Sunday, December 9, 2012

Rustic Comfort Food: Celebratory Style - December 2012

Diva: Lovina

Drinks: Aven
Red and White Wine

Blackberry Wine Spritzers
I added some homemade blackberry juice to some sparkling water and then mixed with wine half and half over ice.

Cranberry Raspberry Shrub
1 c frozen or fresh berries
1 c sugar
1 c apple cider vinegar
sparkling water

Bring the fruit and sugar to a boil and stir until the sugar dissolves.  Remove from heat and add the vinegar.  Pour mixture into a jar and let sit at least 1 full day before drinking for flavors to combine.  Mix fruit mixture and water to taste and serve over ice; half and half is good and not too vingegary.


Soup: Colleen
Potato Soup with Smokey Cheese

2 large red onions, chopped
3 T butter
3 Yukon gold potatoes, diced
4 c veggie broth
1 c whipping cream
1 c buttermilk
Salt and Pepper
~ 8 oz sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
8 or more oz of smoked cheddar cheese, shredded (add to taste)

Saute onions in butter with a pinch of salt until soft. Add potatoes and broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and cook until potatoes are soft (30-45 min).  Remove from heat and puree with an immersion blender.  Add heavy cream, buttermilk and cheese and heat through.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve garnished with extra cheese!
This soup is also delicious if you add kale or spinach!

Adapted from:

Salad: Tiffany
salad ingredients: candied nuts (I'll forward you the recipe my sister sent me), feta, thinly sliced red onion, dried cranberries (I used pomegranate), mixed greens

dressing ingredients: 1/3 c. olive oil, 1/4 c. sugar, 1/4 c. raspberry vinegar (I couldn't find it, so used balsalmic raspberry vinegar), 1/2 t. salt, 1/2 t. Tabasco, pepper, dried parsley

Side: Erin

Cauliflower Gratin
1 (3-pound) head cauliflower, cut into large florets
Kosher salt
4 T unsalted butter, divided
3 T all-purpose flour
2 c hot milk

½  tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼  tsp grated nutmeg
¾  c freshly grated Gruyere, divided
½  c freshly grated Parmesan
¼  c fresh bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Cook the cauliflower florets in a large pot of boiling salted water for 5 to 6 minutes, until tender but still firm. Drain. Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture and stir until it comes to a boil. Boil, whisking constantly, for 1 minute, or until thickened. Off the heat, add 1 teaspoon of salt, the pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup of the Gruyere, and the Parmesan. Pour 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom of an 8 by 11 by 2-inch baking dish. Place the drained cauliflower on top and then spread the rest of the sauce evenly on top. Combine the bread crumbs with the remaining 1/4 cup of Gruyere and sprinkle on top. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and drizzle over the gratin. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is browned. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Entree :


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Appetizers - September 2012

Diva: Colleen

Jalapeno Popper Dip

2 8-oz pkgs cream cheese
1 c mayo
1 c parmesan cheese
4 cloves garlic-minced
1 4-oz can diced green chilies
1 4-oz can diced jalapenos, drained
8 oz bacon-crisp and crumbled
french bread or chips for dipping

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Cook and crumble bacon, reserve 3 T for topping/garnish.  Combine cream cheese, mayo, parm., and garlic. Mix until smooth.  Add jalapenos and chilies.  Stir in bacon. Put in a glass baking dish and garnish with reserved bacon.  Bake 20-25 minutes, until hot and bubbly.  Enjoy!!


soy sauce
lemon juice

Boil artichokes until leaves easily pull off.  Mix mayo (about ¼ - ⅓ of a cup) with soy sauce and lemon juice (about a teaspoon of soy sauce and a squeeze of a lemon).  Mix sauce, adding more soy or lemon until you get it just the way you like it.

Garden Vegetable Salsa

2 zucchini, diced
1 c frozen corn
6 tomatoes, diced
1 jalepeno, minced
cilantro to taste
juice of one lime
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients, cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.  Serve with your favorite chips!

Lemony White Chocolate Mini Cheesecakes

1 package lemon snaps or small lemon cookies
4 8-oz pkgs cream cheese, softened
1 ¼ c sugar
10 oz white baking chocolate, melted and cooled
2 T all-purpose flour
2 T heavy whipping cream
2 T lemon juice
2 tsp grated lemon peel
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs, lightly beaten
strawberries and mint leaves, optional

Place one cookie in bottom of cupcake papers inside muffin tins, set aside. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in the white chocolate, flour, cream, lemon juice, lemon peel and vanilla. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Pour into cupcake cups. Bake at 325° for 25-35 minutes or until centers are just set and top appears dull.
Refrigerate overnight. Garnish with strawberries and mint leaves iif desired.
Yield: 36 servings.
Adapted from Taste of Home magazine Cheesecakes edition

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Superfoods - August 2012

Diva: Tiffany

Drinks: Tiffany
Muay Thai (superfoods: coconut and ginger)

2 thin jalapeno slices
2 basil sprigs
2 oz Bombay Sapphire gin
¾ oz fresh lime juice
½ oz cream of coconut
½ oz ginger syrup* ( ¼ c chopped ginger, 1 pt. water, 2 c sugar) + sparkling water

Muddle 1 jalapeno slice and 1 basil sprig in a mixing glass.  Add remaining ingredients, fill with ice, and shake vigorously.  Strain into an ice-filled glass.  Garnish with the remaining jalapeno slice and basil sprig. Add sparkling water as needed to cut down on sweetness from drink.

ginger syrup: Add chopped ginger to water and boil.  Add sugar and bring back to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.  Strain and refrigerate.
From Southwest Airlines Spirit magazine

sparkling water, coconut water, and wine




Side: Colleen
Quinoa Salad

2 c quinoa - cooked per package directions
1 english cucumber, peeled and diced
1 5 oz jar kalamata olives, sliced
1 orange, yellow or red bell pepper, diced
8 oz feta, cubed
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
¾ c lemon juice
½ c olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Cook quinoa and let cool.  Mix in cucumber, olives, peppers, feta and tomatoes.  Mix lemon juice, oil and salt and pepper in small bowl.  Add to salad and toss.  Serve chilled.

Cedar plank Salmon with a Soy Star Anise Reduction Sauce; Served over Tamari-Almond Crusted Edamame Cakes

Soy Star-Anise Reduction Sauce
½ c soy sauce
½ c dry sherry
¼ c mirin
1 T fresh grated ginger
2 T fresh squeezed lime juice
2 T honey
2 star anise pods

Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer for 20 minutes on medium heat until reduced.

Tamarind Almond Crusted Edamame Cakes

2 packages frozen shelled edamame
3 eggs
2 T bread crumbs
1 T chopped tarragon
¾ c tamarind almonds
1 T fresh squeezed lemon
salt and pepper

Bring a pot of salted water to boil and cook edamame for 5 minutes. Drain and transfer to food prcoessor. Pulse until coarsely chopped.


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Cuisine of the Deep South - July 2012

Diva: Hallie

Drinks: Erin
Summer Shandy

pink lemonade
bud light


Appetizer: Ashley
Cornbread cups with Spicy Crab or BBQ chicken

Make 2 batches of cornbread in a mini muffin pan.  Use just the tops upside down. 

Spicy Crab mixture:
2 cans lump crabmeat, drained
½ c sour cream
½ T of chili oil
2 tsp chipotle powder
salt to taste
cayenne for garnish

BBQ chicken mixture:
shredded chicken mixed with bbq sauce to taste. Topped with chopped sweet pickles

Salad: Lovina
Southern BELT (bacon, egg, lettuce, and tomato)

Mixed greens
Hard boiled eggs
Crumbled bacon
Tomato wedges
Fresh tarragon

Balsamic vinaigrette:
¼ c minced shallot
¾ c olive oil
¼ c chopped fresh parsley
½ c balsamic vinegar
2 tsp honey
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper

Soup: Mary Ellen
Chilled Watermelon Soup

One ripe, seedless watermelon
4 T lime juice (or to taste)
Fresh mint
8 T apple sauce or apple juice (or to taste)
Ground ginger (a couple shakes)
Honey (optional, if more sweetness is needed)
Plain yogurt

Blend first 5 ingredients in food processor or blender. Chill for at least one hour. Serve with plain yogurt and fresh mint. 

Entree: Hallie
Tender Pork Spare Ribs

1 c brown sugar
½  c Old Bay seasoning
2 T Hungarian sweet paprika
2 racks pork spareribs, fat trimmed
1 c beer
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T honey
3 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T prepared brown mustard

Mix the brown sugar, Old Bay seasoning, and paprika in a bowl. Rub both sides of the pork spareribs with the brown sugar mixture. Place the spareribs in a 9x13-inch baking pan; cover and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat an oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C). Whisk together the beer, garlic, honey, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard in a bowl. Set aside.
Tear off 2 large sheets of heavy duty aluminum foil and lay them shiny-side down. Place a rack of spareribs on each sheet, meaty-side up. Tear off 2 more sheets of foil and place them on top of the ribs, shiny-side up. Begin tightly folding the edges of the foil together to create a sealed packet. Just before sealing completely, divide the beer mixture evenly into each packet. Complete the seal. Place the packets side-by-side on an 11x14-inch baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven until the ribs are very tender, 3 hours and 30 minutes to 4 hours. Carefully open each packet, and drain the drippings into a saucepan. You may only need the drippings from one packet. Set ribs aside. Simmer the drippings over medium-high heat until the sauce begins to thicken, about 5 minutes. Brush the thickened sauce over the ribs.
Preheat the oven's broiler and set the oven rack about 6 inches from the heat source. Place the ribs back into the oven and broil until the sauce is lightly caramelized, 5 to 7 minutes.
Let the ribs rest at least 15 minutes before cutting them up.
adapted from

New Orleans Shrimp Boil

Boil 4 lbs of shrimp with a packet of Zatarains New Orleans seafood boil spices and one lemon cut into quarters.

Side Dish: Aven
Roasted Red Pepper Grits

2 medium red bell peppers
1 large onion
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup quick-cooking grits
4 cups whole milk
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco, or to taste

Roast and peel bell peppers. Finely chop onion.
In a food processor or blender purée roasted peppers until smooth. In a large heavy saucepan cook onion in butter over moderately low heat, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Stir in grits and add 2 cups milk in a stream, stirring. Simmer mixture, stirring, until milk is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Stir in remaining 2 cups milk and simmer, stirring occasionally, until milk is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Stir in water and gently simmer (do not cover), stirring occasionally, until grits are soft and thickened, about 35 minutes.
Stir in roasted-pepper purée, Tabasco, and salt and pepper to taste. Grits may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered, in a buttered 11-inch gratin or other shallow baking dish (about 6-cup). Reheat grits in a 400° F. oven until hot, about 15 minutes.

adapted from

Dessert: Stacey
Old Fashioned Root Beer Float Cake

1 c butter
2 c sugar
3 c flour
1 ½ T baking powder
½ tsp salt
3 ½ tsp water
4 eggs
1 T root beer extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c milk

Vanilla Frosting:
7 ½ c powdered sugar
2 ½ c butter
3 to 5 T heavy cream
3 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter; then add the sugar and continue mixing until light and fluffy. Meanwhile, sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the water and eggs to the butter mixture until blended. Mix in the root beer extract and vanilla. Alternately add the flour mixture and milk to form a smooth batter.
Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake until just set, about 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool in pans for 5 minutes, and then invert onto cooling racks to cool completely before frosting.
Make the Frosting: In a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the confectioners' sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended; then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes. Add the cream and vanilla and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed to reach spreading consistency.
To decorate the cake: Place 1 cooled cake layer on a cake stand, frost the top surface, and chill for 15 minutes (or freeze 5 minutes). Place the second cake layer on top, inverting it to create a flat top, and push down on it slightly. Frost the sides and top with a thin layer of frosting to hold in any crumbs (called a crumb layer), and chill 30 minutes or freeze 15 minutes. Apply a second layer of frosting to finish off the cake, swirling the frosting a bit.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Taste the Sunshine - June 2012

Diva: Erin

Drinks: Ashley
Liquid Sunshine

Mix together equal parts: Pineapple juice, Carrot Orange juice, and Pineapple Coconut Juice.  Add 2 shots of Malibu rum for each glass.  Pour over ice.

Appetizer: Mary Ellen

Solar Flare Eggs (Deviled Eggs)

24 eggs
Dijon mustard
Dill pickle juice
Salt and pepper
Minced onion
Sweet red pepper

Make sure eggs are room temp before submerging in boiling water. Let cool. Peel and slice in half. Mix egg yolks with mayonnaise, dijon mustard, pickle juice, salt and pepper, and minced onion.  Pipe back into egg white halves and put two very thin strips of sweet red pepper on top. Sprinkle with paprika.

Soup: Lovina
Yam and Carrot Soup with Yogurt Aioli

3 large yams, peeled and cubed
6 large carrots, peeled and cubed
2 onions, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 T olive oil
8 c vegetable broth
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp garam masala
¼ c fresh marjoram

Chop and prep all the vegetables. In a large pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute onions and garlic until softened. Add yams and carrots and saute for 5 mins. Add stock and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes until the carrots and yams are fork tender. Remove from heat. Prepare yogurt aioli (recipe below). Add fresh marjoram, garam masala and cumin. Process the soup with an immersion blender until soup is smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Marjoram Yogurt Aioli

1 c greek yogurt
¼ c milk
1 T mayonnaise
fresh marjoram, chopped
1 T fresh squeezed lemon juice

In a small mixing bowl, combine yogurt, milk and mayo. Whisk until smooth. Add fresh marjoram and lemon juice. Mix and add salt and pepper to taste. Add small dollop to soup and garnish with fresh sprig of marjoram.

Salad: Erin
Tomato and Avocado Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

3-4 Avocados
5-6 Tomatoes

¼ c balsamic vinegar
2 tsp dark brown sugar, optional
1 T chopped garlic
½ tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¾ c olive oil
Blue cheese, for garnish

Beat the vinegar in a bowl with the optional sugar, garlic, salt and pepper until sugar and salt dissolves. Then beat in the oil by droplets, whisking constantly. (Or place all the ingredients in a screw-top jar and shake to combine.) Taste and adjust the seasonings.
Toss a few tablespoons of the dressing with the desired salad ingredients, top with blue cheese and serve immediately.
If not using dressing right away, cover and refrigerate, whisking or shaking again before use.

Emeril Lagasse Balsamic Vinaigrette Recipe

Entree: Aven
Grapefruit Grilled Chicken
2 pink grapefruits
2 T brown sugar
1 T honey
¼ c olive oil
salt and pepper
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced in half horizontally
Juice one grapefruit into a bowl. On the second grapefruit, slice the bottom and top to level it, then starting at the top where the white pith ends and the pink flesh begins, cut between the 2 layers at an angle from the top to bottom all the way around to remove the skin and expose the flesh, making sure to slice off all the pithy white parts. Holding the grapefruit in one hand, release the wedges by using the knife to slice on either side of each segment.
Place these wedges in a medium saute pan. Squeeze the remaining flesh and membranes of the grapefruit to release any juice into the bowl with the juice from the first. Add the sugar and honey. Whisk to combine, then taste. If needed, add a teaspoon or more brown sugar to take away the tart of the grapefruit. Pour half of the mixture into a saute pan with the grapefruit wedges. Bring to a simmer and cook until liquid is reduced and slightly thickened, about 8 minutes.      
To the remaining half add the oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Whisk to combine and pour into a plastic bag. Add the chicken, seal and toss a bit before resting on the counter for 25 to 30 minutes, any longer and the acid in the grapefruit juice will "cook" the chicken in the marinade and ruin it.
Heat a grill pan to medium high and brush lightly with oil. Remove the chicken from the plastic bag and shake off the excess marinade. Place the smooth-side down on the grill and cook 2 to 3 minutes, then flip and cook 2 minutes more. Remove to a serving plate and pour the grapefruit sauce over the top.

recipe by Sunny Anderson from

Side: Stacey
Marinated Vegetable Platter

1 ½ lbs. carrots
1 head cauliflower
1 head broccoli
2 cans jumbo black olives
1 basket cherry tomatoes

Mustard Marinade:
1 c canola oil
⅔ c white wine vinegar
3 cloves garlic
3 tsp salt
4 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp pepper
Beat with a wire whip until smooth.

Peel carrots and slice diagonally. Cut cauliflower and broccoli in small pieces. Steam veggies until desired tenderness about 10 minutes. Plunge in cold water to cool down. Arrange all veggies in a 9x13 dish. Pour marinade over.  Cover and chill overnight.  Arrange on a platter.  Makes lots.  Enjoy!!

Dessert: Hallie

Lottery: Mariah

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Indian - May 2012

Diva: Ashley

Drinks: Mary Ellen
Bombay Sapphire Gin and Tonics

Pour a shot of gin over ice and add tonic to fill glass.

Ginger Lemonade Concentrate

2 c water
1 c sugar (can use honey)
2 T grated ginger
1 c lemon juice

Simmer sugar and ginger in water for 5 minutes-until liquid is clear. Let cool and add lemon juice. Mix with sparkling or still water and serve over ice.

Appetizer: Lovina
Samosa Cutlets with Cilantro Chutney

Potato Cutlets:
¾ bag frozen green peas (about 2 ½ c)
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 large cloves garlic, finely minced
9 medium potatoes
2-3 tsp tumeric
3 tsp cumin powder
3 tsp curry powder
3 tsp salt
½ jalapeno, finely chopped
juice of 2-3 lemons, freshly squeezed
oil for frying

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Meanwhile, steam peas and transfer to a large bowl then mash. In a large saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons canola oil and add peas, onion, garlic, and jalapeno. Add tumeric, cumin, curry and salt. Cook stirring often until onions are softened. In the meantime, wash potatoes and prick skins with a fork. Add to boiling water and cook until tender. Return pea mixture to bowl and add lemon juice. Mix and set aside. When potatoes are cooked, remove from water and allow to cool slightly until they can be handled. Remove skins and place in another bowl and mash until a coarse mealy texture is formed. Combine potatoes and pea mixture and season to taste. Set aside to cool. Coat bottom of large heavy saute pan (I used cast iron) with oil and heat over medium-high heat. Prepare patties by hand (about dollar-sized) and add to pan, reduce heat slightly to medium, and fry for approximately 2-3 minutes per side, until a nice brown crust forms. Cook patties in batches and serve immediately with Cilantro Chutney.

Cilantro Chutney
I bunch cilantro, stems removed, rough chopped
1 ½ large cloves garlic, whole
½ jalapeno, rough chopped
1 tsp cumin powder
juice of 1 lemon, freshly squeezed
1 tsp salt
¼ c whole raw almonds (about 8-10)
2-3 T water

Add all ingredients to blender and process until smooth. Add water to desirable consistency and season to taste. Can be made a day in advance to allow flavors to develop. Place a teaspoon-sized dollop on top of simosa patties.

**This recipe was contributed and prepared by my friend Monika’s mother, Sudha, during her visit to the Palouse for Monika’s graduation from WSU.

Soup: Colleen
Cold Mango Soup

lots of mango - maybe 4 or 5 cups?
2 c orange juice
juice of 2 limes
1½  c plain yogurt

Place ingredients in blender and purée.  Chill for at least two hour. Recipe slightly adapted from:  The original recipe produced a very, very thin soup that mostly tasted of orange juice.  I added a lot more mango and it ended up more of the consistency and flavor I was looking for.

Salad: Aven
Lentil Chopped Salad

1 c brown lentils, dry
1 large cucumber, diced
1 red or yellow bell pepper, diced
1 c diced tomatoes
¼ c fresh parsley, finely chopped
extra tomatoes and parsley for garnish, optional

Bring lentils to boil in 4 cups water, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes until lentils are tender but not falling apart.  Drain and cool lentils.  Toss lentils with dressing and then stir in veggies and parsley.  Garnish each serving with a large tomato slice and sprig of parsley.

Coriander and Ginger Dressing
2 T apple cider vinegar
2 T olive oil  
⅛ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground coriander
pinch sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Mix ingredients well.

Side Dish: Hallie
Ginger Carrot Rice

3 c basmati Rice
1 onion
6 carrots
ground ginger (how much do you like?)
1-2 c roasted peanuts chopped
salt to taste
cayenne to taste

Cook rice according to directions. I mix a little ground ginger in to infuse the rice. As the rice cooks, saute the onion in butter for about 10 minutes. Add the grated carrots and ground ginger to the onions and cover to steam for about 2 minutes. Add the cayenne and salt to taste and combine the rice, peanuts, and sauteed veggies.

Entree: Erin
Garam Masala Scallops (with Roasted Acorn Squash or Jasmine Rice)

1 large (1 1/2- to 2-lb) acorn squash (Disregard squash directions if using Jasmine Rice instead)
¾  lb sea scallops, tough muscle removed from sides if necessary
1 ½  T vegetable oil
¾  tsp turmeric
1 ½  T minced seeded jalapeño chile
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 tsp grated peeled fresh ginger
1 T plus 2 tsp fresh lime juice
¼  c water
¾  c heavy cream
1 ½  tsp garam masala
Garnish: very thin slices of jalapeño chile, chopped fresh cilantro, and ground Aleppo pepper or cayenne

Prepare squash:
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Halve squash lengthwise, reserving 1 half for another use. Halve remaining squash piece diagonally crosswise and season with salt. Arrange wedges, cut sides up, in a small roasting pan filled with 1/2 inch water. Cover roasting pan tightly with foil and roast until tender, about 1 hour.
Prepare scallops after squash has been roasting 30 minutes:
Pat scallops dry and season with salt. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown scallops on both sides, 4 to 6 minutes total (scallops will be almost cooked through). Remove from heat. Add turmeric and toss until scallops are yellow, then transfer to a bowl.
Cook jalapeño, garlic, ginger, and 1 tablespoon lime juice in remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil in skillet over moderately high heat, stirring, 1 minute. Add water and simmer until water is evaporated and chile mixture is softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add cream and garam masala and simmer 2 minutes. Remove from heat and cover.
When squash is tender, add remaining 2 teaspoons lime juice and scallops with any liquid that has accumulated in bowl to sauce and simmer until scallops are just cooked through and sauce is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.
Put a squash wedge on each of 2 plates and spoon scallops and sauce over squash.

Cooks' notes: Squash may be roasted 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Reheat, covered, in a microwave about 5 minutes. For a fuller, more caramelized squash flavor (but a more rustic presentation due to browning), roast squash uncovered, cut sides down, and substitute 2 tablespoons butter for water in pan. Scallops and sauce may be prepared separately 2 hours ahead and chilled, covered.

Dessert: Stacey
Chai Masala Cake

1 T butter
3 T brown sugar
1 ½ T flour
⅓ c chopped walnuts
2 tsp chai tea (dry)

1 ¼ c flour
⅛ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
6 T butter, softened
½ c sugar
2 eggs
¾ c plain yogurt
1 t. vanilla

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
Butter a loaf pan and flour well.

In a shallow dish mix ingredients with a fork until crumbly.

Sift dry ingredients together in a bowl.
Cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Mix well with a mixer.  Alternately add flour mixture and yogurt.  Mix until smooth and creamy.
Put half of the mixture into the loaf pan.  Spoon in ¾ of the topping mixture.  Add the rest of the batter and then spoon the rest of the topping mixture on top.
Bake for 40 minutes.  Let rest in the pan for 10 minutes then turn onto a cooling rack.

Serve slices with ice cream and strawberries (optional)

Lottery: Tiffany

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Green Tea - April 2012

Diva: Mary Ellen

Drinks: Lovina
Pomegranate-Lemongrass Green Tea Spritzer

3-4 oz (about ½ c)  green tea concentrate (recipe below)
1½  oz pomegranate flavored vodka
5-6 oz (about ⅔ c) pomegranate spritzer (I used soda water flavored with Mio Berry Pomegranate water enhancer)

Pour ingredients over ice in large tumbler. Mix and enjoy!

To make green tea concentrate:
Place 15 bags Lemongrass Green Tea in large heat proof bowl. Pour in 2 quarts boiling water and let steep for 5 minutes. Remove tea bags. Stir in ½ cup honey.

Jasmine Green Tea and Lavender Cooler

3-4 oz (about ½ c) green tea concentrate (recipe below)
2-3 oz (about ⅓ c) lavender water (recipe below)
5-6 oz (about ⅔ c) soda water
Pour ingredients over ice in large tumbler. Mix and enjoy!

To make green tea concentrate:
Place 8 bags Jasmine Green Tea in large heat proof bowl. Pour in 1 quart boiling water and let steep for 5 minutes. Remove tea bags. Stir in ¼ cup honey.

To make lavender water:
Put 1 Tbsp lavender flowers in tea ball and place in heat proof bowl. Pour in 1 quart boiling water and let steep for 5 minutes. Remove tea ball. Stir in ½ cup sugar and 2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice.

Appetizer: Colleen
Jasmine Green Tea Bread

3 c all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ tsp instant yeast
1¼ tsp salt
jasmine green tea
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups tea, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.
Adapted from New York Times No-Knead Bread Recipe, Published: November 8, 2006
Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery

I was scared that the bread was going all wrong so I made these just in case:
Green tea soft pretzel rolls
1½  c jasmine green tea
¼  c olive oil
3½  c flour
1 T sugar
1½   t salt
2 tsp yeast
Put ingredients in bread machine on dough cycle.  When cycle is finished, cut dough into portion sizes and let rise for 30 minutes. Roll into snakes and shape like pretzels.  Bake at 450 for 10-14 minutes.

Roasted Garlic Edamame Dip

4½  c cooked, shelled edamame
2 oz goat cheese
4-5 oz cream cheese
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 2 lemons
1-2 heads roasted garlic (based on how strong you want the dip)
½  tsp salt
dash of red pepper

Put all ingredients into food processor and blend until smooth.



Entree: Hallie
Green Tea Teriyaki Chicken

Sei Mee Tea
Bit of water to dissolve the tea
4 green onions, chopped, divided
2 T honey
rice wine vinegar to taste (you want to balance the honey and decide if you want the dish
to be sweet or savory)
soy sauce to taste- just a bit, though unless you’re really going for savory—it overpowers
the tea flavor easily, though, so be careful
4 garlic cloves, minced
minced fresh gingerroot to taste-don’t be shy- I add enough to thicken the sauce
small splash of sesame oil- very small splash
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (4 ounces each)

Place the water with tea into a large skillet. Add half of the onions. Stir in the honey,
vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, ginger and sesame oil. Bring to a boil.
Add chicken and another scoop of tea; cover and cook over medium-high heat for about
10 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 170°. Cut chicken into thin
slices; serve with sauce. Garnish with remaining onions.

Adapted from

Ginger and Green Tea Tofu

Marinate the whole cube of extra firm tofu overnight in a mixture of:
Rice wine vinegar
A lot of grated ginger
1 scoop of Sei Mee Tea
A dash of soy sauce
A dash of sesame oil
To cook:
Coat the bottom of a skillet with about ¼ inch of olive oil. Heat the oil for a minute or two
and throw in ¼ to ½ inch thick slices of marinated tofu. Brown each side.
Heat the marinade to boiling in a separate pan for a minute, or so. Serve sliced tofu drizzled
with hot marinade.

Side Dish: Erin
Pineapple Fried Rice

1 c Jasmine or Basmati Rice
1 can (20 oz) pineapple tidbits, drained (or fresh)
3 green onion, chopped
1 large red chili, finely chopped
3 sprigs cilantro, coarsely chopped
2 c fresh shrimp, cleaned and deveined
3 T oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T fish sauce
1 ½ T soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
cilantro for garnish

Prepare rice according to package directions and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine pineapple, onions, chile and cilantro; mix and set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in skillet, sauté shrimp until done. Remove shrimp from skillet. In same skillet, over medium heat, add remaining oil. Sauté garlic until golden brown. Add cooked rice and stir. Add fish sauce, soy sauce, and sugar. Stir and heat thoroughly.
Fold in pineapple mixture and shrimp. Heat through. Garnish with cilantro and serve.



Monday, March 12, 2012

Black Cypress - March 2012

Dinner at Black Cypress

House Red & White by the glass and carafe


haloumi, date jam, mint, grilled bread

grilled Panhandle Bakery ciabatta with smoked steelhead, cream cheese and capers

tsatsiki, skordalia, melitzanosalata


spinach, red onions, green apples, blue cheese, bacon, candied walnuts, balsamic mustard vinegarette

pistachios, blue cheese, parsley, evoo, lemon


spaghetti, plum tomatoes, basil, parm-regg, evoo

orrechiette, greek style meat sauce, myzithra cheese

spaghetti, bacon, garlic, cream, egg, parm-regg

briam, evoo & lemon

bread salad, seasonal greens, fresh herb pan jus



 Brownie a la mode

Panna Cotta

 Bread Pudding

Monday, February 13, 2012

Favorites - February 2012

Diva:  Colleen

Drinks:  Aven
Vodka Tonics with Kumquats

1 shot vodka
tonic water to taste  
1 kumquat cut in half

pour over ice and enjoy

Cucumber Water

10 thin slices cucumber  
1 slice lemon
½ gallon water

Let cucumber and lemon sit in water overnight in the refrigerator, and shake or stir before serving.

Appetizer:  Lovina
Polenta cakes with caramelized onions and fontina

4 c water
4 c half and half
2 c polenta
2 T fresh thyme
white pepper
½  c grated Parmesan
½  c melted butter
Caramelized onions (recipe below - do ahead)
1 ½  c grated fontina (or substitute blue cheese crumbles)

In a large pot, heat water and half and half to just before boiling (small bubbles will form along the edge). Season with fresh thyme, salt and white pepper. Slowly whisk in polenta. Reduce heat and stir continuously while mixture simmers for 10-12 minutes until polenta is thick and creamy and completely cooked. Stir in Parmesan. Season polenta to taste. Lightly sprinkle a sheet pan with water. Pour the cooked polenta out on the sheet pan and spread evenly to about a ¼ inch thickness. Allow to cool for 20 minutes or so. Once cool and firm, cut into small triangles with a pizza cutter.

Heat oven broiler to 500 (F). Transfer polenta wedges to dry baking sheet and brush tops with melted butter. Place sheet on oven rack about 4-6 inches from broiler. Broil for 5-7 minutes until polenta begins to turn golden brown. Remove pan from oven and flip polenta wedges, brush tops with butter, and return to broiler. Broil for another 5-7 minutes until browned. Remove from broiler and top polenta with about 1 tbsp of caramelized onions and sprinkle with about 1-2 tsp grated fontina (or substitute blue cheese crumbles). Return to broiler for 1-2 minutes until cheese is melted and beginning to brown. Transfer polenta wedges to serving tray and serve immediately.

Caramelized onions
8 c thinly sliced yellow onions
¼ c butter
¼ c olive oil
2 T balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

In a large skillet, add butter and olive oil over medium heat until bubbles begin to form. Add onions. Sprinkle with 2 tsp salt (to draw out moisture in onions) and stir. Saute until onions begin to wilt, then reduce heat to medium low. Cook onions for 30 minutes, turning frequently, until onions have turned soft and brown. Pour in balsamic vinegar and reduce for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Soup:  Hallie
Italian Wedding Soup

For the meatballs:
¾  pound ground chicken
½  pound chicken sausage, casings removed
⅔  c fresh white bread crumbs
2 tsp minced garlic (2 cloves)
3 T chopped fresh parsley leaves
¼  c freshly grated Pecorino Romano
¼  c freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
3 T milk
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the soup:
2 T good olive oil
2 leeks
1 c minced yellow onion
1 c diced carrots (3 carrots), cut into 1/4 inch pieces
¾  c diced celery (2 stalks), cut into 1/4 inch pieces
10 c homemade vegetable stock
½  c dry white wine
1 package orzo
12 ounces baby spinach, washed and trimmed

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
For the meatballs, place the ground chicken, sausage, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, Pecorino, Parmesan, milk, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper in a bowl and combine gently with a fork. With a teaspoon, drop 1 to 1¼ -inch meatballs onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. (You should have about 40 meatballs. They don't have to be perfectly round.) Bake for 30 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned. Set aside.

Cook the orzo separately until al dente.

In the meantime, for the soup, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large heavy-bottomed soup pot. Add the onion, carrots, leeks, and celery and saute until softened, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken stock and wine and bring to a boil. Puree until the leeks aren’t tough. Add the meatballs and orzo to the soup and simmer for 1 minute. Taste for salt and pepper. Stir in the fresh spinach and cook for 1 minute, until the spinach is just wilted. Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle each serving with extra grated Parmesan.

I tried to make this vegetarian and left out the meatballs and egg. Never do that. Keep the meatballs, or it becomes too bland.

Adapted from 2008, Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics

Salad:  Mary Ellen
Fresh Salad with Danish/French Dressing

Choose your favorite lettuce and top with tomatoes, yellow bell peppers, carrots, mini squares of feta cheese and the dressing.

Dressing: Equal parts dijon mustard and balsamic vinegar-whisked until smooth. Add olive oil 2 T at a time until you get the concentration you want. I like mine fairly concentrated, so I can use less!

Side Dish:  Stacey
Marbled Stuffed Potatoes

4 large russet potatoes
1 large sweet potato
½ c sour cream
3 T butter, cut into pieces
2 green onions, thinly sliced
¾ c shredded sharp cheddar cheese
pinch of nutmeg
kosher salt and pepper
olive oil, for brushing
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Put the russet and sweet potatoes directly on the oven rack and bake for 30 minutes.  Pierce each potato a few times with a fork and continue baking until tender, 15 minutes more for the sweet potato and 20-25 minutes more for the russet potato.  Let cool slightly.

Peel the sweet potato.  Transfer to a bowl and mash lightly with a fork until almost smooth.  Trim a thin slice off the top of each russet potato, cutting lengthwise.  Scoop most of the flesh into the bowl, leaving shells intact.  Add the sour cream and butter to the bowl and mash lightly.  Stir in green onions, ½ c cheese, nutmeg, 1 t salt, and 1 t pepper to taste.  Set aside.

Brush the potato skins with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Generously fill with the marbled potato mixture and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees.  Place the stuffed potatoes on a baking sheet and bake until cheese melts, about 25 to 30 minutes.  Enjoy!!

Food Network Magazine

Entree:  Tiffany
Eggplant Roll-Ups

1 large eggplant, cut lengthwise into 8 slices
salt and pepper
4 large eggs
¾ c pesto
2 ½ c bread crumbs
olive oil
¾ c ricotta cheese
⅓ c grated pecorino-romano cheese
1 c marinara (recipe to follow)

Season eggplant with salt and pepper.  In a wide, shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs and 4 T pesto.  Pour the bread crumbs onto a large plate.  Dip each eggplant slice into the egg mixture, then coat with the bread crumbs.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Working in batches,cook the eggplant until golden, 2 minutes on each side. Transfer eggplant to a paper towel lined baking sheet.  (Instead of frying eggplant, I coated a baking sheet with olive oil and baked it instead at 350, flipping eggplant after about 5 minutes).
In a small bowl, combine the ricotta and 3 T of the pecorino-romano; season with salt and pepper.  Spread 1 T of the remaining pesto on each eggplant slice and top with about 2 T of the cheese mixture.  Roll up each slice.  Bake (at 350) until the eggplant is tender when pierced with a toothpick, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring the marinara to a simmer.  Serve the roll-ups with the sauce and remaining cheese.

Rachel Ray

1 T olive oil
1 c chopped yellow onion
1 ½ tsp  minced garlic
½ c  red wine (I used chianti)
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 T chopped fresh parsley
1 ½ tsp kosher salt
½  tsp freshly ground black pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large (12-inch) skillet. Add the onion and saute over medium heat until translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the wine and cook on high heat, scraping up all the brown bits in the pan, until almost all the liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, parsley, salt, and pepper. Cover, and simmer on the lowest heat for 15 minutes.

Ina Garten recipe from

*I usually use my favorite jarred sauce (Cucina Antica marinara from the Co-op) when I make eggplant roll-ups.  For Divas, I felt like that was cheating, so I tried this Ina Garten recipe.  I didn’t love how my homemade marinara came out and think this meal is better with the Cucina Antica sauce

Dessert:  Erin

Flan with Caramel Sauce

"Flan" is the Spanish name for vanilla egg custard, topped with caramel sauce. It is a Spanish classic and one of the most popular desserts, served everywhere in Spain. Flan makes a great finish to any meal because even though it is sweet, it is a light dessert. Because it is made in ramekins or a baking dish and not removed until it's time to eat, it "travels" well in an ice chest. Just cover tightly with plastic wrap while en route and un-mold when ready to serve!

½  c sugar
2 c whipping cream*
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
¼  c sugar
½  c blanched almonds for garnish (optional)
sprig of mint for garnish (optional)
sliced berries for garnish (optional)

* To make a lower calorie flan, use 1 cup low-fat milk and 1 cup light whipping cream.

Wipe out six ramekins to ensure that there is no dust in them. Set in a glass baking dish.
Heat 4-5 cups of water in a pot on stove.
Put a heavy skillet or saucepan over medium heat for 30 seconds. Add 1/2  cup sugar. With the back of a wooden spoon, keep sugar moving constantly in skillet until sugar is completely melted, and of a rich medium brown color (caramelized). Carefully spoon caramelized sugar into each of the 6 ramekins or large dish.
Pre-heat oven to 325F degrees.
Scald cream in a saucepan. (Keep a close eye on the pan, so the cream does not boil over.) Remove immediately.
Meanwhile in a mixing bowl, beat slightly 3 eggs. Mix in 1/4 cup sugar. Stirring constantly, gradually add hot cream to egg yolk mixture. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Blend in vanilla extract. Ladle mixture into ramekins.
Carefully remove 1-2 ramekins to provide some extra room. Pour in hot water until there is about 1/2-inch of water in the 9” x 13” baking dish for boiling water bath. Replace ramekins. (If using one large open baking dish, be sure that the dish is tall enough to accommodate the water necessary.)
If the water level does not reach 3/4 of the way up the sides of the ramekins, carefully pour more water in. Bake uncovered in water bath for 50-60 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean when inserted half way between center and the edge of dish.
Note: To ensure the custard does not over-cook, check doneness after 45 minutes, then every 3-5 minutes.
Carefully remove each ramekin from the water bath. Set on a cooling rack until lukewarm, then chill thoroughly in refrigerator. This usually takes at least 1 hour.
When ready to serve, un-mold by running a knife around the inside edge of baking dish. Place a small dessert plate on the top of the ramekin. With one hand under the ramekin and the other on top of the place, turn over. Tap the ramekin and the flan should drop onto the plate. If it does not, carefully “prod” the flan out of the ramekin with a small paring knife. It should slide out of the ramekin onto the plate.
Garnish with whole blanched almonds and/or a sprig of mint if desired.

Lottery:  Ashley

Monday, January 9, 2012

Sparkling - January 2012

Diva: Aven

Drinks: Hallie
From Champagne to boxed wine....

Champagne: 2 varieties a classic, sweeter Asti and a drier Brut, both with sliced strawberries.   

Wine spritzers with Pinot Gris and several types of Pinot Noir mixed with San Pellegrino, lime slices and tangerine slices. 

Dark Italian Cabernet for the people who just wanted straight wine. 
Finally, a box of red and a box of white for the raging after party. 

Appetizer: Mariah
Three Cheese Champagne Fondue 

4 tsp cornstarch
1 T fresh lemon juice
1¼ c dry (brut) Champagne
1 large shallot, chopped
2 c coarsely grated Gruyère cheese (about 7 ounces)
1 c coarsely grated Emmenthal cheese (about 5 ounces)
½ c diced rindless Brie or Camembert cheese (about 3 ounces)
Generous pinch of ground nutmeg
Pinch of ground white pepper
1 French-bread baguette, crust left on, bread cut into 1-inch cubes

Stir cornstarch and lemon juice in small bowl until cornstarch dissolves; set aside. Combine Champagne and shallot in fondue pot or heavy medium saucepan; simmer over medium heat 2 minutes. Remove pot from heat. Add all cheeses and stir to combine. Stir in cornstarch mixture. Return fondue pot to medium heat and stir until cheeses are melted and smooth and fondue thickens and boils, about 12 minutes. Season fondue with nutmeg and white pepper. Place over candle or canned heat burner to keep warm. Serve with bread cubes.


Soup:  Lovina

Creamy Artichoke Soup with Lemon-Dijon and Sparkling Wine Aioli

2 leeks diced (green and white parts)
2 shallots, diced
6 cloves minced garlic
3 yukon gold potatoes, cubed
3 cans (16 oz.) artichoke hearts
1 T tarragon, finely chopped
12 c vegetable broth
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp gray salt
½ lemon, juiced (about 2 Tbs)
¼ c heavy cream

Over medium heat, sautee leeks, shallots and garlic in 4 Tbs butter until softened. Add potatoes, artichoke hearts, and tarragon. Toss to coat. Add vegetable broth and increase heat to medium high. Bring to boil then reduce heat to simmer until potatoes are fork tender. Meanwhile, prepare aioli (recipe below). Season soup with white pepper and gray salt. Finish with fresh lemon juice and cream. Remove pot from heat. Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth. Serve immediately or cool and reheat. Garnish with generous swirl of aioli and sprig of fresh tarragon.

Lemon-Dijon and Sparkling White Wine Aioli

1 clove minced garlic
½ lemon, juiced (about 2 Tbs)
8 oz. plain greek yogurt
1 T dijon mustard
¼ c sparkling white wine
1 T chopped tarragon

Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve a generous swirl over creamy artichoke soup.

Salad:  Tiffany
Pear and Pomegranate Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette and Gorgonzola

salad ingredients:
mixed greens
1 ripe pear, sliced
c pomegranate seeds
2 ounces Gorgonzola
Champagne vinaigrette (recipe below)
Fresh cracked pepper
1 T honey

dressing ingredients:
¼ c champagne vinegar (I couldn't find it, so used pinot grigio vinegar)
1 tsp Dijon
½ tsp minced garlic
1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
2 T olive oil

In a small bowl mix all the dressing ingredients (except olive oil).  Mix well, then slowly drizzle in the olive oil to combine. 
Add greens to a bowl or platter.  Toss with dressing.  Serve greens to dishes.  Top with gorgonzola, pomegranate seeds, and pears.  Drizzle honey over salad and serve. 
makes 6 servings, 


Side Dish:  Erin
Green Grits

Theme tie-in:  fire roasted green chiles--fire--spark--sparkling

1½ c whole milk
1 tsp salt
½ tsp fresh-ground black pepper
1 c grits
1 heaping cup fresh cilantro leaves
One 4-ounce can diced green chiles (preferably Hatch brand, fire-roasted)
6 green onions, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
3 T unsalted butter
½ c grated sharp cheddar cheese
¼ c grated Parmesan cheese

Combine the milk and 2½ cups of water in a medium-sized pot, and bring the mixture up to a simmer over medium-high heat. Mix in the salt and pepper. Then whisk in the grits, pouring them in slowly and whisking continuously until they're smooth, with no lumps. The grits should look a little like oatmeal, only finer. Turn the heat down to medium-low and keep cooking, whisking regularly so nothing sticks.
Meanwhile, combine the cilantro leaves, diced green chiles, and green onions in a food processor and pulse for 30 seconds or so, until everything is finely chopped.
When the grits have cooked through and thickened, pull the pot off the heat and add the cilantro mixture. Whisk everything together so the grits turn green. Then add the butter and whisk again, so the butter melts in.
Whisk in the grated cheddar and Parmesan cheeses. Serve it up hot.


Entrée:  Stacey
Cornish Hens in Champagne Sauce with Baked Rice

2 Cornish hens (I actually made 9 for divas)
1 lemon
salt and pepper
2 T butter
1 c whole red grapes
1 ½ c champagne

Wash hens and pat dry.  Halve lemon and rub cut surfaces over hens.  Place in roasting pan.  Stuff each cavity with grapes.  Secure with wooden picks. Sprinkle generously with salt, pepper and paprika.  Brush hens with melted butter and pour champagne over hens.  Roast for approx. 1 1/2 hours--until thermometer in thickest part of meat reaches 180 degrees.  Pour pan juices over and serve with baked rice.

Baked Rice

1 c minced shallots or onions
4 T butter
2 c rice (I used jasmine)
2 cans (30 ounces total) veggie or chicken broth
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 T dry sherry (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.  Saute shallots in butter in dutch oven until soft (about 5 mins.).  Add rice and saute for 4 mins.  Add broth, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil.  Cover and put in the oven for 16 mins.  Remove from oven and let sit (covered) for 10 mins.  Remove lid, fluff, stir in sherry if using, and serve.  Enjoy!!

Dessert: Ashley
Sparkling Champagne Cupcakes 

½ c butter softened
1 c granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1¾ c flour
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ c sour cream
½ c champagne, prosecco or your choice of sparkling wine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and mix. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, set aside. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together ½ cup champagne and ½ cup sour cream (mixture will fizz and bubble a little).  Add flour and champagne mixture alternately, beginning and ending with flour.  Batter will be thick.
Fill cupcake papers with ¼ cup level measures of batter.  Bake for 17-22 minutes.  Set aside.


Wild Card: Colleen
Chocolate Banana Cake

¾ c (1½ sticks) butter
1 T olive oil
1¾ c flour
2½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ c best-quality cocoa
1 c sugar
c sour cream
1½ c mashed banana (about 4 very ripe bananas)
1 T vanilla extract
1 can Dr. Pepper in place of 3 eggs (Sparkle!)
Pinch of salt 

For cake: heat oven to 325 degrees. Oil or spray a 9-inch springform cake pan and set aside. In a large saucepan over low heat, melt butter with olive oil. Remove pan from heat. 

Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa and sugar. Mix well. Add sour cream and mashed banana, and whisk to combine. In a small bowl or pitcher, whisk together vanilla extract, eggs and salt. Add to saucepan and whisk until smooth. Pour into cake pan. 

Bake until a cake tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Allow cake to cool on a rack for about 15 minutes, then remove springform and allow cake to cool completely. 

Top with chocolate chips

Adapted from Nigella Lawson, New York Times 5 October 2005

Lottery:  Mary Ellen