Tuesday, November 9, 2010

November 7, 2010

We met Sunday, November 7, 2010 at Carol's. All were in attendance. Yea! This would also be the last month we have Teresa for a while due to an extended leave in Florida. Boo! We will hold Teresa's spot open and include her via email and possibly Skype! Gourmet Gals goes hi-tech OH MY!

Appetizer: Angie, Warm Cranberry-Walnut Brie with pears, grapes and whole wheat crackers
Soup: Carol,Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Curry Condiments with honey cream
Salad: Janet, Mixed Green Salad with Pomegranate Dressing
Bread and Wine: Teresa, Rosemary Bread and Assorted wines and Champagne
Sides: Tonya, Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Fennel Puree
Main Dish: Carol, Roasted Pork with Dried Fruit and Port Sauce and Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Dry Fruit Chutney
Dessert: Mary, Pavlova

As always, Carol had a beautiful table scape. I loved the pumpkin bowls for the soup and leaf salad plates.


For an appetizer we started with Warm Cranberry-Walnut Brie. The picture was snapped after we started on it, so it does not look very pretty. I was hoping to distract with the cute turkey plate!

I removed the rind from only the top where the topping goes and left the rest of the rind to hold the shape. I served it with sweet pears, grapes and whole wheat crackers. I did not follow directions on how much topping to use, I just used my best judgement since I think the recipe is a little skimpy. Also this would have been good with a drizzle of honey.

Brie rind is an interesting thing. It looks like tissue paper and maybe it is... I nibbled some of it and it did not seem like paper. It also did not seem edible.


Carol wanted to try a soup so we gladly obliged and enjoyed her Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Curry Condiments. It was very yummy and good for you too! Carol served the soup with green onions, cashews and honey cream as condiments.

Honey Cream
Southern Living Christmas Cookbook

1 cup sour cream (I used Daisy Light)
2 tbs honey
1/2 tsp curry powder

Combine all ingredients, blending well. Cover and chill up to 8 hours, if desired. Yield: 1 cup





For the salad course, Janet made Mixed Green Salad with Pomegranate Dressing. It was very delicious! Changes to the dressing recipe include using ¼ cup Pure Pomegranate Juice rather than Ocean Spray. The green salad included:

½ head Butter lettuce
½ head Romaine lettuce
Celery
Radishes
Cucumbers
¼ Yellow Pepper
¼ Red Pepper
¼ Orange Pepper
Pomegranate seeds
Grape tomatoes




Tonya brought two sides so the plates did not seem naked. And we all know we need more food on our plates! I loved the Roasted Brussels Sprouts even though there are only two on my plate. My belly was getting full with an appetizer, soup and salad (and a glass of wine or 2)!

The Fennel Puree is back for its second showing because we ALL LOVE IT!! It is so delicious. Tonya uses parsley rather than mint in the recipe.

Carol picked two pork tenderloin recipes for us. Both had fruit and both were delicious. The pork was so very tender and the secret is DO NOT overcook it! Roasted Pork with Dried Fruit and Port Sauce is on the left, with the larger fruit and the Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Dry Fruit Chutney is on the right. Yum!

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Dry Fruit Chutney

2 Pork Tenderloins (2 ½ lbs total weight)
½ cup Purple Onion, diced
1 ½ cups White Wine
¾ cup Sugar
½ cup Red Wine Vinegar
½ cup Dried Apples (diced)
½ cup Dried Apricots (diced)
½ cup Dried Cherries
½ cup Dried Cranberries
Herbs (your preference)
Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper
Butcher Twine
Parchment Paper
Olive Oil

Saute diced onions in a little olive oil to sweat. Add the sugar, white wine, and vinegar and bring to a boil.

Add the dried fruits and stir to incorporate. Cook over medium low heat covered for five to ten minutes, stirring occasionally. When all the liquid is absorbed and the dried fruit has taken on a plump chutney like look, adjust seasoning and finish with herbs. Remove from the heat and place on saran wrap, roll like a cigar (needs to be thin to fit in the tenderloin) and freeze until firm. (If you do not want to freeze the chutney you could instead cool the chutney and pipe in with a pastry bag.)

Trim Pork tenderloins of silver skin and any non essential fat. Remove sharp tip of tenderloin and reserve for another application.

Insert fillet or boning knife or end of wooden spoon through tenderloin and carefully insert index fingers from both ends and touch them in the middle. Carefully “roll” your fingers to “open up” the insider of the pork tenderloin to accept the chutney.

Push the frozen chutney into the tenderloin or pipe in with a pastry bag.

Cap the ends with parchment paper and “salami tie” the tenderloin for even cooking.

Season tenderloins with salt and pepper. Pan sear in olive oil and cook in pan lined with parchment paper in a hot oven (400 degrees) until center is hot (150 degrees). Let tenderloins rest for 5 minutes before slicing.



For dessert, Mary made Pavlova with Pastry Cream. It was beautiful yet mysterious as I could not figure out how she put it together! And there were so many flavors: meringue, cream, pineapple, strawberries and nuts. Oh, and coconut! (But not for Tonya). Very beautiful presentation and a light taste to finish our meal.

Pavlova

1 tbs unsalted butter, for parchment
½ tsp distilled white vinegar
½ tsp cornstarch
½ tsp vanilla extract
6 egg whites
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup sweetened shredded coconut
¼ cup chopped walnuts
¼ cup chopped almonds
¼ cup chopped pecans
1 pint strawberries, hulled and chopped
1 (10 oz) can crushed pineapple, well drained
Pastry Cream (below)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Butter a baking sheet and line it with buttered parchment paper. Set aside.

Mix the vinegar, cornstarch and vanilla in a small bowl and set aside. In a stand mixer, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. With the mixer running, slowly add ¼ cup of sugar. Continue beating to stiff peaks. Slowly whisk the vinegar mixture into the meringue until well incorporated.

Spread the meringue evenly on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle the coconut, walnuts, almonds and pecans evenly over the meringue. Bake until the coconut begins to turn golden and the whites are shiny and springy, about 10 to 12 minutes. Cool completely.

Meanwhile, combine the strawberries and drained pineapple in a bowl and set aside.

Use a knife to release the edges and remove the meringue from the pan. Gently flip the meringue onto a parchment lined surface, nut side down. Spread the pastry cream (recipe below) over meringue and sprinkle evenly with strawberry mixture, leaving a 1-inch border around the perimeter of the meringue. Leave a little extra room at 1 of the short ends to help seal the Pavlova when it is rolled.

Starting with the short side with more fruit, slowly roll the meringue into a log, keeping the roll as tight as possible and tucking in the fruit as you go. Use a serrated knife to slice the ends for a clean look.


Master Pastry Cream

Dorie Greenspan is a renowned baking cookbook author.
This recipe is in her Cookbook - Baking

2 cups whole milk
6 large egg yolks
½ cup sugar
1/3 cup corn starch, sifted
1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
3 ½ tbs unsalted butter, cut into bits at room temperature

Bring the milk to a boil in a small saucepan.

Meanwhile, in a medium heavy bottomed saucepan, whisk the yolks together with the sugar and cornstarch until thick and well blended. Still whisking, drizzle in about 1/4 cup of the hot milk--this will temper, or warm, the yolks so they will not curdle. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remainder of the milk. Put the pan over medium heat and whisking vigorously, constantly and thoroughly (making sure to get into the edges of the pot), bring the mixture to a boil. Keep at a boil, still whisking, for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat.

Whisk in the vanilla extract. Let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk in the bits of butter, stirring until they are fully incorporated and the pastry cream is smooth and silky. Scrape the cream into a bowl. You can press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the cream to create an airtight seal and refrigerate the pastry cream until cold.



Austin thought everything was delicious and stayed close by our sides as to not miss anything.

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