Tea Dinner Party

TeaDinner 003 Tea Dinner Party

The tea dinner party was a bit disappointing really. I think people got a bit lazy with this one so there are only a few recipes and not that many photos. The food at the party that actually contained tea was quite good, so I don’t want to skip posting about this entirely, but I will keep it brief.

TeaDinner 002 Tea Dinner Party

Tea soup with edamame

I made tea braised edamame by Mark Bittman  and tea poached pears in chocolate sauce from Veganomicon. I don’t have a photo of the cake because the light was gone at that point and the pears didn’t last very long. icon smile Tea Dinner Party

Tea Poached Pears in Chocolate Sauce: Serves 4
(Recipe from Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook)

Ingredients:
3 cups water
4 tea bags black tea
1/4 cup sugar
4 firm Bosc pears, peeled, sliced in half lengthwise, and cored
Zest from 1/2 orange
1 tsp vanilla extract
8 ounces bitter or semisweet vegan chocolate
Vanilla ice cream (optional)
Mint sprigs (optional)

Directions:
Boil the water in a medium-size saucepan. Once the water is boiling, turn off the heat, add the tea bags and sugar, and steep for 15 minutes. Remove the tea bags and stir to make sure the sugar is dissolved.

Bring the tea to a boil again and add the pears, orange zest, and vanilla. Turn down the heat to simmer and cover. Let simmer; remove the orange zest after a few minutes because it can get bitter. Simmer for about 20-30 minutes until the pears are tender.

Transfer the pears and liquid to a large bowl to cool. Remove a cup of liquid from the bowl and place it back in the pot. Bring to a simmer again, then turn off the heat and add the chocolate. Whisk until completely melted and dissolved. Let the sauce cool.

To assemble:
Ladle a half a cup of chocolate sauce into a small dessert bowl. Place the pear, cored side down, in the sauce. Place a scoop of ice cream next the pear and garnish with mint sprig.
Kathy and Martin made Earl Grey tea cake (not pictured because of the light) Click here for the recipe.

And they made a wild rice salad (which they adapted slightly, adding kale in addition to parsley, and substituting pistachios for pecans to make it Nick-friendly): This one is pictured at the top of the post. Click here for the recipe.
And finally, Ryan made Roobios Butternut Pizzettas. Which sounded amazing, but alas, were gone by the time Nick and I showed up. Click here for the recipe.

 

pin it button Tea Dinner Party

Cinnamon Dinner Party!

The cinnamon dinner party was a success! It was actually a brunch party and everyone brought delicious food! So lets cut to the chase! Here are the recipes:

Nick and I made Blueberry Muffins with Doughnut topping from Baking for All Occasions

Cinnamon 004 Cinnamon Dinner Party!

Blueberry muffins with doughnut topping

Blueberry Muffins with Doughnut Topping from Flo Braker’s Baking For All Occasions, page 60 | Makes 12 muffins

For the Muffins:
2 cups all-purpose flour*
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup cold, well-shaken buttermilk**
3/4 stick (3 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and tepid
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups blueberries, picked over for stems

For the Doughnut Topping:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 sticks (3 ounces) unsalted butter, melted

To make the muffins:

1. Center rack in the oven and preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Lightly coat a 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick spray, then flour the cups, tapping out the excess flour. Or butter and flour the cups or line with fluted paper or foil liners.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3. In a medium bowl, stir together the buttermilk, butter, eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla until combined.
4. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and stir gently with a rubber spatula just until moistened. Do not beat until smooth, or the muffins will have a coarse texture.

5. Using the spatula, fold in the blueberries just enough to incorporated them into the batter. Fill the muffin cups three-fourths full.
6. Bake the muffins until they are golden, spring back when gently pressed in the centre, and are starting to pull away from the muffin cups, 18 to 23 minutes. Cool in pan until they can be handled, about 10 to 15 minutes.
7. To make the Doughnut Topping: In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon. 8. While the muffins are still warm, gently remove them from the pan one at a time. Dip the tops in melted butter, roll in the cinnamon sugar to coat, and then place on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Storing: Store at room temperature under a cake dome for up to 2 days, or freeze for up to 10 days in a sturdy covered container. Thaw at room temperature 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Kathy and Martin made a citrus salad and some amazing coffee!

Cinnamon 002 Cinnamon Dinner Party!

Cinnamon citrus salad

Citrus Cinnamon Fruit Salad

2 red grapefruits
1 white grapefruit
6 blood oranges
3 navel oranges
1/2 cup cranberries, dried

Chop all the fruit using knifework that you think yields pleasing results. Add the cranberries. Then add 1/4 honey and 1 TBSP cinnamon and mix it up.Y ou can also add nutmeg, cloves, and ginger to taste.

Cinnamon 003 Cinnamon Dinner Party!

Mexican Spiced Coffee– Cafe de Olla

 

Mexican Spiced Coffee– Cafe de Olla

Ingredients

Spiced Sugar Syrup
4 1/2 ounces (roughly 1/2 9-ounce cones) piloncillo, roughly chopped,
OR 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
The finely chopped zest of 1 orange
1/4 teaspoon whole cloves
One 3-inch piece of cinnamon stick
3/4 cup freshly ground coffee, preferably a fairly dark-roasted Mexican one
Directions

Put a kettle of water on to boil.  In a medium (3-quart) saucepan combine the ingredients for the spiced sugar syrup along with 1 cups water.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.  Let steep at least 10 minutes.

Pour through a strainer into a 48-ounce (8 cup) press pot (aka French press pot).  Top with the coffee, then fill 3/4 full with boiling water.  Allow to steep 5 minutes before pressing the filter down.  Serve right away.
Ryan Kelly brought drinks!

Cinnamon 009 Cinnamon Dinner Party!

Bloody Mary

Here is what I he did:

1. Obtain skewers
2. Onto the skewer place the following items: whole green olive, cube of pepper-jack cheese, sliced baby pickle, whole pepperoncini pepper, parsley
3. Rim wedge of lime along edge of 24 ounce glass and dip into celery salt until coated
4. Fill glass with ice, then pour 1-2 shots vodka into glass
5. Pour bloody-mary mix to fill glass
6. Add dash of cinnamon to the drink
7. Add garnish and serve
Tiffany, Matt and Elliott brought Cinnamon rolls and spiced apples

Cinnamon 005 Cinnamon Dinner Party!

Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients:
Serves: 18
Dough
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup milk
Filling
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup brown sugar or 1 cup white sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon
Glaze
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk

Directions:
1. For the filling, in a small bowl combine softened butter, brown sugar and cinnamon to form a crumbly mixture.
2. Sprinkle 1/2 of the mixture over the bottom of a 9×9 pan.
3. In a large bowl mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
4. Cut in softened butter (sometimes your hands are the best tools).
5. Stir in milk to form a soft dough.
6. Roll out dough on a lightly floured cutting board into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick.
7. Spread the remaining filling on the rolled out dough.
8. Roll up the rectangle, with a sharp knife slice into 18 small rolls (12 if you want them a little bigger).
9. Bake for 20-25 min at 400°F.
10. For glaze, combine powdered sugar and milk in a small bowl and stir until smooth.
11. Once rolls are finished, drizzle on glaze and serve warm.

Cinnamon 007 Cinnamon Dinner Party!

Baked Cinnamon Apples

Ingredients:

10 apples, cored, peeled and sliced thinly
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice (optional)
1 dash salt
1 dash nutmeg
whipped cream (optional) or ice cream (optional)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Place cut and peeled apples in a mixing bowl and gently mix all the ingredients together.
3. Put apples in a non-stick pan; cover and place in the oven.
4. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring at least once every 15 minutes.
5. Once they are soft, cook for another few minutes to thicken the cinnamon sauce.

And Breahan brought a quiche! You can find the recipe here

Cinnamon 006 Cinnamon Dinner Party!

Cinnamon Quiche

There were many other dishes made, but I do not have recipes for those! Kristi brought the little bread treats that Rose is grabbing….so much good food! The next party is in June and tea is the featured ingredient! Can’t wait!

Cinnamon 008 Cinnamon Dinner Party!

Cinnamon Pear Sandwiches

 

pin it button Cinnamon Dinner Party!

Maple Dinner Party!

Maple 001 Maple Dinner Party!

Maple-Baked Apple Butter Beans with Boston Bread Brown

February’s dinner party was maple themed. The meal was well-balanced despite having such a sweet ingredient. There was also a lot of bacon and Rose ate most of it. I did not collect recipes from other dinner party goers, but I made Translucent Maple Tuiles (Dorie Greenspan) and Boston Brown Bread with Maple-Baked Apple Butter Beans (Mark Bittman.) Kathy and Martin made Brussels Sprouts, there were pizzas, salads, drinks, all kinds of things! I don’t have photos, because it was very dark at the party and the pictures just weren’t that good.

All three recipes are very easy and don’t involve too much effort. The hardest part was getting the Tuiles into their proper tile shape. It involves removing the warm, but not hot cookies from the pan and then quickly laying them on a curves surface—a bottle, a rolling pin, etc. They are fairly forgiving though and if you don’t get it right the first time, you can always just put the pan back in the oven for a few seconds to warm the cookies and try again.

If dinner party attendees are reading this, feel free to post links to your recipes or post the recipes in the comments section! And away we go with the recipes!

Maple 002 Maple Dinner Party!

Maple Tuiles

Maple Tuiles

½ stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ c (packed) brown sugar
¼ c pure maple syrup
1/3 C plus 1 tbsp all purpose flour, sifted

In a small bowl, using a sturdy rubber spatula or a hand mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar and maple syrup together until light in color and texture. Gently stir in the flour, mixing only until it is incorporated. Cover the bowl, pressing a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the batter and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or for up to 1 week.

Getting ready to bake: Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Have two unlined baking sheets at hand and, if you want to curve the cookies into their traditional tile shape, a rolling pin or a slender bottle.

Roll small scoops of dough between your palms to form balls the size of small cherries or hazelnuts, and put the balls 2 inches apart on the unbuttered baking sheets.

Bake for 7 minutes or until the cookies spread and are golden colored and honeycombed. I would start with 5 minutes and then check them. They really cook quickly.

Immediately remove the baking sheets from the oven, let the cookies rest for a few seconds and then, using a wide metal spatula, lift them from the sheets. Don’t be shy about it, get the spatula under one edge then push forward with one quick jerk. If the cookie crumples a bit, don’t worry, it will straighten out as it cools.  For curved cookies, quickly place a few at a time on a rolling pin. Transfer the cookies to a rack after they have set. If you want flat cookies, just move them directly to the rack.

Boston Brown Bread
Butter for the pan
2 cups buttermilk or yogurt
3 cups assorted flours, such as 1 cup each rye, cornmeal and whole wheat or all-purpose
1 ½ tsp salt
1 ¼ tsp baking soda
¾ c maple syrup

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 300. Liberally grease two 8×4 inch loaf pans or one 9×5 inch pan.
  2. Mix dry ingredients, then add the sweetener and buttermilk or yogurt. Stir just until mixed; this is a loose batter, not a dough. Pour or spoon into the loaf pan(s) and bake for 1 hour or a little longer, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Let cool on a rack for 10 minutes before removing from the pan(s); eat warm.

Maple-Baked Apple Butter Beans
¼ c neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn
2 medium onions, chopped
½ c apple butter
one 5-inch piece kombu (seaweed! Can be found at Whole Foods)
1 pound of white beans, pre-soaked*
½ c maple syrup
2  tbsp mustard or more to taste
salt and pepper

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees F. Put the oil in a large ovenproof pot or casserole with a lid over medium high heat. When hot, add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and golden, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the apple butter and stir until deeply colored, another minute or so. Stir in 6 cups of water, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
  2. Add the kombu, beans, syrup and mustard. Cover and bake for 2 hours, ignoring it. Stir, then add water if needed to keep the beans covered. Then cover again and cook until the beans are completely cooked.
  3. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, stir well to help break up the kombu, then taste and add more syrup or mustard if you like. Turn the oven to 400F. Return the pot to the oven, uncovered, and bake until the beans are creamy and the liquid has thickened, another 30 minutes or so. Taste, adjust seasoning and serve.

*a few hours before this starting, put the beans in a pot and cover with cold water by 2-3 inches. Bring them to a boil, uncovered, and let boil for 2 minutes. Turn off the burner and cover for 2 hrs. If they are tender in 2 hours, add salt and cook until done. If you forgot or didn’t have time to do this, add another hour to your cook time in step #2.

Maple 003 Maple Dinner Party!

A Maple-Tuile thief!

 

 

 

 

pin it button Maple Dinner Party!

The Fake Dinner Party!

This theme was a lot of fun, but I don’t have any of the recipes. The idea behind this party was to make deceptive dishes. Cakes that looked like hamburgers, “fries” that were actually sweet pastry dough with strawberry jelly “ketchup.” You get the idea. It was lot of fun, but it was confusing! Especially the “Carrot Cake” which was really a lentil/nut loaf with mash potato frosting. Woah.

 

Here are some photos:

FakeDinner 001 The Fake Dinner Party!

A boozey “soup” by Chris Weiher.

FakeDinner 003 The Fake Dinner Party!

eyeball deviled eggs by Ryan Kelly.

FakeDinner 004 The Fake Dinner Party!

Pastry dough French Fries with Strawberry Jelly “Ketchup” by Beth Rooney.

FakeDinner 005 The Fake Dinner Party!

Meatloaf cupcakes with mashed potato frosting by Heather Charles.

FakeDinner 006 The Fake Dinner Party!

Salad with radish “mushrooms.” By Martin Seay

FakeDinner 007 The Fake Dinner Party!

Nutloaf masquerading as a Carrot Cake by Kathy Rooney

FakeDinner 008 The Fake Dinner Party!

spaghetti cake by Kristi Zimmerman

FakeDinner 009 The Fake Dinner Party!

Hamburger Cake by Heather Charles

pin it button The Fake Dinner Party!

Purple Dinner Party

purpleParty 005 Purple Dinner Party

Beet-Pickle Deviled Eggs

The winter solstice is upon us and I am so glad to know the days are getting longer again! Every minute of sunlight is an improvement on the pitch-black darkness at 4:00pm. To celebrate the days getting longer again, I thought I would post some photos from a dinner party we had last spring. The theme was “purple.” I gave up on finding the recipes for this dinner party, if you attended and are reading this, please email me your recipe! The food was delicious, beautiful and bright. Happy Solstice!

The recipe for the deviled eggs and the purple potato soup can be found here and here respectively. Now, more photos.

purpleParty 013 Purple Dinner Party

Purple Dinner Plate

purpleParty 012 Purple Dinner Party

Quiche by Heather.

purpleParty 011 Purple Dinner Party

These were so amazing!

purpleParty 009 Purple Dinner Party

purpleParty 008 Purple Dinner Party

Purple Cocktail

purpleParty 007 Purple Dinner Party

Purple Cocktail

purpleParty 006 Purple Dinner Party

Purple Cabbage Salad

purpleParty 004 Purple Dinner Party

purple sweet potatoes

purpleParty 003 Purple Dinner Party

purple cabbage salad

purpleParty 001 Purple Dinner Party

Purple Potato Vichyssoise

pin it button Purple Dinner Party

Edible Flower Dinner Party

EdibleFlowers 010 614x410 Edible Flower Dinner Party

Pistachio Merigunes with Rose Cream. Thanks to Heather we had a pretty green yogurt cup to put the cream in! I think it really makes the photo.

This party was amazing! I can’t believe all the stuff that people came up with! The photos are beautiful and the food was delicious. We haven’t decided on the next theme or when it will happen, but I can’t wait! Now to the photos and the recipes!

Nick and I made squash blossom pesto and pistachio meringues with rose water cream that I posted about earlier this week. Here is the recipe for the pesto and here is the recipe for the meringues.

 

EdibleFlowers 001 614x410 Edible Flower Dinner Party

Squash blossom pesto with saffron

The original recipe calls for pine nuts, but at least one person in the dinner group has a bad reaction to pine nuts! After he eats them, they make everything else taste really really bitter for a few days! So we thought it was best to skip those. And get this, Whole Foods doesn’t even have them in the bulk area anymore and are slowly phasing out the sale of pine nuts because a  lot of people are having that same reaction! At least that’s what the very helpful lady working there told me. Crazy! Luckily almonds, especially blanched and slivered ones, are not overly powerful and so they make a good substitute here. Honestly, all these flavors are very light so you really do need to get a light tasting olive oil and I would say go ahead and be generous with the salt and the saffron. When you serve this pesto find some simple crackers that don’t have a flavor themselves and are overly salted. We served them with simple crackers and with a seeded bread and the bread was too much for this subtle spread. We changed a couple things to the recipe to make it have a little more flavor.

 

Squash Blossom Pesto

3 Tablespoons slivered almonds

2 Tablespoons very hot water

A generous pinch of saffron threads

2 cups loosely packed squash blossoms, about 12 blooms

1/3 cup coarsely grated Parmigiano cheese

1/3 cup lightly flavored olive oil

½ tsp of salt

In a dry skillet over medium, lightly toast the almonds until they start smell nutty and are lightly golden.  Watch them carefully so they do not get dark brown or burn.  Transfer to a kitchen towel and set aside to cool.

Pour the 2 Tablespoons of hot water over the saffron in a small bowl and leave to steep.

Pull the stamens out of the center of the squash blossoms and pinch off any hard stems or green leaves at the base.  Lightly pull the blossoms apart and measure 2 loosely packed cups.  Drop the blossoms in a food processor and pulse 2 – 3 times to break them up.  Add the almonds, the cheese and the saffron with its water and pulse until everything is roughly chopped.  Turn the machine on, and drizzle the olive oil in slowly.  Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.  When all the oil is incorporated, add the salt to taste.  If your cheese is salty, be sparing with extra salt.

Transfer the pesto to an airtight container and drizzle a very thin layer of olive oil over the surface.  This version does not oxidize and turn black the way basil pesto does, so it only needs a bit of oil on top. Store the pesto in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Makes about ½ cup

 

 

 

Dan Hayes and Laura made Curried Daylilies (I missed photographing this dish!)

The daylilies are enhanced not only by the spicy curry sauce but also make good use of carrots, celery, TVP, and nuts. Serve over brown rice or with Indian bread.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

•Sauté:
•1/4 cup sesame oil
•8 cups daylilies, sliced
•2 medium-size carrots, sliced
•4 celery stalks, sliced
•1 cup texturized vegetable protein (TVP), soaked for 10 minutes in
3/4 cup hot water, drained, soaking water reserved
•1/2 cup raw cashews or peanuts
•.
•Sauce:
•3/4 cup drained silken tofu
•1/4 cup dark-colored miso
•2 tablespoons curry paste
•Juice of 1 lime
•1 tablespoon kudzu or arrowroot

Preparation:
To make the sauté:
Heat the sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add daylilies, carrots, celery, TVP, and cashews or peanuts. Cook, stirring, for 10 minutes.

To make the sauce:
In a blender, combine tofu, miso, curry paste, lime, and kudzu or arrowroot. Process until smooth.

Pour the sauce into the skillet and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and simmer the mixture for another 10 minutes.

Serve over brown rice or with Indian bread.

Yield: 6 servings

 

EdibleFlowers 002 614x410 Edible Flower Dinner Party

Snow Pea salad with clover and bee balm flowers by Anna Hutson

Anna and Chris brought a Snow Pea  Salad

Recipe: The salad was snow peas, blanched real quick, with clover flowers and bee balm flowers. The dressing was honey, mustard, salt, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, corn starch, thyme and tarragon all shook up together.

 

Kristi’s Salad (The salad above is Anna’s. I didn’t get a photo of Kristi’s salad that did it justice.)

Here is the recipe for my Lavender Vinaigrette – got it off the Spice House website!

  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon freeze-dried shallots
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon peel
  • 1 teaspoon lavender
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves

Preparation Instructions

In the cup of a food processor or blender, place the vinegar, shallots and lemon. Let sit about 5 minutes, until hydrated. Puree. While still running, add the sugar, lavender, salt, mustard, and white pepper. Slowly pour in olive oil. Transfer to a jar and shake in the thyme leaves. Toss with mixed greens.

Chef KZ Note: It was a little on the vinegar side upon tasting so I added about a tablespoon of honey to the mix to soften the acidic qualities of it. (Anna actually gets the credit for this little trick – she’s always there to save the day when I run into cooking trouble like this!)

EdibleFlowers 006 614x410 Edible Flower Dinner Party

A Blue Moon cocktail on the left and a hibiscus tea on the right. You could add rum if you wanted to the tea.

Kathy and Martin made these two drinks!

Blue Moon

2 oz gin

.5 oz créme de violette

.5 oz lemon juice

You put these in a shaker with ice, shake ‘em, and pour into, like, a glass of some kind.  Ideally something transparent so you can see the crazy color.  Since it was a Sunday night Edible Flower Dinner Party, I went a little lighter on the gin and a little heavier on the violette.  (Créme de violette is 20% alcohol and tastes like violets; gin is 40% alcohol and tastes like Pine-Sol.)  I tried to garnish each with a candied violet petal atop a floating mint leaf, but the mint leaves had some buoyancy issues.

The second drink was basically a gussied-up hibiscus tea, based on a recipe by the infamous Heidi Swanson:

1 c dried hibiscus (a.k.a. flor de jamaica)

1 c sugar

ginger root (about a one-inch piece)

8 c water

seltzer

rum, if you’re drinkin’

Like Heidi says, boil the water, dump the sugar and hibiscus in it — as well as the ginger root, peeled and thinly sliced, which I used and Heidi doesn’t — then stir to dissolve the sugar, turn off the heat, cover, and let steep for like ten or twelve minutes.  Then strain that mess into a pitcher.  Heidi seems to have more issues with the tea’s tendency to stain that I did, but it may be that she’s more sensitive to such things.  Anyway . . . when it came time to serve the drink, I filled slightly more than half a glass with the tea and the rest of the glass with seltzer, plus about an oz of rum for people who wanted rum.  Now that I think about it, I wonder if the rum wouldn’t have combined better with icewater instead of seltzer.  Oh well.

Chris’ drink– The sun floridita daiquiri, no photo.

1 oz Fresh Lime Juice

1 oz Simple Syrup

1-2 oz white rum

3/4 oz maraschino liquor

cheeill

add bar fine sugar to glass

add lime circle and grapefruit circle

garnish with sunflower petals

 

EdibleFlowers 003 614x410 Edible Flower Dinner Party

Empanadas!

Kathy and Martin also made THREE different kinds of empanadas. All of which were amazing.

Okay, first the dough.  We used Bittman’s recipe from How to Cook Everything, which every American should own and keep within immediate reach alongside a loaded firearm and the Bible.  Observe:

2 c flour

1.5 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

.5 c vegetable oil

.5 c cold water

Super-easy, dude.  You put the flour, baking powder, and salt in a food processor, close it up, and turn it on.  After it’s been whirring along for five seconds or so, gradually pour in the oil (while it’s still running).  Give it 10 additional seconds of processing, then gradually add the water until the dough suddenly forms a big nubbly clump.  Unplug, open, remove, and knead that clump for a minute or so till it’s smooth.  Wrap it in plastic and let it sit for awhile (we left it overnight; Bittman puts the minimum at 20 mins), then take it out, knead it again, and divide it into twelve pieces of roughly equal size.

If you want to make 48 empanadas, which we did, then do all of the above three more times.

Now things get labor-intensive.  Roll those pieces into sixish-inch circles on a floured surface, stuff them with stuff, fold them over and seal them shut, brush them lightly with milk, and bake them for like 20 mins at 450 degrees.  They should be some degree of crispy and some shade of light brown when they come out.

 

Stuffings!  We used three:

1) artichoke, caramelized onion, and herb flowers  (We lightly browned two chopped onions in olive oil, then added two cans of chopped-up artichoke hearts — artichokes are flowers! — and cooked them just long enough to burn off the liquid.  After the filling had cooled, I added herb flowers, just what happened to be blooming in our windowboxes: mostly basil, but also some dill and chive.)

2) huauzontles and Oaxacan cheese (We steamed some well-stemmed huauzontles — the stems can be kind of tough — drained them thoroughly, and packed them in the empanadas next to a couple of chunks of Oaxacan string cheese; the cheese cooked down dramatically, making these empanadas kind of hollow, but they were still pretty tasty, I thought.)

and finally, 3) squash blossoms, ricotta, and epazote (This is based on a recipe — Empanadas de Tlaxiaco — collected by Diana Kennedy in her amazing Oaxaca al Gusto: we combined about three cups of drained ricotta, two cups of chopped squash blossoms — thanks for helping us find these, Beth! — and like a quarter-cup of fresh epazote; I also added some chili powder and some salt.  Mix it all together, don’t cook anything, and stuff those empanadas silly.)

 

EdibleFlowers 009 614x410 Edible Flower Dinner Party

Lavender, Crumiel and honey popcorn by Heather

The directions couldn’t be easier: Microwave popcorn, then drizzle with honey, sprinkle with crumiel and dried lavender and mix. Heather did not measure anything out she just adjusted to taste.

 

EdibleFlowers 011 614x410 Edible Flower Dinner Party

Rose and Cinnamon scented Scones also by Heather

 

Rose- Cinnamon Scones with lemon curd scented with Rose water

3 1/2 c flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

2 1/2 Tbs baking powder

3/4 c unsalted butter, cold

3/4 c sugar

1 1/3 c half and half cream

1 tbs rose water

1 tsp vanilla

1 egg yolk for brushing tops

Pink sugar for tops

Preheat oven to 400F, and prepare a baking sheet with silpat or parchment.

Sift the flour, salt, cinnamon, and baking powder together. Add the butter in small pieces and begin to work into the flour mixture with your fingers. The mixture is the correct texture when it is crumbly with some larger pieces of butter here and there.

Make a well in the center and add the cream, rose water, and vanilla. Mix gently until you have a sticky ball of dough. Turn out on a floured surface and knead a few times to help it hold together. Roll out, 3/4 inch thick and cut with a large cutter.

Transfer to pan, brush with beaten egg yolks and sprinkle with sugar. Let stand for 20 minutes.

Bake for 15 -20 minutes, or until tops are golden. Allow to cool slightly.

Makes 18

 

And for the lemon curd:

1 1/2 c sugar

4 egg yolks

1 c lemon juice

2 Tbsp lemon zest

¾ C unsalted butter, melted

2-4 drops of rose water

In a microwave safe bowl whisk egg yolks, sugar, juice, and zest, until smooth. Microwave for one minute intervals until the mixture is thick and coats the back of a metal spoon. Remove from microwave and add butter, a little at a time, whisking smooth after each addition. Let cool completely. Store for us to 3 weeks.

EdibleFlowers 005 614x410 Edible Flower Dinner Party

Lavender Cupcakes by Jill

 

Jill made lavender cupcakes, but I don’t have the recipe.

 

EdibleFlowers 004 273x410 Edible Flower Dinner Party

Baklava by Anna Hutson

 

The Hutsons brought an amazing baklava with bee balm syrup and a snow pea salad with clovers and bee balm flowers. They were also responsible for the strangely appealing hot dog flowers!

 

EdibleFlowers 008 614x410 Edible Flower Dinner Party

And last, but not least, Chris' Hot Dog Flowers!

Here is the recipe for the hot dog flowers:

The hot dog flowers were half a hot dog on a stick, incised so that when you stick them in boiling water for a minute, the skin contracts and makes a flower.

 

I think that is everyone. Enjoy the photos and try some of the recipes!

 

 

pin it button Edible Flower Dinner Party

The Great Pea Dinner Party!

lo res peas 001 615x410 The Great Pea Dinner Party!

Sweet Pea Cocktail by Kathy and Martin

 

We had this dinner party a long time ago so I’m sorry for the delay! It was a really tasty party with a much wider variety of dishes than I thought we would have. It was a little too early to have garden fresh peas, but we made do with frozen and the results were delicious! Today we are having an edible flower themed dinner party so I’m excited to eat and photograph tonight! Here are some photos and some recipes from the last party.

 

Nick and I made two main dishes: A savory pea pudding we found on this website   and a Saffron Rice with Peas and Cashews from this site.

 

lo res peas 003 615x410 The Great Pea Dinner Party!

Savory Pea Pudding--It re-heats very well!

Savory Pea Pudding: Budín de Chícharo

This is a Mexican classic, which can also be made by substituting corn or carrots for the peas. The recipe is adapted from The Essential Cuisines of Mexico by Diana Kennedy. Although it calls for sugar, this is a first course or side dish, rather than a dessert.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds fresh or frozen peas
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces Chihuahua or gouda cheese, grated
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 450º F. Pass the peas through a food mill or process in a processor.

Setting the whites aside, beat the egg yolks in a large bowl until they are thick. Add the sugar and beat until well incorporated.

Add the butter alternately with the flour, beating well after each addition. Stir in the pea pulp, salt, cheese and baking powder.

Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold them into the pea mixture. Pour the mixture into a buttered 8 inch square baking dish.

Place on a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes. Lower heat to 350ºF and continue cooking for about 40 minutes longer. The top and sides will be brown and spongy to the touch, and the insides should remain moist. Serves 6 as a first course or side dish.

 

lo res peas 004 615x410 The Great Pea Dinner Party!

Saffron Rice with Cashews and Peas

Saffron Rice with Peas and Cashews
serves 4-6
1 tablespoon oil
2 cups Basmati rice, well-rinsed and washed
1/2 teaspoon (2 pinches) saffron threads
1 cup unroasted, lightly salted cashew halves
1 cup frozen organic peas
3 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Wash and drain rice. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a 4-quart pot. Add the rice and fry a couple minutes. Add the saffron threads and cashew halves and fry for another minute. Add the peas, fry for a few moments, then add the water, stir, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 18-20 minutes.

Take off the lid and turn the heat off. Stir in the garam masala and salt to taste. Let the rice sit to “dry” for a few minutes. Serve.

If we make this dish again I would double the garam masala and add and other ½ cup of peas and cashews. It was too much rice with not enough of the other ingredients.

 

Kathy and Martin made two drinks (featured in the first photo of this post) one with alcohol and one without. Here is the recipe in Martin’s words:

SWEET PEA COCKTAIL (not imaginatively named, but whatevs)

I found this on the wedding site The Knot, of all places, and executed it with minimal variation:

a bunch of sugar snap-peas

a 750-ml bottle of shochu

jasmine tea

agave syrup

A couple of days prior to the event, we opened a bottle of shochu and stuffed about six snap peas into it to infuse.  (I lightly crushed them a little first.) The cocktail as I made it was 1.5 oz infused shochu, .75 oz brewed and cooled jasmine tea, and a drizzle of agave syrup, shaken with ice and served on the rocks with a toothpicked snap-pea as a garnish.  Pretty good, I thought.

SNAP-PEA MOCKTAIL –Okay, this one was kind of weird.  I took about a cup of snap-peas and slaughtered them in the food processor.  Then I took about a half-tablespoon of wheatberries and roasted them in a dry pan until they were dark brown.  (The idea was to suggest the roast-grain flavor of the shochu.)  I put these and the processed peas in a glass pitcher and poured like two cups of boiling water over them, then let these steep for a half-hour or so.  Then I strained everything through an old (but clean!) T-shirt.

The mocktail was a shot of the chilled pea juice plus a shot of the chilled jasmine tea (see above) plus a half-shot of star-anise-&-lavender-infused simple syrup, shaken with ice, served on the rocks, snap-pea garnish.  It tasted . . . healthy.

 

lo res peas 005 615x410 The Great Pea Dinner Party!

Green Pea Pancakes

 

GREEN PEA CAKE WITH STRAWBERRY ICE CREAM

This was inspired by a dessert from a restaurant called Felidia that I found some pictures of online;but our version was probably rather different:

8 oz sugar snap-peas

2 c frozen peas

6 tbsp half-&-half

2 eggs

1/4 c flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp sugar

pinch of salt

butter for skillet

 

We boiled some water and cooked the snap-peas for a couple of minutes to soften them up, then removed them into an ice bath and blanched the peas.  Then I accidentally slung a bunch of peas across the kitchen.  (This was not intrinsic to the process.)  Then we mashed the peas with a fork.

 

We put the snap-peas in a food processor with the half-&-half and processed them till smooth, as they say.  Then we added the eggs, flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt, and processed them to make a smooth battery-type batter.  Then we folded this into the mashed peas.

 

Were I to do this again, I think I’d process at least half of the peas, as well, instead of just fork-mashing them.  This would, I believe, enable smaller, crisper, more maneuverable cakes.

 

But I digress.  We melted some butter in a big skillet, poured the batter in about a tablespoon at a time, and basically cooked these rascals like little pancakes until they were browned on both sides.  Then we let them cool a little — b/c you know how I am about melting ice cream — and used them to make little ice cream sandwiches with sliced fresh strawberries and strawberry ice cream.  The result was . . . colorful, if nothing else.

 

lo res peas 002 615x410 The Great Pea Dinner Party!

Pea Dinner Party plate

 

Chris made chickpea pancakes and brought a couple of chutneys and spreads for on top of them. Very tasty!

 

Heather and Fernando brought a delicious roast chickpea appetizer (in the center of the plate) and made chickpea chocolate chip cookies that were nutty and sweet. All in all a great party! I can’t wait for the next one!

 

 

 

 

 

pin it button The Great Pea Dinner Party!

Seed Dinner Party

 

This was a wonderful dinner party with lots of great recipes! I will cut right to the chase with those now!

 

DinnerParty 002 614x410 Seed Dinner Party

Maestro's Apprentice-- The alcoholic version of Martin's drink.

 

First, the drinks. Martin was in charge of these and came up with two amazing and entertaining drinks. Since I can’t booze it up these days he made this version for me and for himself (the recipe in his words):

For the non-alcoholic cocktail at the party, I just made some simple syrup (going a little heavy on the sugar and a little light on the water, and then adding a teaspoon or so of honey for flavor) and added about a tablespoon of anise seeds, a little under a tablespoon of fennel seeds, five or six black peppercorns, a couple of pieces of candied ginger, a few shakes of dried rosemary, and maybe a tablespoon of lavender.  I brought it to a boil and then steeped it in a covered saucepan for like an hour, then strained it.

The drink is two shots of the syrup, plus a drizzle of orange juice (I used caracara oranges; Meyer lemon is also good, but I couldn’t find any) and topped all that off with club soda.  I’m happy with the result!

DinnerParty 003 614x410 Seed Dinner Party

Martin pouring flaming booze from glass to glass! How does he always come up with the best drinks??

For the rest of the party he made a very boozy drink that he set on fire! Here is the recipe for that, again in his words:

Here is the alkie version of the cocktail, which is known as the “Maestro’s Apprentice,” and which came from here:

http://chrischurilla.com/werkshop/?p=208

2 1/2 oz. of gin

3/4 oz Cointreau
1 tablespoon of sambuca
3 coffee beans (preferably a very dark roast)

1 star anise

Put the sambucca and coffee beans in an Old Fashioned glass.  Put the remaining ingredients in a shaker with ice.  Have another Old Fashioned glass full of ice at the ready.  If you have long hair, tie it back.  If you have bushy eyebrows, make a gin and tonic instead.  Now light the sambuca — I used one of those long-nosed grill-lighting thingies that looks like a gun — and roast the beans while you shake the shaker.  You might want to do this in the dark, b/c the flame will be blue and difficult to see.  Add the star anise to the lake of fire and let it burn for a few seconds — unlike the coffee beans, the star anise will catch fire and stay lit — then pour the entire flaming contents over the ice in the other glass.  (Note that the flaming glass may be a little hot to the touch.)  At this point, the flames should go out.  If they don’t, panic.  If they do, pour the contents of the shaker over the ice, stir, and drink with relish.  Figurative relish.  Literal relish from a jar would be really gross with this.

 

DinnerParty 004 614x410 Seed Dinner Party

Sweet, crunchy and just a little salty. This stuff was gone in minutes!

An amazingly addictive trail mix brought by Ms Heather Charles followed the drinks.

 

Pistachio Dried Cherry Trail Mix
Ingredients

* 2 cups Pistachios
* 1 cup slivered almonds
* 3/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
* 6 tablespoons pure Grade B maple syrup
* Coarse salt
* 1 cup dried cherries or cranberries

Directions

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

In a large bowl, toss the pumpkin seeds, almonds, and sunflower seeds and the syrup until evenly coated. Spread the nuts and seeds out, in an even single layer, on the lined baking sheets and season with salt to taste. Bake the nuts, stirring several times with spatula or wooden spoon, until just golden, about 20 minutes.

DinnerParty 006 614x410 Seed Dinner Party

Roasted Bell Peppers with Sunflower Seeds

Katie and Nick brought another appetizer that featured bell peppers and sunflower seeds.

 

Roasted Red Bell Peppers with Sunflower Seeds

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds (I used unsalted raw seeds)
  • 2 yellow bell peppers, halved and seeded
  • 2 red bell peppers, halved and seeded
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup dried rosemary
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven broiler. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. In a skillet over medium heat, cook the sunflower seeds 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until lightly toasted.
  3. Place the pepper halves cut side down on the baking sheet. In a bowl, mix the olive oil, lime juice, balsamic vinegar, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Brush peppers with the olive oil mixture.
  4. Roast peppers under the broiler 5 minutes, or until slightly charred. Remove from heat, peel, and slice. Toss with the toasted sunflower seeds to serve.
DinnerParty 0051 273x410 Seed Dinner Party

Lentil Soup with Caraway and Minted Yogurt

For the main dishes we had a lentil soup that Nick and I made. I pulled the recipe from an issue of Saveur. That recipe can be found here.  The soup was called Lentil Soup with Caraway and Minted-Yogurt.

DinnerParty 008 614x410 Seed Dinner Party

Wild Greens and Garlic Pie

 

 

The second dish Nick and I made was inspired by a recent trip to Corsica that I took for Saveur. A lot of their cooking involves mint and wild greens so I had to stretch a little bit to make this one qualify for the seed party, but here is what is involved:

Wild Greens, garlic and Onion Pie

1 package of puff pastry

1 bunch dandelion greens (as fresh and young as possible to avoid overly bitter greens)

1-bunch collard greens

2 cloves of garlic, minced

½ c chives, chopped

¼ c mint, chopped

Salt and pepper

1-2 tbsps of milk and about a tablespoon of melted butter (to help bind the ingredients)

½ c green pumpkin seeds (you can leave these out of you aren’t bringing this pie to a seed themed dinner party)

Pre-Heat your oven to the temperature indicated on the puff pastry box. Wash, chop and de-stem the greens, then steam until soft. While you steam the greens arrange your thawed puff pastry in the bottom of the pie pan and save the second half for the top of the pie.

When the greens are soft, drain them and if you have a salad spinner use it to get the greens very dry before putting them into a large mixing bowl. If you don’t have one, use a dishtowel to pat the greens dry.

Add the butter (so it will melt) and then add the chives, mint, garlic, salt, pepper, pumpkin seeds, and the tablespoon of milk to the bowl. Stir the ingredients to combine them.

Pour the mix into the prepared pie pan and then add the second piece of puff pastry on top and seal it with milk. I brushed the top of the pie with milk and added poppy seeds on top to make it more appropriate for the seed party!

Bake the pie at the suggested temperature for 25-35 minutes or until the puff pastry is golden brown. Enjoy!

DinnerParty 009 614x410 Seed Dinner Party

Kristi and Chris' Corn Pot Pie

 

I don’t have the recipe for the pot pie that Kristi and Chris brought, but it was another delicious dish that featured corn, cream and butter. YUM!

 

DinnerParty 014 614x410 Seed Dinner Party

Black Sesame Seed Ice Cream and Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

To round out the evening we had two great desserts that complimented each other very well! Kathy brought a Lemon Poppy Seed Cake and Heather made Black Sesame ice cream.

First, Kathy’s recipe:  Poppy Seed Cake with Custard Filling and Coconut Buttercream

Cake:

3/4 cup ground poppyseed

1 cup milk

1.5 cups butter

1.5 cups sugar

4 egg whites (save yolks for custard)

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

1 tsp vanilla

 

Custard Filling:

3/4 cup sugar

1 heaping TBSP cornstarch

1 cup milk

4 egg yolks, beaten

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

Frosting:

1 one-pound box confectioners sugar

1 stick butter

milk

shredded coconut

Method:

Cake: Place poppy seeds and milk in bowl; soak for 30 minutes. Cream butter and add sugar gradually. Beat egg whites until stiff and add to creamed mix. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Alternately add dry ingredients and poppy seed milk to creamed ingredients. Add vanilla. Pour equal amount of batter into two 8-inch round cake pans that have been greased, floured, and covered on the bottom with parchment. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes and cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the pans. Cool completely before putting in custard or frosting.

Filling: Combine sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan, add milk, beaten egg yolks and salt. Cook over low heat stirring frequently until it is thickened. Add vanilla. Cool and spread between layers.

Frosting: soften and cream butter. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and enough milk to make it creamy. Frost cake. Sprinkle all over with coconut.

Now Heather’s:

Black Sesame Ice Cream

Ingredients
* 3 tablespoons black sesame seeds crushed and roasted
* 2 cups heavy cream
* 2 cups whole milk
* 1/2 cups granulated sugar
* 4 eggs
* ice cream maker

Combine the Cream and Sugar
In a medium saucepan, add cream, milk, and half of the sugar. Whisk them together, turn the heat on high, and bring the mixture to boil. Then turn the heat off.
Make the Egg Yolk Mixture
Crack the eggs over the side of the bowl, and separate the egg yolks and egg whites into two separate containers.

In a small saucepan, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until well combined. Turn the heat on low.
Combine the Egg and Cream Mixtures
Add yolk egg mixture to the cream mixture and add sesame seeds. Turn the heat on low and cook for 5 minutes, or until the mixture achieves a custard-like consistency.

Pour into your ice cream maker, and follow the instructions until it is ready. Serve your ice cream with fruit or jam.

 

The party was great and we get to celebrate spring with our next ingredient: Peas!

pin it button Seed Dinner Party

Root Vegetable Dinner Party!

DinnerParty 004 614x410 Root Vegetable Dinner Party!

This month’s dinner party had a root vegetable theme and everyone brought their A-game. It was a really delicious dinner party!

Kathy and Martin brought the drinks and and the cornbread stuffing:

DinnerParty 005 614x410 Root Vegetable Dinner Party!

Carrot drinks, yum!

CARROT–GINGER JUICETRAVAGANZA
This was a little something of my own devising, consisting of 3 oz homemade carrot juice and 1.5 oz of Skyy ginger-infused vodka, plus maybe ten squirts of a ginger-and-spice juice that I whipped up.  Plus a rosemary spring for garnish.
To elaborate: homemade carrot juice can be produced by pureeing like four pounds of carrots in a food processor, then pouring a quart of boiling water over the puree and letting it sit for like a half-hour.  At that point, strain the mixture through something fine — I used a T-shirt, which is now a lovely peach color, in a pattern that suggests a failed hippie craft experiment — add the juice of four oranges, and chill.
To make the ginger-and-spice juice, I peeled and pureed a good-sized chunk of ginger root, threw it in a glass measuring cup along with some orange zest, coriander seeds, anise seeds, cardamom pods, and a couple of cloves and peppercorns, and poured in two cups of boiling water, which I let sit for another half-hour or so.  The resulting juice is REALLY STRONG, which is why I ended up adding it to the drinks bitters-style instead of by the ounce.
The resulting cocktail tastes really healthy, but not in a bad way.  It left me with the impression that drinking enough of it would probably permit me to fly and see through walls.
DinnerParty 010 614x410 Root Vegetable Dinner Party!

Cornbread Stuffing!

Aunt Cindy’s Stuffing Recipe

1 green pepper

2 cups celery

2 cups sliced carrots

2 large onions, chopped

½ pound sliced mushrooms

½ cup to a cup of pecans

Sauté all the vegetables in butter (1 stick) with

2 cloves of garlic until tender but still crispy.

Meanwhile, bake a 9×9 pan of white corn (Kathy and Martin used yellow cornmeal, omitted the pecans and used cayenne pepper instead of Creole Spice) cornbread, by following the recipe on the bag.

Then, in a large pot, mix together the veggies and the crumbled cornbread with:

1 bag of Pepperidge Farm Herb Stuffing

½ cup of fresh parsley

A couple shakes of “Original Creole Seasoning”

A couple shakes of red pepper flakes

Meanwhile, make some veggie broth, using bouillon or a box, but put in another sliced carrot, another onion, and a stick of celery, chopped. Sprinkle in more pepper flakes, 6 dill seeds, a little more garlic, celery seed, paprika, and basil. (You can use a McCormick Italian herb seasoning grinder if you don’t have all the individual herbs.) Bring it all to a boil, then pour the broth over the big mixture to taste, depending how moist or dry you like your stuffing.

Put it in a 9x 13 casserole dish and cover it with foil.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

DinnerParty 011 614x410 Root Vegetable Dinner Party!

Roasted Root Veggies

Nick made a roasted Root Vegetable Medley:

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into  1 inch cubes

1 white potato, peeled and chopped into 1 inch cubes

4 parsnips, peeled and chopped into 2 inch sticks

4 carrots, peeled and chopped into 2 inch sticks,

3 beets, peeled and chopped into 1/4 inch cubes

Toss all the cubed veggies together with 1/4 cup of olive oil, 4-6 cloves of crushed garlic, 4 tbsps of fresh rosemary and salt and pepper to taste. Turn out the mix onto a greased cookie sheet and roast at 425 for 45-50 minutes turning the vegetables occasionally. He also made a balsamic vinegar dip for the veggies that was just balsamic vinegar, a few shakes of ginger and a few springs of rosemary.

DinnerParty 001 614x410 Root Vegetable Dinner Party!

I love the purpley color of the cake

I made a chocolate beet cake. It was really easy for me because I already had some cooked diced beets in the freezer. I would say go ahead and boil and dice your beets the day before if you have time. That way you don’t have such a huge mess when you start baking the cake. Or boil them in the morning and make the cake in the afternoon. Anyway, the recipe goes like this:

1 cup butter, softened, divided
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
3 eggs at room temperature
2-3 oz. dark chocolate
5 medium beets (2 cups pureed)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Directions

Make the beet puree by trimming the beets and simmering them for about 50 minutes, until tender. Drain the liquid and cool the beets (you can run water over them to cool them off.) Slide the skins off, then place them in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Let the puree cool slightly before using it in the cake.

Cream 3/4 cup of the butter with the dark brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer, then add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Melt the remaining butter together with the chocolate, either in the microwave or in a double boiler over simmering water. Cool slightly, then add the chocolate mixture, beet puree, and vanilla into the butter/sugar mixture (it may look separated at this point.)

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl with the wet ingredients and mix well. Pour the batter into a greased and floured 10-inch springform pan; bake at 375 degrees F for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean (I started checking around 50 minutes.) Cool the cake in the pan 15 minutes before unmolding and removing to a cooling rack; cool completely before dusting with confectioner’s sugar.

Spiced Creme Anglaise

Ingredients

1/2 cup whole milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup sugar

4 large egg yolks

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

Directions

Set a bowl over ice water and have a strainer nearby – you’ll want this ready so you can stop the sauce from cooking when it’s ready.

Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar and set aside.

Combine milk, cream, and spices in a sauce pan and cook over medium heat just until the mixture starts to simmer. Whisk some of it slowly into the egg yolk mixture, then slowly add the rest of it while whisking. Pour the whole thing back into the sauce pan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a heatproof rubber spatula or wooden spoon, until it’s thick enough to coat the spatula or spoon — this usually takes about a minute or two longer. Don’t boil it or the egg will harden.

Strain into the bowl set over ice water to stop the mixture from cooking further. Chill in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it.

I used freshly ground nutmeg and it was delicious! Kathy and Martin got us a nutmeg grater for Christmas and this was the first time I used it! I love it and not use it for my oatmeal in the morning!

DinnerParty 009 614x410 Root Vegetable Dinner Party!

Veg and Chicken Crepes

Kristi made these awesome crepes for everyone:

Crepe batter:

1 cup flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix flour and eggs first, then add milk and water. Finish it up with butter / salt. It should be slightly runny.

Heat skillet at medium to high heat. Lightly grease (very light – I over greased the pan and my first crepe was a buttery mess) … but then when I tried no grease I had a sticky surprise when I went to flip it.

Heat each side for 1 to 2 minutes. Place on plate – pile with paper towel between each crepe.

Ingredients

12 crepes
1/2 cup (125 g) butter
1/2 cup plain flour
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 1/2 tablespoons chopped chives
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 cups (750 ml) cream
4 cups diced cooked chicken (I kept this separate until I filled all of the veggie crepes. also i shredded the chicken instead of dicing it)

I also added:
3 cooked asparagus spears to each crepe before rolling and the following into the creamy roux:

  • 4 large carrots, matchstick cut
  • 1 bunch of green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh mushrooms, chopped

How to make Creamy Chicken Crepes

Make the crepes using the Basic Crepe Batter or Herb Crepe Batter.
Set aside.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan.
Remove from the heat and stir in the flour until smooth.
Return to a low heat and cook for three minutes.
Stir in the parsley, chives, tarragon, salt and pepper.
Add carrots, mushrooms, green onions.
Slowly add the cream, stirring constantly.
Cook until thickened.
Add the chicken and heat through (waited till the end to do this so there were some w/and some w/out the meat)
Fill each crepe with the chicken mixture using a slotted spoon to remove the chicken.
Add three asparagus spears to each crepe before folding!
Fold over and place in a buttered shallow baking dish.
Pour over the remaining sauce and bake in a 350°F (180°C) oven for 15 minutes.
DinnerParty 013 614x410 Root Vegetable Dinner Party!

Carrot and Beet Halva.

And last but not least the Hutsons brought Halva which was amazing. Here is the recipe and the site where she found it is here:

Ingredients

Yields: 8 servings
15 carrots, approximately 4 cups, tightly packed
1 cup sugar
2 cups whole milk
2 cardamom pods
2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
2 tablespoons nuts (I used pistachio kernels)

Preparation

Remove the seeds from the cardamom pods. Gather them in a mortar and pestle and grind to a fine powder. Set aside.

Peel the carrots. Trim the ends. Wash and grate them using a cheese grater.

Heat a deep saucepan. Add the shredded carrots, cardamom powder and milk. Bring the liquid to a boil, then immediately reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for about 40-50 minutes until the carrots soften and the milk evaporates completely. It might take a bit longer.

Sweeten the carrots with sugar. Increase the temperature to the highest setting. Stir constantly to prevent the carrots from burning. Add the ghee and the saffron threads. Cook for another 15 minutes.

Place the pistachio kernels in the mortar and pestle and coarsely grind them. Sprinkle the pistachio powder over the carrot halva.

Other dishes that were at the party, but that I didn’t get recipes for include:

Sweet potato biscuits by Sam Hutson

DinnerParty 007 614x410 Root Vegetable Dinner Party!

Sweet Potato Biscuits

A Root vegetable soup that Chris Weiher made along with a squash chip dip that was delicious. We had spiced yams from Eric and a carrot cake by Jill. Last but not least we had these things: Crosnes. Freakiest thing I have ever eaten, but they are quite tasty despite their maggot like appearance. These are pickled by the chef at 160Blue. He was nice enough to let me buy some for the party during a photo shoot I did there earlier in the month. Anyway, they are freaky looking, right?

DinnerParty 003 614x410 Root Vegetable Dinner Party!

Pickled Crosnes

The next theme has not been determined, but we discussed seeds and citrus….Thoughts?

pin it button Root Vegetable Dinner Party!

Mushroom Dinner Party!

MushroomParty 003 614x410 Mushroom Dinner Party!

Mushrooms getting ready to go into soup

I don’t have all the recipes from this awesome mushroom party, but I wish I did! Perhaps people can fill in the missing ones later? This party was way back in September and I am very sorry for the long delay in posting to the blog.

Nick and I were in Europe for most of October and then November came and went without my knowing it and now we are in mid-December and I finally have time to sit and reflect on all the happenings in the kitchen. I have a lot of catching up to do on posts so I thought I would start with a couple of the dinner parties and then go from there.

Here are the recipes I do have from the mushroom party and I think the Umami Manhattans would make an excellent Christmas Eve drink and the Upside down Mushroom tarts are so easy they would also make excellent holiday party fare.  Enjoy and more posts soon!

MushroomParty 005 614x410 Mushroom Dinner Party!

The whiskey is full of mushrooms!

Kathy and Martin made excellent Umami Manhattans and brought very fragrant cookies. Here are the recipes for their contributions!

MushroomParty 007 614x410 Mushroom Dinner Party!

UMAMI MANHATTAN

This is based on a cocktail developed by Matt Biancaniello at the Library Bar in L.A. (Kristy, this cocktail would probably totally ignore somebody whose dog had been hit by a car).  It’s basically a standard manhattan (if there is such a thing) made with shiitake-infused bourbon:

1.5 fl oz shiitake-infused bourbon (we used Knob Creek)

1.5 fl oz sweet vermouth

dash of bitters

cherry for garnish

To infuse the bourbon, I dumped like 2 oz of dried shiitake mushrooms in the bottle and left it there for like 10 days.  With that amount of infusing time, you feel the mushrooms more than you taste them (hence “umami manhattan”) but a longer infusion might yield a shroomier end product.  More research needed.

MushroomParty 013 614x410 Mushroom Dinner Party!

Candy Cap Mushroom Cookies! They smelled SO good. The flavor was pretty mellow though.

It’s probably easiest just to link to The Bojon Gourmet for the Salted Pecan Candy Cap Sables: we pretty much did what she told us to do, recipe-wise.  I think I might chop the pecans a little smaller next time, as they had an adverse effect on the structural intergrity of the dough logs.  If you read stuff about the intense odor of dried candy cap mushrooms, rest assured it’s not an exaggeration.  Over 24 hours after we baked these, our apartment still smells like a backwoods-Vermont sugarshack.

MushroomParty 004 614x410 Mushroom Dinner Party!

Here is our mushroom soup in the slow cooker before we turned it on!

Two Mushroom and Barley Soup from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker

1 oz dried mushrooms (I used fresh shiitake mushrooms)

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 medium-size yellow onion, chopped

1 large carrot, chopped

1 celery rib, chopped

1 cup pearl barley

8 oz white mushrooms, sliced

6 cups vegetable stock

3 teaspoons dried thyme

2 Tbsp minced fresh chives

1.     Place the dried mushrooms in a heatproof measuring cup and cover with hot water. Let sit until softened. Drain, straining and reserving ½ cup of the soaking liquid, thinly slice the mushrooms, and set aside. (If you are using dried mushrooms.) If you aren’t using dried mushrooms, skip this whole step.

2.     Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, and celery, cover, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.

3.     Transfer the cooked vegetables to a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker. Add the barley, both kinds of mushrooms, the stock, the reserved mushroom liquid, and thyme and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook on Low for 6 hours. Taste to adjust the seasonings before serving. If a thinner soup is desired, add more stock before serving.

4.     Serve garnished with the chives.

MushroomParty 006 614x410 Mushroom Dinner Party!

Upside Down Mushroom Tarts before they are cooked.

Upside Down Mushroom tarts

Nick and I also brought these to the party, I’m going to just link to Martha Stewart’s site since that is where I found the recipe! They were very easy and the left over puff pastry was used to make bread sticks that we rolled in cheese and dried mushrooms!

MushroomParty 008 614x410 Mushroom Dinner Party!

puff pastry breadsticks

Now for some photos that I don’t  have recipes for!

MushroomParty 012 614x410 Mushroom Dinner Party!

Mushroom burgers from Chris and Kristi

MushroomParty 010 614x410 Mushroom Dinner Party!

Beautiful mushrooms that Anna and Chris found.

MushroomParty 011 614x410 Mushroom Dinner Party!

Mushroom Pierogis

MushroomParty 015 614x410 Mushroom Dinner Party!

reconstituted mushrooms, but I don't remember what they were called...Anna and Chris provided this dessert

The mushroom party was a lot of fun, but I really didn’t want to eat a mushroom for a looonnngggg time.

pixel Mushroom Dinner Party!
pin it button Mushroom Dinner Party!