Saturday, January 31, 2015

January 11, 2015

We met at my new house and the theme was fall/winter.

Cocktail - Angie, Chocolate Martini
Appetizer - Mary, Wild Mushroom Puff Pastry
Salad - Tonya, Winter Fruit Salad
Main Dish and Side - Angie, Roast Pork Loin with Fall Vegetable Cobbler
Dessert - Sandy, Perfect Latin Flan




I started off our evening with chocolate martinis.  It is equal parts vanilla vodka and chocolate liqueur.  Simple, rich and yummy.







Our appetizer was prepared by Mary.  These wild mushroom puff pastries were a mixture of mushrooms, cheese and fresh thyme inside of flaky pastry. 





Our main dish and side dish were roasted pork loin with vegetable cobbler We also had a side of asparagus.  The pork loin was seared in an iron skillet and then finished in the oven.  Both the pork and the vegetables had whole grain mustard. The vegetables were in a creamy sauce with biscuits on top acting as the cobbler. 







Tonya fixed for us a delicious winter salad with a sweet poppy dressing.  Rather than Swiss cheese, Tonya used feta (or goat.. sorry, I forget, but it was delicious and a better choice than Swiss).




Sandy, who always prepares delicious desserts, brought flan.  It was smooth and creamy with a light coating of caramel. 



November 9, 2014

We met at Mary's house.  Mary's friend, Carol , joined  us. 

Mary - cocktail, Milk Punch
Carol - appetizer, Crab Dip
Tonya - appetizer, Salsa Baked Cheese
Tonya - side dish, Risotto
Angie - soup, Fennel and Carrot Soup
Mary - main dish, Stuffed Mushrooms
Sandy - dessert,  French apple tart

Mary decorated with a Mardis Gras/New Orleans Theme.  Very festive and colorful!



We started with Milk Punch, which Mary modified as below.  It was delicious, like a cross between a milk shake and egg nog.

"I added some extra 'spice'..... some nutmeg, cinnamon and a little pumpkin pie spice.  I also added some superfine sugar for sweetness. I used 1% milk (almost a half gallon) and for richness I added 1 pint of fat free half & half.  I stored the punch in the freezer for a few hours so that it would be slushy cold when served."



Mary's friend, Carol, brought a flavorful, hearty, hot, crab dip.  It was served with triscuits but would also be good with a bagel chip or sturdy bread. 


New Orleans Hot Crab Dip
Ingredients
  • 5 tbsp.  stick butter
  • 1 small onion (yellow or white) chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery  (chopped)
  • ½ cup of red pepper (chopped)
  • Small can of mushrooms (drained)
  • 1 lb.  fresh blue crab meat – (rise and check for shells)
  • 1  8 oz. cream cheese (softened)
  • 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ cup chopped green onion
  • 2 dozen baguette slices or box of Triscuit
  • Salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 tsp of red pepper
Instructions
  1. Sauté chopped onion, celery, red pepper in melted butter in skillet over medium heat until tender.
  2. Add blue crab meat and mushrooms and stir
  3. Add cream cheese reduce heat to low and continue to stir
  4. Add Worcestershire sauce
  5. Add salt, black pepper, red pepper to taste
  6. Add green onions
  7. Serve warm in a bread bowl or bowl with Triscuit or toasted butter baguette slices



Salsa Baked Cheese is an appetizer that Tonya brought.  You can use any salsa and either cream cheese, goat cheese or a combination of both.  It is baked until creamy and warm.  A very tasty variation of the room temperature version.





I made  Fennel and Carrot Soup as an alternative to a salad.  It was rich and creamy.  The swirled in creme fraiche with maple syrup was a sweet addition.  I used hazel nuts rather than chestnuts as a garnish. 





The main dish was Stuffed mushrooms with a side of Risotto.  The mushrooms had some kick with the hot sausage and essence seasonings.  The risotto was made in the oven which makes it a simpler version of the typical constant stirring stove top version. 










French Apple Tart was the dessert prepared by Sandy.  It was beautiful and elegant with the arranged apples.