Sunday, February 26, 2012

Flavor of Love - Annika and Michelle - February 2012

February 9th we had our "Savor the Flavor of Love" Gourmet Night, hosted by Annika and Michelle.

Each invite had a different flavor and color of lipstick and read, "Lather your lips in your favorite color. Then Pucker Up and come Savor the Flavor of Love"

The take home table featured one of the LOVE blocks that each girl got to take as well as a bag of heart suckers and caramels.

There were 3 different sucker flavors: raspberry, coconut, and cinnamon.

There were lots of handmade decorations for the night. Some taking a lot more time than others.

Including a "Love Tastes Good" Banner

The table was fun and featured lots of red, black and pink.

It had two sets of these love block letters that were painted ,modge podged and embellished.
The place settings were simple with alternating red and pink heart plates and each napkin was folded into a heart shape and had a coordinating chiffon napkin ring.

For the name tags they used lip shaped post it notes and vinyl letting. It sat on top of each girls love block. At the end of the evening they got to take both items home with them.

The flavor tags were affixed to the back of each chair with tulle and bakers twine.

And every chair had a small felt heart wreath hung with tulle as well.

Onto the menu:

The drink was a Peach Slush with fun paper heart straws in each.

Appetizers consisted of:

Cinnamon-Pear Baked Brie served on apples or a baguette

and Caramelized Onions over Cambozola cheese and crostini.

The Soup was a Creamy Butternut Squash

and the Salad was a Gorgonzola Spinach Salad.

Main Course:
Macadamia Crusted Tilapia with White Chocolate Beurre Blanc over Coconut Rice with a side of Roasted Broccoli.

And Dessert was pure heaven! Raspberry and Blackberry Bread Pudding with Buttermilk Caramel Syrup and ice cream. Y.U.M.

We enjoyed a great evening as usual with a fabulous group of ladies!

Love was good!

Peach Slush *Recipe courtesy of Favorites

1 pint peach or mango sorbet
1 pint vanilla yogurt
1 (12-oz) can frozen white grape juice, undiluted
1 (12-oz) can frozen lemonade (yellow or pink), undiluted
7-Up or Sprite

Thaw all ingredients until soft and blend together until there are no lumps. Refreeze. To serve, scoop 1/2 cup mixture into bottom of large glass. Fill with 7 –Up or Sprite and stir.

Caramelized Onions over Cambozola

5 T. Butter
2 pounds sliced sweet onions
1/2 cup sugar
1 t. salt
1 t. pepper
1 cup dry red wine
6 t balsamic vinegar
rosemary sprig
Cambozola cheese

Melt butter in a saucepan on medium heat. Add sliced onions and sauté until translucent. Then add sugar, salt, pepper, red wine and balsamic vinegar. Reduce on low heat for 40 minutes. Serve with Cambozola cheese and crostini's, garnish with rosemary sprigs.

Cinnamon-Pear Baked Brie *Recipe courtesy of Trader Joes
1 (8 or 12 oz) Brie wheel or 1 large wedge
12 oz. jar Pear Halves in White Grape Juice or 2 fresh pears, peeled and cored
Scant 1/4 t. cinnamon
2 T. chopped candied pecans

Preheat oven to 350. Slice off the very top rind of the Brie and discard. Place Brie inside a small oven-proof dish. Cut pears into chunks and scatter over top of Brie. Sprinkle cinnamon and nuts over pears. Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes, or until Brie starts to melt. Serve with sliced crusty bread or crackers.

Butternut Squash Soup

1 small onion
3 T. butter
1 butternut squash (about 2 – 3 pounds)
3 cups water
4 chicken bouillon cubes
1/4 t. black pepper
1/2 t. salt
1 bay leaf
1/4 t. cayenne pepper (less for kids)
1 (8oz.) block cream cheese

In a large saucepan, saute’ the onion in the butter. Peel the squash, remove the seeds and pulp and chop into cubes. (or buy the pre cubed at Costco and save yourself all the work!) Add the squash, water, bouillon, pepper, salt, bay leaf and cayenne to the onion and bring to a boil. Cover and let simmer for about 20 minutes, until the squash is soft. Take out the bay leaf and throw away. Puree the soup and softened cream cheese together in a blender until smooth. It may take a few batches (or) use a stick blender. Much easier that way!

Gorgonzola Spinach Salad

1 c. olive oil
1 t. dry mustard
1 t. salt
1 t. celery seed
1 c. sugar
1/2 small yellow onion
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 tub Gorgonzola cheese

Put oil in blender with sliced onion and combine. Add other ingredients and blend well.

1 bag spinach
2 head red leaf lettuce
1 pound fried and crumbled bacon
10 mushrooms, sliced
2 fresh Bartlett pears, diced
1 can mandarin oranges, drained
1/2 cup slivered almonds, candied

Combine salad ingredients and toss. Add remaining Gorgonzola cheese to salad; pour dressing over salad just before serving.

Macadamia Crusted Tilapia with White Chocolate Beurre Blanc

1/2 c. all purpose flour
2 large eggs
3 c. macadamia nuts
6 (6 oz.) tilapia fillets
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
4 T. olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place flour in a shallow bowl. Whisk eggs in small bowl to blend. Finely grind nuts in a food processor. Transfer nuts to another bowl. Season fish with salt and pepper. Coat fish in the flour. Dip fish into eggs, then macadamia nuts, coating completely. Heat 2 T. oil in each of 2 heavy large skillets over medium heat. Place 3 fillets in each skillet; cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer fillets to large baking sheet. Bake fish until just opaque in center, about 7 minutes. Top with White Chocolate Beurre Blanc and serve.

White Chocolate Beurre Blanc:
1/3 c. shallot, minced
2 T. olive oil
1 T. garlic, minced
2/3 c. dry white wine
1 c. heavy cream
1 c. coconut milk
2 T. white chocolate
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cook shallots in olive oil in a heavy saucepan over medium high heat, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes, adding garlic in the last minute. Deglaze with wine and reduce by half. Add cream and coconut milk and reduce by half once more. Remove sauce from heat and mount with white chocolate until sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper.

Coconut Rice

2 cups uncooked long grain white rice
1 -13.5 oz. can coconut milk (shake well before opening)

Wash rice multiple times and drain well. Combine rice and coconut milk in a rice cook. Add water enough to take fill line to the 2 and set on auto.

Roasted Broccoli

1 pound broccoli
2 T. Olive Oil
Kosher salt

Rinse broccoli well and pat dry with paper towels. Cut into florets and pile on a baking sheet. Drizzle with oil, salt and pepper, and then toss until evenly coated. Spread out in single layer. Bake in a 450 degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes, tossing once halfway through. You’ll know it’s done when the florets have browned and stalks are just tender.
*Roasting vegetables at high heat really concentrates their flavor and makes them delicious. Don’t forget to dry your veggies well and roast them in a single layer on the pan – otherwise they will steam not roast. Use this same method for cauliflower, asparagus, baby carrots, zucchini, and other squash.

Raspberry and Blackberry Bread Pudding
3 cups cream
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 T. vanilla
1/2 t. salt
8 large croissants (Costco) cut into 1 inch cubes
6 egg yolks
2 eggs
3 - 4 cups raspberries
2 cups blackberries

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Butter a 9 x 13 pan. In a heavy saucepan combine cream, sugar, vanilla and salt and warm over medium-low heat until steam comes off the surface. Do not boil! Remove from heat, pour over cut up croissants and let stand for 30 minutes. In a large bowl gently whisk together egg yolks and eggs. Add to bread mixture. Fold in fruit. Pour into baking dish and bake for 1 1/2 hours or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool slightly. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream and top with Buttermilk Caramel Syrup.

Buttermilk Caramel Syrup *Recipe courtesy of Our Best Bites
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 stick real butter
2 T. corn syrup
1 t. baking soda
1 t. vanilla

Combine buttermilk, sugar, corn syrup, and baking soda in a LARGE pot. Bring ingredients to a boil and reduce heat to low (as long as it’s still bubbling, you’re okay). Cook, stirring very frequently, for 8-9 minutes. You’re basically making candy here and it requires constant care. When it is done, it should take on a luscious golden-brown color. Remove from heat and add vanilla. There will be foam on top. It tastes good, but isn’t super pretty. You can skim it off; otherwise, just give it a good stir.
2 cups cream
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 2/3 cup dark corn syrup

Bring sugar, butter, corn syrup & 1 cup cream to boil. Slowly drip in other cup of cream while stirring and cook to soft ball stage about 235 degrees on candy thermometer. 242-245 degrees at sea level. Pour into 9x13 buttered pan or if you double the recipe put in a buttered jelly roll/cookie sheet. When cooled and set up cut and dip in chocolate or wrap in wax paper.

Suckers *Use of a candy thermometer is recommended
2 cups granulated sugar Food coloring (as desired)
2/3 cup light corn syrup Sucker Sticks
3/4 cup water Sucker Molds
1 t. (or as desired) super-strength flavoring Sucker bags (optional)
Twist ties (optional)
1. In a 2-quart kettle or large saucepan, mix together sugar, corn syrup and water. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves.
2. Insert candy thermometer if using, making certain it does not touch the bottom of the pan. Bring mixture to a boil without stirring.
3. Early in the cooking process, "wash down" any sugar crystals that form on the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush.
4. Continue to cook the syrup, without stirring, until the temperature reaches 260º F; add color. Do not stir; boiling action will incorporate color into syrup.
5. Remove from heat precisely at 300° F (temperature will continue rising), or until drops of syrup form hard, brittle threads in cold water (hard crack stage). After boiling action has ceased, add flavor and stir. USE CAUTION WHEN ADDING FLAVORING TO AVOID RISING STEAM.
6. Carefully pour syrup into prepared molds or onto the prepared greased and foil lined cookie sheet. (As the sugar mixture begins to set up, you may want to score with a large knife to mark squares.) Do not refrigerate.