Wednesday, December 30, 2009

December Italian Gourmet Night

Third party was the December Gourmet Night:

Tony Caputo's Red Pesto

3 oz. sun-dried tomatoes
3/4 cup (or more) extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmeasan Cheese
1 cup packed fresh parsley
4 cloves of garlic

Soften the sun-dried tomatoes in boiling water for 1 minute. Drain and pat dry. Combine with the olive oil, Parmeasan cheese, parsley and garlic in food processor and process until smooth. Serve with fresh bread or toasted baguette slices.

Baked Cheese with Sundried Tomatoes and Basil (Favorites Cookbook)

1 (8 oz.) log of goat cheese
4 oz. sundried tomatoes in oil, chopped
1/2 teaspoon garlic, chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

Oil small baking dish. Place log of cheese in dish and bake for 25 minutes at 450 degrees. Mix sundried tomatoes, garlic and basil. Top cheese with mixture and serve with crackers or sliced baguette.

Italian Wedding Soup (Barefoot Contessa)

For the meatballs:

3/4 pound ground chicken
1/2 pound chicken sausage, casings removed
2/3 cup fresh white bread crumbs
2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
3 tablespoons milk
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the soup:

2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 cup minced yellow onion
1 cup diced carrots (3 carrots), cut into 1/4 inch pieces
3/4 cup diced celery (2 stalks), cut into 1/4 inch pieces
10 cups homemade chicken stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup small pasta such as tubetini or stars
1/4 cup minced fresh dill
12 ounces baby spinach, washed and trimmed (I put about half of the spinach)

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 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a bowl and combine gently with a fork. With a teaspoon, drop 1 to 1 1/4-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.

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, and celery and saute until softened, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken stock and wine and bring to a boil. Add the pasta to the simmering broth and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the pasta is tender. Add the fresh dill and then the meatballs 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.

Serves 8

I served this salad at this party and then took it to a different one and got great reviews at both! It is a fabulous recipe for a Ceasars Salad, truly the best!

Ceasar Salad (Karen Zanetti)

For the Croutons:

2 large garlic cloves
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons virgin olive oil
2 cups French baguette slices cut up into 1/2 inch cubes (white bread works too)

For the salad dressing:

1 large egg
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 medium garlic clove, crushed
1 pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons anchovy paste or 4 flat anchovies (I use the tubed anchovy paste)
1 teaspoon capers
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/3 cup virgin olive oil


2 medium heads of romaine lettuce -- outer leaves removed
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese -- grated

Prepping the croutons - Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Crush the garlic cloves with the side of a chef's knife (be very careful) or with a garlic press. Slice up the baguette and cut them into 1/2 inch cubes.

Prepping the salad - Again crush the garlic. If you are using flat anchovies out of a can, mince one or two to make 1 1/2 teaspoons worth. Grate the Parmesan cheese. It's always better to grate it yourself if you have the opportunity.

Croutons - Combine garlic, oil, salt, and bread cubes in a bowl. Mix until cubes are coated evenly. Spread the coated cubes onto a baking sheet and bake until the croutons are golden. This should take about 10 minutes.

To make the salad - Bring a pot of boiling water to boil, add egg and cook for just 45 seconds....NO MORE. This is coddling the egg. Remove from heat and let it cool off.

Meanwhile, mix the Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, garlic, salt & pepper, anchovy, mustard and capers in a bowl. Crack egg and add to these ingredients. Whisk until smooth.

Now for the tricky part. Slowly add the oil in a steady stream while constantly whisking again until smooth. Reason: if you add the oil too quickly, the dressing will be separate and not emulsify.

To serve:

Tear the romaine lettuce into 1-2 inch pieces and add them to a large bowl (wooden if you have one). Add half the dressing, toss, add remaining dressing, Parmesan cheese, and croutons and toss again. Serve on chilled plates.

Rigatoni "d" (Maggiano's) (Recipe Zaar #181230)

(Maggiano's Rigatoni "D" My spin on Maggiano's BEST pasta dish! Totally heavenly! Also...for anyone doing low carb-substitute low-carb pasta & you've got a meal that makes you swear you're cheating!!! (the sauce is thin-but if you've noticed, it's thin at Maggiano's too! If you like it thicker, just lower the heat and let the sauce reduce some more) Also-if you want to use a rotisserie chicken, you turns out quite well if you are pressed for time.)
by Erin101378)

55 min | 25 min prep


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
10 ounces button mushrooms
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 teaspoons garlic, pureed
salt and pepper
1 lb chicken breast, cut into 1 to 1 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 quart chicken stock
2-4 ounces marsala wine (Cribari)
2 ounces white wine
1/2 quart heavy cream
1 lb rigatoni pasta
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped (and parsley mix)
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated
2 ounces garlic butter
parmesan cheese, shavings (garnish)
chopped fresh parsley (garnish)

Heat oil.
Caramelize onions.
Saute mushrooms with balsamic vinegar.
Add onions to the mushrooms.
Season with salt and pepper.
Add chicken.
Add chicken stock, Marsala, and white wine. Cook until reduced by half.
Add cream and bring to a boil.
Turn down heat and simmer to skim away any impurities.
Cook rigatoni al dente.
Add drained rigatoni to chicken mixture in pan and finish with basil-parsley mix, parmesan cheese, garlic butter, and salt and pepper.
Add more Marsala for flavor as needed.
Place in pasta bowl and garnish with parmesan shavings and chopped parsley.

Christmas Chocolate Mousse (Favorites Cookbook)

In top of double boiler melt:
3 cups miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup of milk
1 (4 oz) Hershey Chocolate bar, broken

Stir over hot water until melted and cool.

Whip 1 cup of whipping cream and fold into cooled chocolate mixture. Pour into small dessert dishes and chill. When ready to serve, garnish with a daub of whipped cream and a small candy cane or a piece of fresh holly.
Makes 4 servings.

Whipping Cream (Jen Oettli)

This whipping cream is the best you have ever had! Truly Greg and I fight over the bowl and beaters. We had left over and put it on waffles with peaches and it was soooo yummy! Anyway it is restaurant good on every pie in the winter and strawberry shortcake all summer.

8 oz. whipping cream
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2-2 teaspoons vanilla

Whip cream till almost firm. Add sugar and vanilla and then continue to whip till firm. Serve.

Super fun Christmas Dinner! Thanks for humoring me with the hats!

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Cranberry Pork Roast and Garlic Potatoes

Second party, the main course for a neighborhood progressive dinner:

Cranberry Pork Roast (Alison Beutler)

3 lb. boneless pork loin or tenderloin
16 oz. can whole cranberry sauce
1/4 cup worchestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon yellow mustard

Brown the roast on all sides in a skillet with vegetable oil. Place in a slow cooker coated with cooking spray. Combine the rest of the ingredients and pour over roast. Cook on high 4-5 hours. Remove roast and pull apart. Thicken sauce in slow cooker with water and cornstarch. Return roast to slow cooker. Serve with mashed potatoes.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes (Alison Beutler)

3 1/2 lb. russet potatoes
16 oz half and half or 1 cup heavy cream and 1 cup milk
6 cloves garlic, crushed
6 oz. shredded parmeasan cheese

Peel and cube potatoes. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add garlic. Drain when cooked and tender. Heat half and half in a saucepan until simmering. Add to potatoes. Add salt and cheese. Mash. Let stand 5 minutes to thicken.

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Thursday, December 17, 2009


So, this is Liz's recipe, but I made them this morning, so I thought I'd post it.2 egg whites
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 T. sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 egg yolks
4 T. butter, melted
2 cups buttermilk
1 + cup vegetable oil for frying

1. Beat egg whites with an electric mixer until they can hold a stiff peak. Set aside.
2. Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, sugar, and egg yolks, melted butter, and buttermilk and beat until smooth. Gently fold in the egg whites last.
3. Put about 1 T. of oil in the bottom of each aebleskiver pan cup and heat until hot. (med-high) Pour in about 2 T. of the batter into each cup. (I did a little less, I don't know if my cups are smaller than hers, but 2 T. were overflowing) As soon as they get bubbly around the edge, turn them quickly with a fork. Continue cooking, turing the ball to keep from burning.
4. Serve with syrup, honey, powdered sugar or jam.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Holiday Eggnog Bread

Another festive treat!

Holiday Eggnog Bread
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 - 1 3/4 cups eggnog
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. rum extract (I didn't use)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 - small box instant french vanilla or vanilla pudding

Eggnog Glaze
1 - Cup Powdered Sugar
Enough eggnog to make a glaze to drizzle over bread

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom of bread pan or mini loaf pans. Beat eggs, add sugar, eggnog, butter, rum and vanilla. Blend well, add flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Stir until just moistened. Pour into greased pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes for large loaf or for about 20-25 minutes for mini loaves. Bread will be golden brown and toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool bread completely. To make glaze mix 1 cup powdered sugar with enough eggnog to make a glaze. Drizzle over cooled loaves. Let glaze set before storing bread.

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Monday, December 7, 2009

English Toffee

YUM! This toffee is going to be the death of me. It's super easy and sooooo good! Perfect holiday goodies for neighbors.

English Toffee
1/2 cup butter (4 ounces, or one stick)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 or 3 ounces semisweet, dark, or milk chocolate
2-4 tablespoons sliced almonds, or other nuts

Lightly coat an 8 by 8 inch pan with cooking spray. Melt butter in medium saucepan over low heat. Add sugar and water and stir constantly until butter is melted and sugar is completely dissolved and no longer grainy (about 10 minutes). If sugar granules stick to the side, wipe them down with a wet pastry brush. When sugar is completely dissolved, turn the heat up to medium and stir constantly until toffee becomes a medium caramel color. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour toffee into prepared pan. Wait 7 minutes. Sprinkle toffee with chocolate and let stand a few minutes. Smooth chocolate with spatula and sprinkle with nuts. Wait until chocolate cools to break into pieces.

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