Saturday, April 9, 2016

April 3, 2016

Mary started us off with a Beam Honey and Lemonade cocktail.  Instead of club soda she used ginger ale.  She could have used ginger beer because as I have pointed out in the past, ginger beer DOES NOT HAVE ALCOHOL.  I believe there are now some "hard" ginger beers which do have alcohol though I could not find these when I was looking for the elusive ginger beer.

For our appetizer we enjoyed Smoked Salmon Dip.  It was served with crackers, bagel chips and crostini,  I used a 4 oz package of smoked salmon and it looks like a salmon fillet that you order in a restaurant and not lox. HEB carries lox and Sprouts (love you) carries the kind that I used in the dip. I first used lox and was not pleased at all with the results.  So I started over using the correct kind of salmon and it was so tasty.  I used one jalapeno and I seeded it but used the spine from one half.  I thought this was enough heat.  The dip is good for days and I munched on it for the rest of the week.  

For the main dish, we prepared Ham, Spinach and Mushroom Quiche. This dish was as pretty as it was delicious.The recipe is perfect and I would not change a thing.  We doubled the recipe and this equaled two pies plus another pan that Mary added some bread pieces to and I am sure she was eating on for a week! The quiche is very cheesy though it only has 1.5 cups of cheese.  It also re-heats nicely in the oven.

To side with the quiche, I cooked Oven Roasted Potatoes.  The potatoes are good on their own but when you add the topping of bacon, fresh rosemary and thyme, they go to a whole new level of "get in my belly"!  Carol, our guest attendee, told me that you can make very good oven potatoes using a packet of ranch dressing mix.  As I enjoy roasted potatoes, I will have to give it a try sometime.

Berry crisp with Mascarpone Whipped Cream was our scrumptious dessert.  One word:  YUM. Tonya used peaches, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries, but kept the total fruit to 6 cups (as in the recipe).  The crisp is not overly sweet and the topping has nice texture with the oatmeal.  The fruit is soft and blends together nicely. The whipped cream was thick and not delicate like a cream only whipped cream.  The mascarpone cheese adds a nice flavor as well..  This crisp was the perfect ending to our brunch-like meal.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

March 20, 2016

We met at Tonya's.  Deb was in New Zealand!!  The rest of the gals were present.

Mary started us off with a beautiful platter with cheeses, hummus, almonds and grapes.  All were delicious and it was a sophisticated display to get us started as we slaved away over the bolognese.   Ha!

Our second course was Angelica's Italian Romaine Salad.  It was dressed with a delicate lemon vinaigrette.  This was a very nice, simple salad that paired perfectly with the complex herb flavors of the main course.  All photographs but the cake were taken by Tonya with her new camera.  I love the sharp detail and she shall be deemed the new Gourmet Gals photographer!


1 large bunch or 2 small bunches romaine lettuce
1 small red onion
1 cup pitted Kalamata olives or pitted jumbo ripe olives
1 jar (6 oz) marinated artichoke hearts, undrained
1/2 cup seasoned croutons
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Lemon Vinaigrette

1 or 2 medium lemons
2 cloves garlic or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

For the main dish, Tonya picked Chicken Bolognese with Crispy Oregano.  I have never prepared bolognese and I was excited to try it - both cooking and eating!  I had just heard on the radio a recipe for turkey bolognese in reference to healthy, quick, flavorful, week night meals.  So apparently bolognese is all the rage these days.

This recipe featured ground chicken rather than turkey.  The combination of the fresh tarragon and diced tomatoes gave the dish a unique, complex flavor.  Be careful when "frying" the oregano garnish. Those damp little leaves like to pop!  Tonya squealed quite a few times during this step of the recipe.

We finished our meal with a cake, that while not Italian, was delicious.  Brown Sugar Pound cake was moist and sweet without being too sweet.  I used only half of the recipe for the brown sugar glaze because the sugar count was getting into the outrageous range.