Thursday, October 29, 2009

Autumn Gathering

{Autumn Gathering}
October 2009
Keirsten & Kristy

{The Invitations}

{Autumn Decor}

{The Place Settings}

{Mulled Cider}
1 navel orange
½ gallon apple cider (not juice)
2 tablespoons honey
5 whole allspice berries
6 whole cloves
Pinch ground nutmeg
1 1/2-inch piece ginger, thinly sliced
8 cinnamon sticks

Using a vegetable peeler, peel the zest from the orange to create long strips. In a medium pot, bring the cider, honey, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, ginger and orange zest to a simmer. Do not boil. Heat, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Ladle into cups and serve warm with cinnamon sticks.
{Cranberry Spritzer}
1 bottle of cranberry juice
1 liter of sprite
Cranberries and mini skewers to garnish

Add ice and serve
{Cranberry Water}

{Caramelized Bacon Bites}
No Recipe but looked lovely!

{Butternut Squash, Apple, and Onion Galette}

1 pie crust dough, rolled into a 12-inch disk
1 large baking apple, such as Rome Beauty or Cortland
1 small or ½ medium butternut squash (about ¾ lbs.), halved, seeded, and skin on
1 small yellow onion
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese (about 1 ½ ounces)

For the filling: Halve and core the apple. Cut each ½ into 8 wedges and put them in a large bowl. Slice the squash and cut the onion into wedges so that both are as thick as the apple wedges, and add them to the apples. Add the butter, rosemary, and thyme and toss gently to combine. Season with salt and pepper and toss again.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch disk. Transfer the dough to a baking sheet and brush with mustard. Starting 2 inches from the edge, casually alternate pieces of apple, squash, and onion in overlapping circles. Fold and pleat the dough over the edge of the filling. Bake until the crust is brown and the apples, squash, and onions are tender and caramelized, about 55 minutes. Scatter the cheese over the filling and bake until melted, about 5 minutes more. Cool the galette on a wire rack. Cut into wedges and serve.

{Amaretto Cheese-Filled Apricots}

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted and chopped
¼ cup chopped sweetened dried cranberries
2 tablespoons amaretto liqueur
30 soft whole dried apricots

In a small bowl, mix the cream cheese, ¼ cup of the almonds, the cranberries, and amaretto. Spoon into small resealable food-storage plastic bag. Cut ½ inch off 1 corner of bag.

With fingers, open apricots along one side so they resemble partially open clam shells. Pipe about 1 teaspoon cheese mixture into each apricot. Dip cheese edge of apricots into remaining chopped almonds. Refrigerate 1 hour before serving.
{Holiday Brie en Croute}

1/2 of a 17.3oz package Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets (1 sheet), thawed
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
½ cup seedless raspberry jam
½ cup dried cranberries
1 (about 1 pound) Brie cheese round

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Beat the egg and water in a small bowl.
Unfold the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Roll the pastry sheet into a 14-inch square. Cut off the corners to make a circle. Spread the jam on the pastry to within 2 inches of the edge. Sprinkle the cranberries over the jam. Place the cheese in the center of the pastry. Fold the pastry up over the cheese to cover. Trim the excess and press to seal. Brush the seam with the egg mixture. Place seam-side down onto a baking sheet.
Bake for 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Let stand for 45 minutes. Serve with crackers.

{Butternut Squash Soup}
1- 3 pound butternut squash-peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes (5-6 cups)

3 tablespoons olive oil
3 teaspoons kosher salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1 large yellow onion, diced (about 1 ½ cups)
3 stalks of celery, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage (about 6 large leaves)
6 cups chicken broth
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, toss the squash with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil 2 teaspoons of the salt, and the pepper. Place the squash on a rimmed baking sheet and roast in the oven for 15 minutes. Turn the cubes over and continue roasting for 15 minutes or until they are caramelized; set aside.
In a Dutch oven or a large stockpot, heat the butter and the remaining oil over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and sage, and saute, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are translucent and tender, 10 minutes. Add the squash, broth, and the remaining salt and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until the liquid is flavorful. Remove from heat. Using a blender or a food processor, blend the soup in batches until smooth. Return to the pot and keep warm. Top with the Sage Croutons and the grated Parmesan cheese.

{Sage and Parmesan Croutons} 
3 oz rustic wheat or white bread, torn into 24 1-inch pieces
1 large clove garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoon)
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
3 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Toss all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl to coat. Spread the bread evenly on a baking sheet and toast in oven for 10-12 minutes or until crisp and golden brown.
{Fall Salad}

1 head red leaf lettuce
1 red pepper, diced
12 oz. Blue-cheese
½ tsp. Cayenne pepper
1 pkg. Italian dry package dressing
1 red onion, diced
2 cups glazed pecans
1 cup yellow raisins
3 garlic cloves

Prepare glazed pecans by placing pecans, sugar, water in saucepan. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until sugar lightly boils. Pour onto a cookie sheet, let cool. Prepare Italian dressing, as directed, but replace vinegar with Balsamic vinegar; add garlic and cayenne pepper. Crumble blue-cheese and toss with remaining ingredients and dressing.

{Parmesan Frico Cups}
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place a slip mat on a baking sheet. Place 6 (1/4-cup) pounds of Parmesan cheese on the mat and gently tap down until each mound is flat and 4 ½ to 5 inches in diameter. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden and bubbly. Working quickly, use a thin spatula to transfer the Parmesan Frico to a muffin tin. Gently place a small drinking glass on top of the Parmesan Frico to mold it into the shape of the muffin cups. Let cool until firm, about 5 minutes.
{Chicken W/ Mustard Mascarpone Marsala Sauce}

1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
Salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 tablespoons butter, divided
¾ cup chopped onion
1 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 cup dry Marsala wine (you can also use Marsala “cooking” wine)
1 cup mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over high heat. Add the chicken and cook just until brown, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate and cool slightly.
While the chicken cools, melt 2 tablespoons of butter to the same skillet over medium-high heat, then add the onion and saute until tender, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and garlic and saute until the mushrooms are tender and the juices evaporate, about 12 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until it is reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Stir the mascarpone and mustard. Cut the chicken breast crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick slices. Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the skillet. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat until the chicken is just cooked through and the sauce thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Stir in the chopped parsley. Season the sauce to taste, with salt and pepper.
Serve over cooked linguine.

{Green Beans and Caramelized Onions}
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 (16-ounce) packages frozen pearl onions, thawed
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt, divided
2 pounds green beans, trimmed
½ teaspoon black pepper

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Pat onions dry with paper towels; add to pan. Increase heat to medium-high; saute onions 5 minutes. Add sugar and ½ teaspoon salt; saute 15 minutes or until onions are tender and golden brown. Spoon into a bowl.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add beans, saute 8 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add onions, ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper; cook 2 minutes or until mixture is thoroughly heated.

{Cider-Glazed Carrots}
9 cups (3-inch) julienne-cut carrots (about 2 ½ pounds)
¼ cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
½ teaspoon dry mustard
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon celery seeds
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Place carrots in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer 1 minute or until tender. Drain.
Combine brown sugar and next 6 ingredients in a large nonstick skillet over low heat; cook until butter melts; stirring frequently. Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium; add carrots and cook for 3 minutes or until glazed and thoroughly heated; stirring constantly. Sprinkle with chopped parsley; toss to combine.

{Pumpkin Bread Trifle}
Using one loaf of the pumpkin bread, cut it into cubes. Place half of the bread in the bottom of the trifle dish. Next drizzle caramel sauce over the pumpkin bread. Next sprinkle Heath toffee bits over the bread and caramel. Spread a generous layer of the whipped topping over the pumpkin bread. Repeat all of the above for the second layer.

{Pumpkin Bread}
3 1/3 cups sifted flour
4 tsp. Pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp. Baking soda
1 tsp. Baking powder
1 ½ tsp. Salt
2/3 cup cooking oil
4 eggs
1 (1lb.) can mashed pumpkin (about 2 cups)
2/3 cup water
2 2/3 cup sugar

Sift together flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside.
Beat together sugar and oil in a bowl until light and fluffy, using electric mixer at high speed. Add egg, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in pumpkin.
Add dry ingredients alternately with water to sugar mixture, beating well after each addition, using an electric mixer at low speed. Pour batter into 2 greased 9x5x3-inch loaf pans.
Bake at 325 degrees for 55 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool in pans on racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool on racks. Makes 2 loaves
(Whipped Topping)Whip 2 pints heavy whipping cream until it stiffens. Gradually add 1 ½ cups brown sugar and 1 tsp. Vanilla.

{Chocolate-Hazelnut Ravioli}
16 wonton wrappers
1 egg, beaten to blend
1 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread (recommended: Nutella)
Vegetable oil, for frying
16 fresh mint leaves
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
Granulated sugar, for dredging
Powdered sugar, for dusting

Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap. Place 1 wonton wrapper on the work surface. Brush the edges of the wrapper lightly with egg. Spoon 1 tablespoon of Nutella into the center of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper diagonally in half over the filling and press the edges of the wrapper to seal. Place the ravioli on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining wonton wrappers.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Add enough oil to a heavy large frying pan to reach a depth of 2 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat to 350 degrees.
Working in batches, carefully add the ravioli to the hot oil and cook until they are golden brown, about 45 seconds per side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the ravioli to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Then, transfer the cooked ravioli to another baking sheet and keep them warm in the oven while frying the remaining ravioli.
Spray the top side of the mint leaves very lightly with nonstick spray. Working with 1 leaf at a time, dredge the coated side of the leaves in sugar to coat lightly.
Arrange 2 fried ravioli on each plate. Dust the ravioli with powdered sugar. Garnish with the sugared mint leaves and serve.

{The Gifts}
The gals were given home-made autumn necklaces, a container of sugar 'n' spice nuts, and a beautiful gold letter (last name initial) with a fabulous card and recipes!

{Sugar 'N' Spice Nuts}
¾ cup light corn syrup

2 pounds sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 pounds pecan halves

Combine the corn syrup, sugar and 1 cup water in a large heavy saucepan. Stir the mixture only until the sugar is completely moist. Place the saucepan over medium heat and cook until the mixture reaches 242 degrees (firm ball stage). At that point, immediately remove from the heat and add the cinnamon. Stir with a long-handled wooden spoon until the syrup settles or stops boiling.
Stir the pecan halves into the syrup all at once. Stir until all the pecans are coated completely and begin to separate from one another, and the sugar crystallizes. When the pecans are completely separated; pour out onto a cookie sheet and allow them to cool. Store in an airtight container.

{The Hostesses}
Thanks to Keirsten and Kristy for this wonderful gathering. The decor was breathtakingly beautiful and the food was delicious. Our gifts were thoughtful and the company splendid. Autumn Gourmet!
{The Gals}