A Thanksgiving Spread

Since it is November, we decided to do our own little Thanksgiving spread at Jodi's place! The evening of Tuesday, November 3rd started with with two delicous appetizers by Andrea. Lynley created beautiful "Roasted Beet Salads with Blue Cheese" (from Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello), Jodi baked up a fabulous bird, "Sage and Oregano-Rubbed Turkey with Honey-Lemon Glaze (from Pillsbury's 2008 Thanksgiving magazine), and Lynley also did a Butternut Squash Risotto (Barefoot Contessa). Bridget whipped up some "Candied Yams and Apples" (based on a recipe from The Essential Mormon Cookbook), as well as "Savory Herb and Sausage Stuffing with Tangy Granny Smith Apples" (from Better Homes and Gardens December 2006). We polished off the evening with "Turtle Pumpkin Cheesecake" by Lara (also from Pillsbury's 2008 Thanksgiving magazine). Unfortunatey, LS has had it with yeast! :( 


Jodi working her magic with Tom Turkey.
Roasted Beet Salad with Blue Cheese

Butternut Squash Risotto

Savory Herb and Sausage Stuffing with
Tangy Granny Smith Apples
11 T butter
2 medium Granny Smith apples, coarsely chopped
3/4 pound sweet Italian pork sausage, casing removed
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
4 cups chicken broth
1 bag (16 oz) Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Stuffing
2 cups Pepperidge Farms Seasoned Croutons
1/2 cup chopped fresh sage leaves
1 egg, beaten
1. Coat 3 quart casserole dish with 1 Tbs butter and set aside
2. Cook and stir apples in 12" nonstick skillet over medium0high heat for about 5 min, or until browned. Pour apples into large bowl and set aside.
3. Heat 2 Tbs butter in skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage, onion and celery. Cook until well browned, stirring frequently to break up meat. Add broth and remaining butter. Heat to a boil.
4. Add stuffing, croutons, sage and egg to apples. Pour broth mixture over apple mixture and stir lightly to coat. Season to taste.
5. Spoon stuffing into prepared dish and cover.
6. Bake at 350 deg for 45 min or until hot.
Candied Yams and Apples
6 yams
4 apples
1 cup orange juice
1 orange (zest from entire orange)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
½ cup butter
¾ cup packed brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 eggs
½ cup sugar
½ cup chopped pecans
¼ cup melted butter
1 bag marshmallows
Peel and cut yams into desired size pieces. Place in a large saucepan and cover with water; cook until tender. Peel and core apples and cut into wedges. Arrange yams and apples in a greased 9x13-inch baking dish. In a medium saucepan combine orange juice, orange peel, cornstarch, melted butter, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon. Cook over medium heat until thickened. Pour sauce over top. Add 2 beaten eggs. Before baking, sprinkle with ¼ cup sugar and pecans. Drizzle with ¼ cup melted butter. Bake at 350° for about 30 minutes or until apples are tender. Add marshmallows last 5 minutes if desired.

Turtle Pumpkin Cheesecake
1 1/2 cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cub butter
1/4 cup flour
2 t pumpkin pie spice
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin
4 (8 oz) packages cream cheese
1 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cups granulated sugar
5 eggs
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted (to toast - cook over med heat in a skillet until light brown)
2 oz bittersweet baking chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 T vegetable oil
1 cup carmel topping
Heat oven to 300 deg. Wrap foil around the bottom of a 9" spring form pan to prevent drips. Spray the bottom and 1 inch up the side with cooking spray. In small bowl, mix cookie crumbs and melted butter. Press crumb mixture on bottom and 1 inch up the side of pan. Bake crust 8-10 min or until set. Cool at room temp for 5 minutes. Refrigerate about 5 minutes or until completely cooled.
In another small bowl, mix flour, pumpkin pie spice and pumpkin; set aside. In large bowl, beat cream cheese on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Gradually beat in brown sugar and granulated sugar until smooth. On low speed, beat in eggs, one at a time, just until blended. Gradually beat in pumpkin mixture until smooth. Pour filling over crust. Bake 1 hour 15 min to 1 hour 25 min, or until edge of cheesecake is set but center still jiggles slightly when moved. Turn over off; open door at least 4 inches. Let cheesecake remain in oven 30 minutes.
Cool in pan on cooling rack 30 minutes. Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight before serving.
Just before serving, sprinkle pecans over top of cheesecake. In small microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate and oil uncovered on high 1 min to 1 min 30 sec, stirring every 15 seconds, until melted. Drizzle chocolate over pecans.
To serve, run knife around edge of pan to loosen cheesecake; carefully remove side of pan. Drizzle caramel topping over each serving. Store covered in refrigerator. Serves 16.

A Fall Feast

Bridget, Jodi, Lynley & Andrea
Wow! This really is our favorite night of the month! Another gourmet success! We met at Bridget's place on Tuesday, October 7, 2008. We were all sad LS was away on business. Lynley started off the evening with three sensational appetizers: "Smoked Salmon in Endive Cups with Caviar", "Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Gravlax, Sour Cream & Ostra Caviar", and "Grown Up Ham and Cheese Sandwiches". Jodi made a delicious "Marian's Salad" and Lara provided a yummy "Tomato and Garlic Focaccia". The main course by Bridget was "Lamb Kebabs with Couscous" from Barefoot Contessa at Home, and we polished off the evening with molten chocolate cakes by Andrea. Everything was superb!

Lara, Jodi, Lynley and Andrea

Smoked Salmon Salad in Endive Cups with Caviar ( left)
Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Gravlax, Sour Cream & Osetra Caviar (right)
Grown Up Ham and Cheese Finger Sandwiches
These were TASTY, and according to the recipe rather simple.

Marian's Salad
Looks beautiful and tastes wonderful too!
1 head Romaine lettuce
1 head Red Leafy lettuce
1 package bacon
3 to 4 sliced pears
1 package blue cheese crumbled
1 pomegranate or craisins
1 package walnuts (roast at 350 with 1 T butter for 25 minutes or can just toast plain)
1 cup sugar (Jodi said she used 1/2 cup)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2/3 cup oil (can use olive oil, Jodi used veg oil)
1 tsp celery seed
3 green onions chopped
Blend the first four ingredients in a processor, then add the rest.

Lamb Kebabs with Couscous

So the Couscous is not really amazing to look at, but was quite tasty.

Tomato and Garlic Focaccia

1 pkg (10 oz) refrigerated pizza dough
2 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed in a garlic press
1/3 cup pre-crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup thinly sliced tomato
course salt
Place a rack in the center of the oven and pre-heat to 400. Unroll the dough onto an ungreased rimmed baking sheet. Using your hands, form into an 11x7" rectangle. With your fingertips, make indentations all over the dough. Drizzle olive oil evenly over the dough. Scatter the garlic and feta cheese over the dough. Arrange the tomato slices evenly on top of the dough. Sprinkle salt over the tomatoes. Bake the focaccia until it is golden brown, 15-18 min. Remove the pan from the oven and when cool enough to handle, cut into squares, using a pizza cutter.
Molten Chocolate Cake Unfortunately Andrea did not bring the recipe with her tonight, but stay tuned, we'll get the recipe up! This is one you will definitely want to try!

The Mexican Fiesta

For our August 2008 gourmet group, we had a "Mexican Fiesta" at Laura Stevens'. We started off the night right with Margaritas (non-alcoholic of course) by Lynley! Our appetizer was a delicious "Tortilla Soup" by Jodi. Bridget made "Cool southwestern salad with corn and avocado" from Real Simple, LS brewed up some amazing "Pork Tacos", and "Spanish Rice" was provided by Lara. Of course Andrea made not one but two breads: "Corn Bread" and "Brown Sugar Rolls", and we finished off the night with "Cheesecake Flan" by Lynley. There was even something else special at the end of the night! A pinata - in the form of LS of course!

Tortilla Soup
1 Tbs olive oil
1 1/2 7 inch corn tortillas or 3 small (cut into 1 inch squares)
1 1/2 Tbs minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp minced jalapeno pepper without seeds
2 Tbs minced white onion
Heat oil and add all ingredients. Cook until tortillas are golden. Set aside.
Separately, in a soup pot:
24 oz can of diced tomatoes
1/3 cup white kernel corn
1 quart chicken stock
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups cumin
1 Tbs salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp chili powder
Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add tortilla mixture. Puree in a blender. Put back on head and add 1 more cup of white kernel corn.
Serve with Monterey Jack Cheese, cilantro, and chips. Can also add chicken or black beans.

Cool Southwestern Salad with Corn and Avocado
1 small heads romaine lettuce, cut into bite-size pieces
1 15-ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2 ears corn, kernels cut off the cob (about 1 cup)
2 avocados, chopped
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro sprigs
1/4 extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Kosher salt and pepper
1/2 9-ounce bag tortilla chips
In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, beans, corn, avocados, onion, and cilantro.
In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lime juice, cumin, 3/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Drizzle over the salad and toss. Serve with the tortilla chips.

Pork Tacos
1 Tbs brown sugar
1 tsp onion powder
1 Tbs Beef base (I don't think I always use this)
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
Pork Roast
juice of one fresh orange
2 Tbs soy sauce
2 Tbs cilantro
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 cup water
juice of one fresh lime
Throw it all in the crock pot and serve it up. Shred it just a bit before ready to serve. Serve with white corn tortillas. Optional garnish: white onions, cilantro, avocado, guac, whatever.
Corn Bread
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup vegetable oil or shortening
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Grease 9 inch round pan, or square pan 8x8, or 10-inch ovenproof skillet. Mix all ingredients. Beat vigorously 30 seconds. Pour into pan. Bake round or square pan 25 to 30 minutes, skillet about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm. 12 pieces.

Brown Sugar Rolls
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
2 teaspoons salt
1 3/4 cups hot water
1 package active dry yeast
Dash of granulated or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
2 cups whole wheat flour
3 3/4 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg, slightly beaten
Brown Sugar glaze (1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar and 2-3 tsp water, mixed until of spreading consistency.)
Place brown sugar, lard and salt in large bowl. Stir in 1 3/4 cups hot water until brown sugar is dissolved. Dissolve yeast and granulated sugar in 1/4 cup warm water; stir into brown sugar mixture. Beat in whole wheat flour and enough all-purpose flour to make dough stiff enough to knead. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Place in greased bowl; turn greased side up. Cover; let rise in warm place until double, about 2 hours. (Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched.) Line 2 cookie sheets with aluminum foil; grease. Punch down dough. Turn onto lightly floured surface; knead until smooth. shape into roll, 10 inches long; cut into 10 slices. Shape each slice into smooth ball. Place on foil0covered cookie sheets; flatten into circles, 3 1/2 to 4 inches in diameter. Cover; let rise until double, about 30 minutes.
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Brush rolls with egg. Spread Brown Sugar Glaze on centers of rolls. ?Make diagonal or crisscross cuts in tops of rolls with tip of sharp knife. Bake until rolls are brown and sound hollow when taped, 20-25 minutes. Immediately remove rolls; cool on wire racks.

Spanish Rice
1/2 lb bacon
1 1/2 large onions, chopped
2 cups bell pepper, diced
2 cans diced tomatoes, not seasoned
2 cups instant rice
1 cup shredded jack cheese
Fry up the bacon. Drain, crumble, and set aside. To the drippings, add the onion and bell pepper. Saute until tender. Add tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste. Add rice, two cups of water, and bacon to a buttered 9x13 pan. Make sure the rice and liquid are equal parts. Add a few more bacon drippings to taste. allow a little space at the top for rice to expand - use two dishes if necessary. Scatter the cheese on top and bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.

July '08 Gourmet Group

The Gourmet Girls met at Lara Dixon's on Tuesday, July 15, 2008 for another fantastic meal together. The evening began with dipping veggies in Bridget's "Green Herb Dip" (Barefoot Contessa at Home). Once we were seated in Lara's beautiful backyard, we had "Strawberry Gazpacho" (The Domestic Diva's Party Cookbook) - pretty much awesome. We then sliced into Lynley's heavenly croissants and scooped on some of Lara's delicious "Rosemary Chicken Salad" (Cooking Light). Andrea's "Roasted Eggplant and Prosciutto Salad" was the perfect side dish. And as if we hadn't already eaten enough, Jodi spoiled us with a "French Banana Cake" from Favorites. Apparently LS's job is more important to her that eating, so unfortunately she was not able to join us this month. :(

Green Herb Dip
8 oz cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1/2 cup good mayonnaise
3/4 cup chopped scallions, white & green parts
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat parsley
1 tablespoon fresh chopped dill
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Blend all together in food processor.
Serve with fresh vegetables. 

Strawberry Gazpacho
1 quarts strawberried, rinsed, hulled, and halved
1 ripe mango, pitted, peeled, and diced
2 kiwis, peeled and diced
1/4 cup sugar, or sugar to taste
1 cup white grape juice
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 cup vanilla low fat yogurt
Dice the one cup strawberries; combine in a small bowl with mango and kiwi. Reserve and refrigerate 1/2 cup. Puree remaining halved strawberries with the sugar in food processor until smooth. Pour into a bowl; stir in grape juice, lime juice, and remaining diced fruit. Refrigerate at least two hours, or up to one day. To serve, ladle gazpacho into individual bowls. Top with yogurt and reserved fruit.

Roasted Eggplant and Prosciutto Salad
French Banana Cake

Summer BBQ at Laura's

Okay, so the food looks half-eaten in this picture, but it really was amazing. Again, not an "official" gourmet night, but a BBQ hosted by one of the gourmet ladies. LS put on a fabulous spread on Saturday, June 28, 2008. The "Perfect Guac" recipe is listed on the June 3rd blog entry, where you will also find a link to "Charred Corn Salad". Word on the street is you will find those cupcakes in a Salt Lake bakery in the near future. Here are a couple of snapshots of friends and recipes for other tasy dishes of the evening.
Sour Cream Bundt Cake
2 cubes butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
8 oz sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
Cream together the butter, sugar, eggs, sour cream and vanilla. Then add 2 cups flour and baking powder. Mix thoroughly. Grease bundt pan and sprinkle half mixture of 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 tsp cinammon in the bottom (I use a little more). Fill pan with half of the batter, then another layer of sugar mixture, then remaining batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes, take knife around edges and flip onto cake platter. 

Grapes and Pasta Salad
(same salad Andrea made for gourmet night August '07)
1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1 TBS lemon juice
1-2 tps onion (grated onion)
1 tsp Sweet Hungarian Paprika
1 tsp celery
3/4 cup light vegetable or canola oil
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
12 oz bow tie pasta, cooked & well-drained
1 pound baby salad greens
1 cup seedless red or green grapes, halved
3-4 green onions cut diagonally into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cups toasted pine nuts
salt and gresh ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup Parmesan or asiago cheese, shredded
Mandarin oranges (optional)
(Can also add cooked chicken to make it more of a meal)
Place 1st eight ingredients in blender and blend at medium speed until all is blended. Place in small container and refrigeratre until ready to serve.
In a large salad bowl, combine the next 5 ingredients and toss well. Sprinkle shredded cheese over all, toss with dressing just before serving.

Bridget's Summer Kick-Off BBQ

Although not an official "gourmet group" it seems appropriate to mention the evening of Friday, June 13, 2008 since 5 out of the 6 "gourmet girls" were in attendance and all brought very tasty dishes! (Plus, we have to post the recipe for Lara's amazing "Mint Brownies"!) The main course (by Bridget) was BBQ'd kabobs with marinated tri-tips and chicken, peppers, zucchini, pineapple, tomatoes and mushrooms. Lynley made a fabulous mixed greens salad with strawberries and candied almonds, Jodi made her delicious brie appetizer, and L.S.'s "Perfect Guac" may have been the hit of the night! Okay, it was a toss up between the brownies and the guac. (See guac recipe in June 3rd entry). Too bad we didn't take any pictures of the food.

LS and Bridget

"The McBrides" Sister-in-law Whitney & Bro Dustin, Mom & Bridget

Lara’s Amazing Mint Brownies
Brownie Part:
2 ¼ cubes margarine
12 large T cocoa powder
3 3/4 c sugar
7 eggs
2 t vanilla
3 c flour
1/3 t salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt margarine and put in kitchen aid. Slowly add cocoa powder (while mixer is on), then add sugar and eggs (one at a time). Beat until smooth. Add vanilla, flour and salt and mix for 1-2 minutes. Pour into greased cookie sheet (jelly roll pan). Bake at 350 for 25 minutes (mine oven is exactly this time) and let completely cool on a cooling rack.
Mint frosting:
1/2 c margarine (cubed)
2 c powdered sugar
2 T milk
1 t peppermint extract
4 drops green food coloring
Melt butter and put in kitchen aid. Stir in all other ingredients and make sure nothing is stuck to bottom of mixing bowl. Pour evenly onto cooled brownies.Chocolate frosting:1 1/2 cubes butter1 1/2 c semisweet choc. chips. In a saucepan, melt butter then add choc chips; stirring continuously until all the way melted. Pour over mint frosting (green frosting does not need to cool down). Place in fridge to set up until 10 minutes before serving.

Brie in Puff Pastry by Jodi (also served at Feb '08 gourmet night)
2 pound wheel of Brie cheese
1 package frozen Pepperidge Farm puff pastry
1 egg, separated
Brown sugar
Chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, or hazelnuts)
Cut wheel of Brie in half horizontally. Sprinkle on brown sugar and chopped nuts. Replace top of the Brie. Place Brie on one sheet of the pastry. Beat the egg white with a fork and brush onto the cheese and pastry. Place the other sheet of pastry on top of the cheese, cutting off excess pastry. Wrap bottom pastry up to top and crimp edges to enclose cheese completely. Beat the egg yolk with a fork and brush over top and sides of pastry. Place on baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove, and let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with apples, sliced French baguette, grapes, etc.

Let's BBQ!

June 3, 2008 - Tonight was pure eating heaven. We had an amazing dinner in Andrea's beautiful backyard, where I believe we all ate more than we thought humanly possible. L.S. fully redeemed herself with "Perfect Guacomole" and a tasty "Charred Corn Salad" (William Sonoma) for our appetizers. Lara brought a yummy "Potato Salad", Lynley some very fancy "Stuffed Artichokes" (perhaps not our favorite), and Jodi treated us to "Peasant Bread" (Favorites). Andrea's main course was Cedar-Plank Grilled Salmon with a yummy maple glaze. We polished off the evening with Bridget's "Berry Trifle" (Food Newtork) and a Lemon Yogurt Cake (from Barefoot Contessa at Home). We were entertained by Andrea's adorable children and a "Gourmet Girls Photo Session" by her husband James. We all concurred that Gourmet Group is definitely our favorite night of the month!
Quote of the Evening: "Cuz if you can't find it at Costco, you must not really need it."

The Berry Trifle!

Lynley, Lara, Jodi, L.S., and Andrea

Bridget & Lynley
Perfect Guacamole
1 jalapeno chili seeded and chopped
1/3 c. cilantro chopped
1/4 c. chopped sweet onion
1/2 t. salt
2 ripe avocados
1 plum tomato
lime juice to taste

Chop and mix.

Cooking Class

Lynley and Bridget (that's me) decided it would be fun to take a cooking class together. We attended "Your Best Barbeque" by Sara Voortmeyer at "The Finishing School" (http://www.thefinishingschoolslc.com/). We learned how to make three BBQ sauces, "Best Ribs", "Better than the best Potato Salad" and "Banana Cream Pie". Sara also teaches classes at Thanksgiving Point. We had a great time learning "tips of the trade" from Sara and decided the BBQ sauces were definitely our favorite part of the evening.
Check out "Sara's Secrets": http://svoortmeyer.blogspot.com/

Episode 1.5

We were scheduled to dine at Andrea's on May 13, 2008, but since her husband surprised her with a Mother's Day Get-Away, which left that morning, we changed the venue to Bridget's and ate "sans main dish". The evening started with Lynley's "Fresh Tomato Bisque". We then had two salads,"Tortellini Salad with Asparagus and Fresh Basil Vinaigrette" by Lara and "Vietnamese Cabbage and Chicken Salad" by L.S. (Jodi made some delicious homemade rolls with "Raspberry Butter" and Bridget supplied the Barefoot Contessa's "Coconut Cake". There was definitely plenty of food. and as usual, we enjoyed going around the table, getting the "scoop" on every one's lives.
Tortellini Salad with Asparagus and Fresh Basil Vinaigrette
(This was a hit - we all loved it!)
6 T olive oil
1/2 c chopped fresh basil
3 T fresh lemon juice
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
salt & pepper to taste
1 lb asparagus, tough ends trimmed and sliced thin on the bias
2 (9 oz) packages fresh cheese tortellini
1/4 c pine nuts
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 c grated parmesan cheese
Whisk olive oil, basil, lemon juice, shallot, garlic, 1/2 t salt, and 1/2 t pepper together in a bowl large enough to hold the salad.
Cook the asparagus in boiling water seasoned with 1 T salt until tender, about 3 min. Transfer asparagus to a colander using a slotted spoon (do not discard the boiling water) and run under cold water until cool. Shake out any excess water and toss with the vinaigrette.
Return the water to a boil, add tortellini. Cook until tender, following the package instructions. Drain the tortellini thoroughly, toss while hot with the asparagus and dressing. Refrigerate until chilled, about 30 min.
Toast the pine nuts in a small skillet over medium heat until golden and fragrant, about 5 min. Just before serving, stir in the toasted pine nuts, tomatoes, and parmesan into the salad and season with salt and pepper.

Season Two - "Season Premier"

On April 15, 2008 we were back to Lynley's for some more fabulous filet's ("Filet Mignon with Mushroom-Wine Sauce"), fitting for Lynley's new nickname - "Wine Girl"! Lara brought two yummy appetizers, "Pickled Mushrooms" and "Pickled Okra Roll-ups". Andrea shared a "Honey Citrus Salad"; Bridget tried "Pat's Stromboli Bread " (from Everyday with Rachel Ray), and Jodi made delicious "Gouda Potatoes". Sadly, L.S. wasn't able to make it (our first absentee yet), but Lynley treated us to some chocolate fondue for desert. We dipped strawberries, bananas and marshmallows. Yum!

Gouda Potatoes
3 lbs Potatoes (thinly sliced)
6 oz of grated Gouda cheese
3 Tbs butter
5 garlic cloves minced
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 baking dish. Place half of the potatoes in dish. Sprinkle with Gouda cheese. Then place the remaining potatoes on top of the cheese. In a skillet, saute butter and garlic until golden. Pour over potatoes. combine cream, salt and pepper and pour over potatoes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 75 minutes.
Honey Citrus Salad
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup orange juice
1/4 cup dijon mustard
2 tbsp. minced fresh parsley
fresh ground pepper
Salad ingredients:
mixed baby lettuces
cubed avocado
cut up oranges
shaved asiago cheese
candied pecans

A Night on the Town

As mentioned previously, we thought it would be fun to take a month off from actually cooking, and just do the eating. March 18, 2008 we met at "Tiburon Fine Dining" in Sandy and boy did we have some amazing food! I believe everyone enjoyed their meals and we decided to go for "Season Two" with the same format we had followed previously! So back to Lynley's it was for April's Gourmet Group.

Season Finale

The evening of February 12, 2008 was once again filled with good food and good times. Jodi brought the yummy "Brie in Puff Pastry" which we spread over fresh sliced apples; Bridget made "Warm Spinach Salads" and L.S.'s main dish was "Brown Sugar Meatloaf". Lara provided "The Lady's Cheesy Mac" (Paula Deen); Andrea made "Golden Pumpkin Rolls" with Cinnamon Butter and Lynley finished the night off with her amazing "Chocolate Mouse" topped with Chocolate-Covered Strawberries. This completed our first "season" of Gourmet Group. We had each taken the opportunity to make one of the six courses. We decided to go out for a fancy dinner in March and discuss the format for our next "round" of Gourmet Group.
Brown Sugar Meatloaf
1/2 Cup packed brown sugar (or more for more sauce)
1/2 Cup Ketchup (or more)
1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef or turkey
3/4 Cup milk
2 Eggs
1 1/2 t. Salt
1/4 t. Ground black pepper
1 Small chopped onion
1/4 t. Ground ginger
1 Cup finely crushed saltine cracker crumbs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 5x9 inch loaf pan. Press the brown sugar into the bottom of the pan. Spread the ketchup over the sugar. Mix remaining ingredients into a bowl. Shape into loaf, put in pan and bake 1 hour.
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Cinnamon Butter (this would taste good on just about any roll)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 Tbsp. powdered sugar
1/8 cup maple syrup
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
Mix all ingredients with hand mixer until blended. Refrigerate. Use ice cream scoop to form balls. To serve, place one ball in small dish, store others in fridge. Great with hot, homemade rolls. They taste almost better than cinnamon rolls!

Ringing in the New Year

We were all very excited to meet at Jodi's newly re-modeled townhome for January's Gourmet Group on January 8, 2008. Andrea brought a yummy "Bread Dip Appetizer"; Lynley created each of us our own "Fabulous Wedge Salads"; Jodi baked a delicious "Chicken Elizabeth"; Bridget's side dish was "Cilantro Lime Rice", and Lara's Desert was "Apple Crostata" (pictured). Unfortunately L.S. provided our very first "Recipe Disaster" with her rolls/donuts/dough. :) As always we enjoyed catching up as friends and shared a wonderful meal.
Cilantro Lime Rice
4 TBS butter
2 TBS cilantro, minced
2 green onions chopped
4 cups (2 cans) chicken broth, hot
2 cups jasmine rice
grated zest of 2 limes
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Melt butter in pan and saute the onions until tender. Add the rice and cook until coated with butter. Stir in the lime, cilantro and the broth. Cover and place in oven. Bake until the liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 20-25 min. Serves 6-8.

Cooking for the Holidays

Unfortunately we did not meet in November due to a few crazy travel schedules and the arrival of Andrea's new baby girl - Ryan Jane! We were all very excited to get back to cooking (and eating) at Bridget's on December 4, 2007. Lynley brought Paula Deen's "Crab-Stuffed Mushrooms" for our appetizer. L.S. brewed up a delicious "Winter Vegetable and Bean Soup with Pesto"; Jodi provided the "Christmas Salad" and Bridget's main dish was "Orecchiette with Seared Shrimp, Brocoli Rabe, and Sweet Red and Yellow Peppers" (that's quite a title)! Lara made a yummy "Basil Tomato Bread" and Andrea finished the night off with not one, but TWO delectable deserts - "Chocolate Decadence Cake" and "Cranberry Apple Desert Risotto"! What a way to ring in the holidays!

October at L.D's

It seems we all learned from last month's "double booking" 'cause this night was a fabulously balanced meal! We held October's gourmet group at Lara Dixon's since she loves to celebrate Halloween with all of her crazy spook decor! We started the evening with Bridget's "Spinach Artichoke Dip" and moved right into Lynley's "Yummy Pumpkin Soup" (and it was yummy)! L.S. brought a tasty "Heirloom Tomato and Fresh Oregano Greek Salad", main dish was "Chicken Puffs", "Savory Rice" was Andrea's contribution and then we took things into the living room where we chatted over Jodi's amazing "Ginger Crunch Cake with Strawberry Sauce". Another fabulous evening of high caloric intake with the ladies!
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Savory Rice
1/4 cup butter
1 onion, chopped
2 cups sticky or long grain white rice
1 tablespoon parsley
5 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules
5 cups water
8 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms
Brown onion in butter. Combine with remaining ingredients in rice cooker or sauce pan. Simmer for 20 minutes or until liquid is gone. Sour cream can be mixed in after cooking for creamier rice dish.

Round II

Gourmet Group Round II was held in Andrea's lovely home on September 4, 2007. We discovered that night the need for coordination on dishes since Lara's "salad" and Lynley's "side dish" were the exact same thing - "Insalata Caprese"! (Lara will argue that it is called a Caprese Salad). L.S. brought a "White Bean Salad" served on crackers for an appetizer, Jodi busted out some "Oatmeal Dinner Rolls", Andrea treated us to "Coriander-Crusted Pork Chops with Sauteed Apples and Caramelized Onions" and Bridget finished off the evening with "Rasberry-Topped Lemon Pie". Another successful night at the dinner table!
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Insalata Caprese
3 large tomatoes, sliced
1 pkg (9 oz.) POLLY-O Fresh Mozzarella Cheese (6 balls), drained, sliced
1/3 cup fresh basic
3 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp. each: salt, and freshly ground black pepper
ARRANGE: tomatoes, cheese and basil alternately on platter.
BEAT oil and vinegar with wire whisk until well blended. Drizzle over tomatoes.
SPRINKLE with salt and pepper.