Sunday, February 22, 2009

Fondue Party

Fondue Party!
My friends James and Marsha came up with this brilliant idea.
They decided to host a Chocolate Fondue Party!
As the host, Marsha prepared three different
types of Chocolate Fondue.
There was chocolate flavored with orange, chocolate flavored
with mint, and good old fashion chocolate.
We all supplied the goodies for dipping.
As you can see in the photos there was plenty of items to dip.
We had pretzels, heart shaped brownies, fruit, nuts, ginger snaps,
cheese cake, rum cake, peanut butter balls and pound cake.

The hosts were gracious, the food was wonderful
- who can resist chocolate!
The party was a ton of fun. As I recall there was
a lot of laughing - with each other and maybe
a little bit of laughing at each other. :)

Here is the recipe I used for the peanut butter balls.

Peanut Butter Balls
8 ounces softened cream cheese
3.25 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips

* I dipped the left over peanut butter balls in a
chocolate ganache which also makes a great chocolate coating.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Salmon in Lemon Brodetto with Pea Puree

All I can say about this dish is:
WOW, it is truely AMAZING!!!
If you are cooking for someone special and
you want to impress them - this is the dinner
that you should make.

This recipe by Giada De Laurentiis is incredible.
Salmon in Lemon Brodetto with Pea Puree


Lemon Brodetto:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, diced
2 lemons, juiced
1 lemon, zested
2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves

Pea Puree:
2 cups frozen peas, thawed (about 10 ounces)
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
1 clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

1/4 cup olive oil
4 (4 to 6-ounce) pieces salmon
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

To make the Lemon Brodetto, warm the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and saute until tender, about 7 minutes. Add the lemon juice, zest, and broth. Bring to a simmer, and keep warm, covered, over low heat.

To make the Pea Puree, combine the peas, mint, garlic, salt, and pepper in a food processor and puree. With the machine running, add the olive oil in a steady drizzle. Transfer the pea puree to a small bowl and stir in the Parmesan. Set aside.

To make the Salmon, warm the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over high heat. Season the salmon pieces with salt and pepper. Sear the salmon until a golden crust forms, about 4 to 5 minutes on the first side. Flip the fish and continue cooking until medium-rare, about 2 minutes more depending on the thickness of the fish.

To assemble the dish, add the tablespoon chopped mint to the Lemon Brodetto and divide between 4 shallow dishes. Place a large spoonful of Pea Puree into the center of each bowl. Place a salmon piece atop each mound of Pea Puree

I would have never put these flavors together on my own -
but the are absolutely wonderful!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Creamy Farfalle with Cremini and Asparagus

Just when I thought I had made every pasta dish -
I came across this recipe and thought hmmm...............
mascarpone that sounds good.

Creamy Farfalle with Cremini, Asparagus, and Walnuts
Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis

1 pound farfalle pasta
3 tablespoons butter
1 pound cremini mushrooms, thickly sliced
1 pound thin asparagus, trimmed, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
1 cup mascarpone cheese
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 cup walnuts, toasted
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the farfalle and cook until al dente, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta water.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and saute until tender and most of the juices have evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the asparagus and saute until the asparagus is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add the farfalle. Stir in the mascarpone and nutmeg and toss until the cheese coats the pasta, adding the reserved cooking liquid 1/4 cup at a time to moisten. Stir in 1/2 cup of walnuts. Season the pasta, to taste, with salt and pepper. Mound the pasta in a large bowl. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and
remaining 1/4 cup of walnuts.

**Now, I know that you will notice when you look at my photograph that I did
not have Farfalle noodles in the house so I just used what I had. I also
substituted almonds where the recipe called for walnuts.


Monday, February 9, 2009

A Greek Meal

I am a huge fan of Greek food and I wish I knew about more
restaurants that had excellent Greek food. The only one
I know of is Kyma in Atlanta. It is know as a Greek
seafood tavern. The last time we ate their our dinner
of the Nantucket Bay Scallops, Dolmades, Spanikopita,
and Pan Roasted Group was amazing!!

I can't say that I am experienced at cooking Greek food
but I decided to give it a try - why not!

The dinner menu:
Greek style meatballs
Tzatziki Sauce
Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus
Greek Salad

Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus

1 can garbano beans/chickpeas (15 oz.), drained
3 tablespoons sun dried tomatoes in oil
2 tablespoons roasted garlic
2 teaspoons parsley
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon oregano
I used a food processor to blend the ingredients

It was a great dinner!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Stuffed Zucchini with Goat Cheese and Sun-dried Tomatoes

Stuffed Zucchini

3 medium zucchini, about 8 inches long

1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped

1 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 cup fresh bread crumbs

1/2 cup parsley, chopped

3 to 4 tablespoons goat cheese

Boil the zucchini for 10 minutes; remove and set aside to cool.
Chop onions, garlic and tomatoes and put in a medium bowl.
Cut each zucchini in half lengthwise and, using a spoon scoop out the soft centers. Reserve the inside zucchini flesh for stuffing mixture. Put the zucchini shells side by side on a baking dish.

Mix the zucchini flesh with the onion, tomato and garlic. Place skillet on medium heat; when hot melt butter. Add vegetables and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in the bread crumbs, parsley and goat cheese.

Using 2 teaspoons, place equal amounts of the stuffing mixture loosely into the zucchini boat without over filling.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes or until the zucchini and mixture is heated
all the way through.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Zuppa Toscana Soup

The temperature in Atlanta this week has been so COLD!
Seriously, a high of 31 degrees - this is the south!

With this type of weather the only food that sounds
good for dinner is .... SOUP.

Zuppa Toscana
1lb. spicy Italian sausage
1/2 lb. smoked bacon - chopped
2 cups water
3 and 1/2 cups of chicken broth
2 lg. russet potatoes, cut any shape you would like
2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
1 med. onion - peeled, chopped
2 cups chopped kale or Swiss chard
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2-3 tbsp. dried oregano
salt and pepper - to taste

Cook sausage in a skillet, cut into small pieces.
Cook bacon, break into very small pieces and set aside for later.
Saute onions and garlic and then set aside.
Place potatoes in water and boil until tender.
Drain potatoes
Pour chicken broth and water into a large pan.
Add potatoes
Add sausage and bacon to pot
Allow this mixture to cook about 20 -30 minutes
Add kale and cream to pot
Season with salt and pepper.

I will make this soup again without a doubt. It was great!