RECIPE: Progressive Dinner For Jan 24

gardenladJanuary 21, 2007

Here are the assignments for this first rotation:

Drinks & Munchies: GardenLad

Appetiser: Fearless Em

1st Course: San

Soup: Annie

Salad: Woodie

Entree: Cindy

Side 1: Wizard

Side 2: Dances In Garden

Dessert: Vagardengirl

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:) Got it!

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 6:26AM
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I guess since I have the entree this week, I should post first so that the sides, etc. can be based on what I choose. Should I post to this thread, start a new one, or something else?

Thanks :)

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 7:37AM
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I intentionally gave you the entree, Cindy, knowing that you might have to bow out some weeks in future.

Post it here.

I think it would be a good idea to confine each week's thread to the recipes and discussions about the recipes. Questions, comments, general chatter about the way we play, etc. should go on the "looking for partners" thread, just to keep the weeklies from getting too filled up.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 9:02AM
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Wow - there are 9 of us so far! That's a lot of food and a lot of traveling to each other's homes inbetween courses, I hope the snow doesn't hinder our travels :-)

Okay, working on a salad here in New Jersey.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 9:30AM
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OK, here we go! I thought that I'd keep things simple since it's the first week and lots of sides, veggies, etc. will go with this basic recipe. It is my favorite way to make lamb chops - if you are not a fan of lamb, I have found that this recipe/method works well for pork chops too.

Grilled Lamb Chops

4 thick lamb chops, trimmed of excess fat
Dijon mustard
Balsamic vinegar
Minced garlic
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Spread chops with a little of the mustard. Sprinkle with vinegar, seasonings and a little olive oil. Turn to rub in both sides. Let marinate about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the grill. Grill chops over high heat until done, about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 9:43AM
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It just occurred to me that maybe not everyone grills throughout the winter like we do - these can also be broiled or pan fried if necessary.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 9:49AM
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Ok, well it just so happens that I honestly have ONE T&T appetizer in my repetoire... Its a problem I have whenever I have folks over for dinner -- wind up just sitting them down and plunking an entree in front of them. So I am looking forward to future weeks where I can snag some good appetizer recipes.

However, the one appetizer recipe I have is fortunately both very very easy and very very good...

Stuffed Mushrooms with Boursin

Take one package button or cremini mushrooms, clean and remove stems. (Note that the cheese will do probably two 10 oz packages of mushrooms if you are making these for a crowd)
Fill each mushroom cap with Boursin, or Alouette, or any creamy herbed cheese -- though I will note that I've found the "light" versions of these cheeses don't turn out quite as well, so just take a deep breath, trust that these will be worth the calories, and use the full fat cheese...

Spray a baking sheet with oil, put the mushrooms on, spray the mushrooms lightly with oil, and bake at 375 until the cheese is browned on top and the mushrooms have softened... Then eat, and try to save a few for your guests. I could easily polish off a whole 10 oz package of mushrooms done this way, and have none left for anyone else!

And I must attribute this recipe to a long-time boyfriends dear dear mother, Iris. Iris, wherever you are, you passed on this recipe, and by passing on your sewing machine got me hooked on quilting! many thanks!

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 10:13AM
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Ooops - meant to add that the mushrooms bake for 15 or 20 minutes...


    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 10:14AM
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Em, FWIW, many entres, when scaled down, make great appetisers. Just use something different. If you're serving, say, beef, as the main course, then scale down seafood as an appetiser.

Anyway, being as it's finally winter for most of us, I figure some mulled wine and cheese crisps will chase away the chillblains:

Mulled Wine

1 bottle red wine
3 tbls honey
2 cinnamon sticks
2 tbls cardamom seeds
1 tbls peppercorns
Grated zest of one orange
Grated zest of one leemon
1/2 cup sugar

In a saucepan combine all ingredients. Bring to slow simmer, but do not boil. Simmer 15 minutes. Strain and keep warm.

Put a cinnamon stick in each cup and fill with the hot wine.

Cheese Crips

1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup grated Romano
1 tsp ground rosemary

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine cheeses and rosemary.

Oil a cookie sheet. Line it with parchment paper. Oil the paper.

Put about 2 tablespoons of the cheese mixture on the cookie sheet. Press down slightly. Leave at least 2 inches space and add another pat of cheese. Continue until sheet is full.

Bake until light golden brown, 5-6 minutes. Transfer to racks to cool and crisp up.

Notes: While warm these can be shaped to form serving cups by draping over a shot glass until crisped. Other herbs and/or garlic can be used as well.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 11:53AM
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Hokay, boys and girls. That should read "Cheese Crisps."

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 12:31PM
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vagardengirl is dessert! I wanted something special and rich but not dense!
Coffee Tortoni with Kahlua

3 egg whites, room temperature
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup sugar, divided
2 cups heavy cream
½ cup cold, strongly brewed coffee divided
2 tablespoons Kahlua liqueur
1 cup toasted slivered almonds or chopped pecans, divided
Coffee granules for garnish, optional

In a large bowl beat egg whites and cream of tartar on high speed until the soft peak stage.

Gradually add ½ cup sugar and beat until stiff peaks form; set aside.

In a separate bowl (with clean beaters) beat the heavy cream with the remaining ½ cup sugar and 1/4 cup cold. coffee until stiff.

On low speed, blend in the remaining 1/4 cup of cold coffee, Kahlua, and ½ cup toasted almonds

Using a rubber spatula, fold in the beaten egg whites.

Spoon the coffee tortoni with kahlua mixture into an 8-inch spring form pan.

Sprinkle the coffee tortoni kahlua dessert with the remaining toasted almonds and coffee granules.
Cover with plastic wrap or foil, place the spring form pan on a sheet of plastic and set on a plate or dish before placing in the freezer because it will weap slightly.

Freeze the coffee tortoni dessert overnight.

To serve remove sides of the spring form pan for ease of cutting. Just run a warm and flexible knife around the edge of the spring form pan before

There are several ways you can present this dessert:

Cut the tortoni into wedges.
When cutting a wedge, place it off center of the plate, then apply chocolate ganache (recipe follows).

Scoop individual servings directly from the pan and serve chocolate ganache alongside.

Plate whole: removing from the spring form pan, you can make decorations directly on the tortoni with chocolate ganache (such as grid marks or dots) before serving.

Chocolate Ganache Recipe
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 ½ teaspoons corn syrup
1 ½ ounces semi-sweet chocolate (use a good quality chocolate)

In a small saucepan over low heat add cream, corn syrup, and semi-sweet chocolate stirring until melted.
Remove from the heat and transfer the chocolate ganache to a squeeze bottle.
I use a clean plastic bottle with a very small opening.
Store the chocolate ganache at room temperature until ready to use (this can be made the day before serving and kept refrigerated).

When you're ready to serve, heat the bottle of chocolate ganache in hot water so that it is soft enough to use; test it first on another plate.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 1:23PM
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Not everybody is a fan of brusell sprouts, because they can be bitter. There are those of us that can overlook that little shortcoming and like them anyhow.

Now, I wasn't always that way. In fact I once stared down a lone brussel sprout for almost two days upon refusing to eat it (and having the damn thing presented to me at each subsequent meal - a horrible punishment indeed).

My palate has matured somewhat, and I have learned a bit about prep methods and cooking times and whatnot, which have made all the difference in the world. Thus, I present

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

1 1/2 pounds brussel sprouts, trimmed, washed, and cut in half

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp melted butter

A generous grind of salt and pepper

Toss the sprouts with the oil, melted butter, salt and pepper. Spread into a single layer in a roasting pan or jelly roll pan and roast at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes. The sprouts are done when they are dark and somewhat crispy on the outside, cooked through and tender on the inside.

They won't look pretty, but man will they taste good!

I like them as is, hot from the oven or even room temp, but they are also good with a squeeze of lemon or cooled and tossed with a light vinagrette.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 1:29PM
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OMG - everything looks so good! Maybe we should start an exercise group as well :)

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 1:38PM
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I was thinking that Brussel Sprouts might be good too! I already have some in the refrigerator, so guess I'll have to try them roasted.

Here's what I came up with as a side that might go well.

Asiago, Potato, and Bacon Gratin

1 1/2 pounds peeled Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 teaspoon salt, divided
Cooking spray
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups 1% low-fat milk, divided
3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated Asiago cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350°.

Place potatoes in a large saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes or until potatoes are almost tender. Drain. Sprinkle potatoes evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt; set aside and keep warm.

Heat a medium saucepan coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Add shallots; cook 2 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Sprinkle flour over shallots. Gradually add 1/2 cup milk, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Gradually add remaining 1 1/2 cups milk, stirring with a whisk. Cook over medium heat 9 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; stir in 3/4 teaspoon salt, Asiago, chives, pepper, and bacon.

Arrange half of potato slices in an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Pour half of cheese sauce over potato slices. Top with remaining potato slices and cheese sauce; sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and lightly browned.


    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 2:52PM
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So far, everything is sounding wonderful to me! I thought I'd choose a salad recipe that I have already made since this is the first week, and then try out something new for my next week's course, but then I happened to cut out an intersting recipe from the Wall Street Journal this morning. So, I'll try it out and then post it if its a keeper. I can't try it until tomorrow, but I have til Wednesday to post, so I should be in good shape!

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 4:29PM
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oh lord--there's enough here already to feed a decent-sized party! my assignment was a first course item and since others have been assigned soup and salad, i chose a small serving of sea scallops. guess i'd allow 3 per person in the midst of this rather large dinner. very briefly rinse the sea scallops and pat them dry on paper towels. (i didn't measure things out at the time but had plenty of sauce for 9 scallops)

pour 1 T olive oil in a skillet
add 2 or 3 T unsalted butter (you just want a thin film on the bottom of the pan)
smash a small clove of garlic with the side of a knife blade and add to the pan
and heat to medium high
sprinkle the scallops with a bit of salt and a grinding of pepper and place them in the skillet, with enough room in between them so they pan fry, rather than steam
pan fry for 2 or 3 minutes, until the bottom has a little crustiness to it
turn the scallops over and repeat

remove from the pan and plate the scallops
to the pan, add a splash of wine and some lemon juice and some chopped basil
spoon the warmed sauce over the scallops and serve

Here is a link that might be useful: scallops diar

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 7:11PM
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I should have said to grate or chop the chocolate for the ganache recipe. And I use a double boiler most of the time for that process. Sorry...typing faster than I was thinking. :/

    Bookmark   January 23, 2007 at 4:07AM
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Those scallops sure sound good, San. I'm wondering about the serving size, though, especially given the meal we're having.

I think I would cut the scallops in half, lengthwise, and serve just three--or, at most, four--of those buttons as a first course. And maybe thin slices of a crusty French bread to sop up the sauce?

    Bookmark   January 23, 2007 at 6:07AM
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OK, so we have mulled wine and cheese crisps, scallops, brussels sprouts and potatoes with cheese and bacon, lamb, a frozen coffee and chocolate dessert. Hmmmm...

Let's see, fish chowder is out because we have scallops and my favorite cream of asparagus is too green since we already have brussels sprouts. Corn chowder would have ham and we already have bacon, and cheese soup would be hitting the cheese too hard with the cheese crisps and cheese in the potatoes.

It seems like this meal just begs for David's Roasted Garlic soup:


26 garlic cloves (unpeeled)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
2 1/4 cups sliced onions
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
18 garlic cloves, peeled
3 1/2 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 ounces)
4 lemon wedges

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place 26 garlic cloves in small glass baking dish. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Cover baking dish tightly with foil and bake until garlic is golden brown and tender, about 45 minutes. Cool. Squeeze garlic between fingertips to release cloves. Transfer cloves to small bowl.
Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and thyme and cook until onions are translucent, about 6 minutes. Add roasted garlic and 18 raw garlic cloves and cook 3 minutes. Add chicken stock; cover and simmer until garlic is very tender, about 20 minutes. Working in batches, purée soup in blender until smooth. Return soup to saucepan; add cream and bring to simmer. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium heat, stirring occasionally.)

Divide grated cheese among 4 bowls and ladle soup over. Squeeze juice of 1 lemon wedge into each bowl and serve.

Lots of good food going on here, that's for sure. What time is that wine and snacks, GL?


    Bookmark   January 23, 2007 at 10:14PM
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I wanted to try out a new salad recipe and I did so tonight. Ken and I both decided it was worthy of the Progressive Dinner. I just today purchased some new ivory colored dishes and this looked so nice - a bed of shredded red cabbage with a few greens sprinkled on top, topped with diced bacon and some toasted walnuts.

Chef Kurt Gutenbrunner
(Wallse, Blue Gans ad Cafe Sabarsky restaurants)
From the Wall Street Journal 1/20-21/07

Yield 4 servings
Prep Time 20 minutes

1 small head red cabbage, about 1-1/4 pounds, outer leaves trimmed
5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
Course salt and fresly ground black pepper
4 medium-thick slices country bacon, diced
2 tablespoons lingonberry or red or black currant preserves
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon hazelnut or walnut oil
1 bunch mache leaves, rinsed and dried, or any seasonal leafy green, optional

Quarter the cabbage and remove core; slice paper-thin using a mandoline, a food processor's shredding blade, or a very sharp knife. Place in a bowl and toss with the vinegar, sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Set aside 30 minutes to wilt, tossing frequently.

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until very lightly browned, about 6 minutes, drain and set aside.

Fold preserves into wilted cabbage and add oils; season to taste with additional salt and pepper. Divide the cabbage among four salad plates, leaving the marinade in the bottom of the bowl. Toss the mache or greens, if using, with the marinade and top the cabbage with the dressed greens and reserved bacon.

(Woodie's Notes - FYI - I used lingonberry preserves and walnut oil - I didn't have enough marinade at the bottom of the bowl, so I just sprinkled some torn greens on top of the red cabbage and topped with bacon and I added a few toasted walnut pieces on top too and I thought it looked lovely! For this progressive dinner with so many courses, I thought the portion was too large so I made it considerably smaller.)

    Bookmark   January 23, 2007 at 10:37PM
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Well, I have to confess that I cheated. I had lamb chops defrosted already (totally a coincidence and before Cindy posted her entree) and I also coincidentally had brussels sprouts in the house. Since I wanted to test drive my salad contribution, I made Cindy's lamb chop recipe and Dances brussels sprouts and the cabbage salad. I give everything a big thumbs up! Dances, they were the ugliest brussels sprouts I have ever seen and the house stunk, but wow, are they good! Of course its the butter that puts them over the top, yum.

I had planned to make the potato gratin and the cheese 'crips' over the weekend, but was just reminded by Ken that we won't be home so I'll have to catch up some other time with those recipes and the others too.

This was fun and I'm thinking about my assignment for next week's entree.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2007 at 11:20AM
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Everything sound delicious!

    Bookmark   January 27, 2007 at 11:27AM
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i decided that the posted menu would easily make 2 meals if you weren't having guests, so that's how i broke it out (sort of). i had intended to start with the mulled wine and was ticked to find out there wasn't more than 2 cups of red wine in the house (and that's part of what i mean by that's "sort of" how things got broken out for the menu...)

emily--if that's the only appetizer dish you keep around, we both think the boursin-stuffed mushrooms are a really good one to have--thank you! i used boursin with pepper in a couple of very large button mushrooms. and dances' roasted sprouts were a nice surprise--ted tried one (he wasn't smiling as he cut into it...) and even ate a 2nd one. when he said he thought he'd like them roasted a little bit more, that was a real victory--thanx, dances! then had to choose between cabbage and bacon or potatoes and bacon and/or dessert and that was tough. but the idea of a dish of creamy potatoes won out and i'm so glad they did. nancy--they were WONDERFUL! very hard not to scoop out a couple of extra servings for myself... i had made cindy's lamb chops before and knew that i'd be very happy with them but thanx for suggesting that sauce on pork. ted had a couple of meaty pork chops and ate every bit of them!

i knew there wouldn't be room on top of that meal for dessert but thanx to you guys, i have almost an entirely new menu to try out--thanx very much! and sorry gardenlad, but i wasn't sure where it was that you thought pics should be placed so i've tacked them on this thread. if you think they should have been placed elsewhere, just let me know.

Here is a link that might be useful: PD pics

    Bookmark   January 28, 2007 at 11:51AM
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Pix should go with the week the recipe is posted. So this is the correct place for those photos.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2007 at 5:35PM
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san, I so glad you like the dinner and the potato recipe. I have only made that recipe a couple of times since I saw it last year. But we have enjoyed it. I wasn't able to make the dinner this weekend but I will in the future.


    Bookmark   January 28, 2007 at 6:55PM
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Sounds like a great dinner guy and gals! Made note of a few of those recipes. Thanks!

    Bookmark   January 29, 2007 at 3:24AM
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Made the Asiago potatoes, last night, with some necessary modifications. They were great! Thanks, Nancy, for the recipe.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2007 at 7:25AM
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Great pictures, San. I must say your brussels sprouts look a lot better than mine did, LOL. I don't think you cut yours in half, did you? Mine were teeny shriveled up little guys but they were so good! I guess I'll have to work on my BS presentation :-)

    Bookmark   January 29, 2007 at 10:12AM
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ASIAGO ASIAGO ASIAGO. I was at the cheese shop today, specifically to get the cheese to make those potatoes. Anybody want a chunk of manchego cheese, and a brain? Hardly used ;)

Guess I will be going back tomorrow LOL. With a WRITTEN list this time.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2007 at 3:54PM
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Today we went to an afternoon movie (Notes On a Scandal) and afterwards were putzing around in the kitchen and I made Gardenlad's Cheese Crips - don't even think of correcting the typo, GL, they are etched in stone in my recipe book as Cheese Crips.

They're fantastic and we finished up the platter and will be making them again very soon. Thanks!

    Bookmark   January 31, 2007 at 11:10PM
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Well, shoot, Woodie. Now the Evil One will be calling me the cripsmeister! :>(

Glad you like them. How was the film?

    Bookmark   February 1, 2007 at 6:21AM
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Weird, dark story. Judi Dench is wonderful, but creepy!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2007 at 8:52AM
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