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

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