Sunday, August 5, 2012

July 22, 2012

We met at my house on July 22, 2012 for a dinner theme of summer.  Missing were Jennifer, Tonya and Mary and we were joined by Teresa and Ellie!

Cocktail and wine:  Evelyn, wine spritzer
Appetizer:  Carol, fruit kabobs with fruit dip and three cheese dip.
Salad:  Angie, black bean salad
Side dish:  Carol, scalloped potatoes
Main dish:  Angie, chipotle flank steak
Dessert:  Janet, blueberry mini tarts, miniature cheesecake and mini chocolate cupcakes

Evelyn started the afternoon off with a delicious cocktail.  She mixed it in a pitcher and then we could help ourselves to more.  It was light, sweet and delicious.

Wine Spritzer

½ bottle of Central Market Organic Pear Apple Italian Soda
1 bottle off Proseco
1 bag of Frozen pineapple
We had two appetizers, thanks to Carol.  She brought colorful fruit kabobs that had fruit representing the colors of a rainbow (ROY G. BIV) and were served with an orange flavored, creamy dip.  Rather than using frozen orange juice, Carol used fresh squeezed juice as well as some orange zest.

Carol also brought a cheese dip with assorted crackers.  The original recipe is for a cheese ball but Carol kept it simple and served it as a dip.  The dip was tangy and thick and was perfect when spread on crackers.

Our salad was a group effort.  It was slightly sweet and full of crunchy, fresh vegetables.  We boiled the corn but otherwise all ingredients were raw.  The salad cut the heat from the spicy main dish of flank steak.  I put the rub on the steak in the morning and let it sit in the refrigerator for a few hours.  I brought it back to room temperature by leaving it on the counter while the oven heated.  The oven rack was moved to the top of the oven and the steak was broiled 5 minutes per side.  It was still a little too rare, according to the thermometer, so we cooked it longer.  After removing it from the oven, let it rest for at least 15 minutes to let the juices re-distribute.  Cut against the grain and serve with the cheese, cream sauce.  I thought the sauce was perfect and it served to tame the spicy steak.  The sauce also made the simple steak recipe seem more elegant.

Scalloped potatoes were the side dish and these perfectly pared with the steak. I am a scalloped potato fanatic, as my mother knows, because I frequently request hers at our dinners.  Carol made a pan of potatoes (rather than individual stacks) that were absolutely fantastic.  The potatoes were tender and the topping was brown and slightly crispy.  Carol used a mandolin to thinly slice the potatoes.  

We were blessed with a trio of desserts prepared by Janet.  Mini cheesecakes were creamy, the chocolate cupcakes were decedent and the blueberry mini tarts were full of summer flavor.  I loved all three desserts and there is just something special about having a plate full of different treats to end the meal with.

Miniature Cheesecakes

Original Recipe Yield 12 miniature cheesecakes

12 vanilla wafer cookies or one sleeve of graham crackers crushed
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
3/4  cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2. Place one vanilla wafer or graham cracker crumbs in each cup
3. In large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in
the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla.
4. Pour mixture evenly into prepared muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full.
5. Bake for 15 minutes or until set.
6. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.