Thursday, September 3, 2009

September 2009--Meet Me At The Farmer's Market! (Shelly & Lindsay)

Our hostesses, Shelly & Lindsay
All the ladies!

After a long hiatus over the summer, Gourmet Club is back on! (Finally! It feels like it's been forever...) Shelly and Lindsay hosted an incredible evening, so perfect for this time of year. Their theme was "Meet Me at the Farmer's Market". The fruits and vegetables were so fresh and tasty. Their invitations were adorable--I'll get a picture and post it later. Thanks, Shell & Lindsay for all your hard work! The night seemed to have gone off without a hitch. Everything was perfect! I'm still dreaming about those panini's...

The chalkboard menu was such a cute touch.

The place setting had a jar of homemade raspberry jam, which served as our namesetting, as well as a take-home gift.

Lavender Cream
From The Gardener’s Community Cookbook

1 cup heavy whipping cream
pinch of salt
1 cup milk
Blossoms from 10 sprigs of lavender (I used ¾ tablespoon dried culinary lavender)
1/4 cup honey
4 extra large egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar

1. Combine the cream, milk, honey, sugar, salt, and lavender in the top of a double boiler. Set over simmering water and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to thicken, about 10 minutes. *When using dried lavender, let the mixture sit (steep) with a lid on top for 30 minutes. Pour cream mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and discard lavender. Return mixture to cleaned top of a double boiler.
2. Lightly beat the egg yolks in a bowl. Whisk in half the warm cream mixture. Whisk this mixture back into the double boiler. Continue cooking over the simmering water, stirring from time to time, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the spoon, about 10 minutes more.
3. Strain the cream mixture into a clean bowl. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally, and chill. Serve as a sauce for berries, chocolate cake, plain pound cake, or sponge cake. Or spoon into side bowls and accompany with cookies.

*If you don’t have lavender in your garden it can be purchased at www.penzeys .com.

This lemonade was delicious...and super refreshing! And how cute are these bottles!? Love 'em!

Strawberry Lemonade
Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2003
• 2 cups water
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
• 1 cup fresh lemon juice
• 1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
• 2 cups cold sparkling water or club soda
• Ice
• Mint sprigs, garnish
• Whole strawberries, garnish
In a medium saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Add the lemon peel and lemon juice, stir, and remove from the heat. Let cool completely, then strain into a clean pitcher.
In a blender, puree the pint of strawberries and add to the pitcher with the lemon juice. Stir well to combine and refrigerate until well chilled.
Add the sparkling water and stir well. Pour over glasses filled with ice and serve, garnished with mint and strawberries.

Butternut Bisque
• 2 Tb Butter
• 1 c Onion; Chopped
• 2 lb Butternut Squash; Peeled and cut
• 4 c Chicken Stock
• 1/2 tsp White Pepper
• Salt; To Taste
• 1 c Milk
• 1 c Cream
• Parsley; Chopped
Dice butternut squash into 1" pieces, Melt butter in a large soup pot. Add onion and saute until onion softens. Add squash and chicken stock. Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer 20-25 minutes, until squash is tender. Cool, uncovered, 20 minutes. Puree in blender or food processor until very smooth. (Soup may be refrigerated at this point and finished the next day.) Return soup to pot. Add pepper, salt, milk, and cream. Heat gently, but do not boil. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Panzanella Salad

1 pound loaf ciabatta, cut into 3/4 –inch cubes
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil (I used about half)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper

1 cucumber, peeled, halved, seeded, and cut into large chunks
½ small red onion, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, seeded, deribbed, and chopped
3 large tomatoes, cored and cut into large chunks (I always use grape tomatoes, halved)
½ cup finely sliced fresh basil leaves
1 pound fresh mozzarella bocconcini, cut in half (I just buy the fresh mozzarella packed in water and cut into small cubes or the mozzarella pearls)
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (I use 1/3 cup)
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 T fresh lemon juice
½ tsp garlic powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To make the croutons, place the bread cubes in a large bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Toss to coat evenly and arrange in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until lightly crisped and browned around the edges, yet still somewhat soft in the interior, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before using.

To assemble the salad, in a large bowl, combine the cucumber, onion, red and green bell peppers, tomatoes, basil , mozzarella, salt pepper, olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, and garlic powder. Toss to combine evenly. Add the bread cubes and toss again. Transfer the salad to a decorative bowl and serve immediately.

Farmers’ Market Panini

Tart apples such as Granny Smith, chopped
Red onion marmalade
Brie Cheese, rind cut off and sliced
Roasted Turkey Breast, sliced
Hearty Wheat Bread, sliced
Brush one side of each bread slice with olive oil. Lay the slices oiled side down and spread the top of each slice with the red onion marmalade. Sprinkle the apples on top and place sliced turkey over the apples. Arrange a couple slices of brie on top. Top each sandwich with a bread slice, oiled side up.

Place the sandwich on a panini press, close the lid, and cook until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the sandwiches to a cutting board and cut in half. Serve immediately.

Moist and Tender Turkey Breast
1 (5-10 lb) fresh or frozen turkey breast (thawed)
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 (10 1/2 ounce) can chicken broth
1-2 tablespoon mayonnaise

1. Place turkey breast in a roasting pan.
2. Combine melted butter and chicken broth.
3. Pour over turkey.
4. Rub mayonnaise all over turkey's exterior. Salt lightly if desired.
5. Roast at 300°-325°F until internal temperature reaches 170°F on an instant read thermometer.
6. Remove from oven and let sit for about 30 minutes before slicing.
Note: because the butter and broth are for making gravy, if you need to make a lot of gravy, double the amount of both.

Red Onion Marmalade
4 ½ pounds red onions
4 garlic cloves
1/3 pound butter
4 tablespoons olive oil
¾ cup sugar
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
375 ml bottle red wine
375 ml bottle red wine vinegar

1. Halve and thinly slice the onions, then thinly slice the garlic. Melt the butter with the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over a high heat. Tip in the onions and garlic and give them a good stir so they are glossed with butter. Sprinkle over the sugar, thyme leaves, and some salt and pepper. Give everything another really good stir and reduce the heat slightly. Cook uncovered for 40-50 minutes, stirring occasionally. The onions are ready when all their juices have evaporated, they're really soft and sticky and smell of sugar caramelizing. They should be so soft that they break when pressed against the side of the pan with a wooden spoon. Slow cooking is the secret of really soft and sticky onions, so don't rush this part.
2. Pour in the wine and vinegar and simmer everything, still uncovered, over a high heat for 25-30 minutes, stirring every so often until the onions are a deep mahogany color and the liquid has reduced by about two-thirds. It's done when drawing a spoon across the bottom of the pan clears a path that fills rapidly with syrupy juice. Leave the onions to cool in the pan then scoop into a container. Can be eaten straight away, but keeps in the fridge for up to 3 months.

Sweet Potato Fries with Garlic and Sea Salt
*These were AMAZING!!! The best sweet potato fries I've ever had!

• 2 lbs sweet potatoes
• ¼ cup olive oil
• 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
• 1 tablespoon lime juice
• 3 tablespoons parmesan cheese
• 2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, chopped
• 1 tablespoon minced garlic
• Course sea salt

Preheat oven to 450. Rinse and dry sweet potatoes. Cut sweet potatoes into batons about ¼ inch wide and 3 inches long. Mix the oil, mustard, and lime juice in a large bowl or ziplock bag and toss with the sweet potato batons to coat. Spread sweet potatoes on a large rimmed baking sheet and roast, stirring with a spatula midway through baking time, until tender and browned on the edges, 20-25 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix parmesan, parsley, and garlic. Add warm oven fries and mix gently to coat. Season to taste with additional salt and serve at once.

Peach Cobbler

1/2 c butter cut up
1 c flour
1 c sugar
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 c milk
3 1/2 c fresh fruit or canned (any kind)
3/4 c firmly packed brown sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Melt the butter in a square pan in the oven. Remove pan from the oven.
3. Stir in flour, sugar, baking powder in a medium bowl. Stir in the milk. Gently pour the mixture into the melted butter in the baking pan. Do not stir.
4. Place fruit of your choice evenly over the batter, top with brown sugar and sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake until the cobbler is well browned and the fruit is cooked. The baking time will vary depending on the fruit. Start checking after about 40 min. Serve right out of the oven, plain or with ice cream or whipped cream...or with milk over the top. Enjoy!

French Vanilla Ice Cream
From Martha Stewart Living
Makes 1 1/2 quarts.
• 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
• 2 cups whole milk
• 2 vanilla beans, halved lengthwise
• 8 large egg yolks
• 3/4 cup sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
1- Put cream and milk into a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Scrape vanilla seeds from beans with the tip of a small knife into pan; add beans. Heat the mixture until hot (do not let simmer), about 2 minutes. Remove mixture from heat; cover, and let stand 30 minutes.

2- Prepare an ice-water bath; set aside. Put yolks, sugar, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on high speed until yolk mixture has tripled in volume and can hold a ribbon on surface for 2 seconds, about 3 minutes.

3- Reduce speed to medium. Ladle 1 cup cream mixture in a slow stream into yolk mixture to temper it. Add another cup cream mixture; beat to combine. Transfer mixture to saucepan; cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until it is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon and an instant-read thermometer registers 180 degrees; 5 to 7 minutes.

4- Pour custard through a medium-mesh sieve into a bowl set in ice-water bath. Let cool completely, stirring often. Freeze custard in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Serve immediately, or freeze in an airtight plastic container until ready to serve. If frozen for more than 4 hours, let ice cream stand at room temperature 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

*This is the best idea for a summer dessert. LOVE IT! It presents so well, and is such a light, yummy dessert. I'd prefer this to cake anyday!

Strawberries and Cheesecake Dip

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
¼ teaspoon vanilla
1 pint strawberries
¼ cup graham cracker crumbs

1) In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add the sour cream, sugar, milk and extract; mix until smooth. Transfer to a serving bowl.
2) Place the strawberries and crumbs in separate serving bowls. Dip strawberries into cheesecake mixture, then into crumbs.

Candy Cookies

1 cube butter (not margarine)
½ c. brown sugar
1 C. milk chocolate chips
Club crackers
finely chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350 F

Line a 9X13 pan with foil and grease with oil. Line the bottom of the pan with club crackers.

In saucepan, melt butter and brown sugar. Boil 2 minutes. Pour over crackers.
Bake 5 minutes. Remove and sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Spread like frosting as it melts. Sprinkle with chopped nuts and press into chocolate. Cut into squares while still warm. Refrigerate till firm.