Two Posts in One Night!

Here is a recap of our March 2014 Gourmet Night. We met at Miss Raquel's on Tuesday, March 25 for another delicious meal. Bridget brought a Smoked Salmon Spread (Barefoot Contessa). Raquel's main was Chicken Marsalla. Lara brought a side of broccoli (also Barefoot Contessa) which unfortunately I didn't snap a picture of. LS had major success with her bread! And the highlight of the evening was the Key Lime Pie (Paula Dean) by Jodi! We had a fantastic evening but once again, we missed Andrea and Lynley.

 Raquel's lovely table

Check out Raquel's awesome new cabinets! 

Cabinets Angle 2

Raquel, Lara and Jodi

Bridget and LS

Salmon Spread
I served this with some baguettes

LS's Successful and Delicious Bread

Raquel's Chicken Marsala

Jodi says she made a few alterations. She added 2 tablespoons of sugar to the crust and used 1/2 cup of butter instead of just 5 tablespoons. And she doubled the pie filling. This way it filled the shell perfectly.

Getting Caught Up . . .

We're back! Here are pics and info from our February 2014 gourmet night. We met on Tuesday, February 25 at Laura's for a double gourmet night and birthday celebration for Laura and our good friend Kim. Our evening had a little Asian flair due to Laura's recent trip to Thailand. We had lots of friends, lots of food and lots of fun! I don't have recipes handy for everything, but here are pictures so let me know if you're interested in actually making something you see. We loved having Kim, Teresa & Jill join us. We missed you, Andrea and Lynley!

 "The Group" sans Teresa
"The Group" sans Bridget

 Laura's Lovely Table

The Drink Table

Potstickers by Raquel via Costco
(Some days are just like that!)

Asian Salad by Jodi
Bread by Teresa

Main Dish by Laura

Side by Lara

"Three Ingredient Dessert" by Kim

Dessert #2 by Bridget
White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake
from Our Best Bites

Throwback to July 2013

Here's another gourmet throwback - this time to July 16, 2013. Five of us met for yet another delicious meal at Miss Raquel's. I don't have all of the recipes handy for these yummy dishes, but I do have pictures! So let your mouth water. If something looks really good, email me and I'll track the recipe down.

Raquel never disappoints with her cool table settings
Bridget, LS and Lara

Raquel and Jodi

Appetizer #1 by Jodi

 Appetizer #2 by Jodi


by Lara

Strawberry Spinach Salad and Homemade Poppy Seed Dressing
By Bridget (from Six Sisters Stuff )

2 Tablespoons sesame seeds
1 Tablespoon poppy seeds
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire
Dash of fresh ground pepper
1 Tablespoon minced red onion
10 ounces fresh spinach, rinsed, dried and torn into bite-size pieces
1 quart strawberries, cleaned, hulled and sliced
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
Bacon bits (I cooked fresh bacon and chopped it up)
Red onion slices for the top (optional - I didn't do)
Feta cheese or bleu cheese to sprinkle on top (optional - I used Feta) 

In a blender, process sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sugar, olive oil, vinegar, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, pepper and minced onion. Blend until the onion is pureed. Pour the dressing into a bowl, cover, and chill for at least an hour.

In a large bowl, combine spinach, strawberries, walnuts, bacon bits, red onion slices, and cheese. Toss lightly. Pour dressing over salad right before you are ready to eat so that the spinach does not wilt.

Salmon by Raquel

Green Beans by LS

We missed you Andrea and Lynley!

Gourmet Throwback

Okay, now that I'm back in business with blogging, I thought I'd update by posting some of our gourmet nights from last year. All seven of us met at Lara's on Tuesday, June 4, 2013 for a fantastic meal. I brought Peach-Watermelon Salsa (recipe from Savoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites.) Raquel did this crazy fancy stack-able salad with apples. I'm trying to track down the recipe, but check out the pictures; that is some serious work of art! Lylney brought some delicious crusty breads. (So sorry we didn't get you in any of the pics, Lyn!) Lara's main was Shakshuka from The Shiksa in the Kitchen. LS did a yummy side of Broiled Vegetables With Toasted Israeli Couscous. Jodi made a yummy dessert and Andrea brought all of us fancy olive oils from a recent trip to Arizona.

Lara's lovely table

LS, Raquel and Jodi

Raquel, Lara, Bridget and Jodi

Andrea and Bridget

Peach-Watermelon Salsa 

4 peaches, peeled and diced
1 cup diced watermelon
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
4 Toma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 orange bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 medium lime, zested and juiced

Combine peaches, watermelon, jalapeno, tomatoes, bell pepper, red onion, and cilantro.  Add sugar, salt, pepper, and the zest and juice of the lime. Toss to combine and chill a minimum of 1 hour. Toss again before serving.

Raquel's fancy salad


No-Fry Fried Ice Cream Cake with Raspberry Sauce Topping

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
3 cups crispy rice cereal
1 cup sweetened, flaked coconut
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream (recipe recommends the square boxes so you can just open up and slice)
Raspberry sauce (see recipe below)

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Ad brown sugar and mix until dissolved. In a large bowl, combine cereal, coconut, and nuts. Pour melted butter and brown sugar over cereal mixture and stir until coated. Press half of cereal mix in the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Cut ice cream in 1-inch slices and spread evenly over mixture in pan. Spread remaining cereal mixture evenly over ice cream. Place in freezer for at least one hour. Cut into squares and serve with raspberry sauce. If you don't like raspberries, you can also top this cake with hot fudge, caramel, strawberries, or any other topping you like!

Raspberry Sauce
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 cup water
1 pint fresh or frozen raspberries
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup orange juice

In a small bowl, whisk water and cornstarch until blended. In a medium saucepan, combine raspberries, sugar, and orange juice. Slowly add cornstarch mixture. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly, until thickened.

Andrea brought us all a special treat 
from her recent trip to Arizona; fancy olive oils!

The cutest guest of the night! (Henri.) Sorry, Loic.

It's a Brand New Year!

New Years Resolution #1: Post to the gourmet blog monthly! My deepest apologies to those who faithfully follow our blog! The 2nd half of 2013 was not a success in the blogging world for me. However, I am recommitted to making regular reports of the Gourmet Girls dinners together as well as my personal cooking and baking.

The Gourmet Girls kicked 2014 off with a small but very fun group. We met on Tuesday, January 14 in Lara's lovely home for a delicious meal. Since my camera battery went dead upon arrival, all pictures from this evening were taken on our phones, thus the quality is not great. But, the food was fantastic!

Andrea, Lara, Bridget and Jodi

We started out the evening with Sundried Tomato Pesto by Andrea. This recipe comes from The Gathering of Friends. It was absolutely delicious. I made Spinach-Mushroom Salad from one of my new cookbooks,
The Romney Family Table (a Christmas gift from my mom)! Jodi favored us with Never Fail Refrigerator Rolls and Lara's main dish was Linguine with Shrimp Scampi, a Barefoot Contessa Recipe. The flavors of all of the dishes blended so well together. Even without dessert we were full and satisfied.

 Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

4 oz. bottle sun dried tomatoes
2 Tbsp fresh basil
2 Tbsp fresh parsley
1 clove garlic
1/4 c. Pine nuts
3 Tbsp white onion, chopped
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1/3 c crushed tomatoes
1/4 c red cooking wine
1/2 c olive oil
1/2 c Parmesan cheese, grated
Kosher salt to taste

Place sun dried tomatoes in a bowl and cover with warm water for 5 minutes. (Andrea DID NOT do this. She drained the tomatoes and used the olive oil from the jar as part of olive oil in the recipe).

Spinach-Mushroom Salad

1 big bunch spinach
1 head lettuce
1 purple onion, sliced into thin rings
3/4 pound mushrooms
3/4 pound Swiss cheese, grated
3/4 pound bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
1/3 cup vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons grated onion
2 1/4 teaspoons poppy seeds
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 teaspoon dry mustard
3/4 cup oil

Wash spinach and lettuce, spin dry, and tear into bite-sized pieces. Combine with remaining salad ingredients in a large serving bowl.

For dressing: Whisk together vinegar and sugar. Add onion, poppy seeds, salt, and dry mustard. Whisk until well blended. Gradually pour in olive oil, whisking to combine. Refrigerate. When ready to serve, pour dressing over salad and toss gently.

Never Fail Refrigerator Rolls

1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
Melt together; don't scorch. Set aside to cool.

1 Tablespoon yeast
1/4 cup warm water
Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add a pinch of sugar.

2 teaspoons sugar
3 eggs, beaten
4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Combine eggs and sugar and beat with a fork. Add the milk mixture and yeast mixture. Blend with a fork. Add the flour and salt and mix in mixer. Cover tightly and put in the refrigerator overnight.

Two hours beofre you want to serve the rolls, roll the dough into a circle on a floured surface. Your dough will be sticky, so use enough flour. Brush with melted butter. Cut into pie shaped wedges and roll like a croissant. Let rise 2 hours at room temperature. Bake at 350 for 12 minutes.

We missed you, Lynley, LS and Raquel!