Sunday, November 16, 2008

November Dinner

Thanks so much to our fabulous hostesses!!! The night was breathtaking, from the ambiance (tea lights every where, a chandelier hanging, and lights in the backyard) to the food (I was SO excited to get to taste truffles!!). Thanks for all your hard work!
. Hostesses: Jennifer, Laura and Holly

...and we can't forget Jillian! Thanks for joining in on the fun!

The back patio, for drinks and appetizers

Italian Bellini's
sparkling grape juice
peach nectar
Pour equal parts (chilled) of each into glass.
And that is it!
Truffled Popcorn
pop some light or non buttered popcorn and drizzle with white truffle oil. (you can purchase oil at crest or the gourmet gallery)

Tomato Pesto Bruschetta

14 slices 1/2" thick bruschetta bread
14 slices of ball mozerella cheese
14 slices of Roman Tomato
basil leaves

14 slices of french bread toasted in 375 oven for about 7 minutes. Then take out and brush with any pesto. layer on one cheese per slice of bread and then put in the 375 oven till cheese is melted. Pull out of oven and layer on with one tomato slice and top with basil leaves. And serve warm.

Herb Oil for Dipping Bread
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp granulated garlic
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
combine all dry ingredients and add wet ingredients as serving.

Caesar Salad Dressing
(this is the recipe I MADE, but it spilled in my car so it wasn't served)
1 clove garlic chopped finely
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
8 anchovy fillets, chopped
1 1/2 T Worcestershire Sauce
1/3 tsp dry mustard
5-6 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped finely
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Juice of 1 lemon
1 "coddled" Egg (1 minute in boiling water, then cooled, peeled and added in entirety)
Mix all ingredients and chill.

Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce

1 medium butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
coarse salt and pepper
5 garlic cloves, peel on
1 cup half-and-half
pasta, for serving (I use Pappardelle)
Shave grated gouda cheese, cooked and crumbled bacon (for the top)

Preheat oven to 375. Using a large, sharp knife,trim the squash ends, then halve the squash crosswise to separate the bulb from the neck. Peel with a vegetable peeler. Cut both pieces in half lengthwise. With a spoon, scoop out seeds; discard.

Cut squash into 2-inch chunks. Transfer to a small rimmed baking sheet. Toss with oil and sage. Season generously with salt and pepper. Scatter garlic around squash. Roast until squash is very tender, about 40 minutes, tossing once halfway through. Remove and discard skin from garlic.

Tansfer squash and garlic to a food processor. Puree. With motor running, add half and half through the feed tube; process until smooth. Add 1 to 2 cups water. Continue to process until smooth, adding water to thin if necessary. Season again generously with salt. (To freeze, see below).

Cook pasta according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup pasta water. Drain pasta and return to pot. Pour sauce over pasta; toss to coat. Add some pasta water to thin sauce if necessary. Serve with desired toppings. Once you've tossed the pasta with the sauce, serve it topped with any or all of the following: Toasted Walnuts, additional parmesan cheese, Torn fresh sage leaves.
To Freeze: Cool sauce to room temperature to airtight containers, leaving 1 inch of space. Freeze up to 3 months. When ready to use, place plastic containers upside down under hot tap water to help release frozen blocks of sauce. Place blocks in a large saucepan. Cover and reheat over medium-low,adding water to thin if necessary.
Winter Vegetables

-yellow squash
-bread crumbs (you can make your own or use store-bought)
-rubbed sage
-garlic salt
-parmesan cheese
-olive oil
Cut the vegetables into rounds. Add about 1 T. olive oil into frying pan. Add to oil the herbs (personal preference on exact amount) until fragrant. Add the vegetables and sauté for a few minutes. Then sprinkle the bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, garlic salt, and about 1 t. butter on top. Toss and continue to sauté. Then repeat process above so that the vegetables have a good coating of crumbs as they cook. Salt and pepper to taste.

Chocolate Hazelnut Gelato

2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar, plus 1/4 cup
4 egg yokes
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread (recommended: Nutella)

In a saucepan combine the milk, cream and 1/2 cup sugar over medium heat. Cook until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl whip the egg yokes with the remaining sugar using an electric mixer until the eggs have become thick and pale yellow, about 4 minutes. Pour 1/2 cup of the warm milk and cream mixtures into the egg mixture and stir. Add this mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over very low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture becomes thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 7 to 10 minutes. Place a strainer over a medium bowl and pour the warm custard mixture through the strainer. Stir in the vanilla and hazelnut spread until it dissolves. Chill mixture completely before pouring into an ice cream maker and follow manufacturer's instructions to freeze.

Gingered Candied Orange

Section Section an orange and make sure, with out tearing the orange, most of the white part (pith) is peeled off. Leave the orange out to dry for about 4-5 hours to get a hard shell.

Take 1 part water to 1 part sugar, add one teaspoon of vinegar, and put cut pieces of ginger in the mixture. Lay out aluminum foil to lay on after the dipping. Heat to soft crack stage and then dip the whole orange or half the orange in the sugar mixture and let harden on the foil. Garnish with candied orange peels After peeling the orange cut peel into thin strips and boil in a mixutre of 1 part sugar and 1 part water but don't come to the crack stage. Stay before th soft ball stage. You can also dip these these in melted chocolate after drying from being candied.

Strawberry and Brie Bruschetta

12 slices French bread, cut 1/2 inch thick

1/3 cup butter, softened

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

12 slices (about 12 ounces) Brie cheese

1 1/2 pounds (about 4 to 5 cups) sliced stemmed California strawberries

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.Spread 1 side of each bread slice with butter; arrange, butter side up, on large baking sheet.In small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle 1 teaspoon over each slice of bread. Reserve remaining sugar mixture. Toast bread in oven for 5 minutes. Remove from oven. Top each with 1 slice cheese; return to oven. Bake an additional 4 to 6 minutes or until cheese is melted.Meanwhile, in large bowl, combine strawberries, vanilla extract and remaining sugar mixture; toss lightly.Place two bruschetta on each serving plate. Spoon 1/3 cup strawberry mixture over each; sprinkle with almonds. Serve immediately.Makes 6 servingsTip: To toast almonds, spread in even layer on baking sheet. Bake in 350 degree F oven for 5 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown, stirring once or twice for even browning


1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 bars (8 ounces total) bittersweet chocolate baking bars, broken in 1/4-inch pieces (recommended: Ghirardelli)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup Ghirardelli unsweetened cocoaa
few drops of any flavoring, chopped nut of any kind, or unsweetened baking chocolate powder.

In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate and butter. In a medium sized skillet, bring 1/2 inch of water to a slow simmer. Set the saucepan in the skillet over low heat. Stir mixture just until chocolate has completely melted. At this pointRemove from heat. Pour the chocolate mixture into a shallow bowl. Cool, cover and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.Pour the cocoa into a pie plate. Line an airtight container with waxed paper. Dip a melon baller or small spoon into a glass of warm water and quickly scrape across the surface of the chilled truffle mixture to form a rough 1-inch ball. Drop the ball into the cocoa. Repeat with the remaining truffle mixture. Gently shake the pie plate to coat truffles evenly. Transfer truffles to the prepared container, separating layers with additional waxed paper. Cover tightly and refrigerate up to 2 weeks, or freeze up to 3 months.Yield: 30 truffles