Thursday, January 27, 2011

Cooking Group January 23, 2011

We met on January 23, 2011 at Tonya's house, sans Teresa, who is now (temporarily) in Florida. She was with us in more than spirit... via SKYPE! Below is her shadowy image which is shadowy only because of my photography skills. We saw a getting bigger Ellie and a beautiful screened-in pool.

Carol blessed us with five appetizers and each one was delicious and unique.
  • Sun Dried Tomato Cheesecake Squares (very good and rich)

    1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
    6 tbs chilled, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
    1 large egg

    ½ cup drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes (1 tbs oil reserved)
    6 garlic cloves
    2 tsp chopped fresh oregano or ½ tsp dried, crumbled
    3 large eggs
    2 8 oz packages cream cheese, cut into pieces, room temperature
    1 cup sour cream
    ½ cup finely chopped green onions
    Arugula or Boston lettuce, optional

    For Crust:
    Preheat Oven to 350 degrees. Blend four with butter in processor using on/off turns until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add egg and blend just until dough begins to clump together. Press dough onto bottom of 9 x 13 baking dish (dough will be thin). Bake until light golden brown, about 10 minutes (crust may crack). Cool. Maintain oven temperature.

    For Filling:Finely chop sun-dried tomatoes with 1 tbs reserved oil, garlic, and oregano in processor. Blend in eggs. Add cream cheese and blend until smooth. Add sour cream and blend until combined. Transfer tomato filling to bowl. Mix in finely chopped green onions. Season filling with salt and pepper.

    Pour filling into crust. Bake until filling puffs and is light brown, about 20 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Cut into squares and arrange squares on lettuce lined platter.

  • Waikiki Meatballs (served in bite sized portions in spoons with a meatball and pineapple piece)

  • Fresh Tomato-Basil Caprese Kabobs

    ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
    2 tbs lemon juice
    2/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil of lemon basil leaves
    ¼ tsp salt
    ¼ tsp ground black pepper
    1 pint red cherry tomatoes
    1 pint yellow cherry tomatoes
    2 medium zucchini or yellow squash, cubed
    1 lb fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed
    34 (6-inch) bamboo skewers
    Fresh basil leaves, if desired

    In large bowl mix oil, lemon juice, basil, salt and pepper using wire whisk. Add tomatoes, zucchini and cheese. Cover and refrigerate about 30 minutes.

    Drain vegetables, reserving oil mixture. Thread skewers alternately with tomatoes, zucchini and cheese. Top with basil leaf. Serve kabobs with reserved olive oil mixture.

  • Creamy Shrimp Dip (this was delicious and so creamy!)

    1 package 1/3 less fat cream cheese (Neufchatel), softened
    3 to 4 tbs fat free (skim) milk
    1 tsp lemon herb seasoning
    1 can (4 oz) tiny shrimp, drained
    1 tbs sliced green onion (1 medium)
    1 tbs chopped green bell pepper
    2 large red bell peppers, cut in 1 ½ inch pieces
    32 leaves fresh Italian (flat leaf) parsley

    In small bowl mix cream cheese, milk and lemon herb seasoning until smooth. Add shrimp, onion and green bell pepper and mix well.

    Scoop mixture into red bell pepper pieces. Cover and refrigerate until serving time. Just before serving top each with a parsley leaf.

I found the salad recipe for Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Fresh Goat Cheese off of Alexis Stewart's Blog. It was a complicated salad worthy of the Gourmet Gals. The simplest part was the dressing and the roasted cauliflower was very good and could be served on its own as a side dish.

The main dish, as chosen by Tonya, was a Rachel Ray 30 Minute Meals recipe for Chicken with Wild Mushroom and Balsamic Cream Sauce. It was rich and hearty with a delicate, creamy sauce. We served it over orzo and on the side was Carol's beautiful Sweet Pea and Carrot Saute. With the chicken, mushrooms, pasta, peas and carrots, a square meal was shared by all!

Last, but not least, in celebration of NATIONAL PIE DAY, Janet prepared Emeril Lagasse's Key Lime Pie. It was amazing! Janet lovingly juiced 45 little key limes for our pie and you could taste the fresh juice. The lime zest also made for such a pretty presentation.

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