Sunday, August 24, 2008

August 23rd

This is the beginning of one fun group! Megan and I had SO MUCH FUN planning and putting on this dinner! We can't wait for our next Culinary Crew gathering! Thanks Jennifer for all your help and for the use of your beautiful home. Hope everyone enjoyed the food and company as much as we did!
. Megan & Kristen - August hosts

Almost everyone from the Crew

Decorating is half the fun!

Virgin Mojitos
serves 1

10 fresh mint leaves
1 tsp. Raw sugar
2 Tbsp Fresh squeezed lime juice
1 Tbsp Simple syrup
1/2 cup chilled Ginger Ale
In a glass, muddle/crush the mint, then add sugar, lime juice and syrup. Top with Ginger Ale. Garnish with a fresh lime wheel and a sprig of mint.

Edamame, Parmesan, and Almond Salad with Crostini
1/2 cup whole almonds (about 3 ounces)
2 cups cooked edamame shelled
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 lemons, juiced
1/2 cup Parmesan or aged provolone cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons very thinly sliced fresh mint leaves
Coarse salt
freshly ground pepper
Very thin sliced crostini, cut on the bias
Preheat oven to 375. Spread almonds on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast in oven until golden brown and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Let cool completely. Chop very coarsely; set aside. Prepare edamame beans as directed. Rinse with cold water. Squeeze beans from skins (you should have about 2 cups). Whisk oil, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Add almonds, beans, cheese, and mint; toss. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, or let stand at room temperature up to 1 hour. Salad can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 1 day. Serve with crostini. (Baguette, cut in ½” slices on the diagonal and toasted lightly.)

Chicken Tikkas with Cilantro Mint Chutney

1/2 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon dry ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

3/4 teaspoon garam masala (Indian spice mix)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1 lb skinless boneless chicken breast tenderloin, cut into 1-inch cubes

Stir together all ingredients except chicken in a medium bowl, then add chicken, stirring to coat. Marinate, covered and chilled, 30 minutes to 1 hour. While grill is heating, thread the chicken onto each skewer. Cook the chicken turning once, until browned and just cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes total. Note: Soak the skewers in water before threading.

Cilantro Mint Chutney

2 cups packed fresh cilantro sprigs

1 cup packed fresh mint leaves

1/2 cup chopped white onion

1/3 cup water

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon chopped fresh small green chiles, such as serrano or Thai

1 teaspoon sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Purée all ingredients in a blender, leaving some texture.

Chopped Spinach and Avocado Salad in Bacon Cup
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Blend all ingredients together. Generously salt and pepper to taste


6 oz baby spinach leaves
2 medium-size apples, thinly sliced
1 cup very thinly sliced red onion
2 ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, cubed

Bacon Cup (click HERE for an in depth tutorial on the bacon cups)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Flip a large muffin tin over. Cover with foil. Wrap the bacon around the molds on all sides to form a basket. Place a pan under the tin to catch all of the grease to prevent flames! Cook until crisp, about 30-40 minutes. Note: the bacon shrinks considerably when cooked. Large tins are necessary. Practice different ways of wrapping the bacon and squeeze it tight with your hands to help it stick together before cooking. The thicker the slice of bacon, the better it cooks.

Chilled Strawberry Soup

1 lb strawberries, chopped (3 cups)

1 cup gingerale

2 T freshly squeezed orange juice

2 to 3 tablespoons sugar

3/4 cup vanilla yogurt

Servings: Makes about 4 bowls/8 cups. Toss strawberries with gingerale, orange juice, and 2 tablespoons sugar. Let macerate, chilled and covered, 1 hour. Purée mixture in a blender until smooth, then set aside 1 cup purée. Blend remaining mixture with yogurt and sugar to taste. Serve soup drizzled with reserved purée.

Grilled Mahi Mahi with Pineapple Relish & Coconut Couscous

Mahi Mahi Marinade
serves 4
1 shallot, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup olive oil
2 lemons, juiced
salt & pepper

Wisk ingredients together and coat fish. Marinade in refrigerator for 1-2 hours. Adjust marinade according to amount of fish.

Pineapple Relish
serves 20
1 red onion, diced small
1 large gold pineapple peeled, diced small
1 1/2 red peppers, diced small
1 1/2 yellow peppers, diced small
1/2 bunch scallions, chopped
2 jalepenos, minced
2 limes, juiced
1 1/2 oz rice wine vinegar
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar (or more to taste)
kosher salt, to taste

Combine ingredients and let sit for a few hours to blend flavors. Best served at room temperature.

Coconut Couscous

1 C coconut milk
½ C chicken broth (don't use reduced sodium)
1 ¼ C couscous
2 Tbsp snipped fresh cilantro
2 Tbsp thinly sliced green onions with tops

Bring broth and coconut milk to boil. Add couscous. Stir and cover, remove from heat. Let stand for 5 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and generously salt to your liking. Add cilantro and green onion. Serve immediately.

Orange Chocolate Mousse

4 oz semi-sweet baking chocolate, chopped in small pieces

3 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup orange juice

3 Tablespoons of cocoa powder

2 eggs, separated

2 Tablespoons cointreau (or 1/2 tsp of orange extract)

1/3 cup of whipping cream

1 egg white

2 Tablespoons of sugar

In a microwavable bowl, melt orange juice and butter until boiling. Add the chocolate and stir until smooth. Microwave at 10 second intervals if necessary to melt more. When smooth, stir in cocoa powder. Whisk in egg yolks and cointreau. Allow to cool. 2. In a chilled bowl, beat the cream until soft peaks form. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. 3. Beat all the egg whites in a DRY, chilled bowl until soft peaks form. Add the sugar; beat until smooth and glossy. 4. Using a large metal spoon, gently fold the eggs whites into the cooled chocolate mixture. Before they are completely incorporated, fold in the whipped cream. Spoon the mixture into individual serving dishes or a large serving bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Serve in hollowed out orange or with orange segments and whipped cream. Note: this recipe tastes significantly better with the higher quality chocolate and cocoa