Wednesday, April 13, 2011

2011 - 2012 Gourmet Schedule

September - Judith and Kristy

November - Shelly and Lindsay

January/February - Michelle and Annika

March - Sunny and Suzy

May - Kim and Holly

June - Heather and Amber

Friday, April 8, 2011

Unbrithday Party - Shelly & Lindsay - April 2011

The best "Unbirthday" Party hostesses around, Shelly and Lindsay.

Hats off to these talented ladies who threw a great Gourmet club party!

These cute party hats were tied with a balloon to our party invitation.

Fun banner and balloons were hung as you entered the house.

The table was darling. Love the red!

Each chair had a cute balloon wreath tied to the back. What a fun and simple idea. The bright colors were awesome.

The place settings were fun to. There were different color/style cupcake plates and they had made all the napkins with rickrack and napkin rings with curling ribbon. So cute!

Each girl's name card was on a little party hat die cut affixed to a rolled up sheet of facts. All facts about their birthday right down to the day of the week they were conceived! That brought some interesting conversation...

A big balloon wreath hung from the door with vinyl lettering "CELEBRATE" below it.

We played the candy game where you guess how many items of candy are in each jar. Plus we each got a "birthday Mix" cd to take home full of party music.

Onto the appetizers

Sweet and Sour Meatballs, Stuffed Bleu Cheese potatoes, and Cheesy Roasted Red pepper Dip

and don't forget the refreshing Pineapple Banana Slush!

It was all delish!

Salad course was:
BBQ Chicken Cobb Salad with Zesty Blue Cheese Dressing
Ok, the dressing.... TDF!!!

The main course was a fun pizza sampler. All great unique pizza's for sure!
Ciabatta Pizza with Gorgonzola, Walnut Pesto, and Pears
Wild Mushroom Pizza with Caramelized Onions, Fontina, and Rosemary (my favorite!)
Thai Chicken Pizza

Dessert could have been my favorite item of the night, which usually is not the case. It was incredible!
Vanilla Bean Cheesecake
Holy Cow! They served it on these darling goblet plate stands that they made and sent home with us. So cute!

Our other take home was a delicious Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cupcake with Oreo Frosting. Because lets be honest, what is an Unbirthday Party without a cupcake!

Michelle, Holly, Julie, and Kristi were our candy contest winners.

The whole Unbirthday Party crowd!

It was a great party and everything was wonderful!
Great job girls, you are the party masters!

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

recipe by: Our Best Bites

1 12 oz jar Chili Sauce

1 16-18oz jar grape jelly*
2lb frozen meatballs or 2-3 packages cocktail sausages

Combine jelly and chili sauce in a crock pot an stir until smooth. Heat the mixture if needed to combine. Add meatballs or cocktail sausages and set temperature to low. Cook for 2-5 hours on low. Serve with toothpicks.

Stuffed Bleu Cheese Potatoes

recipe by: Our Best Bites

4 medium baking potatoes
½ Cup sour cream
1 oz (1/4 cup) crumbled bleu cheese
¼ Cup milk or buttermilk
4 Tbs real butter, cut into chunks
¾ tsp salt
Dash pepper
½ t garlic powder
8 pieces bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
Grated cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash and dry potatoes. Rub them lightly with a bit of shortening or vegetable oil (helps crisp the skin) and place directly on oven rack, or a cookie sheet. Bake for one hour or until potatoes are done.

2. Remove potatoes and let cool just a bit. Cut an opening on the top and hollow out each potato, OR cut each potato in half (as shown in photos) to make 8 servings. You may want to hold them with a potholder as they will still be hot!
3. Scoop out the insides and place in a bowl. Mash, and add butter, sour cream, bleu cheese, milk, salt, pepper, and garlic. Beat with a hand mixer until fluffy. Carefully spoon mixture back into potato shells. Place in a baking dish. Return to hot oven and bake for 12-15 minutes.

4. Remove and sprinkle bacon and cheddar cheese over each potato bake an additional 3-5 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Cheesy Roasted Red Pepper Dip

recipe by: Our Best Bites

7oz jar roasted red peppers (about 1C diced)

4 C grated pepper jack cheese (3/4 lb)
8oz cream cheese (I use low-fat)
3/4 C mayonnaise
2 T minced onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 350. Remove peppers from jar and blot excess water with paper towels. You want to make sure they are dry so they don’t add moisture to the dip. Then dice ‘em up.

In a bowl, soften cream cheese in microwave so it will be easier to stir. Add in mayo, onion, garlic, and dijon. Stir to combine and then add in grated cheese and the diced peppers. Place in an 8×8-ish dish (pie plate works). At this point you can pop it in the fridge if you’re going to cook it later and you can even make it a couple of days ahead of time. Place in the oven and cook for 30-45 minutes. Baking time depends on the dish. It will start to bubble and brown on the outside edge, and you want it to be bubbly all the way through to the center. It will be nice and golden brown on top, especially around the edges. Mine usually takes 40-45 min.. Serve immediately. You can serve it with anything that sounds good- tortilla chips, pita chips, crackers (choose a plain flavored one) or veggies.

Pineapple Banana Slush

Boil 6 cups water with 4 cups sugar
Add the juice from:
5 oranges
5 lemons
Add 5 crushed bananas & 1 quart pineapple juice
Freeze in (2) 9x13 pans for 24 hours.
Let thaw for one hour then serve with Sprite (or Diet Sprite)

BBQ Chicken Cobb Salad

Recipe by: Our Best Bites

Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing (recipe below)

Leafy green lettuce (I like Romaine)
Hard boiled eggs - chopped

Chopped green onions or sliced red onions

Chopped tomatoes

Cheddar Cheese
Avocado cubes

Crumbled bacon

Wash and chop lettuce. Blot with paper towels to remove excess moisture.
Arrange lettuce on large dinner plates and add a handful of BBQ chicken.
Arrange remaining ingredients on top.
Serve with dressing and enjoy!

Zesty Blue Cheese Dressing
Recipe by Our Best Bites

1 c. mayonnaise (do not use Miracle Whip. Just don't. You may, however, use light mayonnaise.)

1/2 c. crumbled blue cheese

1/2 tsp. Kosher salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

2 tsp. minced garlic (1-2 cloves)

A couple tablespoons of milk or buttermilk (optional)
Combine ingredients. Thin to desired consistency with milk or buttermilk.
Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

Ciabatta Pizza with Gorgonzola, Walnut Pesto, and Pears

Adapted from Bon Appétit | September 2005

Yield: Makes 12 appetizer or 6 main-course servings


2 cups walnuts
1 cup olive oil (I used about ½ cup)
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

1 loaf ciabatta bread (about 1 1/3 pounds), halved horizontally
10 ounces thinly sliced Havarti cheese
1 cup of crumbled bacon
2 pears, halved, cored, thinly sliced
2/3 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese


Preheat oven to 450°F. Toast nuts on baking sheet until brown, about 6 minutes. Maintain oven temperature. Transfer hot nuts to a food processor. Process. Add oil, honey, and thyme; process until nuts are finely chopped and the pesto is smooth. Season pesto to taste with salt and pepper.

Place bread halves, cut side up, on baking sheet. Spread pesto over bread, about 1 cup per side (I found that the pesto didn’t spread well, so I just put it in little clumps over the bread). Top with Havarti. Bake until the cheese starts to melt, about 4 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with pears and Gorgonzola cheese and put it back in the oven for about 5 minutes or until the blue cheese is mostly melted. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper, cut, and serve.

Wild Mushroom Pizza with Caramelized Onions, Fontina, and Rosemary

Adapted from Bon Appétit | September 2004


  • 7 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil
  • 3 onions, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise (about 6 cups)
  • 1 ¼ pounds assorted wild mushrooms (such as crimini, oyster, chanterelle, and stemmed shiitake), cut into bite-size pieces
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot (about 1 medium)
  • 1 cup white grape juice
  • ½ cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
  • Pizza Dough
  • Cornmeal (for dusting)
  • Garlic oil
  • Grated fontina cheese (about 2 cups)


Heat oven to 500 degrees and put pizza stone in and allow it to heat up for at least 30 minutes.

Melt 3 tablespoons butter with 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until golden, about 45 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter with 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil in another heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, garlic, and shallot. Sauté 4 minutes. Add juice and vinegar and simmer until almost all liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently, about 15- 20 minutes. Add rosemary; season with salt and pepper.

Roll out dough into a 12 to 14 inch circle. Transfer it to a pizza peel sprinkled with cornmeal. Lightly brush dough with garlic oil. Sprinkle with 1 1/2 cups cheese. Scatter onions over cheese. Scatter mushrooms over onions. Sprinkle with salt. Bake for about 9 minutes (depending on the size of the pizza and how much dough you used). Using the pizza peel, take the pizza out and sprinkle on remaining cheese and put back in the oven. Bake for a couple minutes longer, until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the crust is golden brown. Using the peel, carefully transfer pizza to cutting board. Let rest 1 minute. Slice into wedges and serve.

Thai Chicken Pizza


1/2 cup peanut butter (I like smooth, use whatever you want)
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves minced
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sriracha (or hot chili sauce)
1 Tablespoon oyster sauce
1 Tablespoon fish sauce
Boiling water, if needed

Put the ingredients except for the boiling water into a saucepan and let it cook through until it is hot. Add boiling water, if needed, to thin the sauce out. I added around 2 tablespoons. Cool slightly and mix ¼ cup of the sauce with the cooled chicken pieces. Set aside.

*This makes enough sauce for 2 pizzas.


10 ounces boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into small pieces.

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar or cider vinegar

1/4 seedless cucumber, peeled and cut into matchsticks

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

4 scallions, slivered diagonally

½ cup white bean sprouts

¼ cup matchstick carrots

2 T chopped roasted peanuts

2 T (or more) chopped fresh cilantro



Heat oven to 500 degrees and put pizza stone in and allow it to heat up for at least 30 minutes. Mix honey and vinegar and add cucumbers. Let marinate for at least 20 minutes.

Roll out dough into a 12 to 14 inch circle (I like to use a little less dough for a thinner crust for this pizza). Transfer it to a pizza peel sprinkled with cornmeal. Spread some of the sauce over the pizza dough (I used about 1/3 cup). Sprinkle cheese over the dough and top with veggies and chicken. Leave the cilantro, cucumber, and limes off until the pizza is cooked. Transfer pizza from peel to hot pizza stone and bake for about 7 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Garnish the pizza with chopped cilantro, peanuts, and a squeeze of lime.

Pizza Dough

From Cooks Illustrated


· 1 3/4cups water divided, 1/2 cup warm, remaining at tap temperature

· 2 1/4teaspoons dry active yeast (1 envelope)

· 2tablespoons olive oil , plus extra for brushing dough

· 4cups bread flour

· 1 1/2teaspoons table salt (I used 1 ¾ teaspoons)

· Vegetable oil (or cooking spray) for oiling bowl

· Semolina for dusting peel


1. 1. Measure 1/4 cup of warm water into 2-cup measuring cup. Sprinkle in yeast; let stand until yeast dissolves and swells, about 5 minutes. Add remaining 1/4 cup warm water plus remaining 1 1/4 cups tap water and olive oil. Meanwhile, pulse flour and salt in workbowl of large food processor fitted with steel blade to combine. Add liquid ingredients (holding back a tablespoon or so) to flour and pulse together. If dough does not readily form into ball, stop machine, add remaining liquid, and continue to pulse until ball forms. Process until dough is smooth and satiny, about 30 seconds longer.

2. 2. Turn dough onto lightly floured work surface; knead by hand with a few strokes to form smooth, round ball. Put dough into medium-large, oiled bowl, and cover with damp cloth. Let rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

3. 3. Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface and use chef’s knife or dough scraper to halve, quarter, or cut dough into eighths, depending on number and size of pizzas desired. Form each piece into ball and cover with damp cloth. Working with one piece of dough at a time, shape as shown in illustrations below. Transfer to pizza peel that has been lightly coated with semolina, brush dough very lightly with olive oil before topping and cooking.

4. 4. Use the following guide to determine cooking time for pizza crust with topping but without cheese. All pizzas need to be cooked an additional two or three minutes after adding cheese, or until cheese is completely melted.


14-inch pizzas (Master Recipe makes 2) - 7 to 8 minutes
12-inch pizzas (Master Recipe makes 4) - 5 minutes
8-inch pizzas (Master Recipe makes 8)- 3 minutes.


12-inch pizzas (Master Recipe makes 2) - 9 to 10 minutes
8-inch pizzas (Master Recipe makes 4) - 5 minutes
6-inch pizzas (Master Recipe makes 8) - 4 minutes.

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake



  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9 in springform pan with foil and spray with non-stick spray.
  2. Mix the graham crackers with 1/4 C sugar.
  3. Add the egg yolk, 1/4 t. vanilla, and melted butter, in that order.
  4. Press mixture into the pan, and bake for 8 minutes (or until edges are slightly brown).
  5. Remove and let cool.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  7. Combine cream cheese, sour cream, cornstarch, and 1 C sugar, mixing until sugar dissolves. Add butter, 1/2 t vanilla, and beans from one vanilla pod, blend until smooth. Spread on crust.
  8. Bake 30-35 minutes, cool 1 hour.
  9. In a cold mixing bowl, beat 1 C cream until soft peaks form. Add 2 T powdered sugar, and continue beating. Place in another bowl in fridge. Without washing first bowl, beat the 1/3 less fat cream cheese in it, until fluffy. Add the white chocolate, and beat until smooth. Fold in the whipped cream from fridge; place back in fridge.
  10. In another cold bowl, beat 1 C whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add 1 T powdered sugar, and beans from one vanilla pod beating until stiff peaks form.
  11. Spread mousse evenly on top (cream cheese/white chocolate mixture). Refrigerate for an hour then spread whipped cream on top. Refrigerate several hours before serving.

* The only adjustment I make is that I cook the cheesecake for 5-10 minutes longer than it says. Also, don't be concerned when you take the cheesecake out of the oven and it seems really wobbly like it is not fully cooked. As long as you chill it in the fridge ( I chill it overnight) it will set up perfectly.