Jan. Gourmet Night

The Barefoot Contessa

4 garlic cloves
2 cups canned chickpeas, drained, liquid reserved
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste. You'll find it next to the peanut butter.)
6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
2 tablespoons water or liquid from the chickpeas
8 dashes hot sauce (I did not use hot sauce)

Turn on the food processor fitted with the steel blade and drop the garlic down the feed tube; process until it's minced. Add the rest of the ingredients to the food processor and process until the hummus is coarsely pureed. Taste, for seasoning, and serve chilled or at room temperature.

Barefoot Contessa

1 pound (1 pint) plain yogurt (whole milk or low fat)
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled and seeded
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 lemon)
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh dill
Pinch freshly ground black pepper

Place the yogurt in a cheesecloth or paper towel-lined sieve and set it over a bowl. Grate the cucumber and toss it with 1 tablespoon of kosher salt; place it in another sieve, and set it over another bowl. Place both bowls in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours so the yogurt and cucumber can drain.
Transfer the thickened yogurt to a large bowl. Squeeze as much liquid from the cucumber as you can and add the cucumber to the yogurt. Mix in the sour cream, vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, dill, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper. You can serve it immediately, but I prefer to allow the tzatziki to sit in the refrigerator for a few hours for the flavors to blend. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Naan (flatbread)

1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons salt
4 1/2 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons minced garlic (optional)
1/4 cup butter, melted

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes, until frothy. Stir in sugar, milk, egg, salt, and enough flour to make a soft dough. Knead for 6 to 8 minutes on a lightly floured surface, or until smooth. Place dough in a well oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and set aside to rise. Let it rise 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in volume.
Punch down dough, and knead in garlic. Pinch off small handfuls of dough about the size of a golf ball. Roll into balls, and place on a tray. Cover with a towel, and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
During the second rising, preheat grill to high heat.
At grill side, roll one ball of dough out into a thin circle. Lightly oil grill. Place dough on grill, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until puffy and lightly browned. Brush uncooked side with butter, and turn over. Brush cooked side with butter, and cook until browned, another 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from grill, and continue the process until all the naan has been prepared. It was freezing outside, so I cooked my as follows: heat oven to 500 with baking stone inside. Put flatbread on stone and bake for 2 minutes. It cooks fast! I added a little garlic powder to my melted butter before brushing on.

Blueberry Spinach Salad


1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup raspberry vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (10 ounce) package fresh spinach, torn
1 (4 ounce) package blue cheese, crumbled
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted

In a jar with tight-fitting lid, combine the first five ingredients and shake well. In a large salad bowl, toss the spinach, blue cheese, blueberries and pecans. Add dressing and toss gently; serve immediately.

Apricot Glazed Carrots
4 c. carrots, sliced
3 Tbl. butter
1/3 c. apricot preserves
1/4 tsp. salt
pinch of nutmeg
1/4 tsp. fresh grated lemon peel
2 tsp. lemon juice
Cook carrots in saucepan until crisp-tender (about 8 min). Drain and set aside. Melt butter in a skillet. Stir in preserves. Add all other ingredients, except carrots, and cook briefly. Toss in carrots and cook long enough to heat thoroughly.
Chicken Tikka Masala

1 cup plain yogurt
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 tsp salt
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces

4 long skewers
1 Tbsp butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1 8oz. can tomato sauce
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. In a large bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, 2 tsp cumin, cinnamon,
cayenne, pepper, ginger, and 1 tsp salt. Stir in chicken, cover,
refrigerate 1 hour.
2. Preheat a grill for high heat.
3. Lightly oil the grill grate. Thread chicken onto skewers and discard
marinade. Grill 5 min. on each side.
4. Melt butter in a large skillet. Saute garlic and jalapeno for 1
Season with 2 tsp cumin, paprika and 1 tsp salt. Stir in tomato sauce and
cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Add
grilled chicken, and simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter
and garnish with fresh cilantro.

Notes: When I do it for my family, I do it a faster way: no skewers, and I just broil the chicken if it's cold outside. The sauce is usually thicker than it was at our gourmet night and I just realized I left the cilantro in the fridge! If you'd rather use half and half instead of cream, it's almost as good.

Chocolate Bavarian Torte
1 pkg. devil's food cake mix
4 eggs
1/3 c. olive oil
1 c. sour cream

1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
2/3 c. packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
2 cups whipping cream - whipped
2 Tb grated semi sweet chocolate

Make cake with the amount of water called for, 4 eggs, 1/3 c. olive oil and 1 c. sour cream (if you use canola oil, use 1/2 c.)

Pour into two 9 inch cake pans and bake according to recommended time. Cool in pans for 15 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks.

Mix/beat the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and salt until fluffy. Fold in the whipped cream. Split each cake in two layers. Place on serving plate. Spread with 1/4 of cream mixture and sprinkle with grated chocolate. Repeat on all layers. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or over night.


  1. i'm still dreaming of it! sooooo good. thanks, earl!

  2. good job sue! do you like how i think that i can just comment on here? that cake has been on my mind since my b-day. i should email a pic of it that you took on my camera, it is extra profesional.

  3. Veege, how many names do you have? Thanks for the recipes! Dinner was delicious!

  4. Jill - That is so funny you asked about my names. You are right, I DO have a lot of nicknames, I never realized that.

  5. I'm so, so sad I missed gourmet night! The food looks delicious and I'm excited to try the recipes!

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