Friday, May 28, 2010

A Night in the Garden

{A Night In The Garden}
May 2010
Suzette & Monica

{The Invite}
The Gals were given a potted live flower as the invite.
{Garden Decor} {The Place Settings} {The Menu}
{Bacon Shrimp Bites}

40 large ready-to-eat shrimp, peeled, tails intact
20 bacon slices, cut in half
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme

Cook bacon slices until soft and pliable. Wrap each shrimp with a slightly cooked bacon piece, securing with a wooden pick. Combine basil and thyme; sprinkle 2 tablespoons of herb mixture onto shrimp bites. Place on a lightly greased rack in a broiler pan. Broil 6 inches from heat with oven door partially open for a few minutes on each side or until bacon is crisp. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons of herbs.

{Crab Wontons}
32 wanton wrappers
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 (3.52 ounces each) premium crab meat, drained
¼ cup thinly sliced green onions
¼ cup finely chopped sweet red pepper
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Press wanton wrappers into miniature muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Spritz wrappers with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-9 minutes or until wanton wrappers are 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 wanton cups. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until filling is heated through. Serve warm.
{Moms Yeast Rolls}
2 cups hot water
1/2 cup margarine
1/3 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup cold water
2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 eggs

Melt margarine in hot water. Add sugar and salt and stir. Add cold water and yeast. Stir to dissolve yeast.
Add 3 cups flour and mix. Add eggs and 2 1/2 - 3 cups more flour. Mix, cover and let rise until dough doubles in size.
Punch down and let rise 30 more minutes or until doubles.
Make walnut size balls of dough. Place about 2 inches apart in well-buttered 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees oven for 30-45 minutes. Brush top of rolls with butter while hot.
Bake 14 minutes or until edges are lightly golden. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets. Remove and cool completely on wire racks. Sprinkle with additional powdered sugar to serve.

{Quick ‘N’ Easy Herb Spread}
1 pound cream cheese, softened
1 cup butter, softened
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon basil
½ teaspoon dill weed
½ teaspoon ground pepper
½ teaspoon marjoram

Cream together cheese and butter in bowl of mixer or food processor. Add herbs and mix well. Cover and chill 24 hours. Serve at room temperature as a spread on snack crackers or bread.
{Blueberry Medley Salad}
2 cups fresh blueberries
1 medium red apple, diced
1 large naval orange, peeled, sectioned and chopped
½ cup finely chopped sweet onion
1 to 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
¼ cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons unsweetened apple juice
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
1 package (5 ounces) spring mix salad greens
½ cup crumbled blue or feta cheese

In a large bowl, combine the blueberries, apple, orange, onion and cilantro.
In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar, apple juice, sugar, oil and salt; drizzle over fruit mixture and toss to coat. Let stand for 10 minutes. Divide salad greens among serving plates. Use slotted spoon, arrange blueberry salsa over greens. Drizzle with dressing left in bowl. Sprinkle with your choice of cheese.
{Strawberry Gazpacho}
2 quarts strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and halved
1 ripe mango, pitted, peeled, and diced
2 kiwis, peeled and diced
¼ cup sugar or sugar to taste
1 cup white grape juice
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
½ cup vanilla low fat yogurt

Dice one cup strawberries; combine in a small bowl with mango and kiwi. Reserve and refrigerate ½ cup. Puree remaining halved strawberries with the sugar in food processor until smooth. Pour into a bowl; stir in grape juice, lime juice, and remaining diced fruit. Refrigerate at least tow hours, or up to one day. To serve, ladle gazpacho into individual bowls. Top with yogurt and reserved fruit.
{Poached Chicken Breast}
Butter as needed
1 ounce Shallots fine dice
4 each Chicken Supremes prepared
1 cup Chicken Stock prepared
2 ounces White Wine dry
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 ounces Beurre Manie
4 ounces Heavy cream whipped
Herbs, finely chopped (parsley, thyme, rosemary)

Place the shallots in a buttered sauté pan, place the chicken
suprêmes over the shallots, add the chicken stock, white wine, and season with salt and pepper.
Bring the liquid to a simmer on the stove, cover the chicken with a paper lid and poach it in the oven at 350° until the chicken is done. Remove the chicken, keep the chicken warm.
Prepare the sauce: Strain the poaching liquid (Cuisson) and bring to a simmer, thicken the sauce lightly with beurre manie, season to taste, then fold in the whipped cream and the chopped herbes. Coat the chicken breasts with the sauce.

{Basil Oven Fries}
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon dried basil
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
4 medium red potatoes

In a large Ziploc zipper storage bag, combine the Parmesan cheese, oil, basil and garlic powder. Cut potatoes into ¼ inch sticks. Add to bag a few pieces at a time and shake to coat.
Place in a 15 x 10 inch baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes on each side or until crisp and tender.

{Glazed Carrots}
1 pound Carrots -- sliced
Water -- as needed
2 ounces Butter
1 ounce Sugar
Salt & Pepper to taste

Place the prepared carrots in a sauté pan with chicken stock
almost to the top of the carrots, season with salt and pepper.
Add the butter and sugar, bring to a simmer and cook until almost
all of the moisture has evaporated, leaving a syrupy reduction.
Add more chicken stock if it has evaporated. Toss the carrots in this glaze to coat them, season to taste.

{Hollandaise Sauce}
1 teaspoon Shallots fine dice
1/4 teaspoon Whole Black Peppercorns fresh-cracked
1 ounce Cider Vinegar
1 ounce White Wine
1 ounce Water
3 each Egg yolks
1 1/2 ounces Reduction prepared
7 ounces Clarified butter warmed
Salt and white Pepper to taste
Lemon juice to taste

Combine the shallots, peppercorns, vinegar, white wine and water; bring to a simmer and reduce until the liquid is half of its original amount, strain and cool the reduction slightly.
In a stainless steel bowl combine the egg yolks, reduction and whip them until frothy.
Place the stainless steel bowl over a sauce pot with simmering water slowly cook the egg mixture to the soft ribbon stage and triple in volume. They should have a lightly firm consistency.
Remove from the heat and gradually add the warm clarified butter, whipping constantly. Add the lemon juice, and adjust the seasoning with salt and white pepper to taste.
{Coconut Berry Tarts}
Baked Tart Shell
1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup cold butter, cubed
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
¼ cup sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 medium kiwifruit, peel and sliced
2/3 cup sliced fresh strawberries
2/3 cup each fresh raspberries, blueberries and blackberries
¼ cup flaked coconut toasted

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles course crumbs. Add egg: mix with a fork until blended. Shape dough into a ball. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until easy to handle.
Divide dough into six portions. Press each portion into a greased 4 in. tart pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
In a small bowl beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in sweetened condensed milk and lemon juice. Spoon 2 rounded tablespoons of filling into cooked tart shell. Arrange fruit over filling. Sprinkle with toasted coconut. Chill until served.

{Toasting Coconut}
To toast coconut, spread the coconut in a 15 x 10 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned stirring occasionally. Or spread the coconut in a dry nonstick skillet and heat over low until lightly browned stirring occasionally.

{Lemon Cream Cupcakes}
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sour cream
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
2 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 tablespoon milk

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add lemon peel and vanilla; mix well. Combine dry ingredients; add to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream (batter will be thick). Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups with 1/4 cup of batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. For frosting, cream butter and sugar in a small mixing bowl. Add lemon juice, vanilla, lemon peel and milk; beat until smooth. Frost cupcakes.

{Lemon Sorbet}
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest

Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan, remove from the heat, and cool. Combine the syrup with the lemon and zest and pour into the bowl of an ice cream machine. Freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. After the sorbet is made, transfer to an airtight container. Cover tightly and freeze until ready to serve.
{Teo’s Punch}
2 cups apple juice
2 (6-ounce) cans pineapple juice
1 (12-ounce) can thawed cranberry juice concentrate, undiluted
1 (6-ounce) can thawed orange juice concentrate, undiluted
4 cups club soda, chilled

Combine first 4 ingredients; stir until blended. Add soda just before serving. Serve over ice.

{Blackberry Lemonade}
4 cups water, divided
1 cup sugar
1 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
1 cup blackberries
1 to 2 drops blue food coloring, optional

In a large saucepan, bring 2 cups water and sugar to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat. Stir in the lemon juice, lemon peel and remaining water; cool slightly.

In a blender, combine 1 cup of lemon mixture and the blackberries; cover and process until blended. Strain and discard seeds. Pour blackberry mixture and remaining lemon mixture into a pitcher; stir well. Refrigerate until chilled. Serve over ice. {The Gifts}
The gals were given delicious homemade Rosemary-Orange thumbprint cookies. They were wrapped beautifully along with a mini container of wildflower seeds.
This gift was truly inspired by the garden. So classy and divine!

{Rosemary-Kissed Orange Thumbprint Cookies Tuscano}
1 cup all-purpose flower
½ cup corn starch
1 tsp. snipped fresh rosemary
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup butter, softened
1/3 cup powdered sugar
Few drops almond extract
¼ cup orange marmalade
Powder Sugar

In small bowl stir together flour, cornstarch, rosemary, and salt; set aside. In medium mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed 30 seconds. Add 1/3 cup powdered sugar and almond extract and beat until combined. Add flour mixture and beat until combined. Wrap and chill dough 1 hour or until easy to handle
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Shape dough into twenty-four 1 ¼ inch balls. Arrange 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Use thumb to make indentions in each cookie. Spoon about ½ tsp. marmalade into center of each cookie.

{Honey Lemon Yogurt Sauce}
1 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Special equipment: a 10-inch nonstick angel food cake pan
For the sauce: In a small bowl whisk together the yogurt, honey, and lemon juice until smooth. Pour into a serving pitcher.

{The Hostesses}
Thanks to Suzette and Monica for such a beautiful evening in the garden. The ambiance was tranquil with birds and crickets chirping in the background, flowers and butterflies, and lighted flower arrangements. We felt as though we were in a magical garden!
The food was amazing!
Everything was fresh, light, and so beautifully and artistically presented.

{The Gals}