March Gourmet Night at Jill's

Here are the recipes from Gourmet Night at my house. I forgot to take pictures last night, so here's a picture of my lunch this afternoon from the left overs. The salad looks a little wilty today. :)For Christmas my friend Diane gave me some Hot Pepper Jelly. It was so yummy and I asked her how to make it. She explained it to me, using a recipe from an old pectin box. However, when I tried to replicate it, it turned out completely different. So after some trial and error, this is what I came up with, adapted from the recipe in the "Sure Jell" pectin box for less or no sugar recipes. Not the same as Diane's, but still good, I think.

Hot Pepper Jelly

6 cups peppers
I used 4 jalapenos (3 seeded, 1 with seeds), 1 red pepper, 4 green peppers
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
I box "Sure Jell" pectin for less or no sugar recipes

1. Sterilize all bottles and lids. Keep in hot water until ready to use.
2. Blend peppers, not puree.
3. Measure exact amount of peppers in a 6-8 quart saucepan. Stir in cider vinegar and water. Stir in pectin. Can also add 1/2 tsp. butter to reduce foam if you want.
4. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil on high heat. (a boil that doesn't stop bubbling when stirred). Stir constantly.
5. Stir in sugar quickly.
6. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 minute stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
7. Ladle quickly into prepared jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Screw bands tightly and place upside down on a dish towel.
8. After jars cool, check seals by pressing middle of lid with finger. If the lid springs back it is not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.
9. Let stand at room temperature 24 hours.Again, another picture taken today, just to give you an idea of what it looks like. Last night this Pepper Jelly was served over Neufchatel Cheese with crackers.

Roast Beef Pesto Salad
(adapted from a recipe in First Magazine)

1 head Boston lettuce and 4 leaves radicchio (I just used the organic spring mix with radicchio from the grocery store)
1 1b. roast beef cut into strips
toasted pine nuts
parmesan cheese

Pesto dressing
4 tsp. red wine vinegar
4 tsp water
about 6 oz pesto (ready made or use the following pesto recipe)

1. Toast 2 Tbsp pine nuts until golden 8-10 minutes
2. Grate 1 oz parmesan cheese (about 1/4 cup)
3. Combine 1/2 cup oil and 1 clove garlic in blender or food processor and whip until garlic is finely chopped.
4. Add 1 cup fresh basil, 2 more Tbsp pine nuts, cheese, and 3/4 tsp salt.
5. Process until fairly smooth.

Autumn Wild Rice
Favorites Cookbook

2 6 oz packages long grain and wild rice mix
1 medium red or green apple, unpeeled and diced
1 green onion, minced
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 tsp. poppy seeds
1 tsp. grated lemon ring
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp apple juice

Cook rice according to package directions. In a large serving bowl, combine apple, onion, cranberries, parsley and almonds. Add cooked rice and toss together to blend. In a small bowl, combine melted butter, poppy seeds, lemon rind, cinnamon and apple juice. Pour over rice mixture and toss to combine. Serve immediately.

Muensterella Chicken Breasts
(recipe from my mom, not sure where it came from)

8 chicken breasts boned and skinned
3 eggs beaten
2 c. bread crumbs
½ lb. fresh mushrooms
sliced muenster cheese
1 ¼ c. chicken broth

Take a chicken breast dip into egg mixture then into bread crumbs.
Brown lightly in buttered skillet. Place in a baking dish and top with 3 or 4 mushroom and 2 slices of muenster cheese.

Just before ready to place in oven pour chicken broth around the sides of the chicken breasts and bake for 40-45 minutes or until brown on top.

Bake at 350 degrees.Chocolate Caramel Truffle Torte
I got this recipe from my neighbor. I don't know where it orginated, but it is so good! I think the fact that almost everyone ate a second slice proves it. :) This recipe makes a lot of caramel sauce. You will have left overs, but if you're like me, you'll enjoy it for the rest of the week on apples, strawberries, ice cream, popcorn or even just by the spoonful. :)

1 3/4 cups very finely chopped pecans
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted

2 cups whipping cream
16 ounces semi sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped*

Caramel Sauce
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup butter
2/3 cup whipping cream

Garnish 1 1/3 cup whipping cream. I think a sliced strawberry on the side would go well too.

*substitute 16 oz (2 2/3 cups) semi sweet real chocolate chips. (I actually used 12 oz. semi-sweet and 4 oz milk chocolate)

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. In medium bowl, stir together all crust ingredients. Firmly press into bottom and up sides of 12-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Place on cookie sheet. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely.

2. Wait at least 10 minutes. In a 2-quart saucepan place 2 cups whipping cream. Cook over medium heat until shipping cream just comes to a boil (5-8 minutes). Remove from heat; stir in chocolate until completely melted (2-3 minutes). Pour into cooled crust. Refrigerate until set. (at least 2 hours)

3. Twenty minutes before serving, in 2-quart saucepan, combine all caramel sauce ingredients except 2/3 cup whipping cream. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a full boil (5-8 minutes.) Cool 5 minutes; stir in 2/3 cup whipping cream.

4. Just before serving, beat 1 1/3 cups chilled whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Garnish torte with whipped cream; serve with warm caramel sauce.

(crust, filling and caramel sauce can be prepared 1 day before serving. reheat caramel sauce just before serving.)
Ok, I think that's it. Happy cooking!