg and cheese mixture as will fit in shells over veggies and sprinkle with parmesan.  Bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes, until filling is set and top is golden. 

(Adapted from Bon Appetit March 2007)

Soup:  Mariah
Broccoli Cheese Soup

3 T unsalted butter, plus 2 T cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 c yellow onions or sliced leeks (white parts only, well rinsed)
½ tsp salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
Pinch nutmeg
½ tsp minced garlic
½ tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
3 T all-purpose flour
3 c chicken stock or canned, low-sodium chicken broth
1 (16-ounce) package frozen broccoli, thawed and separated
½ c heavy cream
1 ¼ c shredded medium Cheddar
Croutons, for garnish, recipe follows

In a medium pot, melt the 3 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat.  Add the onions, salt, pepper, and nutmeg and cook, stirring, until soft, 3 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme cook, stirring, until fragrant, for 20 seconds. Add the flour and cook, stirring until the mixture is well blended and smells fragrant, 2 minutes. Slowly add the chicken stock, whisking constantly, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the broccoli and cook, stirring, until tender, for 10 minutes.  Remove the pot from the heat and puree with a hand-held immersion blender. (Alternatively, in batches, puree in a blender or food
processor and return to the pot.)  Add the cream and bring to bare simmer to heat through. Add the cheese and cook over low heat, stirring, until melted. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons cold butter, stirring to blend.  Remove from the heat and ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle croutons over the top of the soup and serve immediately.

1 c 1/2 to 3/4-inch cubed French bread
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
¼ tsp Essence or Creole seasoning, recipe follows

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Place the bread in a medium bowl and toss with oil and Essence. Spread
evenly on a small baking sheet and bake, stirring twice, until light
golden brown on top, about 6 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool
slightly before serving.

Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):
2½ T paprika
2 T salt
2 T garlic powder
1 T black pepper
1 T onion powder
1 T cayenne pepper
1 T dried oregano
1 T dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly.

(From New New Orleans Cooking by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch.)

Salad:  Colleen
Red Cabbage Slaw

1 ½ heads read cabbage shredded
dried cranberries
chopped pecans

equal parts mayo and apple cider vinegar
sugar, salt and pepper to taste.

Mix, refrigerate for a couple of hours and serve.

Side Dish:  Stacey
Brussels Sprouts Gratin

2 T butter--cut into pieces, plus more for buttering the dish
kosher salt
1 lb. Brussels sprouts, outer leaves and stems removed
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup grated white cheddar cheese
½ cup breadcrumbs

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees and butter a glass baking dish (double this recipe if you use a 9X13 dish).  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the Brussels sprouts and cook until just tender--about 10 mins.  Drain the sprouts and coarsely chop.  Transfer the sprouts to the prepared baking dish and toss with the red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste, then spread out evenly.  Pour the cream on top, sprinkle with the cheese and breadcrumbs and dot with the butter pieces.  Bake the gratin until bubbly and golden brown--about 15 mins.  Enjoy!!

(From Food Network Magazine, November 2010)

Entree:  Lovina
Gratineed Chicken in Cream Sauce (Poulet à la Fermiere)

4 pounds chicken thighs
3 T butter
8 carrots, cut diagonally into 1-inch-thick slices
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 leeks, chopped
1 c dry white wine
2/3 c chicken broth
1½ T Herbs de Provence
2 pounds small potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces (I used organic French fingerlings)
1 c sour cream
½ c heavy cream
salt and fresh ground pepper
2 c frozen baby peas, thawed
1 ½ c coarsely grated Gruyère

Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season generously with salt and pepper. In a large (6 or 8-quart) ceramic dutch oven (with tight fitting lid), heat butter over medium high and brown the chicken in batches (about 4-5 minutes each side).  Transfer to a plate and cover. Spoon out all but 2 tablespoons fat from pan. Add carrots, onions and leeks and saute over medium heat until soft and beginning to brown. Add wine to deglaze the pot, stirring and scraping up brown bits over high heat, until liquid is reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add broth, Herbs de Provence, and chicken (skin sides up) along with any juices from plate. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Add potatoes and salt and pepper to taste and simmer, covered, until chicken is cooked through and potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

Preheat broiler. Stir in sour cream, heavy cream, peas, and salt and pepper to taste, then turn chicken in sauce to coat. Sprinkle dish all over with Gruyère and broil 4 to 5 inches from heat until browned and sauce is bubbling, 3 to 4 minutes.

(Adapted from

Dessert:  Hallie
Bread Pudding

1-pound loaf French or Italian bread, cut into cubes (about 15 cups)
3 c milk
¼ c heavy cream
½ c coffee-flavored liqueur
1 c granulated sugar
1 c packed light brown sugar
¼ c cocoa powder
1 T vanilla extract
2 tsp pure almond extract (I skipped this and doubled the vanilla)
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Lightly grease a 13 by 9-inch baking dish. Place the bread in the baking dish.
In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, cream, and liqueur.
In another bowl, combine the granulated and brown sugars with the cocoa powder and mix well. Add this to the milk mixture and whisk to combine.
Add the vanilla and almond extracts and the cinnamon to the beaten eggs. Combine the egg mixture with the milk mixture and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour the mixture evenly over the bread cubes; let stand, stirring occasionally, for at least 20 minutes, or until the bread has absorbed most of the milk mixture. Bake the pudding for 1 hour, or until set; a knife inserted into the center of the pudding should come out clean. Serving the pudding warm, or refrigerate it and serve chilled.
Serve it warm or cold, with whipped cream or a dessert sauce.

For the mint cream drizzle I whipped heavy cream with creme de menthe-- DON'T ADD SUGAR. I just dumped the booze in 'till it tasted good. The booze kept the cream from getting truly whipped, but it drizzles nicely.

(Adapted from Paula Deen)

Peppermint Popcorn
Preheat oven to about 200

Use air popped corn- microwave varieties have oil on them and might interefer with the process.
2 batches of air popped corn put in a deep roasting pan
Crush about 6 candy canes, or a bag of red and white starlight mints
Melt a bag of white chocolate chips, or about 2 bars of white chocolate
pour the melted white chocolate over the popcorn
mix the crushed candy with the popcorn/white chocolate
throw the pan onto the oven for a minute or so then mix again.
Let it cool and break it up.  Sprinkle on top of bread pudding for a little crunch.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Honey and Hazelnuts - November 2011

Diva:  Stacey

Drinks:  Erin
Lychee Martinis

¼ c sugar
¼ c water
1 c drained canned lychees (15 to 20, from a 16- to 20-oz can)
2 T fresh lemon juice
6 oz (¾ cup) vodka (preferably Skyy)
1 ½ oz (3 T) Cointreau or other orange-flavored liqueur

Heat sugar and water in a 1-quart saucepan over high heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved, then pour into a heatproof bowl set in a large bowl of ice and cold water. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until syrup is cold, about 3 minutes.
Purée lychees with sugar syrup and lemon juice in a blender until smooth, then force through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, pressing hard on solids and then discarding them. Fill cocktail shaker halfway with ice cubes and add lychee purée, vodka, and Cointreau. Shake 15 seconds and strain into Martini glasses.

Appetizer:  Hallie
Brie and Honeycomb

Serve slices of a baguette with a wheel of brie and oozing hunk of honeycomb.  Allow your inner diva revel in the lusciousness of those flavors combined.  

Soup:  Mary Ellen
Honey Carrot Soup

16 oz baby carrots or 3 ½ c sliced carrots     
1 c chicken broth 
½ medium onion, chopped 
½ c  
2% milk 
1/4 c honey 
ground nutmeg, to taste    

In large saucepan, combine carrots, chicken broth and onion. Cover and  simmer over medium heat for about 15 minutes, or until carrots are tender.  Transfer mixture to blender or food processor; blend until smooth. Return  to saucepan. Add milk and honey. Return to simmer. Serve hot or chilled,  sprinkled with nutmeg. 

(From the National Honey Board)
Salad:  Mariah and Sara
Inspired Salad

Organic Greens
Fresh Blackberries
Romano Cheese
White Balsamic
Olive Oil

Mix tbsp of honey with a dash of salt and ¼ tsp cayenne, add water until the mixture softens to a stir pour mixture over 2 cups of hazelnuts, place in over for 20 minutes at 350 (check often).  Set hazelnuts aside and drizzle a generous amount of olive oil on a large cutting board appropriate for serving, salt and pepper the board then place the greens on the slab, using two kitchen knives toss the salad on the cutting board coating the leaves with olive oil, drizzle white balsamic over the greens and coat again using the kitchen knives.  Using a carrot peeler, peel a generous amount of cheese on top of the salad the salad is nearly ready to serve!  To put the finishing touches on this inspired pile the berries and nuts in each on the four corners.  As inspired by Jamie Oliver – serve on the cutting slab!

Side Dish:  Lovina
Twice Baked Bourbon-Hazelnut Sweet Potatoes

2 T. veggie oil
3 pounds sweet potatoes (about 6 round, not skinny)
½ c crème fraiche or cream cheese
6 T melted butter, divided
2 T. pure maple syrup
2 T bourbon
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg, divided
¼ c chopped hazelnuts (or pecans, walnuts…)
¼ c panko bread crumbs
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350°F. Oil the sweet potatoes and roast on rimmed baking sheet until very tender, 1 to 1 ½ hours. (You can nook them in the microwave to speed the roasting time!)

Cool slightly. Cut each potato in half and place the flesh of the top halves in a bowl—it should just fall out of the skin. Gently scoop the flesh out of the bottom halves and add it to the bowl, leaving a little around the edges for stability. Mix in the crème fraiche, 4 Tbs. butter, syrup, bourbon, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 3/4 tsp. nutmeg, 1 tsp. salt and pepper to taste. Using a hand mixer (or immersion blender), puree until smooth.

Scoop the potato puree back into the bottom halves. Mix the remaining 2 Tb. of butter and ¼ tsp. nutmeg with the panko and chopped nuts. Salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle the mixture over the tops of the sweet potatoes.
Bake another 15-20 minutes until warmed through and golden on top!

* These can be made 2-3 days in advance. If coming out of the fridge, bake 30-40 minutes–until warmed through or cheat and rewarm in the microwave. *smile* I won’t tell!


Entrée:  Colleen
Polenta with Caramelized Onion, Pear, and Hazelnuts

4 c cornmeal
8 c water
10 cloves garlic
olive oil for sauteing
finely copped rosemary to taste
2-3 T honey
1 c heavy cream

I make polenta in my multi cooker because it is so easy.  I made this in two batches (half of the ingredients per batch).  On brown setting, saute garlic for 1-2 minutes.  Add polenta, water, rosemary, and honey and stir.  Set to rice cook.  When finished with the cycle, stir in cream.  Put polenta in a 9x13 pan in an even layer.  I refrigerated mine overnight.

Caramelized onions
this is a pretty basic recipe - but you can follow a recipe like this one.

 2 pears thinly sliced
8 oz of smoked gruere grated
hazelnuts finely chopped

Bake the polenta at 350 for ~45 minutes or until warmed though and starting to get golden on the top.  Take out of the oven and layer with caramelized onions and pear.  Bake for another 10 minutes.  Layer with cheese and hazelnuts and bake for another 10 minutes.  Let rest for 5 minutes, cut and serve!

Dessert:  Ashley and Tamara
White Chocolate Mocha Hazelnut Layered Mousse 
(served with Ashley's Hazelnut Honey Brittle, see below)

200g dark chocolate, chopped
200ml soya whipping cream, chilled
3 T icing sugar, sifted after measuring
3 T Kahlua

200g vegan white chocolate
200ml soya whipping cream, chilled
3 T icing sugar, sifted after measuring
3 T Frangelico

First a warning - this needs a lot of load of bowls so get prepared! **Now completely line a standard size loaf tin with cling film so that it overhangs all edges. Melt the dark and the white chocolate separately, I did this placing bowls over pots of simmering water but you could also microwave. Once they have melted scrape them into separate bowls to cool down, they will take too long to cool if you leave them in the bowl you melted them in. Keep giving them a stir to help them cool.

Place the whipping cream into 2 large bowls (200ml in each bowl) and whisk in the icing sugar. Now you have to wait until the chocolates are close to room temperature, if you whisk hot or too warm chocolate into the cold soya cream it will seize up. When ready start with the dark chocolate and scrape it slowly into the whipping cream whisking all the time. When it looks all combined then you can slowly start to whisk in the Kahlua a bit at a time then set it aside.

Repeat the same process with the white chocolate and Frangelico but don't worry if this one seems floppier than the dark chocolate, they set the same.

Now take 1/3 of the dark chocolate mousse and place in another bowl (told you it takes a lot of bowls!) and take 1/3 of the white chocolate mousse and add that and whisk these together well. Now you should have equal bowls of dark chocolate, white chocolate and mixed mousse. Being precise as I am I weighed the mousse to figure out exactly 1/3, but you could just eyeball it of course!

**Spoon the dark chocolate mousse into the loaf tin and level off as best you can. Top with the white chocolate mousse then the mixed mousse levelling off each layer. Now place it in the fridge to fully set, best to leave it overnight but 5 hours should do it.


**I made these in individual ramekins and served with a chunck of Ashley’s brittle.

Ashley’s Hazelnut Honey Brittle

3 c hazelnuts
¾ c honey
¾ c butter

Toast and skin hazelnuts.  Curse alot while spending an inordinate amount of time rubbing the stubborn skins off and chasing after the ones that pop out of your hand and roll across the floor.
In a heavy saucepan, bring honey to a simmer, whisk in butter and cook until saucelike, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in nuts.  Spread on a parchment-lined or generously greased cookie sheet.  Place in freezer for at least 2 hours.  Cut into pieces and wrap in wax paper and store in the freezer.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Say Cheese! - October 2011

Diva:  Ashley

Drinks:  Stacey
Selection of red and white wines
Perrier with lime and lemon

Appetizer:  Mary Ellen
Gjetost, Apples and Pecans

Gjetost, a brown goat cheese
Honeycrisp apples
Pecan halves

Slice the gjetost cheese very thin (I had the deli do it for me!)
Slice the apples very thin
Place the gjetost cheese on the apple slices and top with 1 or 2 pecans

Soup:  Hallie
French Onion Soup

2 lb medium onions, halved lengthwise, then thinly sliced lengthwise (use a food processor- save yourself a few tears)
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 Turkish bay leaves or 1 California
¾ tsp salt
½ stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
2 tsp all-purpose flour
¾ c dry white wine
4 c reduced-sodium beef broth (32 fl oz) (I used vegetable broth instead)
1 ½ c water
½ tsp black pepper
6 (½-inch-thick) diagonal slices of baguette
1 (½-lb) piece Gruyère, Comte, or Emmental (I used a Swiss Gruyere from the 3rd Street Wine Co.)
2 T finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Cook onions, thyme, bay leaves, and salt in butter in a 4- to 5-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, uncovered, stirring frequently, until onions are very soft and deep golden brown, about 45 minutes (be patient and wait till the onions really are browning). Add flour and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in wine and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Stir in broth, water, and pepper and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes.

While soup simmers, put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.
Arrange bread in 1 layer on a large baking sheet and toast, turning over once, until completely dry, about 15 minutes.

Remove croûtes from oven and preheat broiler. Put crocks in a shallow baking pan. 

Discard bay leaves and thyme from soup and divide soup among crocks, then float a croûte in each. Slice enough Gruyère (about 6 ounces total) with cheese plane to cover tops of crocks, allowing ends of cheese to hang over rims of crocks, then sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Broil 4 to 5 inches from heat until cheese is melted and bubbly, 1 to 2 minutes.

(From Gourmet December 2006)

Salad:  Erin
Pear, Pancetta, and Apple Smoked Gruyere Salad

¾ tsp whole coriander seeds
1 T fresh lemon juice
½ small shallot, minced
3 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 ½ ounces thinly sliced pancetta, chopped
1 large head of butter lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces (about 8 cups) or mixed greens
1 large red Anjou (or other, I used home grown Bartletts) pear, peeled, cored, sliced (I used 1/2 pear per person)
¼ c coarsely chopped toasted walnuts (optional)
gruyere cheese, thin cut with peeler

Toast coriander seeds in small skillet over medium heat until aromatic, about 2 minutes. Transfer to mortar and grind coarsely with pestle. Transfer to small bowl. Mix in lemon juice and shallot. Gradually whisk in olive oil. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.

Heat heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add pancetta and sauté until crisp, about 4 minutes. Transfer to paper-towel-lined plate. Place lettuce in large bowl. (Dressing, pancetta, and lettuce can be prepared 2 hours ahead. Let dressing and pancetta stand at room temperature. Cover lettuce with damp kitchen towel and refrigerate.)

Toss lettuce with dressing. Top with pear slices, then cheese and pancetta.


Side Dish: Aven
Macaroni and Cheese with Vegetables

1 ½ c small pasta shells
1 clove garlic, minced
2 c small cauliflower florets
2 T milk
1 c cottage cheese
½ tsp mustard powder
¼ tsp ground black pepper
⅛ tsp salt
1 ½ c shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta, onion, and garlic. Cook for 3 minutes. Add the peas and carrots and broccoli. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the pasta is just tender. Drain and return the pasta and vegetables to the pot and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the milk, cottage cheese, mustard, pepper, and salt. Add to the pasta mixture. Stir in the Cheddar.

Return the pot to the heat and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes, or until the cheese melts and the mixture is hot. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

(Adapted from

Entrée:  Mariah
Mariah’s Cheezy Lasagna

1 large can stewed toms
1 large can chopped toms
1 small can tom paste
1 medium handful of Italian Seasoning
1 medium zucchini grated
2 heads garlic
1 large yellow onion
Garlic Salt to taste

Mix all ingredients in a large pot simmer all day, taste often

The Layers
Ricotta (recipe below)
Mozzarella cheese
Parmesan Cheese

Cover with foil and bake at 350 for one hour
Remove foil and broil for 3 minutes or until cheese bubbles

Fresh Homemade Ricotta

2 quarts whole milk
1 c heavy cream
½ tsp salt
3 T fresh lemon juice

Line a large sieve with a layer of heavy-duty (fine-mesh) cheesecloth and place it over a large bowl.

Slowly bring milk, cream, and salt to a rolling boil in a 6-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. Add lemon juice, then reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring constantly, until the mixture curdles, about 2 minutes.

Pour the mixture into the lined sieve and let it drain 1 hour. After discarding the liquid, chill the ricotta, covered; it will keep in the refrigerator 2 days.

(From Gourmet April 2006)

Dessert:  Colleen
Mascarpone Brownies

1 c unsalted butter
3 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 c white sugar
½ c cocoa powder (sifted)
½ c mascarpone cheese
3 large eggs, at room-temperature
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
½ c all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt

6 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 T whipping cream
3 T unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 325F and grease or parchment paper a 8x8 pan. Set aside.

In glass mixing bowl melt butter in microwave on full power. Stir in chocolate and mix until combined (a few additional seconds in the microwave may be needed). Add sugar to chocolate/butter mixture until combined. Heat for an additional 30 seconds on high, remove and stir until it looks shiny. It will still look a bit grainy.
Add mascarpone, vanilla, eggs and mixing until smooth.

Sift flour, salt and cocoa into mixture with a sieve and stir just until combined, making sure to scrape all sides of the bowl. (Mixture will be rather light in texture, instead of dense and heavy like many brownie batters)

Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth top to ensure even baking. Bake for 40-50 minutes (ours is usually done around 47 minutes) until tester comes out clean. Use the flat end of a potato masher to lightly tamp down the surface of the brownies while they are still warm. Do not squish, merely flatten any parts that might have raised more than others (typically the edges). This will help the ganache coat evenly. Leave in pan and set on wire rack to cool.

While brownies are cooling, make your ganache to pour over the top (which you will want to do while your brownies are still warm). To do so, simply heat butter and cream on medium power (taking care not to boil) in the microwave and add chocolate. Stir until all lumps disappear. Immediately pour over brownies. Let cool completely (we find placing them in the fridge helps up stay out of the pan until they the ganache is set 100%). Once chilled a knife will cut through them cleanly, make sure to clean your blade for each cut for a more polished look.

The mascarpone keeps things moist and dense without the same thin, underdone taste of a normal fudgy brownie. It also allows the chocolate to shine through without feeling a sugar coma after eating one (although we make no promises that you can eat just one).


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ode to Tomato - September 2011

Diva:  Lovina

Drinks:  Aven's mom
Tomato Martini

2 very ripe tomatoes
1 garlic clove
Kosher salt

For each cocktail:

2.5 ounces cucumber vodka
Cherry tomatoes (to garnish)

Chop tomatoes, garlic, fennel and cucubmber roughly. Place in a bowl with 3 tablespoons kosher salt and let marinate for at least 30 minutes, then transfer tomatoes and juice from bowl into food processor and pulse a few times until roughly chopped. Line a mesh sieve with a cloth napkin and pour tomato mixture into it. Let drip into a container overnight. Discard solids, and reserve liquid.

For each martini, shake 2.5 ounces tomato consommé with 2.5 ounces vodka and serve strait up in a cocktail glass. Garnish with cherry tomatoes.

(Adapted from

Tomato Veggie Juice
Juice tomatoes, celery, cucumber, beets, carrots, garlic, onion, fennel, and herbs of choice.

Appetizer:  Ivy (sub for Mariah)
Tomato Confit and Marinated Tomato Tart

Tomato confit
2 ½ pounds large plum tomatoes, quartered lengthwise, seeds and membranes removed
4 large fresh thyme sprigs
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
½ c olive oil
1 tsp coarse sea salt

Marinated tomatoes
1 pound large plum tomatoes
2 large fresh thyme sprigs
2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
½ tsp coarse sea salt
1 ½ c (or more) olive oil

1 ¾ c plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
¾ tsp fine sea salt
10 T chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 large egg yolks
2 T (about) water, room temperature
1 egg yolk, beaten with 1 teaspoon water to blend (for glaze)

Salad topping
8 c loosely packed arugula
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
½ tsp fine sea salt
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, shaved with vegetable peeler
6 large fresh basil leaves

For tomato confit:

Preheat oven to 300°F. Oil large rimmed baking sheet. Arrange tomatoes on baking sheet. Scatter thyme sprigs and garlic cloves over. Drizzle with 1/2 cup olive oil, then sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Bake tomatoes 45 minutes. Turn tomatoes over; continue to bake until tomatoes shrink slightly but are still plump and moist, about 1 hour longer. Cool completely. Peel off skins. 

For marinated tomatoes:
Bring large pot of water to boil. Add tomatoes; blanch 30 seconds. Drain. Cool tomatoes. Peel, quarter, and seed tomatoes. Cut away membranes. Transfer tomatoes to glass jar or bowl. Add thyme, garlic cloves, and salt. Pour enough oil over tomatoes to cover. Let stand at room temperature 2 hours.

For crust:
Blend flour and salt in processor. Using on/off turns, cut in butter until coarse meal forms. Add 2 egg yolks and 1 tablespoon water; process just until moist clumps form, adding more water if dry. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic and chill 2 hours. Preheat oven to 375°F. Roll out dough on lightly floured parchment paper to 12-inch round. Transfer parchment with crust to baking sheet. Pierce crust all over with fork; brush with egg glaze. Bake until crust is golden brown, about 27 minutes. Cool crust completely on parchment on baking sheet. 

For salad topping:

Toss greens with oil and sea salt in large bowl. Place crust on platter. Arrange greens atop crust, leaving 1-inch plain border. 

Starting at outside edge and working toward center, alternate tomato confit and marinated tomatoes in slightly overlapping concentric circles atop greens. Top with Parmesan shavings. Garnish with basil leaves. Cut into wedges and serve.


Salad: Aven
Summer Salad

really ripe tomatoes

freshly picked cucumbers

white balsamic vinegar 

olive oil

salt & pepper

chop tomatoes, cucumbers and basil however you like and sprinkle with oil, vinegar, salt and pepper
toss lightly and eat immediately

Soup:  Mary Ellen (Sub for Sara)
Roasted Veggie Gazpacho Soup

8-12 tomatoes
4 large garlic cloves
2 large red bell peppers
2 large orange bell peppers
1 large onion
2 T vegetable oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 ½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp crushed red pepper
3 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 T red wine vinegar
¼ c chopped cilantro

Roast the vegetables. (The oven worked for me, but you could also grill them.) Meanwhile, remove the garlic cloves from the skewers, peel them and transfer to a large bowl. Peel the peppers and add them to the bowl along with the onion, cumin, crushed red pepper, lemon juice and vinegar.

Working in batches, puree the vegetable mixture in a blender or food processor. Pour the gazpacho into a clean bowl and season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours. Just before serving, stir the cilantro into the gazpacho. Ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with the cilantro, avocado, sour cream, croutons, or a bit of fresh salsa and serve.

(Adapted from

Side Dish:  Lovina
Grilled Panzanella

1 ½ c fresh basil leaves

½ c plus 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 large shallot, thinly sliced

5 dashes hot sauce (I used cholula)

2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
2 T fresh lemon juice

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 pounds ripe tomatoes, assorted colors and sizes

1 12-ounce loaf rustic or sourdough bread, cut into 1/2"-thick slices
1 garlic clove, halved

Chop basil leaves and add to large mixing bowl. Add ½ cup olive oil, shallot, hot sauce, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Stir with fork to blend then season to taste with salt and pepper. Slice tomatoes into assorted wedges, rounds, and cubes; add to bowl with dressing. Toss to coat; let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or preheat a gas grill to high. Brush bread with remaining ¼ cup olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Grill bread until charred in spots, about 2 minutes per side. Rub grilled bread with cut sides of garlic clove. Tear bread into 1"–2" pieces. Add bread to bowl with tomato mixture; toss to coat. Season panzanella to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

(Adapted from

Entrée: Stacey
Pasta with Homemade Meatballs

3T olive oil

1 onion diced
kosher salt and pepper

3 garlic cloves minced
2 c torn pieces of crustless white bread
½ c buttermilk

1 tsp fresh thyme

2 lbs ground beef
¼ c italian parsley-chopped
8 oz. mozz. cheese-cut into 1-inch cubes

7 c good tomato sauce (your choice)

1 ½ lbs pasta (I used orchiette)--cooked and drained
grated parmesan for garnish

In a large saucepan heat up 1 T. olive oil, add onion and generous pinch of salt, and cook for 10 mins. Add garlic and cook 1 minute.  Let cool.  In a bowl combine bread and buttermilk.  Add beef, onion mixture, parsley, thyme, 2 1/2 t. salt, 1 t. pepper.  Mix gently with hands.  Form 12 large meatballs and lay on a baking sheet.  Stuff one mozz. cheese cube into center of each one.  In the same pan over med-high heat, add 2 T. olive oil.  Brown the meatballs--will take two batches--about 10 mins.  Transfer to a plate.  Pour tomato sauce in pan.  Add meatballs and simmer over medium heat--turning once--for 30 mins. until meatballs are cooked through.  Serve over hot pasta with plenty of parmesan cheese.  

**meatballs can be made in advance, and frozen (uncooked).  Lay the meatballs on a cookie sheet and freeze overnight.  Transfer to a large freezer ziplock bag and put back into freezer until you need them.

(Adapted from Williams and Sonoma Catalog recipe)

Dessert:  Ashley
Tomato Tarte Tatin

1 ¾ lbs plum tomatoes (8 large)

3 T unsalted butter, room temperature

¾ c sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half of 17.3-ounce package), thawed, corners cut off to make very rough 9- to 10-inch round

Lightly sweetened whipped cream

Preheat oven to 425°F. Bring large saucepan of water to boil. Cut shallow X in bottom of each tomato. Add 4 tomatoes to boiling water. Blanch tomatoes just until skins at X begin to peel back, 15 to 30 seconds. Using slotted spoon, transfer blanched tomatoes to bowl of ice water to cool quickly. Repeat with remaining tomatoes. Peel tomatoes. Cut out cores, halve lengthwise, and remove seeds.

Spread butter over bottom of 9 1/2-inch diameter, 2- to 3-inch-deep ovenproof skillet (preferably cast-iron). Sprinkle 3/4 cup sugar over butter. Arrange tomato halves, rounded side down and close together, in concentric circles in skillet to fill completely.

Place skillet over medium heat. Cook until sugar and butter are reduced to thickly bubbling, deep amber syrup (about 1/4 inch deep in bottom of skillet), moving tomatoes occasionally to prevent burning, about 25 minutes. Remove skillet from heat. Immediately drizzle vanilla over tomatoes. Top with pastry round. Using knife, tuck in edges of pastry. Cut 2 or 3 small slits in pastry. Place skillet in oven and bake tart until pastry is deep golden brown, about 24 minutes.

Cool tart in skillet 10 minutes. Cut around sides of skillet to loosen pastry. Place large platter over skillet. Using oven mitts as said, hold skillet and platter firmly together and invert, allowing tart to settle onto platter. Carefully lift off skillet. Rearrange any tomato halves that may have become dislodged.

Serve tart warm or at room temperature with whipped cream.

(From Bon Appetit August 2010)