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!