RECIPE: Progressive Dinner---Last Of The Cycle

gardenladMarch 23, 2007

With the March 29 dinner we will have completed the cycle. So let's pull out all the stops, and make this the best one yet.

Here are the assignments for March 29:

Appetizer: Fearless Em

1st Course: Annie

Soup: Woodie

Salad: Cindy

Entree: Wizard

Side 1: Dances

Side 2: Danain

Dessert: VaGirl

Coffee +: GardenLad

We also need to discuss whether we're going to continue this for another round, or if y'all are bored with it.

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I'm not bored! Let's continue.


    Bookmark   March 23, 2007 at 8:07AM
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I'm not bored at all! ;) I also vote to continue.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2007 at 4:56PM
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I'm not bored either :-)

    Bookmark   March 23, 2007 at 5:09PM
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Count me in again!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2007 at 5:31PM
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Not bored. And will somebody post a recipe already, so I can think about a side dish ROFLMAO!

Each week when I read the assignments, DH laughs at me. Some weeks I rub my hands together in anticipation, others I have gasped and hidden my eyes. That coffee course is a character builder for sure ;).

    Bookmark   March 24, 2007 at 7:36PM
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I vote to keep going, spring is here now, I'll bet our menues change too.

So, here's a recipe that I have made many times over the last 20 years. It's from a very well known local restaurant. It's their signature dish.

The Ember's Pork Chops

6 (1 pound each) pork chops, approximately 3 1/2 to 3 inches thick
Note: Will probably need to order from Butcher

2 cups soy sauce

1 cup water

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon dark molasses

1 teaspoon salt

Red Sauce:

1/3 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

1 (14 ounce) bottle Heinz ketchup

1 (12 ounce) bottle Heinz chili sauce

1 tablespoon dry mustard

Mix soy sauce, water, brown sugar, molasses and salt. Bring to a boil and let cool. Put chops in a deep pan with bone side up. Pour the sauce over the pork chops and let stand overnight in refrigerator.

Next day, take pork chops out of sauce and place in a baking pan. Cover tightly with foil. Bake at 375 degrees for about 2 hours, until tender. While chops are baking, combine all Red Sauce ingredients in a heavy saucepan or double boiler.

Mix dry mustard, sugar and water together leaving no lumps. Bring all ingredients to a slight boil. The Red Sauce is finished. After chops are tender, remove from oven and dip in Red Sauce. Take chops after dipping and place in a baking pan and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees until slightly glazed. Save the unused Red Sauce for the table.

Note: Marinating sauce and Red Sauce may be re-used if brought to a boil and stored in refrigerator or frozen.

For an extra flavor, keep finished chops at room temperature until you are ready to put on charcoal pit or grill. Have grill as high as possible from coals, a large bed of coals is not needed. Place finished chops on grill, let cook slowly, a little blacking does not hurt the chops, grilling should not take more than 15 minutes.


    Bookmark   March 24, 2007 at 11:16PM
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I meant to add a note about the chops... I have made this recipe using chops that not nearly as thick, usually I can only find them about 1 1/2" thick at the store here and there is no speciality meat market to order from. I have even used a whole pork loin, slicing the meat about 2" thick and that worked out great. Just adjust the cooking time, you want the meat to be well done/tender.


    Bookmark   March 24, 2007 at 11:24PM
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Scott's Creamy Carrot Soup

1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
6 medium carrots, sliced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
Dash white pepper
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 c. heavy cream
4 tablespoons dry sherry, optional
Whipped unsweetened cream for garnish, if desired

Chopped parsley for garnish In a 2 quart saucepan, saute the onion in butter until soft, but not browned. Add carrots, salt, ginger, cinnamon, pepper and broth. Heat to boiling; simmer until carrots are tender, about 20 minutes. Puree in blender or use hand blender. (Personal note: if using a blender, fill only halfway at a time and hold top securely. A good friend was burned when a hot mixture blew the top off his blender). Add cream and reheat to serving temperature. Add sherry, if desired, and serve steaming hot. If desired, top each serving with a little whipped cream and sprinkle with chopped parsley. **Can be made a day ahead up to the point of adding the cream**

    Bookmark   March 25, 2007 at 5:05PM
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Wow, two great sounding dishes so far! Here's a salad that I like to make with pork:

Crunchy Cabbage Salad
Source: combination of several recipes

1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1 pkg Ramen noodles, crushed, seasoning packet discarded
1/3 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup white vinegar
1 T soy sauce

1 head regular or napa cabbage, shredded
1 bunch radishes, sliced (more or less as desired, or can omit)
1 bunch scallions, sliced

Stir together almonds, sunflower seeds, noodles and butter, making sure butter coats everything. Spread on cookie sheet. Bake/toast at 350 for 10 minutes, stirring after 5 minutes. Set aside until cool.
Whisk together dressing ingredients.
Combine cabbage, radishes and scallions in large bowl, toss with dressing.
Just before serving, stir in toasted nut/seed/noodle mixture.

Makes 6-8 servings.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2007 at 12:51PM
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I wanted to submit a good recipe for beans, since I think they would match well with the chops and the other entries so far. But recent experience has taught me a good lesson, that what constitutes "good baked beans" depends on the geographical location, heredity, and family history of the taster. Some go for sweet and dark. Others go for a bbq sauce flavour. Still others taste more like chili. No way am I gonna stick my neck out, not in this group ROFL! And since my OWN family recipe basically calls for opening a can of pork'n'beans in tomato sauce and eating it cold from the can, who am I to take such a risk? Fancy occasions warrented heating them up ;).

Potatoes. Potatoes are safer. We like potatoes and onions with grilled meats, especially those with a sauce on them. Hands down the best way is slathered in butter, wrapped in foil and grilled until tender, with some crispy bits here and there. Of course, that takes too long and is hard to judge doneness. Sometimes you get a layer of burnt potatos with raw centers, and that is not a good thing.

So, I precook my potatoes in the microwave! You can boil them instead, if you like.

Wash and poke one large potato per person. Microwave until just underdone. Every microwave I have ever had, had a potato button or setting and each one has worked well. If not, check your instruction booklet for suggestions, it may be in there. Or you can start at 5 minutes on high, and go a minute or two at a time until the potatoes start to give a bit when you squeeze them (careful, HOT). Let the potatoes cool a bit.

While they cook and cool, peel and slice or chop a medium onion. Place it in a microwaveable bowl with some butter or margarine. About a tsp to a tbsp per potato. Cover and microwave until the fat is melted and the onions have started to soften.

Slice the potatoes and place 1/3 on a double thickness of foil that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Spoon on 1/3 of the onion mixture, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Repeat with remaining potatoes and onion mixture, salt and pepper. You can also use a seasoning mix instead of the salt and pepper, or add garlic powder or fresh garlic.

Fold the foil to make a package and crimp the edges well. Place the packet on the top rack of the grill while cooking the meat. Sometimes after the meat comes off the grill, we move the potato packet down to the main section to "burn" a little while the meat rests. Careful when opening, that steam is HOT.

You could also layer into a sprayed 9x13 dish and bake in the oven instead, for at least 20 minutes on 350-375. Basically, while the grill heats and the meat cooks then rests. While it is good not to let them burn, I have cooked them way longer than necessary and it almost makes them better somehow.

Serve with sour cream. In my family it is almost a sacrilidge not to offer sour cream with these, and in fact one might be told not to bother even making them if we've run out!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2007 at 6:11PM
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To finish the meal, rich, dark coffee and these twice-baked cookies. I'm not sure where I got the recipe; my notes only say it was downloaded from the internet. But we've made them several times, and they're a perfect finis to a fine meal.

Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti

1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp dried cranberries
1 1/2 cups pistachio nuts

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

In a large bowl, mix together oil and sugar until well blended. Mix in the vanilla and almond extracts, then beat in the eggs. Combine flour, slat and baking powder; gradually stir into egg mixture. Mix in cranberries and nuts by hand.

Divide dough in half. Form two logs, about 12 x 2 inches, on a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Dough witll be stickl; wet your hands with cool water to make handling the dough easier.

Bake for 35 minutes or until logs are lightly brown. Remove from oven and set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Reduce oven heat to 275.

Cut logs on diagonal into 3/4 inch thick slices. Lay on sides on parchment-coverd cookie shtt. Bake about 8-10 minutes or until dry.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 4:43AM
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I have had several recipes float through my thoughts for this dinner. Strawberries are rather nice in our market right now. Chocolate is always in most dessert plans. But I love lemon! ;) I thought about pie or cake...but many may not have the time or inclination. :) So after careful thought I am suggesting Lemon Souffle!

Lemon Souffle - serves 8

2 T. Water
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
grated zest of 4 lemons
cup of fresh lemon juice, strained
1 cup superfine sugar
7 large egg whites
1 cup whipping cream

In a small saucepan combine: water, gelatin, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar.
Stir over low heat until gelatin is dissolved.
Transfer contents to a large mixing bowl and chill until mixture is of syrup consistency.
Beat egg whites in another bowl until stiff peak stage.
Fold whites into chilled lemon base.
Whip cream until stiff peaks and fold into lemon and egg mixture.
Pour into a 1 quart souffle dish.
Cover and chill at least 6 hours or overnight.

*If you have problems finding superfine sugar you can make your own by running granulated sugar in a food processor until powdery. After you turn off the processor let the powder settle for a minute before you open the food processor or you will have a cloud of sugar dust.

I hope you enjoy this lovely lemon dessert as much as we do. I believe it will compliment all of the recipes presented for this meal and wake up our taste buds for the start of Spring!

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 8:31AM
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I should have posted that this recipe is from, Stop and Smell the Rosemary.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 10:31AM
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6 small to medium tomatoes, (about 1 pound)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 slices bacon; finely chopped
1 shallot (or small onion), thinly sliced
1 (10-ounce) box frozen chopped spinach
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/3 cup fresh bread crumbs

Remove stems from tomatoes and turn up-side down so they sit still. Slice the previously bottom, now top side off crosswise and scoop out the seeds and pulp. Sprinkle the insides with some of the salt and place cut-side down on a paper towel to drain while preparing stuffing.

Brown the bacon in a medium skillet until crispy, drain on paper towel and set aside. Cook the shallot in the same skillet with the bacon fat until tender. Defrost the spinach and squeeze out the excess liquid by placing in several paper towels. Add the spinach to the skillet with the cooked shallot and season all with a little salt, the pepper and a pinch of nutmeg. Stir until heated through and dry. Set aside to cool.

When almost ready to serve pre-heat the broiler. Add the crisp bacon to the spinach mixture and toss with the cheese and bread crumbs. Place the tomatoes on a foil-lined baking pan and stuff each with some of the spinach stuffing. Broil until warm throughout and tops are lightly brown, no more than 5 minutes. *Inspired by recipe from the Food Network kitchens.


    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 11:49AM
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Well, I had considered green tomato fries with spicy catsup for dipping, but with Marilyn's tomatoes I thought that was just too much. We'll go with another favorite for me, onions. The recipe is from the National Honey Board:

Balsamic Onions with Honey

Makes 6 servings

3 large red onions (about 3 pounds)
1 tablespoon plus 1/4 cup water
6 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

Peel onions and cut crosswise into halves. Place cut-side down in shallow baking dish just large enough to hold onions in single layer. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon water; cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.

Combine honey, vinegar, remaining 1/4 cup water, butter, paprika, coriander, salt and red pepper in small bowl. Remove onions from oven and turn cut side up. Spoon half of honey mixture over onions. Bake, uncovered, 15 minutes more.

Baste with remaining honey mixture; bake 15 minutes more or until tender.


    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 11:38PM
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Hi all!

I'm sorry I'm late, and I'm afraid you'll have to wait another day for an appetizer -- I've been working super long days this week and have just been overwhelmed... Not to mention my little problem of not having any T&T appetizers -- I will have to find one that looks good and post it hoping for the best... I promise, tomorrow!

This dinner is looking yummy though!

    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 11:44PM
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Ok, I've got an appetizer -- I think the dill and feta would be a nice complement to the carrot soup to come later...

Endive with Feta Tzatziki

1 head endive
1 cup thick greek style yogurt (or whole milk yogurt that has been drained)
2 Tbs fresh minced dill
1/4 cup finely crumbled feta
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
Lots of fresh ground black pepper

Mix the yogurt, dill, feta, lemon juice, oil, and pepper... Fill each endive "spear" with a tablespoon or two... Garnish with a little more chopped dill or maybe some finely minced lemon zest on the plate?


    Bookmark   March 29, 2007 at 7:43PM
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