Sunday, April 29, 2012

April 22, 2012

We met at Tonya's house.  All plus Jennifer were in attendance!

Cocktail:  Janet, Cucumber Collins

Appetizer: Jennifer and Carol, Shrimp in Cucumber Cups and Herbed Goat Cheese in Tomatoes and Cucumber Slice

Salad:  Angie, Carrot Slaw with Cranberries and Toasted Walnuts

Side Dish:  Jennifer and Carol, Dilled New Potato Salad

Main Dish:  Tonya, Bratwurst in Beer

Dessert:  Mary, Orange Cake Surprise

Janet made Cucumber Collins for our cocktail and it was so refreshing and fresh tasting.  I loved having cocktails rather than wine and I hope this becomes a new tradition!

Cucumber Collins
Make basil simple syrup:  in a small pot 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar along with a bunch of basil (roughly chopped) to a boil; let boil for 2 minutes, remove from heat and seep for 20-30 minutes, then strain
Juice 1 cup of lime juice (8 large limes)
Put 2 1/2 Peeled English Cucumbers in a food processor until liquefied; strain (should make 2 cups)
For eight drinks combine:
3/4 to 1 cup gin (I prefer Hendrick"s) -- today I used 3/4 cup
1 cup of basil simple syrup
1/2 cup lime juice
2 cups of cucumber "juice"
     Garnish with a slice of cucumber and basil leaf; can also added a slice of lime.

For appetizer we had a trio, prepared by Jennifer and Carol.  There were Shrimp in Cucumber Cups, and Herbed Goat Cheese in Tomatoes and Cucumber Slices.  All three were beautiful and dainty with a mild, cheesy flavor.  And I believe it was a Gourmet Gals first: all of the appetizers were consumed!

I prepared the salad using carrots from my garden.  The carrots came in three colors:  orange, white and yellow.  I grated them into Carrot Slaw with Cranberries and Toasted Walnuts I thought the salad had a nice, sweet flavor from the oranges, lemons and honey.  Add the pecans and cranberries at the last minute so they do not get soggy. 

For the side dish, Carol and Jennifer prepared Dill New Potato Salad which was a perfect compliment to the bratwurst.  The potato salad was very creamy and I loved the red potatoes in it rather than russet potatoes.

Dilled New Potato Salad - Molly Fowler

3 lbs unpeeled new potatoes
2 T lemon juice
2/3 c mayonnaise
1 c sour cream
2 T chopped fresh dill
2 T chopped fresh parsley

Beau Monde seasoning to taste
White pepper to taste

Boil potatoes until tender.  Cut into bite sized pieces, leaving skins  on.  Combine remaining ingredients and mix with potatoes while they are still hot.  Refrigerate to chill.

Bratwurst in Beer was the first time I had eaten bratwurst and it was DELICIOUS.  I found the sausages to be very tasty and with the crusty hoagies, spicy mustard, onion and dill pickle, it could not be better.  We first grilled the sausages on Tonya's counter grill (which is a very cool contraption) and then boiled with the beer.

For dessert Mary concocted an orange cake using tricks from her baking tool kit.  The results were delicious!  A very orange flavored cake with cream cheese frosting.  

Orange Cake Surprise!
1 Duncan Hines Orange Supreme cake mix
1 can mandarin oranges
1 box instant vanilla pudding
Prepare cake mix using 3 eggs, 1/3 cup vegetable oil but substitute the water with the juice from mandarin oranges.  Add a box of instant vanilla pudding and the zest of a large orange to the batter.  Bake in 2 round pans about 40 minutes on 350 degrees.
A combo of vanilla frosting, portion of small box instant vanilla pudding, several drops of orange extract, tbs orange zest, about 1/3 cup of mandarin oranges broken up.  Mix all together and add a bit of juice from the mandarin oranges until you get a nice thickness/texture.  Spread this between cake layers.
Orange Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 oz cream cheese
2/3 stick butter
1 box of powdered sugar
few drops of orange extract
Beat cream cheese until fluffy then add softened butter.  Beat together until fluffy.  Add orange extract to taste.  Begin beating in the powdered sugar until all well incorporated and smooth.

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