Monday, February 8, 2010

A Cozy Night In

{A Cozy Night In}January 2010
Jenae & Lisa S.

{The Invitation}

{The Decor}

{The Place Settings}

{Coconut Hot Chocolate}
3 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 ½ teaspoons coconut extract
6 ounces white chocolate, chopped
Whipped topping, for garnish
Shaved dark chocolate, for garnish
Shredded sweetened coconut, for garnish
Bring the milk, cream and coconut extract to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the chocolate. Whisk until smooth and pour into mugs. Garnish with whipped topping, shaved dark chocolate, and shredded coconut.

{Party Punch}
½ cup water
1/3 cup sugar
12 inches stick cinnamon, broken
½ tsp whole cloves
4 cups apple juice, chilled
1 12-ounce can pineapple juice, chilled
¼ cup lemon juice
2 liter bottle of club soda or carbonated water, chilled

In a small saucepan combine water, sugar, cinnamon, and cloves. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Chill. Strain and discard spices. Combine with apple juice, pineapple juice, lemon juice and club soda/carbonated water.
{Crab Wonton Cups}
32 wonton wrappers
Cooking spray
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
½ cup heavy whipping cream
1 egg
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
5 drops hot pepper sauce
2 pouches (3.53 ounces each) premium crabmeat, drained
¼ cup thinly sliced green onions
¼ cup finely chopped sweet red pepper
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Directions: Press wonton wrappers into miniature muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Spritz wrappers with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-9 minutes or until lightly browned.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, cream, egg, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and pepper sauce until smooth. Stir in the crab, green onions and red pepper; spoon into wonton cups. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until filling is heated through. Serve warm. Refrigerate leftovers.

{Zucchini Stuffed Mushrooms}
1 pound zucchini
¼ teaspoon salt
2 pounds large mushrooms
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
4 sun-dried tomatoes pack in oil, finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
¾ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/3 cup crushed cracker crumbs
¼ teaspoon leaf oregano, crumbled
Pinch pepper
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Shred zucchini; toss with salt in colander. Place over bowl and let stand 30 minutes. Squeeze dry.
Meanwhile, wipe mushrooms with paper toweling. Remove stems; reserve stems for soup or other uses.
Reserve 1 tablespoon melted butter. Brush mushrooms with remaining butter.
Saute garlic in reserved tablespoon butter in skillet for 1 minute. Add zucchini; sauté 2 minutes. Let cool slightly. Stir in sundried tomatoes, ricotta, crumbs, oregano, pepper and Parmesan.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Spoon zucchini mixture into mushrooms, dividing equally. Place on baking sheet.
Bake 15 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

{Bacon wrapped Artichoke Hearts}
1 jar (12 oz) marinated artichoke heart quarters, drained and liquid reserved
9 slices center cut bacon, cut in half
Directions:Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Wrap the artichoke hearts with the half slices of bacon. Secure with a toothpick. Place on the baking sheet and drizzle with the reserved artichoke liquid. Roast in the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Serve hot.

{Blackberry Muffins}
½ cup butter
1 container (6 ounce) blackberry yogurt
½ cup sugar
2 eggs
3 ½ cups flour, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
½ cup skim milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 package (16 oz) frozen blackberries, thawed
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, cream butter with yogurt, sugar and eggs. In separate bowl, combine all but 3 tablespoons flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Combine milks and vanilla in a small bowl. Alternately add milk and flour mixtures to egg mixture.
In a large bowl, sprinkle reserved flour over berries and gently fold into batter. Fill each muffin cup ¾ full. ( This is the recipe for normal size muffins. We made them into miniature size for appetizers.)

{Topping for blackberry muffins}
½ cup sliced almonds
2-3 tablespoons buttermilk
¼ cup sugar
Pinch of cinnamon
Combine Ingredients and spoon evenly over batter.
Bake 15-20 minutes. Makes 24 muffins (48 mini muffins)
Note: Best when served warm. Refrigerate or freeze leftover muffins. They ferment quickly.

{Honey Wheat Bushman Bread}
1¼ cups warm water
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 ¼ teaspoons (1 pkg.) yeast
2 cups bread flour
1¾ cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, softened
¼ cup honey
2 tablespoons molasses
1¼ teaspoons red food coloring, 1 teaspoon yellow food coloring, 1 teaspoon blue food coloring
Mix sugar with warm water, then dissolve the yeast in the solution.
While the yeast is activating, mix the flours, cocoa, and salt in a large bowl. Mix butter into the dry mixture with your hands. Make an impression in the middle of the dry mixture. Add the honey and molasses into the well. Mix the food coloring with the yeast solution, then pour the solution into the well. Stir from the middle bringing the dry mixture into the wet stuff, slowly at first, then quickly as you incorporate all the ingredients. You will eventually have to use your hands to combine everything. Knead the dough for 10 minutes on a lightly floured surface, then roll the dough into a ball and place it into a covered bowl in a war place for 1 to 1 ½ hours or until it has doubled in size.
When the dough has doubled, separate it into 6 even portions. Roll each dough portion into logs that are 6 inches long and 2 inches wide. Arrange the rolled dough on a baking sheet and cover it with plastic wrap. Set the dough in a warm spot to rise for another hour or so until the loaves have doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Uncover the dough and bake it for 35 to 40 minutes in the hot oven.
{Wild Mushroom Soup}
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 yellow onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 bay leaf
3 cups mixed wild mushrooms, finely diced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 cups vegetable broth
1 cup heavy cream
Parsley, for garnish
1. In a Dutch oven over medium heat, melt butter. Add onion, garlic and bay leaf. Cook until onion is translucent, about 10 minutes.
2. Add mushrooms and cook until tender and any moisture has evaporated. Stir in flour, salt and pepper and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Add vegetable broth and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook 20 minutes. Stir in cream and cook an additional 10 minutes, stirring often.

{Winter Fruit Romane Salad}
1 Head Romaine
1 Head red leaf lettuce
1 Pomegranate
1 Pear – cut into pieces
1 Apple – cut into pieces
1 can mandarin oranges
Cut up lettuce and place in large bowl. Place all fruit on top. Can put pear and apple in Ziploc bag and add a little lemon juice to keep from browning before serving. Mix up dressing and add to salad just before serving.

½ cup sugar
1 tsp dry mustard
½ tsp salt
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup oil
2 tsp poppyseed

{Walnut Crusted Turkey Cutlets w/ Fontina Cheese Sauce}

2 slices whole wheat bread, quartered
¼ cup toasted walnuts
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 egg
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound turkey cutlets
Fontina sauce:
1 tablespoon oil
½ cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon ground sage
½ cup half and half
1 cup shredded fontina cheese (4 ounces)
Combine bread, walnuts and pepper in food processor or blender. Whirl until medium-coarse crumbs, about 1 minute. Scrape into shallow dish. Beat egg in second shallow dish.
Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Dip cutlets in egg, then in crumb mixture to coat. Add half of cutlets to skillet; cook 5 to 6 minutes or until both sides are golden, turning once. Place in ovenproof serving dish or 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Repeat with remaining cutlets. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Prepare sauce: Wipe out skillet with paper toweling. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onion to skillet; sauté 4 minutes or until softened. Stir in flour and sage; cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Whisk in half-and-half. Bring to simmering until smooth and thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in fontina until blended and smooth. Spoon over cutlets.
Bake cutlets in oven for 10-15 minutes or until heated through.

{Sesame Broccoli and Yellow Peppers}

1 tablespoon sesame seeds
4 cups broccoli flowerets (about 2 lbs)
1 small sweet yellow or red pepper, cored, seeded and cut into ¾ inch thick slices
¼ cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
½ teaspoon finely chopped, pared fresh ginger (opt.)
¼ teaspoon salt
Heat med-sized saucepan over medium heat. Add sesame seed; toast, shaking pan for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer seeds to plate.
Fill saucepan with water. Bring to boiling. Add broccoli; cook 5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add sweet pepper; stir for 30 seconds. Drain vegetables in colander. Transfer vegetables to serving bowl; cover to keep warm.
Meanwhile, whisk together broth, butter, vinegar, cornstarch, ginger and salt in saucepan. Bring to boiling, whisking constantly; cook 1 minute. Add vegetables; toss to coat. Transfer to serving bowl. Garnish with sesame seeds.

{Stir Fried Wild Rice w/ Apples and Sun Dried Cherries}
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons finely minced onions
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 apple, peeled, cored, and cut into small cubes
1 cup chopped mushrooms
¼ cup sun dried cherries
1 ½ cups cooked wild rice
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat sauté pan. Add olive oil and sauté minced onions and curry powder until translucent. Add chopped apple, mushrooms and sun-dried cherries and cook until mushrooms are cooked through.
Add cooked wild rice and stir-fry until rice is hot and tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.

{Creme Brûlée}
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
¼ vanilla bean (split)
3 egg yolks
1 whole egg
¼ cup sugar
Brown sugar
Cut up fruit or berries
Combine heavy cream, milk and vanilla bean. Heat to boil. Remove from heat and steep 10 minutes with vanilla bean. Scrape bean seeds into the milk mixture.
With an electric mixer, combine eggs and sugar. Add the milk mix in a steady stream. Strain mixture through a fine strainer. Skim foam.
Divide into 4 ramekins (about 4 oz each) set in baking dish and pour enough hot water around ramekins to come ½ way up the sides. Place in 325 degree oven for approx. 25 – 30 minutes until just set. (Trembles slightly)
Cover top with brown sugar. Caramelize the tops with torch.

{Lemon Ginger Snowballs}
½ cup shortening
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger or finely chopped crystallized ginger
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon honey
1 tsp finely shredded lemon peel
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2 ½ cups all purpose flour
Granulated sugar
1 recipe Powdered sugar glaze (below)
Toppings: coconut, powdered sugar, or white nonpareils
In large mixing bowl beat shortening, ginger, vanilla, honey, and lemon peel on medium until fluffy. Add brown sugar; beat until well-combined. Beat in ground ginger, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Beat in eggs. Beat in as much of the flour as you can; stir in remaining by hand. Refrigerate dough 1 hour or until easy to handle.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Shape dough in 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar and place on two ungreased baking sheets.
Bake 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheets. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Dip in powdered sugar glaze and toppings; let stand on waxed paper to dry. Makes 4 dozen.

{Powdered Sugar Glaze}
In bowl stir together 1 cup powdered sugar and about 4 teaspoons water to reach drizzling consistency.
Chocolate Variation:
Prepare as directed, adding ¼ cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder with the brown sugar, and reducing the flour to 2 1/3 cups. Bake 10 minutes or until edges are set. Dust with powdered sugar.

{Layered Turtle Cheesecake}
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup finely chopped pecans
6 tablespoons cold butter
4 pkgs (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup plus 1 tsp all-purpose flour, divided
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup milk chocolate chips, melted and cooled
¼ cup caramel ice cream topping
1/3 cup chopped pecans

½ cup milk chocolate chips
¼ cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons chopped pecans
Optional garnish: pecan halves and additional caramel ice cream topping
Place a greased 9-in. springform pan on a double thickness of heavy-duty foil (about 18 in. square). Securely wrap foil around pan.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar and pecans; cut in butter until crumbly. Press onto the bottom of prepared pan. Place pan on a baking sheet. Bake at 325 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until set. Cool on a wire rack.
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugars until smooth. Beat in ¼ cup flour, cream and vanilla. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Remove 1 cup batter to a small bowl; stir in melted chocolate until blended. Spread over crust. Combine caramel topping and remaining flour; stir in pecans. Drop by tablespoonfuls over chocolate batter. Top with remaining batter. Place springform pan in a large baking pan; add 1 in. of hot water to a larger pan.
Bake at 325 degrees for 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours or until center is just set and top appears dull. Remove springform pan from water bath. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight.
For ganache, place chips in a small bowl. In a small saucepan, bring cream just to a boil. Pour over chips; whisk until smooth. Cool slightly, stirring occasionally. Spread over cheesecake. Sprinkle with chopped pecans. Refrigerate until set. Garnish with pecan halves and additional caramel topping if desired.

{The Gifts}
The gals were given soft, warm, comfy blankets wrapped in bright colored fashion scarves and tied together with shimmery snowflake ornaments!
Such a thoughtful and cozy gift! Our recipe pages were also given. Such elegance and comfort!

{The Hostesses}
A warm thanks to Jenae and Lisa S. for such a beautiful evening.
We truly felt part of a magical winter wonderland with all the cozy comforts of home.
It was stunning decor, a divine menu, and such warm and enjoyable conversation.
Cozy and heartfelt, indeed!
A special thanks to Steve, Mike, Karly, Brooklyn, and the handsome young men too! You made our evening so relaxing and wonderful.

{The Gals}