Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Dr. Seuss - Annika and Michelle - September 2013

Annika and Michelle hosted our first gourmet club for year number SIX/SEVEN (depending on who you ask)! 
The theme was Dr. Seuss.  Bright, cheery, exciting and adventurous for sure! 
The weather was the beginning of that adventure for sure and thanks to some crazy wind we ended up dining indoors instead out.
The truffle trees were so cute and fun!  Trees and the cat in the hat's hat greeted each guest at the front door.  Inside was a small table with a collection of some of the favorite books from Dr. Seuss and a few more trees.
The table was bright and happy as well and 

had some windy tall red vases housing large bright football mums.
The menus were like a book and had the Cat in the Hat with his green eggs and ham on the cover.
The back of the menu even had "The End" to finish their book and meal off right.
Place cards were mimicked after Thing 1 and Thing 2.  Each place setting from Thing 1 to Thing 9 so the girls could pick their seat for a change.
The bay window had a large swag with some of their favorite colorful quotes from Dr. Seuss and a big truffula ball in the center all hung from clothes pins.
The appetizer table had quotes in frames as well and a few other pops of color.
The menu was so fun!  Filled with more inspiring and laughable quotes along with an adventure of a menu.
Rather than appetizers, main dish and such each were served a foreword, preface, intro, story and epilogue to follow the book theme.
The Lorax of Peach Smoothies and 
Horton Fluffs a Flatbread (Ricotta Flatbread with Pomegranate Salsa)
Grinchy Greens (Vertical Pear Salad)
Green Eggs n' Ham
Roast Beast (Smoked Brisket)
Parmesan Brussels Sprouts and
"Thnead" Squash (Butternut Squash Puree) with an edible nasturtium flower
Cat in the Hat Pavlova (Fruit and Cream Pavlova)
It was yum, but maybe I am prejudice....I don't think so. ;-)
We welcomed two new gals to the group this season, one of which it happened to be her birthday! McKenzie (Sunny's partner) got a candle and awesome happy birthday rendition to seal the deal and initiate her into Gourmet Gals!  Welcome McKenzie, we are excited to have you and hope you had a wonderful birthday!  We also welcomed Lindsay's new partner Kim and are excited to get to know both of them better this year.
Take homes were just comedic really.
Recipes of course and....
how could we not give a gold fish with Dr. Seuss?!
The best part, half of them were already dead and the gals were fighting over who had to take the live ones home!  
It was so great to start off another season and get to catch up with each other after a busy Summer!  Such a great group of ladies and we are excited to feast on this season of gourmet creations!

the lorax of peach smoothies

5 large fresh peaches (peeled)
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
½ cup orange juice
1 Tbs. of Honey or Agave
1 tray of ice cubes

Add ingredients into blender in order given.  Blend till desired texture.

horton fluffs a flatbread
(ricotta flatbread with pomegranate salsa)

1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup dried, sweetened cranberries; roughly chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs. honey
2 tsp. chopped fresh parsley
1/2 Tbs. orange zest
pinch of salt
1 oval pre-baked flatbread, such as naan or pocketless pita
8 ounces ricotta
1/2 cup baby arugula

Combine pomegranate seeds, cranberries, shallot, oil, vinegar, honey, parsley, orange zest and salt in a bowl.  Set aside.  Place flatbread on a preheated grill rack or backing stone in a 450-degree oven; toast until warm and edges are lightly toasted, 5-10 minutes. Spoon ricotta over warm flatbread and spread lightly.  Arrange arugula over ricotta; cut into serving pieces.  Top each slice with salsa.            

yield: 4 servings

green eggs n’ ham sandwich

Chipotle Mayonnaise:
1/2 cup mayo
1 chipotle pepper
1 tsp. adobo sauce
2 tsp. fresh lime juice
The rest:
8 slices crusty bread
1 avocado, cut into 16 slices
4 slices ham or bacon, cooked until crispy
8 eggs
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro

In a medium bowl, stir to combine mayonnaise, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce and lime juice.  Set aside.

Toast bread until golden brown.  Spread 1-tablespoon chipotle mayo on each piece of toast.  Top with 2 slices avocado and piece of ham or bacon.  Fry eggs and lay on egg on top of each piece of toast.  Garnish with cilantro, if desired.  Serve immediately. yield: 4 servings

roast beast
(Smoked Brisket)
Preheat smoker and add wood chips (follow your instruction manual). Rinse and dry the brisket. Apply seasoning rub. Place brisket in smoker for 8-10 hours. Keep the smoker temperature at about 225 to 250 degrees F. To increase tenderness, take the brisket out of the smoker once it reaches 170 degrees F., wrap in aluminum foil and place back in the smoker or in an oven at 180-200 degrees for the last two hours or until the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees F.

grinchy greens
(vertical pear salad)
8 pears
4 Tbs. glazed pecans
3 oz Feta or Gorgonzola cheese
3 cups mixed greens

1Tbs. minced Shallots
1/3 cup champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
¾ tsp. cracked pepper
½ tsp. salt
½ cup honey
½-2/3 cup olive oil

Toss mixed greens, pecans, and cheese with a small amount of the dressing.  Core pears from bottom, keeping stem intact.  Slice pears in 3-4 horizontal slices.  Brush cut sides with lemon juice. Reassemble pears with salad mix in between.  Drizzle with additional dressing and serve.  Serves 8

parmesan brussels sprouts

1 lb. Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed and discolored outer leaves removed
2 Tbs. olive oil
parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large bowl, mix together Brussels sprouts, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Gently stir until well combined.  Prepare a baking sheet with aluminum foil, then spread the Brussels sprouts on it evenly.  Roast for 12-18 minutes, stirring once partway through, the last 3-5 minutes sprinkle with parmesan to your liking and finish roasting until they are crispy on the outside and cooked on the inside.

 “thnead” squash

1 – medium butternut squash
2 Tbs. butter, to taste and consistency
2 Tbs. brown sugar, to taste
2 Tbs. half and half or cream, to taste and consistency
pinch of salt.

Cut squash in half lengthwise and place skin side down in a glass pyrex dish with a small layer of water just to cover bottom of pan.  Bake covered in a 350 degree oven for about 60 minutes or until nice and soft.  Scoop meat out of squash and add butter, brown sugar and cream.  Beat with mixer until smooth and creamy.

cat in the hat pavlova

8 egg whites
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. cider vinegar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 cup finely chopped pecans

Beat egg whites to soft peaks and then continue beating in mixer until whites reach stiff peaks.  Once eggs have reach full stiff peaks, place meringue into a large piping bag.  Place a single sheet of parchment paper on cookie sheet and taking a large dinner plate, trace a full circle onto the parchment paper.  Repeat with 2nd cookie sheet and paper.  Take piping bag and starting on the outside of circle, pipe in a circular pattern working from the outside towards the center to fill in the circle with meringue.   Repeat with second sheet.  Bake in a 300 degree oven for 50 to 60 minutes.

When done, let meringue fully cool.  To serve, place one meringue on bottom of a decorative plate, cover with fresh whipping cream and choice of fresh berries.  Place second meringue on top of fruit and repeat the same process finishing with fruit.