Sunday, July 1, 2012

June 24, 2012

The Gourmet Gals, minus Mary and Jennifer and plus Evelyn (friend of Janet's and future Gourmet Gal) and Dee (daughter of Janet) met at Janet's home for our June gathering.

 Appetizer - Angie (Spinach Artichoke Cups), Janet (Blue Cheese Puffs) and Evelyn (Creamy Shrimp Crostini)

Cocktail - Angie (Frenchy)

Salad - Carol (Texas Peach Salad)

Main Dish - Janet (Sweet Pork & Pears with Goat Cheese and Quinoa)

Dessert - Tonya (Shortcakes with Fresh Berries)

Due to a miscommunication, we had three appetizers prepared by three of us.  It reminded me of when Carol and Jenn bring the appetizers and there always seem to be a trio.  The more the merrier when it comes to first courses!

I made Spinach Artichoke Cups which is a spinach, artichoke and lemon filling inside baked wonton cups.   I baked the wonton wrappers in miniature muffin tins and halved the wonton wrappers because I found that two layers of wonton (which would be necessary if you used a full wrapper in the miniature tins) was chewy and not appealing.  

 Evelyn brought Creamy Shrimp Crostini which she served on bagel chips and heated up slightly in the oven.  These were indeed creamy and tangy with fresh dill, one of my favorite herbs.  Each crostini was garnished with a bit of parsley.  

For the final appetizer, Janet made blue cheese puffs which were light and airy and full of blue cheese flavor.

Our cocktail was the Frenchy that had 1 1/2 ounces Pear Vodka (by Absolut), 3 ounces pineapple juice and 1 ounce cranberry juice.  The idea is to layer the drink with the pear vodka on the bottom, then the pineapple juice and finally the cranberry juice in a small glass filled with ice.  If you slowly pour over a spoon or ice cube you will get the layered effect.  I was afraid that this layering would mean at the bottom of the drink there would be a harsh blast of vodka.  Instead, the pear flavor was in every sip and there was a nice mixing of flavors.

Carol prepared Texas Peach salad which was a delicious, complex salad with many sweet flavors between the peaches, candied pecans, vineagrette and brittle.  It was lovely and refreshing on a hot, summer evening shared amongst friends.

Our main dish was a healthy one from Clean Eating Magazine called Sweet Pork & Pears with Goat Cheese and Quinoa.  I could not find the recipe online, but it was essentially boneless pork chops that we seared on both sides in a little bacon fat (YUM).  Then we deglazed the pan with apple cider vinegar and honey and added diced pears.  The pork chops were put back in the pan, on top of the pears and into the oven to ensure the chops were cooked thoroughly.  Goat cheese and toasted almonds were the garnish.  On the side was a triple blend of quinoa that was cooked in chicken broth.  

Our final trio was homemade shortcakes with a trio of berries and freshly whipped cream.  Tonya altered the recipe by reducing the oven temperature to 400 degrees and increasing the sugar to 1/3 cup based on suggestions from several reviews. The shortcakes were crunchy with the sugar on top and flaky.  The raspberries, strawberries and blue berries were a sweet compliment to the shortcakes and the whipped cream brought it all together.

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