Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Cooking Club: January

Theme: Musical Dishes / Karaoke
For this months cooking club we had to make dishes inspired by songs, i.e. Jimmy Buffet / Cheese Burger in Paradise and Rupert Holems / Escape (The Pina Colada Song). We also belted out some fine-sounding tunes on Jodi's (the host) karaoke machine. This was one of the funnest and loudest cooking soirees we've had!

Jodi (host): Jimmy Buffet - Cheeseburger in Paradise
Cheryl: The Mama's and the Papa's - Blueberries for Breakfast
Shauna: Pee Wee Herman - Tequilia
Susan: The Archies - Sugar Sugar
Betty: Coldplay - Strawberry Swing
Chris: James Taylor - Sweet Potato Pie
Summer: Dean Martin - That's Amore
Judy: Rupert Holems - The Pina Colada Song
Linda: Dee Dee Sharp - Mashed Potato
* * * * * * * *
Strawberry Tiramisu Cake
Fluffy Angel food cake is filled with Grand Marnier cream and topped with fresh strawberries and strawberry sauce. A very yummy twist on classic tiramisu.

Blueberry Salsa
Everyone thought the dark balls in this salsa were olives! Then they took a bite and were pleasantly surprised to find that they were blueberries. The blueberries had a subtle sweet flavor and went really well in the salsa. Yum!

Tequila Cocktail
This cocktail was refreshing and light. The tequila was balanced out by pineapple juice, lemon-lime soda and mint. It paired really well with the salsa.

Pina Coladas
Just like a vacation in a cup! These were delicious and went down quick. Pineapple, rum and coconut cream is a winning combination.

Ricotta Toasts with Apples and Honey
The name says it all. Toasted slices of baguette are smeared with a mix of ricotta and Gorgonzola and then topped with apple, honey and pecans. Sweet, savory, crunchy, creamy all rolled into one tasty bruschetta-like appetizer.

Pizza Bites
Mini dough rounds are brushed with olive oil and fresh garlic and then topped with artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. Very versatile and very tasty. Everyone enjoys a good pizza, especially in bite-size form.

Mini Cheeseburgers
A juicy beef patty covered with melted cheddar cheese housed on a grilled potato bun. This definitely fit the title of Cheeseburger in Paradise! 

Sweet Potato Pie
The title of this pie does not do it justice. It was amazing! Taste and texture-wise, it wasn't what I expected from a sweet potato pie. The mix of bourbon, cinnamon and ginger was really yummy and the consistency was more of a custardy, chess pie. Really good.

Mashed Potatoes
What's not too like about a big bowl of hot mashed potatoes? These ones had chunks of potatoes in them which made for a good texture.


Strawberry Tiramisu Cake
Serving Size : 12

Double Strawberry Sauce:
24 ounces ripe strawberries (2 pints) -- hulled & sliced (reserve 6 or so whole berries -- for garnish)
1/2 cup strawberry jam

Cream Filling:
8 ounces cream cheese or mascarpone -- softened
1/3 cup confectioner's sugar -- plus 2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
6 tablespoons Grand Marnier -- or orange juice
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 angel food cake (6" to 8" round)

1. For Double Strawberry Sauce: Puree 1 1/4 cups of the sliced strawberries with the strawberry jam. Refrigerate till serving time.
2. Beat together the cheese, 1/3 cup confectioner's sugar, 1 tbsp. liqueur until well blended and smooth.
3. In a separate bowl, beat cream, remaining 2 tbsp sugar and 2 tbsp liqueur until soft peaks form. Fold 1/2 cup of this into the cheese mixture.
4. With a serrated knife, cut cake in thirds horizontally. Drizzle each layer with 1 tbsp of the remaining liqueur.
5. Spread bottom layer with one third of the cheese filling; cover with one third of the sliced strawberries. Top with middle cake layer. Spread with half of the remaining filling and sliced strawberries. Add remaining cake layer; top with remaining filling and sliced berries.
6. Frost cake with remaining whipped cream. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours before serving.
7. Cut cake with a serrated knife. Serve each slice with sauce.

Old Fashioned Sweet Potato Pie
Serves: 6 to 8 servings - Paula Deen

2 cups peeled, cooked sweet potatoes
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 stick melted butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 to 2 tablespoons bourbon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup milk
9-inch unbaked pie crust
3 egg whitesDirections
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the filling, using an electric hand mixer, combine the potatoes, 1 cup of the sugar, the butter, eggs, vanilla, salt, andspices. Mix thoroughly. Add the milk and continue to mix. Pour the filling into the pie crust and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Place the pie 
on a rack and cool to room temperature before covering with meringue. For the meringue, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form; beat in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. Continue beating until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is glossy and stiff, but not dry. With a rubber spatula, spoon the meringue onto the pie, forming peaks. Make sure the meringue touches the crust all around. Sprinkle with a pinch of granulated sugar. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until delicately browned. Cool and serve. 

* Chris's Notes: She used just over a cup of sugar instead of the 1 1/4 cups called for to cut down on sweetness. She also served hers with whipped cream and left off the meringue topping. Very delicious.

Pina Coladas
· 4 oz. fresh pineapple juice
· 3 oz. rum
· 2 oz. coconut cream
· 2 cups crushed ice

Put in a blender and blend.

Pizza Bites
Martha Stewart
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound prepared pizza dough
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella (5 ounces)
1/2 cup pitted olives, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup artichoke hearts, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes (optional)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Coat each of two rimmed baking sheets with extra-virgin olive oil. Divide prepared pizza dough into 32 pieces. On a lightly floured work surface, press each piece into a 2-inch round with the palm of your hand. Transfer to sheets, flipping once to coat lightly in oil. Season with salt and pepper. Divide mozzarella, olives, and artichoke hearts among rounds. Sprinkle with red-pepper flakes, if using. Bake until cheese is bubbling and dough is crisp and golden brown, about 12 minutes.

Blueberry Salsa
2 medium heirloom tomatoes
1 cup fresh or frozen wild blueberries
3/4 cup chopped sweet onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
1/2 Hungarian hot pepper, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Score the skin of the tomatoes by slicing an X into the skin on the bottom. Immerse the tomatoes in boiling water for about 15 seconds. Remove and place into a bowl of cold water. The skins should slip off easily. Peel the tomatoes, cut in half and remove the seeds. Chop the tomatoes and discard the seeds.
In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, blueberries, onion, garlic, jalapeno pepper, Hungarian pepper, cilantro and parsley. Pour in the rice vinegar and olive oil and stir gently to mix. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and store in the refrigerator overnight to allow the flavors to blend. You may wish to drain the salsa slightly before serving, depending on how juicy your tomatoes are.

Tequila Cocktail
Bobby Flay
10 ounces white tequila
12 ounces fresh pineapple juice
12 ounces lemon-lime soda
Crushed ice
1 cup chopped fresh pineapple
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

Combine tequila, pineapple juice, soda, pineapple and mint in a pitcher. Serve over crushed ice and garnish with fresh mint leaves.

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