Talk about going out with a bang! Lindsay and Kim hosted our last gourmet night before Summer break and knocked our socks off! Kim hand made each of us a darling invite to their Mother's Day Garden Tea.
So much attention and detail given to all the crafty things for sure.
As we entered Kim's beautiful back yard there was a table set up with our recipes, take homes and a rack of quotes with each our names on one. Each had a quote about us form our husbands. These two ladies had been busy little bees working to get 10 reasons why each gal was the worlds best Mom. It was a darling idea and so thoughtful and fun to read bits and pieces about each gal through her husbands eyes.
I wish I could have taken a close up of each one because they were all so detailed and such wonderful compliments and strengths of each gal.
The set up was awesome and it was so pretty out!
The tables were fancy with gold accents and cheerful with bright flowers.
The centerpieces were so darling. They were made out of tea cups and saucers. Such a cute idea.
Place settings won rave reviews as the china was Kim's grandmothers. It was perfect!
The pearls around the napkins and the doily wrapped menu were the perfect touch
along with the name tags, the adorable tea cup cut out on top and the pearl to dot the "i"!
The menus were hand made as well and even had a little tea bag and tea cup with our initial.
The appetizer table and set up was awesome.
Again such detail and attention. The gold flag banner and the doilies with more quotes hanging was the perfect backdrop. And notice the tea cups hanging to each side with little birds in each!
For appetizers we enjoyed a Lime Refresher
in china tea cups.
All the Cucumber Tea sandwiches were displayed on another darling plate stand with a a tea cup filled with flowers.
Feta, Watermelon and Mint Skewers
and Berry Medley with Orange Glaze and Mint.
Everything was refreshing and delicious!
We moved to the tables to warm up with the most amazingly delicious Lemon Asparagus Soup with Homemade Croutons. To die for!
Next, a Creamy Brie, Bacon and Mushroom Croissant. People, WHY have we never thought of this before?!? Seriously. Everybody's plate…licked clean.
We finished up with the Chicken Florentine salad with roasted garlic lemon vinaigrette. I loved ending with a salad for a change. And a great one at that!
We moved inside for dessert since the evening air turned a little chilly.
Chocolate Toffee Trifle,
Creamy Fruit Tart
and Mini Lemon Cheesecake were the perfect encore to an amazing meal!
So pretty and equally delicious.
These girls hit it out of the ballpark!
The sent us home with recipes for all the goods, our top ten list from our husbands, a bag filled with a darling framed picture of each gal with her Mom or kids and a few yummy chocolates.
We were spoiled for sure and it was a fantastic Mother's Day celebration! It has been a wonderful season of gourmet club. We are so sad to say goodbye to Sunny, Mackenzie and Lindsay. Life is always changing and we understand, but will miss them dearly.
(This makes enough for 12 medium-sized dinner salads)
12 oz. julienne-cut fresh spinach
6 chicken breasts, marinated in “Mom’s Marinade” and grilled and sliced thinly
6 oz. ripe Roma tomatoes, diced
5 oz. pine nuts, lightly toasted
4 oz. capers
5 oz. sun-dried tomatoes, julienne cut
5 oz. sliced black olives
20 oz. orzo pasta, cooked and chilled (this measurement is the weight after it is cooked)
Fresh Parmesan cheese shavings
Fresh black pepper for garnish
Place all ingredients, except Parmesan cheese and chicken, in a large mixing. Pour desired amount of vinaigrette and toss. Serve on individual plates. Top each salad with chicken slices, Parmesan shavings, and an additional drizzle of salad dressing over the chicken slices, if desired.
- 1 cup soy sauce
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups lemon-lime soda
- 1 tablespoon garlic salt
Pour mixed ingredients over chicken breasts, turning to coat all pieces. Marinate in refrigerator for 6 to 12 hours. Grill on barbeque or broil in oven. You can use turkey breasts, also.
Roasted Garlic Lemon Vinaigrette
-½ cup red wine vinegar
-6 T honey
-1 teaspoon salt
-1 ounce roasted garlic which equals about an entire head (also called bulb) of garlic (roasted per instructions below)
-1 ½ cups virgin olive oil
-1 lemon, juiced
Place vinegar, honey, salt and roasted garlic in a food processor. Puree until garlic is chopped and very fine. With the food processor still running, add olive oil and lemon juice. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
How to Roast Garlic
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
2. Peel away the outer layers of the garlic bulb skin, leaving the skins of the individual cloves intact. Using a knife, cut off 1/4 to a 1/2 inch of the top of cloves, exposing the individual cloves of garlic.
3. Place the garlic heads in a baking pan; muffin pans work well for this purpose. Drizzle a couple teaspoons of olive oil over each head, using your fingers to make sure the garlic head is well coated. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 400°F for 30-35 minutes, or until the cloves feel soft when pressed.
4. Allow the garlic to cool enough so you can touch it without burning yourself. Use a small small knife cut the skin slightly around each clove. Use a cocktail fork or your fingers to pull or squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins.
Creamy Bacon, Brie, and Mushroom Croissants
- 3 T butter
- About 6 slices of bacon
- 2 finely sliced garlic cloves
- 16 oz. of mushrooms of choice, thickly sliced
- 1 cup of beef broth
- 1/3 cup of heavy cream
- The leaves of a few fresh thyme sprigs
- 4 croissants.
- Brie Cheese cut in slices
1. Melt butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add bacon and cook for 3-4 minutes, until golden. Add garlic cloves and mushrooms, increase the heat and cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until just softened. Add beef broth and bubble for a few minutes until evaporated. Reduce the heat, stir in cream and the leaves of a few fresh thyme sprigs. Simmer for a few minutes until thickened. Season to taste.
2. Meanwhile, turn the broiler of your oven on. Slice croissants in half. Put on a baking tray, cut side up, and cook for 1 minute, until toasted. Set the tops aside. Spoon the creamy mushrooms onto each base, top each with a slice of ripe Brie, and broil for a further 2 minutes, until the Brie is melting. Assemble the croissants again and serve hot, scattered with extra fresh thyme sprigs.
Radish Tea Sandwiches with Wasabi Lemon Mayonnaise
Good quality white bread
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 T plain Greek yogurt
1 t lemon juice
2 t wasabi sauce
1- Thinly slice the radishes.
2- Cut the white bread into small round circles using a biscuit or cookie cutter.
3- Mix together the mayonnaise ingredients.
4- Spread the mayonnaise onto each bread round and top with a layer of radishes, slightly overlapping them. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on the radishes and top with an edible flower.
Classic English Cucumber Tea Sandwich
Good quality white bread
1- Thinly slice the cucumber.
2- Place cucumber slices between layers of paper towels to remove excess moisture.
3- Spread butter onto one side of each slice of bread. Lay cucumber slices onto the buttered side of half of the slices of bread. Sprinkle the cucumbers with salt. Top the cucumbers with a layer of watercress. Top with the remaining slices of bread, buttered side down.
Carefully cut the crusts from each sandwich with a long, sharp knife after the sandwiches are filled. Cut the sandwiches in half diagonally and then cut in half again.
Watermelon, Feta, and Mint Skewers
Block of Feta cheese
Fresh mint leaves
Balsamic glaze, homemade or store bought
Cut feta cheese and watermelon in bite size pieces. I use a small flower shaped cookie cutter. Assemble each skewer as follows: watermelon, drizzle of balsamic glaze, a mint leaf placed so half of it shows on the side, and top with a feta piece. Place a toothpick through the stack and serve.
Mini Lemon Cheesecakes
**I use 2 mini cheesecake pans to make these cheesecakes. The pans have removable discs at the bottom of each cup that allow for easy removal of the cheesecakes. The cups in the pan are a little deeper than those in a mini muffin tin, but I think you could still use a mini muffin tin…you would just end up making more cheesecakes. I adapted the recipe from one that makes a full cheesecake, so I always end up with leftover crust mixture and cream cheese mixture. I only have two pans so that is all I make. I think you could probably get another ½ or whole pan out of the ingredients if you are using the mini cheesecake pan, even more if you are using a mini muffin tin.
For the crust:
· 8 oz. vanilla wafers, finely crushed (2 cups of crumbs)
· 3 Tbs. granulated sugar
· 7 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
· 2 8-oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature
· 2/3 cup ricotta
· 1 Tbs. all-purpose flour
· Table salt
· 3/4 cup granulated sugar
· 1 ½ Tbs. finely grated lemon zest
· 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
· 2 large eggs, at room temperature
For the garnish:
· lemon curd (found in the jam section at the grocery store)
· Whipped cream
· Lemon rind curls
Make the crust:
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.
In a medium bowl, stir together the vanilla wafer crumbs and 3 Tbs. granulated sugar. Mix in the melted butter until the crumbs are evenly moist and clump together slightly. Fill each mini cup with a heaping tablespoon (about 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon – less if you are using a mini muffin tin). Press the crumb mixture on bottom of each cup. Bake until the crust is fragrant and slightly darkened, 9 to 12 minutes. Let the pan cool on a rack. Lower the oven temperature to 300°F.
Fill and bake the cheesecake:
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, ricotta, flour, and a pinch of table salt on medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl and the paddle frequently, until very smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Make sure the cheese has no lumps. Add the 3/4 cup granulated sugar and continue beating until well blended and smooth.
Add the lemon zest and vanilla, and beat until blended, about 30 seconds. Add the eggs one at a time, beating just until blended. (Don’t overbeat once the eggs have been added or the cheesecake will puff too much and crack as it cools.) Pour about 3 T of the mixture into each mini cheesecake cup (less if you are using a mini muffin tin).
Bake at 300°F until the center jiggles like Jell-O when nudged, about 14 minutes. Remove pans from oven and place on rack to cool approximately 20 minutes. The tops will fall as they cool.
Lightly loosen the cheese tarts around the edges. Carefully remove the cheesecakes by pushing the handle of a wooden spoon through the bottom of each cup. When cool, take disc off of the bottom of the cheesecakes (these instructions are if using a mini cheesecake pan, otherwise, gently remove the cheesecakes from the mini muffin tin). Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Garnish and serve:
Spread a layer of lemon curd evenly over each cheesecake. Pipe whipped cream over each cheesecake and garnish with a lemon rind curl.
Fresh Asparagus Soup
- 1 pound fresh asparagus
- ¾ cup chopped onion
- ½ cup vegetable broth
- 1 T butter
- 2 T all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 pinch ground pepper
- 1 ¼ cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup milk
- ½ cup yogurt
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
1. Place asparagus and onion in a saucepan with 1/2 cup vegetable broth. Bring the broth to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer until the vegetables are tender.
2. Reserve a few asparagus tips for garnish. Place remaining vegetable mixture in an electric blender and puree until smooth.
3. Melt butter in the pan that was used for simmering the asparagus and onions. Stir while sprinkling flour, salt, and pepper into the butter. Do not let the flour brown. Allow the mixture to cook only 2 minutes. Stir in remaining 1 1/4 cups vegetable broth and increase the heat. Continue stirring until the mixture comes to a boil.
4. Stir the vegetable puree and milk into the saucepan. Whisk yogurt into the mixture, followed by lemon juice. Stir until heated through, then ladle into bowls. Garnish with reserved asparagus tips. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if desired.
Homemade Croutons for Soup or Salad
1 loaf bread, cut into small cubes
1/2 c. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter, melted
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1-2 tbsp. dry or fresh parsley
1/4 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. thyme
1/4 tsp. celery seed
pinch of salt
Combine ingredients (except bread). Using a pastry brush, brush both sides of slices with oil mix. Cut into small squares. Another way to make croutons is to cut the bread into squares first, then pour the seasoning mixture onto baking pan and stir the croutons to coat. To make sure all are coated, they can be sprayed very quickly with olive oil spray (do not use any other kind of spray).
Arrange in single layers on cookie sheets.
Bake at 300°F for 10-15 minutes or until golden and fragrant.
Allow to cool and store in an airtight container. Keeps 4 weeks, or may be frozen for up to 6 months.
Fruit Tart Cookie Crust Recipe
1 cup all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar (powdered or icing sugar)
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
Shortbread Crust: Lightly butter, or spray with a non stick vegetable spray, an 8 or 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom.
In your food processor, place the flour, sugar, and salt and process to combine. Add the cold butter and pulse until the pastry starts to come together and form clumps. Transfer the pastry to the prepared pan and, using your fingertips, evenly press the pastry onto the bottom and up the sides of the pan. (Can use the back of a spoon to smooth the surface of the pastry.) Gently pierce the bottom of the crust with the tines of a fork. (This will prevent the pastry crust from puffing up while it bakes.) Cover and place the pastry crust in the freezer for 15 minutes to chill. (This will help prevent the crust from shrinking while it bakes.)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and place rack in the center of the oven.
Place the tart pan on a larger baking sheet and bake the crust until golden brown, about 13 - 15 minutes. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. It is now ready to be filled.
Creamy Deliciousness ;)
1 pint or 2 cups heavy whipping cream, very cold
5.1 oz package of vanilla pudding
1 cup of cold milk
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
Beat cold whipping cream on the highest speed until fluffy and stiff peaks form. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Whisk 1 cup milk together with instant pudding until well blended, then whisk in 1 can of refrigerated sweetened condensed milk until smooth. Gently fold in the whipped cream. Fill pre-cooked tart cups with the creamy deliciousness and top with your favorite fruits.
Possibilities not limited to:
Mandarin oranges Blackberries
Berry Medley with Citrus and Mint
1 lb strawberries quartered or sliced
1 package blackberries
1 package blueberries
1 bushel of grapes rinsed and halved
1 cup of water
1 cup of sugar
Boil on the stove and remove when sugar is dissolved
Grate 2 Tbsp orange rind and add to the glaze
squeeze in one whole orange
pour over berries and stir in 1 Tbsp of chopped mint leaves
Scoop berries into a serving dish and garnish with one full mint leaf on top
1 can limeade Green Food Color
2 c. sugar Blue Food Color
8 c. hot water Sprite
Combine limeade, sugar and water in Ziploc Gallon freezer bags. Add 2 to 3 drops of green and blue food coloring. Place on a cookie sheet and put it in the freezer overnight. Take it out 1-2 hours before serving. Mash the slush with a potato masher and add 1 liter of Sprite.
I double bag the Ziplocs to avoid spilling, but that is just a personal preference.
Tips: You can put red food coloring in the slush and mix in raspberries prior to serving and it just puts a twist on the whole thing.
Chocolate Toffee Trifle
· One box chocolate fuge cake mix
· One large box chocolate pudding
· One 8 oz tub of cool whip
· 4 SKOR (toffee bars)
Bake one chocolate fudge (Or whatever type of chocolate you prefer) cake in a 9x13 pan.
Prepare one large box of chocolate pudding and place in the refrigerator to set.
Chop up 4 SKOR bars into small pieces. (or heath bars if you can’t find skor, basically the same thing) You can buy Heath bar pre-chopped on the baking aisle, but it is just the toffee and I think it looks/tastes better with the chocolate coating.
Let the cake cool and then divide the cake in two. Remove half of the cake and place it on a plate, or holding container of some sort.
Crumble the remaining half into the pan and press the cake to make a bottom “layer”. You need to press it down well enough that the pudding isn’t just going to move it all over.
Place half of the pudding (in dollops) over the layer of cake and spread over the cake making a second layer.
Add half of the cool whip container to make the third layer, top with half of the chopped candy bar and repeat.
Crumble 2nd half of cake
If you chill it for 1-2 hours before serving it is easier to serve and it gives the toffee some time to mesh with the other ingredients.