Thursday, October 11, 2012

Supper Club October 2012: An Evening in Germany with Denise and Greg

Our October Supper Club was a German theme.  

The hosts (Greg and Denise) provided the main dishes, and the rest of the group brought appetizers and desserts, oh, and some German beer!  

Everything was das schmeckt (delicious)!!!!



Here was the menu:


APPETIZERS
Shrimp and cocktail sauce
Soft pretzels with queso dip and spicy mustard
small skewers with sauce (sweet potatoes, onions, red peppers)
Beer cheese dip with bread cubes

DINNER
                                                                            
German potato salad
Potato pancakes
Brats, hotdogs and wurst cooked in beer and grilled
sauteed red cabbage

German beer and wine
                                                                          
DESSERT:

Butterscotch apple crisp with Butter Pecan Ice Cream



Guten Appetit!



Cheese Dip with pretzels and Italian bread cubes

Marinated skewers with sausages, onion, peppers and sweet potatoes

Soft pretzels with queso and hot mustard

Brats and wurst with grainy mustard and honey mustard

Sauteed Red Cabbage
SAUTEED RED CABBAGE
(adapted from The Food Network)

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1/2 red cabbage, shredded
  • 1/3 cup white or apple cider vinegar
  • 2 rounded tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seed
  • Salt and pepper
Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add oil and onion and saute 2 minutes. Add cabbage and turn in pan, sauteing it until it wilts, 3 to 5 minutes. Add vinegar to the pan and turn the cabbage in it. Sprinkle sugar over the cabbage and turn again. Season with mustard seed, salt and pepper and reduce heat a bit. Let cabbage continue to cook 10 minutes or until ready to serve, stirring occasionally.

German Potato Salad 
  • GERMAN POTATO SALAD
  • (by Bobby Flay)

  • 3 pounds new potatoes
  • 1 yellow onion, quartered
  • 1/2 pound bacon, diced
  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 3/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 8 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
Preheat the grill to high. Place potatoes in a large pot with the onion and cover with cold water. Cook, on the grates of the grill, or on a burner, until tender. Drain, discard the onion, and cut the potatoes into cubes when cool enough to handle. Place the potatoes in a large bowl and cover to keep warm.
Place a large saute pan on the grates of the grill. Add the bacon and cook until crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Add the onions to the rendered bacon fat and cook until soft, about 3 to 4 minutes. Carefully add the vinegar and mustard seeds and cook for 2 more minutes. Whisk in the canola oil and season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Add the hot dressing to the potatoes and toss gently to coat. Fold in the green onions and parsley. Season again with salt and pepper, to taste.

THE SPREAD!
Butterscotch Pecan Apple Crisp


Butterscotch Pecan Apple Crisp
(Adapted from The Food Network)

  • 6 Granny Smith Apples (about 2 pounds), peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour (I used Brown Rice flour here)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed, plus more for greasing

Topping:

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (I substituted Brown Rice flour here)
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup quick oats (I substituted gluten-free granola here)
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup pecans, chopped
  • Butter pecan ice cream, for serving
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 2-quart baking dish.
For the filling: Toss the apples, butterscotch chips, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, allspice, and lemon together in a large bowl. Add to the buttered buttered baking dish and dot with butter.
For the topping: In a separate bowl, combine the flour, sugar, oats, and salt. Blend the butter into the mixture until it forms pea size lumps. Stir in the pecans and sprinkle over the filling.
Bake until the apples are tender and butterscotch is bubbling, about 45 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Plate with a scoop of butter pecan ice cream on top.


In the end, everything was absolutely fabulous, and after dinner we enjoyed mild Atlanta tempuratures outdoors.  Another fun evening with great food and great friends!  Thanks Greg and Denise for hosting the fun!

Till next time...

More recipes to follow.

Glücklich Oktoberfest!

(Happy October)


Sunday, October 7, 2012

How To Start A Supper Club



How it all started...

Some girlfriends and I were lamenting that we don't get to see enough of each other, and we wondered how to set our schedules to rectify that.  We all enjoy good food and good company.  So, we decided to form a Supper Club and include our husbands, and we chose to meet on Friday nights.



It took a bit of wrangling over how best to organize the group, and over a year's time, we honed the rules and procedures for meeting.  Here's what we came up with:

*we meet the 1st Friday night every other month, beginning in February

*we will have 6 couples (12 people total) - and each couple has a turn at "hosting" the dinner once per year.  (While this number sounds a bit daunting for some people, we knew that the odds of all 12 people being free to attend each and every get-together throughout the year was unlikely.  So with 12 people, even if 1 or 2 couples had conflicts, we would still have enough for a fun evening.  Also, no one HAS to have a dining room table to seat 12 people!  We sit outdoors if it's nice out or we set up 2 tables or just grab a seat wherever we want to!).

*the host decides the menu for the evening, and the host then is in charge of relaying the pertinent information to the rest of the group prior to their dinner such as: time to arrive, what they need the others to bring (appetizers, salads, desserts, wine, whatever).

*the host also decides the decor and/or theme of the evening - whether it's super casual or more formal and sit-down, inside or outside etc.

*the months will rotate each year, so that the no one has to host the same time of year---keeps it interesting.

*We also noted whether or not anyone has any dietary restrictions (one member has an allergy to shellfish) or strong dislikes (one member dislikes tomatoes, bell peppers and mushrooms).  So, while we may serve foods with those items, we're going to try and offer an alternative dish as well.


I've decided to create a blog, so that I can share the foods and themes and recipes and fun that we share each get-together.  So looking forward to enjoying some great meals and great times with friends!

Here's to YOUR adventures in dining!!! Bon Appetit!!!

Some ideas for "themes" for Supper Club get-togethers (I've starred some of the "themes" that we have used):

*Oktoberfest
Cuban
Fondue Party
St. Patrick’s Day
*Tailgate Foods
French
Tapas
*Italian
Greek (toga party anyone?)
1920’s Speakeasy
Low Country Boil
*New Orleans/Cajun/Mardi Gras
Thai
Deep South Dinner
Last Meal on the Titanic
Napa Wine Tour
Russian
Mexican
Back to Your 1980’s Prom
Pub Foods
50's throwback
Japanese
*Big Texas Barbecue
Pajama Party
*Caribbean 
Redneck
*Halloween 
*Hawaiian Luau
Madmen (or other TV themed)
Movie Night
*Christmas (12/14)
You could even do a Aphrodisiac Foods Night in February around *Valentine's Day (2/5/16)
April Fool's Day
Progressive Dinner for each supper club home
brunch & bloody mary bar - brunch recipes and everyone contributes some of their favorite bloody mary ingredientsSliders, skewers & salads - good summer patio theme
States - dishes that specific states are famous for--- during election season
Numbers - tres leches cake, pork with chinese 5-spice marinade, 7 layer dip. the trip to the liquor store for this theme is really fun
Food inspired by music - string cheese stuffed meatloaf, phish ceviche, hersey's kiss cake, red hot chili pepper quesidillas, 30,000 pounds of bananas foster. this one was lots of fun and of course had a commemorative cd for everyone
Cooking with booze - actually as an ingredient
Back to school - redo a school lunch dish into something tasty

Here's a link to a huge list of party "themes" -
http://thevivant.com/101-theme-party-ideas/

HAPPY EATING AND ENTERTAINING!

SUPPER CLUB - AUGUST 2012 = ALFRESCO DINING at Cate and Doug's!

About a year ago, some friends and my husband and I formed a Supper Club.  We hosted the group this past August, and the weather was warm, so the theme was, "ALFRESCO DINING."  Here's what was served:

MENU:

Tri-tips with Salsa Verde
Salmon on the Grill
Corn Pudding
Grilled Prosciutto-wrapped Asparagus
Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Gruyere and Rosemary
Tossed Salad (one of the guests, Diane, provided)
Peach and Blueberry Trifle
Planter's Punch

I handled the main dishes for the evening and had my friends bring their favorite appetizers.  Here's what we nibbled on before dinner:

Mexican dip with chips - Wendy
Watermelon-Mint-Feta cups - Sheila
Marinated Shrimp -Sheila
Bacon-wrapped new potatoes with spicy dipping sauce - Denise





















TRI-TIPS with SALSA VERDE



This dish is a little tricky in that tri-tips are virtually unknown in the Southeastern part of the United States.  I had them originally while visiting friends in California, and people from the west coast and Texas are very familiar with them.  The tri-tip is a cut of beef from the bottom sirloin, and it's generally 2 - 2 1/2 lbs . I simply call my local butcher and order them whenever I need them. I've ordered them from Fresh Market and Whole Foods as well.









This preparation is my favorite way to serve tri-tips. You can use a smoker or a regular grill, and they'll come out juicy and delicious every time. With the addition of a fresh salsa verde your guests will love you!


Salsa Verde
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Juice and grated zest of 1 lemon
2 anchovy fillets, very finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
1 tbsp drained capers, roughly chopped
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp finely chopped fresh mint
½ tsp kosher salt
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
For steak
Two 1½-pound tri-tip steaks, sliced crosswise into 1¼-inch-thick planks (can also use flank steak with excellent results). For 10 people I used 3 tri-tips that were 2 1/2 lbs each. We had lots of leftovers!

Marinade for one tri-tip:
1 tsp kosher salt
1½ tsp grapeseed oil


Rub the salt and the grapeseed oil all over the tri-tips. Grill over hot coals until desired level of doneness.  Let rest for 10 minutes or so, and then slice thinly against the grain.


Serve with salsa verde drizzled over the top.

SALSA VERDE

Place salsa verde ingredients in medium bowl; whisk together to combine.


Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
SALMON ON THE GRILL

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Easiest recipe there is!  Place a salmon filet on a piece of tin foil, skin side down. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Then drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, lemon juice, white wine.  Top with capers and dill.  Place on the grill until flakey ~ 8-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of your salmon.  Delish!

CORN PUDDING 




This dish is always a hit, and I've lightened it up a bit by using 1/2 cup of cream and 1 1/2 cups milk instead of all cream.  It's just as good.  Of course there is that butter...but it's worth it!

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue


1/4 cup sugar
3 TBSP flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
6 large eggs
2 cups whipping cream (see above)
1/2 cup butter, melted
6 cups corn kernels (~12 ears of corn)

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine first 4 ingredients.

Whisk together eggs, whipping cream and butter.  Gradually add sugar mixture in, whisking until smooth, then stir in corn.  Pour mixture in a lightly greased 9x13 inch pan.  Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown and set.

GRILLED PROSCIUTTO WRAPPED ASPARAGUS



Photo Credit: Cate Bogue


2-3 bunches fresh asparagus
3-4 packages thinly sliced prosciutto
Extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper


Wash and trim an inch off the bottom of the asparagus.  Blot off, and place in a glass baking dish.  Drizzle with olive oil, then generously add salt and pepper.  Toss with your hands until well coated.

Slice each prosciutto slice in half lengthwise, and wrap around 1-2 stalks of asparagus.  Grill either directly on the heat or on a metal grill sheet with holes until done ~ 15 minutes.  You want them to be cooked, but not too soft.


Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
TWICE BAKED SWEET POTATOES WITH GRUYERE AND ROSEMARY



4 large sweet potatoes
2 TBSP fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tsp butter, melted
4 TBSP Gruyere cheese, grated
4 TBSP light brown sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

Topping
2 TBSP butter, melted
2 dashes worchestershire sauce
~ 4 TBSP chopped toasted pecans


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Wash and scrub sweet potatoes, then using a fork, make several holes to allow steam to escape.  Place on a foil lined baking sheet and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until easily pricked with a fork.  Allow to cool a bit, then slice each potato lengthwise.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Scoop out the centers and place in a medium size mixing bowl.  Add the butter, brown sugar, rosemary, cheese and salt and pepper and mix well.  Carefully add the potato mixture back to the skins equally.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue


Bake for ~ 15 minutes, or until just starting to brown on the edges.

For the topping, mix together the butter and worchestershire and drizzle over the halved potatoes.  
Sprinkle with the pecans and return to the oven for 5 minutes.


*This dish was the only misstep of the evening - I simply took them out of the oven too soon, so they just weren't hot enough.  Still tasty, but I goofed.



MY SALAD

This recipe is my "go to" salad!
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue


Bag of mixed greens
Dried Cranberries
Crumbled good blue cheese

Dressing:
4 TBSP good extra virgin olive oil
2 TBSP good balsamic vinaigrette
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together, and right before serving, pour over salad.


PEACH AND BLUEBERRY TRIFLE

1 regular sized angel food cake, torn into 1 inch pieces (from any grocery store's bakery)
8 firm, ripe peaches, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup peach preserves
1 (16-oz.) package fresh blueberries, divided
2 to 3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Microwave preserves in a large microwave-safe bowl at HIGH 30 to 45 seconds or until melted. Toss peaches and 1 1/2 cup blueberries with warm preserves. Stir in granulated sugar and next 2 ingredients.

Beat whipping cream and lemon juice at medium speed with an electric mixer until foamy; gradually add powdered sugar, beating until soft peaks form.


Arrange about one-third of cake pieces in trifle bowl. Top with one-third of peach mixture. Repeat layers twice. Top with whipped cream. Cover and chill 1 hour. Top with remaining 1/2 cup blueberries just before serving.


Photo Credit: Cate Bogue



Photo Credit: Cate Bogue



Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
PLANTER'S PUNCH

This punch was a huge hit!  I multiplied by 20 (for a dinner party with 10 people), so I used a very large pitcher I had on hand.  It's great on a hot Atlanta summer night!



1 1/2 oz. dark rum
6 oz. freshly squeezed orange juice
Dash grenadine
Juice of 1/4 lime
1 tsp. Simple Syrup
Orange slices


1. In a cocktail shaker over ice, combine rum, orange juice, grenadine, lime juice, and syrup. Shake well, then strain into a tall glass over ice. Garnish with an orange slice.


MEXICAN DIP WITH CHIPS


My friend, Wendy, has brought this dip to several functions over the years, and I finally asked her for the recipe. It's simple to put together, and it's absolutely wonderful.


1 can 16.oz Old El Paso spicy(fat free) refried beans

PACE chunky (medium) salsa
Sour cream
Shredded lettuce
Shredded Sharp cheddar
Jar of sliced jalapeños (Kroger brand)

Layer (starting with the beans first, then sour cream, then salsa

and cheese) in a serving dish. Top with jalapeno slices across the top.  Refrigerate for an hour or so - serve with tortilla chips.

WATERMELON-MINT-FETA CUPS





Sheila brought these, and I had never had them before - so so good!

Just hollow out the center of the square, leaving a bottom to keep the cheese and cucumber from falling out and add chopped cucumber and crumbled feta.  You can use other cheeses and other herbs for a twist - whatever tastes good to you works!  Light and refreshing and delicious!


TEQUILA MARINATED SHRIMP






2 pounds fresh or frozen medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, leaving tails intact
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons finely chopped onion
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup tequila
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons snipped fresh cilantro
1/8 teaspoon salt

Thaw shrimp, if frozen. Rinse shrimp; pat dry. Set aside.


In large skillet heat olive oil over medium heat; add onion and garlic and cook about 3 minutes or until tender. Add shrimp and tequila; bring to boiling. Boil gently, uncovered, for 3 to 5 minutes or until shrimp turn opaque, stirring occasionally.

Transfer shrimp mixture to a bowl. Add lime juice, cilantro, and salt; toss to mix. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Drain before serving. Makes 10 to 12 appetizer servings.



BACON-WRAPPED POTATO BITES WITH SPICY SOUR CREAM DIPPING SAUCE



Makes about three dozen bites


These little morsels were so good I could've eaten the entire tray myself! Thank you Denise!



1 pound small or medium red potatoes

2 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
12 ounces to 1 pound thick-cut bacon
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
1-3 teaspoons hot sauce
Salt and pepper


Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue



Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Wash and dry the potatoes. Chop them into 1-inch pieces, keeping the chunks roughly the same size even if they aren't the exact same shape. Put the potatoes in a medium pot, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil. Season the water with 2 teaspoons of salt. Once the water begins to boil, cook the potatoes for 3 to 4 minutes, until you can stick a fork into them without too much resistance. You want the potatoes to be almost, but not fully, cooked through so they won't fall apart during the next steps.


Drain the potatoes and put them in a large bowl. Add the rosemary, olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a few grinds of pepper, and toss until the potatoes are evenly coated.

Cut the strips of bacon into thirds. Wrap each potato bite in a piece of bacon, securing it with a toothpick. Put the potatoes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil spaced an inch or two apart. You may need to cook the potatoes in two batches.



Cook the potatoes for 15 minutes, then flip each piece. Cook for another 15 to 20 minutes, until the bacon is cooked through and as crisp as you like it. Mix the sour cream and hot sauce in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Pile the potato bites on a plate and serve alongside the dip.

Here we are, dining under the stars, enjoying great food and company!










All in all a fun time was had by all, and we enjoyed some fabulous weather (albeit a tad WARM) and even better food!

We meet again in TWO MONTHS!



Group photos courtesy of Denise Jones Photography - @dwj525