Monday, December 03, 2007

Sunday Wine Dinner

Yesterday, I shared some of my cooking knowledge with my BFF in Rocklin, MT. She and I made this dinner and had a small dinner party with a few different wines. We all also watched my football team BUNgal it up as per usual. Good times, indeed.

The Crew...
I love you guys. :)

Here are the dishes we made together and shared:

The Appetizer:

Crab Cakes with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

The Recipe:
1 cup cracker meal
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup milk
12 ounces lump crab meat, picked over to remove any shell fragments
1 rounded teaspoon crab boil seasoning
1 tablespoon baking powder
A handful flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 lemon, zested, plus 1 lemon, cut into wedges, for garnish
Several drops Worcestershire sauce
Several drops hot pepper sauce
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
Vegetable or canola oil, for frying

Red Pepper Sauce:
1 Jar of Drained Roasted Red Peppers
2 Tbs Strained Yogurt
1/2 Cup Mayonnaise
Blend with an emulsion blender or in a blender and serve with crab cakes.


Balsamic Roasted Squash, Parsnips, Onion, Carrots

The Recipe:

2 cups coarsely cut squash
1 1/2-2 quartered red onions
2 cups carrots, cut up (or use baby carrots)
2 cups parsnips, also cut up
2 or 3 stems rosemary, pulled from stem
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Garlic, a clove or two
Salt, Pepper

Heat oven to 450. Getting the oven hot is very important, as the veggies will take almost a full hour to roast. Chop vegetables in the same size pieces so they will roast uniformly in the oven.
Coat the bottom of a roasting pan with oil and line the pan with the chopped vegetables. Sprinkle the rosemary over the vegetables. Top with the garlic, squeeze through a garlic press. Sprinkle with a little salt. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar over the top, lots. Follow with more olive oil.
Place veggies in oven and roast for 20 mins at a time. Check on them and stir, making sure they do not stick to the pan/burn. Lower oven temp 25 degrees each 20 mins. They should be done at nearly an hour, and they will have reduced to look like the vegetables in the picture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Brown Sugared Bacon Makes it All Better (Bacon we fried to use in the twice baked sweet potatoes that just deserved pic of their own, I mean, come on...)

Twice Baked Bacon Cheddar Sweet Potatoes

The Recipe:

3 medium sweet potatoes (1-1/2 to 2 pounds), scrubbed well
4 ounces smoked bacon, sliced
2 tablespoons dark-brown sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 small shallots, finely minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary, plus more for garnish
1 large egg
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 ounces cheddar cheese, finely grated, plus more for garnish
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the sweet potatoes on a parchment-lined baking sheet; bake until tender when pierced with a paring knife, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven; let cool slightly.

Fry up the bacon strips, and sprinkle with brown sugar. Cook until well crisped, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven; let cool slightly, and roughly chop. Set aside.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add shallots; sauté until soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add rosemary, and cook 1 minute more. Remove from heat, and set aside.

Slice each potato in half lengthwise. Carefully scoop out flesh, leaving about a <-inch border all around potato halves; set halves aside on a baking sheet.

Place flesh in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add 2 tablespoons butter, reserved shallot mixture, egg, cream, and sharp cheddar cheese. Mix well until combined. Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer mixture to a pastry bag; pipe into reserved halves. Garnish with cheddahhh, rosemary, and reserved bacon. Bake until golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven.



Bread with Butter and Rosemary

I bought the bread at Naroe's on Sunday morning. Love it when the bread is so fresh that it is still warm and fragrant. It was a loaf of their Armenian bread. I simply melted butter and rosemary together in the microwave and used a pastry brush to apply. Then, heated and browned the bread in the oven. I love the taste of rosemary, and the butter and rosemary combo is how I top almost all the bread or rolls I serve.


Sole Fillets with Lemon Butter and Caper Sauce

The Recipe:

Melt Butter and Olive Oil in a large skillet, chop onions, shallot, garlic, saute.
Coat the sole fillets in bread crumbs and fry them a few minutes on each side.
Here is the recipe for the butter sauce I made:
Butter Sauce:
1 large garlic clove, chopped
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
Purée garlic with lime juice, salt, and pepper in a blender until smooth. With motor running, add melted butter and blend until emulsified, about 30 seconds.

Pour over the fillets and top with capers.


Double Chocolate Brownies with Chocolate Port Reduction


The Recipe:

1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
2 tablespoons water
2 bars (4 oz. total) Unsweetened Chocolate Baking Bars broken into pieces
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped pistachios (toast them, they'll be more tasty that way)

PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Grease 9 x 9-inch baking pan. I like to butter the pan and use sugar instead of flour to coat over the butter. It gives the brownies a delicious edge.

Microwave sugar, butter and water in a large microwave-safe bowl on HIGH (100%) power for 4 to 5 minutes or until mixture bubbles, stirring once. Remove from heat. Add baking bars; stir until melted.

Stir in eggs one at a time until incorporated. Stir in vanilla extract. Add flour, baking soda and salt; stir well. Stir in nuts. Coarsely chop a 4 ounce bar of your favorite chocolate...We used a Ghirardelli 60% cacao baking bar. Make sure brownie mixture has cooled enough so that it won't melt the chocolate when stirred in.

Pour into prepared baking pan.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out slightly sticky. Remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Port Reduction:
3 cups port wine (almost a full bottle--get a sweeter ruby port as opposed to a tawny)
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon orange zest

In a small sauce pan, combine the port wine and zest together. Bring up to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and reduce mixture until 1/2 cup remains or syrup consistency, about 25 to 30 minutes. After the reduction has cooled significantly, drop in two ounces of your favorite chocolate and stir until melted and fully incorporated. Drizzle on brownies to serve.


This dinner was a lot of fun. Cooking is always very relaxing to me, never makes me stress. Six people is a perfect amount for a dinner party, as most recipes are geared towards serving that number without a ton of leftovers. I loved having the opportunity to serve my friends and spend a Sunday evening together. xoxo

This is what we drank with dinner.


Anonymous said...

As good as it all looks, it tasted even better! Fabulous food, great friends, who could ask for more?

Anonymous said...

I had an amazing time too. Thank you, Cakegrrl, for the help, the instructions, and the company!! I would love to do it again soon.