Seven Ladies Dining

The Gourmet Girls gathered at Miss Lynley's on February 20, 2013 for yet another delicious meal.  We started the evening off with Butternut Squash Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons by LS, then an amazing Chopped Salad with Lemon Basil Dressing by Andrea. Raquel wowed us with some awesome Crusty Bread. Our main dish by Lynley was a Tri Tip. Unfortunately I didn't get the recipe or take a picture; duh. Jodi made fabulous Blue Cheese Scalloped Potatoes with Chipotle and Bacon. Our dessert by Lara was Chocolate Eclair Cake. I've made it a couple of times since. It's easy and delicious. It's also easy to make a sugar-free version if necessary. I brought a take-home treat of Sticky Vanilla Popcorn. It was so nice to have all seven of the gourmet girls together for this delicious meal and evening together.

The group sans LS: Lynley, Jodi, Andrea, Bridget, Raquel and Lara.

 Jodi, Andrea, Bridget and Raquel

Lynley, LS and Lara
Butternut Squash Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons

1 Butternut Squash (2 3/4 lbs, cooked) - Laura says she usually opens it up, removes the seeds and places it face down in a glass dish, covers it in plastic and steams it in the microwave for about 15 minutes or until it feels tender.
1 T. Butter
2 cups chopped peeled pear (1 lb)
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced onion
2 1/3 cups water
1 Cup Pear Nectar
2-14 oz cans of Vegetable Broth
2 1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 cup half-and-half
Saute butter, onion and pear until lightly browned.  Add squash pulp and all ingredients EXCEPT for the half-and-half.  Simmer for about 30 minutes.  Then puree the soup, add the half-and-half and serve.  Voila!  super simple!

Andrea said this is her favorite salad at Ruth's Chris and she was determined to make her own! We were all so happy for her determination because it was amazing! For the crispy fried onions she thinly sliced onions, coated them in flour and salt, then fried them in hot oil. Isn't this a beautiful creation?

This was DELICIOUS! It is time consuming because of the long hours of rising, but Raquel assured us it was very easy.

Sticky Vanilla Popcorn
I was the "extra" for the evening so I brought a take-home treat of Sticky Vanilla Popcorn. Embarrassingly enough, I made this in September of 2010! So this was a repeat. Here is the recipe, in case you missed it the first time! 

1 cube butter
1/2 cup sugar
A little less than 1/2 cup Karo syrup
1 tsp vanilla powder

Pop popcorn and set aside.  Melt butter in saucepan on stove.  Add sugar, Karo syrup, and vanilla powder, stirring continuously.  Let boil for one minute.  Stir in popcorn and enjoy!  I popped 3/4 cup of kernels and it seemed just the right amount to be thoroughly covered, but not too gooey.  I dump the popped corn into another bowl after it has popped to remove uncooked kernels.

2013 Gourmet Kick-Off!

Gourmet Girls are back! My apologies to our loyal followers for being such a slacker for the past six (ok, seven) months! I promise to post more regularly. So, here is a bit of 2013 in review . . . The Gourmet Girls kicked off the new year on January 9 at Manwaring Ranch where Miss, excuse me, MRS Jodi hosted a lovely evening. We started off the night with a few appetizers by Andrea, Jan's Crescent Rolls by Lara, Rosemary Pork Tenderloin (Keeping Up) by Jodi, Brown Rice and Wheatberries (Barefoot Contessa Foolproof) by Bridget, Peanut Butter pie by LS and a take-home treat (Coconut Key-Lime Squares) by Raquel (aka Martha Stewart). We missed you Lynley!
 The lovely table

 Our crew: LA, Raquel, Jodi, Bridget, LS and Andrea. 
 We missed you Lynley!

 Props to our photographer Srgnt Manwaring!
This was the "act like you all like each other" pose!

Appetizers by Andrea

Jan's Crescent Rolls by Lara

3 rapid rise yeast packets
1 cup sugar
2 cups luke warm water
1 cup butter (melted and cooled), plus more for brushing (about 1/2 cup)
6 eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp salt
8 cups flour (not self-rising)

Mix yeast with 2 TBS sugar and then add 2 cups water and stir.  Add cooled, melted butter, rest of sugar, beaten eggs, salt and flour and mix.  Dough with be VERY sticky.  Let rise 2 hours. Punch down and refrigerate overnight.  Divide dough into 4 equal parts.  Roll each into large circles.  Brush top with melted butter.  Cut into triangle pieces, 12-16 each circle. Roll each triangle starting at the largest end.  Let rise at least 2 hours on buttered cookie sheet.  (Lara used a silpat). Bake at 400 degrees for 10 min.  Watch carefully.  Makes 48-64 rolls.

Rosemary Pork Tenderloin by Jodi

2 pork tenderloins
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

Combine marinade ingredients and pour over pork in a Ziploc bag. Marinate several hours or overnight in refrigerator. Grill on the barbeque or broil in the oven, turning often, until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees. Let stand 10 minutes, tented loosely with foil, before slicing (temperature will rise to 155 degrees while standing). Slice and serve.

Brown Rice and Wheatberries by Bridget
I was excited to try out a recipe from my new Barefoot Contess Foolproof Cookbook my mom gave me for Christmas! This was delicious and healthy!

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion (1 large)
1 cup brown rice, such as Texmati organic
1/2 cup hard red winter wheatberries (I found these at Good Earth on 9th East)
1 cup thinly sliced scallions, white and green parts (6 scallions)
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
3 1/2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup cranberries

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.

Heat the butter and oil in a large pot or Dutch oven, such as Le Creuset (this is what I used). Add the onion and saute over medium heat for 8 minutes, until translucent but not browned.  Add the rice and wheatberries and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

Stir in the scallions, pine nuts, chicken stock, 2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper and bring to a boil. Stir, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and bake for 50 minutes. Stir in the cranberries, cover and set aside for 15 to 20 minutes, until the grains are tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed.  Depending on the saltiness of the stock, add 1 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp black peper to taste, sprinkle with sliced scallions, and serve hot.

Peanut Butter Pie
8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup Peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
8 oz. whipped topping, thawed

1. Mix cream cheese and sugar until smooth
2. Blend peanut butter and vanilla, fold in whipped topping.
3. Spoon into pie crust and refrigerate for 4 hours.
4. Drizzle with chocolate syrup.