Thursday, August 18, 2011

August 14, 2011

Some of the Gourmet Gals met at Mary's home for our August dinner with a theme of "light and refreshing".
Appetizer - Avocado Salsa and chips, Carol
Bread & Wine - Fabulous Focaccia and Pinot Grigio, Janet
Salad - Mixed Green Salad with Cilantro Dressing, Carol
Side - Ratatouille, Angie
Main Dish - Seafood Linguine, Mary
Dessert - Neapolitan Cheesecake, Carol (a trifecta of cheesecake and entrees from our saint Carol!!)
Janet started off the evening with two light and refreshing Pinot Grigios to compliment the seafood main dish. I preferred the Italo Cescon one, especially its label with the little ribbon and twig (not shown).
 The appetizer of Avocado Salsa was a delightful blend of fresh ingredients and the star was not the avocado but the fresh corn.  Carol adapted the recipe by omitting the shrimp and cucumber and adding:
  • 1 can of drained and rinsed black beans
  • two ears of fresh corn
  • red onion rather than green onion
  • 4 tablespoons of lime juice rather than 3

In Lauren's absence, Carol surprised us by doing triple duty and bringing a salad with the most delicious dressing!

Mixed Green Salad with Cilantro Dressing
Texas on the Plate
Terry Thompson Anderson
Mixed greens, including field greens if available ( Carol added 1 head of butter lettuce to the mixed greens)
Very thinly sliced red onions
Cherry tomatoes
Cucumber rounds
Cilantro Dressing:
Makes about 2 cups
2 cups lightly packed cilantro sprigs, leaves and stems
1 Tbs minced garlic
1 Tbs minced fresh jalapeno , seeds and veins removed
2 Tbs Champagne vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1 teaspoon real maple syrup
1 Tbs freshly squeezed lime juice
3/4 teaspoons minced lime zest
1 c mayonnaise
Combine all the ingredients in work bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade.
Process until smooth. Refrigerate, covered for about 4 hours before using to allow time for the flavors to meld.
Arrange the mixed greens on individual salad plates and pour desired amount of dressing over the top.

Garnish the salad with slivered red onions, cherry tomatoes, cucumber rounds, and avocado slices (if using).


Janet prepared a wonderful bread, Tyler Florence's Fabulous Focaccia, and I could have eaten the entire pan.  It was very light and a bit crispy.


For a side I wanted to prepare vegetables as well as try something different and I found this recipe for Roasted Ratatouille and it fit the bill perfectly!  The preparation of roasting rather than stewing made it quick and simple and the original recipe also features two other recipes that can be made with left over ratatouille.  If I made this again I would add mushrooms too.


For the main dish of Seafood Linguine, Mary combined two recipes together:  one from Cooks and another from I Cannot Believe It's Not Butter.  Mainly we followed the I Cannot Believe It's Not Butter Recipe and we included:
  •  minced clams
  • dry white wine
  • freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • cornstarch slurry
  •  parsley for garnish
  • sour cream—tossed with the boiled pasta prior to topping with seafood mixture

We ended the meal with a beautiful, as well as delicious, Neapolitan Cheesecake with freshly whipped cream and sliced strawberries.  Carol truly outdid herself, again!  The recipe is below.
Neapolitan Cheesecake
Yield: 12 servings
Best of Taste of Home - 2011

1 cup cream filled chocolate sandwich cookie (Oreos!) crumbs
3 Tbs sugar
3 Tbs butter


4 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1 1/3 c sugar
2 Tbs all purpose flour
2 Tbs heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
4 eggs, beaten lightly
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled
1 to 2 drops red food coloring, optional
1/4 cup seedless strawberry jam, warmed

Sliced fresh strawberries and sweetened whipped cream

1. Place a greased 9 inch spring form pan on a double thickness of heavy duty foil ( about 18 square).
Securely wrap foil around pan.

2. In a small bowl, combine the cookie crumbs, sugar, and butter. Press onto the bottom of pan: set aside.

3. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in flour, cream, and extracts. Add eggs,
beat on low speed just until combined. Divide batter into thirds.

4. In a microwave, melt chocolate chips; cool to room temperature. Stir melted chocolate into one portion of batter.  Pour over crust.

In a food processor, puree strawberries. Add pureed strawberries and food coloring if desired, to another portion of better. Gently spread over chocolate layer. Place spring form pan in a large baking pan; add 1 inch
of hot water to larger pan. (water bath)

5. Bake at 325 degrees for 40 minutes or until center is just set and top appears dull. Gently spread remaining plain batter over top. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until top appears dull. Remove spring form pan from water bath. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool for 1 hour longer. Refrigerate over night.

6. Remove sides of pan. Drizzle jam over cheesecake ; garnish with strawberries and whipped cream.

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