Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Spring Gourmet - Amber & Michelle - April 2008

What a treat to walk into Spring on such a cold Utah day! Amber & Michelle really outdid themselves by treating us to such a special spring meal, with wonderful food so many fantastic details. Thank you girls! It was wonderful.


Veggies with Cottage Cheese Dip In a Cup
Twisted Bread Sticks with Whipped Honey Butter
PF Changs Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Special Sauce
Melon Balls & Orange Fruit Dip

Berry Walnut Salad with Gorgonzola Dressing

Cantaloupe Granita

Candied Cajun Candied Salmon with Pinenuts
Lemon Rice
Roasted Corn Succotash

Hazelnut Blondies
Key Lime Pie
Lemon Shortbread Cookies
Raspberry Meringues

Cottage Cheese Veggie Dip
16 oz cottage cheese
16 oz sour cream
2 oz Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing packet
3 green onions diced

Mix all ingredients and chill for hour before serving.

Veggie Cups
Place dip in bottom of 9 oz. clear cup. Chop veggies in long sticks and place
on top of dip. i.e. carrots, celery, chives, snap peas, cucumbers, etc.

Twisted Bread Sticks
5 ½ c wheat flour
5 c white flour
½ c sugar
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp active yeast
1 tbsp vital wheat gluten (optional)
1 tbsp dough enhancer (optional)
3 tbsp lecithin
3 ½ c hot running tap water
½ c applesauce

In mixer put dry ingredients flour, sugar, salt, yeast, vital wheat gluten and mix for 1 minute. Then add lecithin, water, and applesauce. Knead in mixer for 6 minutes then
add dough enhancer and mix for 2 more minutes. Spray counter with cooking oil and then place dough on it and form into ball. Divide dough into 4. Each ¼ is the size of a loaf. Can do some dough and some breadsticks. For bread sticks take golf ball size a roll into worm and wrap around skewer. Spray cookie sheet and lay skewer on pan with end resting on the side. Cover and let rise for 25 minutes then bake at 350 for 25minutes. (same for loaves just put in bread pan)

Whipped Honey Butter
1 c butter softened at room temperature (do not melt)
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp cinnamon

Combine butter and honey in small bowl. Beat at high speed until light and fluffy. Add cinnamon.

PF Changs Chicken Lettuce Wraps
(May be topped with special sauce or served on the side )

Special Sauce
1/4 c sugar
1/2 c water
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp hot mustard (dijion mustard works)
2 tsp water
1-2 tsp garlic (can add 1/2 tsp red chile paste)
Dissolve sugar and water in small bowl. Add rest of ingredients.
Refrigerate sauce until ready to use.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps
3 tablespoons oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 c water chestnuts (optional)
2/3 cup mushrooms
3 tablespoons chopped onion
1 tsp minced garlic
4-5 leaves iceberg lettuce

Stir Fry Sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp rice wine vinegar

Bring oil to high heat in a wok or large frying pan. Saute chicken breasts for 4 - 5 min.
per side. Remove chicken from the pan and cool. Keep oil in pan hot. As chicken
cools, mince water chestnuts and mushrooms to about the size of small peas.
Mix together soy sauce, brown sugar and rice vinegar in small bowl. Mix chicken.
Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan, add chicken, garlic, onions, water
chestnuts and mushrooms. Add stir fry sauce and sauté mixture for a few minutes.
Make cups out of lettuce and put chicken mixture inside and serve.

Melon Balls & Orange Fruit Dip


Carve out melons with melon baller. Place in desired dish or container.

Orange Fruit Dip
1 container of marshmallow cream
1 8 oz. package of cream cheese
2 tbsp of orange juice concentrate

Soften cream cheese and beat. Add marshmallow cream and juice concentrate. Serve.

Berry Salad with Gorgonzola Dressing

Baby spinach, washed

Fresh raspberries

Fresh blackberries

1 cup walnuts

6 tablespoons of sugar

1 tablespoon of butter

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon honey

1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 cup plain yogurt

3/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola

Candied Walnuts:

6 tablespoons sugar

1 cup walnuts

1 tablespoon butter

Stir in frying pan until sugar is melted and almonds are brown. Spread on wax paper to cool.

Divide spinach between plates and top with berries. In a medium mixing bowl, combine vinegar, oil, honey, sour cream and yogurt. Fold in Gorgonzola. Drizzle dressing over salad. Garnish each plate with walnuts and serve.

Cantaloupe Granita
Look for the ripest melon you can find; it should have a sweet fragrance and firm exterior
that yields slightly at the stem end. Granita can be stored in an airtight container in the
freezer for up to two weeks. We like to serve the granita over wedges of cantaloupe for added melon flavor.

1 cantaloupe (about 3 pounds)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp. water

1. Using a sharp knife, cut melon in half lengthwise. Remove seeds with a sppon, and discard. Slice off and discard skin and pale-green flesh. Cut melon into large chunks.

2. Place in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, and puree until smooth. Transfer to a non-reactive stainless-steel bowl, and set aside.

3. Combine sugar, lemon juice, and the water in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until mixture has thickened slightly. Remove from heat; let cool completely.

4. Stir sugar syrup into melon puree; place in freezer, uncovered, until mixture is chunky, about 1 1/2 hours, whisking every 20 minutes to keep it from becoming too solid. To serve, divide among four shallow bowls.

Cajun Candied Salmon
3/4 c brown sugar
2 Tbsp lemon pepper
2 Tbsp Paul Prudhomme’s Blackened Red Fish Magic (Buy at Smith’s)
1 c pine nuts or pecans
1/2 cube butter
Enough trout or salmon fillets to fill 12” frying pan

Put brown sugar on dinner plate. Add lemon pepper and Redfish Magic.
Mix well. Coat fillets on both sides and put in frying pan int he melted butter.
Cook on medium heat. Turn once and cook until sugar starts to thicken into a
glaze. In seperate frying pan, melt butter and 1/2 tsp salt, add pine nuts and
cook on low heat until pine nuts start browning. Add pine nuts to salmon
just as sugar thickens into a glaze and serve.

Lemon Rice
2 cups long-grain white rice
1/2 c. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp grated lemon zest

Make rice on stove or rice cooker. When rice is done, add lemon juice
and zest. Salt and pepper to taste.

Add parsley if desired

Roasted Corn Succotash
You can roast or grill the corn for this dish. Dampen the husks before you begin to add a bit of moisture for steam. To check the corn for doneness, pull back some of the husk and look at the kernels. They should be plump and moist and should “pop” easily when pressed with the tines of a table fork. Serves 6 to 8


4 ears of corn in the husk
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup diced zucchini
1 cup chopped tomato, peeled and seeded
1 cup fresh green beans
1/2 cup scallions, thinly sliced on a diagonal
1 tbsp chopped parsley
2 tsp chopped tarragon
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
Salt and pepper as needed

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Dampen the husks with cold water and place the corn directly on the oven rack. Roast the corn until the kernels are tender and cooked through, 10-15 minutes. When the corn is cool enough to handle, pull away the husk and the silk. Cut the kernels from the cob.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the corn and zucchini and saute, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is tender, about 3 minutes. Add the tomato, green beans, and scallions and continue to saute until all of the ingredients are very hot, about 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the parsley, tarragon, and cardamom. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve at once in a heated bowl or on heated plates.

Hazelnut Blondies
Makes about 2 dozen

* 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 3/4 cups packed light-brown sugar
* 2 large eggs
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 1/3 cup hazelnuts, toasted, skins rubbed off with a kitchen towel, and chopped
* 1 heaping tablespoon chocolate-hazelnut spread, such as Nutella, plus more for serving

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-by-11-inch baking pan. Line with parchment paper. Butter parchment.

2. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt.

3. Melt butter. Beat butter and sugar until combined. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add flour mixture, and stir until combined. Stir in hazelnuts and Nutella.

4. Press dough into pan. Bake until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs,
about 25 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes. Cut into squares. Serve with additional Nutella.

Blondies can be stored in an airtight container up to 2 days.

Key Lime Pie
4 lg egg yolks slightly beaten
1 14 oz can sweeten condensed
1 ½ tsp lime zest
½ cup lime juice (3or 4 limes)
Garnish with sweet whipped cream

Make filling by whisking together yolks, milk, zest and juice in bowl. Pour into crust
bake for 20-25 min at 350 until edges and center are just set. Cool at room temp then
cool in fridge. Top with whipped cream and wedges of lime.

¼ cup sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
5 tbsp butter
18 grahams cracker (1 ½ cup)

Mix sugar, cinnamon & butter. Add melted butter last.

(Take home dessert box - Lemon Shortbread Cookies, Raspberry Meringues, Hazelnut Blondies)

Lemon Shortbread Cookies
These buttery little cookies can be made without the lemon and served plain, or topped with sprinkles or any frosting. Add cinnamon sugar or orange juice and orange zest. A variety of different possibilities and they can be cut into any shape, making them a cookie for any occasion.

2 sticks butter (1 cup), softened
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1-2 Tbsp. lemon zest


1. In bowl, with mixer on medium speed, beat together butter, sugar, and salt until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. With mixer on low speed, gradually beat in flour to combine. Mix in lemon zest and lemon juice. Roll dough to 1/2-inch thickness between 2 sheets of wax paper, transfer to baking sheet, and refrigerate for 3 hours or up to 3 days. (I made these without refrigeration the second time and they turned out fine)

2. Heat oven to 350°F. Transfer dough to clean surface, remove both sheets of wax paper, and cut out into desired shapes. Place on baking sheet 1/2 inch apart and bake 14 to 18 minutes, until just golden. Transfer cookies to wire rack, and cool completely.

3. For frosting, combine 4 oz. of cream cheese with 3/4 c. powdered sugar. Add 1-2 tbsp. of freshly squeezed lemon juice and mix until creamy and spreadable.

4. After cookies are cool, place dollop of frosting on cookie and top with another cookie.
Refrigerate. (or top with corn syrup and sprinkles, any frosting, etc.)

Raspberry Meringues
Meringues are one of the easiest cookies to make, but they don’t like moisture. So it’s best to make these on a dry day and not make them too far ahead of time. These are “lost”
meringues: you make them and forget them, leaving them in the oven.

To make Mint Chocolate Chip Meringues, substitute peppermint extract for the raspberry
flavoring and add 1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips.


6 egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp. raspberry (or strawberry) flavoring

1. Preheat the oven to 225 degrees. Lightly spray or grease a large cookie sheet or line
it with aluminum foil.

2. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until foamy. Beat in the cream
of tartar. In a slow, steady stream, gradually add the sugar, beating until the meringue is glossy
and stands in stiff peaks. Do not over beat. Fold in the raspberry flavoring.

3. Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of meringue onto the prepared cookie sheet, spacing them
about 1 inch apart. Using the back of the spoon, swirl the meringue up into a point in the center
of each cookie.

4. Bake undisturbed in the center of the oven for 1 hour, or until dry.

5. Turn off the oven and leave the meringues in the oven to dry overnight. The cookies should befirm. Remove the cookies from the cookie sheet.

They made the cutest take-home gift. It's a little book full of seeds to plant a salad garden (i.e. tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, etc.) It is attached to some wooden salad spoons. The picture does not do it justice.

They also sent us away with these darling recipe page holders.

The recipe holder in action!

The Place Setting

The whole setting. I wish the pictures did justice to all the details!

(I had to include a photo of the invitation they sent in the mail. This darling little box full of Jelly Belly's sure made my day when I got the mail!)