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October Chefs’ Club – Autumn Returns!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Some of our favorite Chefs’ Club meals have been in the Autumn months. The flavors just meld together so well! So after a busy Summer and lots of travel, we finally were able to get ALL EIGHT CHEFS together once again, plus 1! We have a new baby girly to add to Chefs’ Club!

INGREDIENTS:
Squash (any type!), Apples, Cinnamon, and Nutmeg.

THE ROLES:

  • Cocktail: Laura – Pumpkin Divine – Pear vodka and lush pumpkin butter make this a stand-out cocktail! Looking at some other recipes, she decided to use Maple Syrup as a sweetener, rather than the simple syrup. An easy swap and also fit with the Autumn flavors!
  • Appetizer/Soup: Kelly B – Pumpkin Soup with Chili-Cran-Apple relish. I did make quite a few changes.  I knew I didn’t want to use cream, but was worried about using NF milk.  In the end, I used one cup of whole milk instead of 2 cups of Heavy Cream!  I was intending to add the other cup, but the consistency and taste seemed great, so I didn’t worry about it! I did use a little extra flour (gluten free all-purpose flour), to thicken the soup since I wasn’t adding all the cream. I also used a yellow onion for the relish, rather than red, since I already had some chopped from the soup earlier.  I thought this had great flavor! I added a bit extra of the spices and hot sauce, since some of the reviews seemed to think it lacked flavor, but was impressed overall!  I’ve made soups like this where you have to put batches in the blender and it is a mess and takes forever. This one is sooo much easier!
  • Salad: Kim – Arugula and Roasted Pear Salad – a few changes: Kim swapped the pine nuts for pecans, since she felt like this was a better complement to the sweet pears…plus, they’re her favorite J  She also added a bit of blue cheese, which we all loved! Just a tiny bit was a great creamy/pungent complement to the sweetness of the roasted pears.
  • Main: Kelly J – Pork Tenderloin with Apple-Cranberry chutney.  Great flavor! And we had a bit extra chutney to spread over our pork as it was served.
  • Side: Sarah – Pumpkin Risotto.  Sarah also made some changes, adding some onion, garlic, and white wine to give a little extra depth and flavor to this dish. It was fantastic! It seems like the grown-up version of macaroni and cheese J  The fried sage leaf added interest, too, but Sar says that next time she’ll just chop them to add them in throughout the risotto/pumpkin mixture.
  • Side: Erin – Apple-filled Acorn Squash Rings with Curry Butter.  Such a pretty dish!  Looked beautiful on the plate and tasted great! Slightly awkward dinner moment, though. I looked around and realized that no one else was eating the skin! They had the skin still in a circle on their plates!  When I asked everyone laughed and said they had thought it was kind of odd, but why not? Our resident Nurse Practitioner said, “Fiber, it’s good for you”, so we all had a bit of the skin after that!
  • Dessert: Meredith – Gingerbread pumpkin mousse Trifle!!  A beautiful presentation and tasted delicious!! A delight of fall flavors.
  • Wine: Stacey scoured Fall editions of her EVERYDAY FOOD magazine and found a fun set of pairings for Thanksgiving meals.  Since we were incorporating so many fall flavors, it seems appropriate! It was very fun to incorporate and official ‘wine tasting’ into our Chefs’ Club evening!We poured a small amount, swirled it in our glasses, took in the aroma, and compared notes as we tasted! All the while, Stace read off the descriptions so we would know what to try to look for in our taste buds!
    • WHITES:
      • Viognier
      • Gerwurztraminer
    • REDS:
      • Pinot Noir
      • Lambrusco  (this one was expecially fun! No one at the table had ever tried a sparkling red like this before…interesting and almost kind of a buttery flavor – a very fun find!)

 

The Pumpkin/Pear Cocktail!

 

Pumpkin Soup!

 

Learning about our different wines for the evening...

The Lambrusco -- the surprising wine we'd never tried before.

 

Voila! Dinner is served!

 

The elegant and decadent Gingerbread-Pumpkin Mousse Trifle!

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October 22, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

September – Mexican Fiesta!!

We were wondering the WHOLE evening how we didn’t ever do a Mexican theme before! This was a stand-out evening…Recipes below!

RECIPES TO COME SOON!!!

THE ROLES:

  • Cocktail: Kelly B – Traditional Margarita.  I’m not sure why there are so many “Margarita Mixes” on the market…this was really easy, just adding a dash of Fresh Lime Juice! I actually ended up using the Cabo-Wabo Margarita Recipe since my parents and siblings were heading to see Sammy Hagar play this same night in Columbus, OH!  Not exactly Cabo San Lucas, but fun nonetheless!
  • Appetizer: Erin – homemade Tortilla Chips and a delicious Chunky Guacamole!
  • Salad:
  • Main: Team effort: Sarah and Stacey – Cheese Enchiladas with Green Sauce!  THESE WERE SOO GOOD! I don’t think I’ve ever eaten Mexican food like this at home before! Definitely impressive, ladies.  A few notes from Sarah: We mostly followed the recipe except that we added a rotisseriechicken–shredded the meat, used flour burrito tortillas and did not fry them in oil, doubled the sauce recipe for 8 burritos but don’t
    think you’d need to–we had a lot left over, and put a small amount of sauce on the bottom of the pan and inside each burrito rather than
    only on top.
  • Sides:Laura – Traditional Mexican Rice and Beans!  Mexican Rice.  She added some diced tomatoes and reduced the amount of tomato sauce to balance (found a can with lime juice and garlic, or something the that effect). Also did less chicken stock than recommended.  She also started browning/softening the onions in oil before adding the rice, as some reviewers suggested.
    Mexican Black Beans When Laura did this, she half-mashed the beans.  She also recommending being careful with how much chicken stock you put in!!  Basically, you can control how soupy/mushy it is.  She ended up using less than what was called for.
  • Dessert:Stacey –  Vanilla Ice Cream with Kahlúa & cinnamon inpsired by CASA ROMERO, an amazing Mexican Restaurant in the Back Bay of Boston!
  • Not present, but definitely missed: Kelly J, Meredith, and Kim

Margarita! No...not your traditional glass...but we work with what we have 🙂

Homemade corn and flour tortilla chips. Mm-mmm!

Guacamole 🙂

Enchiladas!

Wow. Seriously, wow. This green sauce is amazing!

October 22, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

August – Annual Roofdeck Appetizers Party!

Kim may have moved and she may have a different roofdeck view, but we’re still carrying on the Roofdeck Appetizer Tradition!  Our Beacon Hill Roofdeck appetizer fete was held on Thursday, August 25.

SADLY, though, our evening of overlooking Boston on a Beacon Hill roofdeck was thwarted by the rain L  So, we had an indoor gathering at Laura’s instead

WORK IN PROGRESS — STILL NEED TO GET RECIPE LINKS AND PICTURES FROM EVERYONE!

THE ROLES:

  • Cocktail: Stacey – Dark and Stormy
  • Vegetarian Appetizer: Meredith – Corn Cakes – A fun recipe from her Farmer’s Market Cookbook!  Here it is:  2.5 cups fresh corn kernels (about 5 ears); 3 large eggs; 3/4 cup milk; 3 T butter, melted; 3/4 cup flour; 3/4 cup cornmeal; 1 8-oz package fresh mozzarella cheese, grated; 2 T chopped fresh chives; 1 tsp salt; 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
    1. Pulse first 4 ingredients together in a food processor 3-4 times or just until corn is coarsely chopped.
    2. Stir together flour and next 5 ingredients in a large bowl; stir in corn mixture just until dry ingredients are moistened.
    3. Spoon 1/8 cup batter for each cake onto a hot, lightly greased griddle or large nonstick skillet to form 2-inch cakes (do not spread or flatten cakes).
    Cook cakes 3 to 4 minutes or until tops are covered with bubbles and edges look cooked.  Turn and cook other sides 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Vegetarian Appetizer: Laura –
  • Meat Appetizer: Kelly – homemade Gaufrettes with Filet Mignon and Gorgonzola sauce for a pretty amuse-bouche! My mandolin is not great, so it was hard making a full waffle chip, but I got a lot of halves! It was labor intensive, but the flavors were fun! A crip chip with a slice of filet on top, drizzled with the gorgonzola sauce.  The sauce has a nice kick to it, too. Yum!
  • Meat Appetizer: Kim –
  • Dessert: Erin – Key Lime Cannoli!  She used two different recipe versions: Lime Marscapone Cannoli with Mango Sauce and Summer Cannoli. Fresh and light!
  • Sadly missed:  Sarah and Kelly J.
  • Wine: Guests – Thanks to Aaron, Andy, Keegan, Bryan, and Ryan.

October 22, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hatch Shell Appetizers

This is our third annual “Chefs’ Club evening at the Hatch Shell”!  We attend the Landmark’s Festival Orchestra free classical concerts nearly EVERY Wednesday of the Summer at the Hatch Shell; but, once a year, we make it an extra special occasion by bringing Chefs Club outside to dine on the Esplanade and enjoy our city!

THE ROLES:

Appetizer: Meredith – Green Bean Salad.

Appetizer: Sarah – Bean Salad

Appetizer: Erin – tomato, roasted red pepper, cheese salad

Appetizer: Kim – Wisconsin Cheese from her recent trip back home – Cracked Pepper aged Cheddar…HMMMM!

Appetizer: Kelly B. –  Sopressata Asiago Spirals  (Note: used sopressata, not pepperoni!)  This is a slight variation off the recipe, which are technically “Pepperoni Asiago Pinwheels”.   Fairly easy and a fun, tasty finger food!

Dessert: Laura – Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookie with this Peanut Butter Icing recipe for an amazing sandwich of a dessert!!

Dessert: Stacey – key lime pie – AMAZING Summer flavors. A must-try.

Wine: everyone/guests/etc

Wednesday Night's out at the Hatch Shell!

Kelly's Sopressata-Asiago Pinwheels

Meredith's Green Bean Salad

Sarah's bean salad!

Erin's tomato and cheese salad!

Wisconsin Cheese!

Stacey's Key Lime Pie

Laura's amazing sandwich cookies 🙂 Chocolate and Peanut Butter!

October 22, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

June 2011 – Summer at last!

Summer is here!  We got together to prepare some fantastic Summer dishes 🙂  Thanks to Meredith’s roomies, who let us crash thier house, even when she wasn’t able to get there at the start time!

THE ROLES:

  • Cocktail: Kim – a Summer classic: the Mojito!
  • Appetizer:  Stacey – Goat cheese rounds with fresh garlic and honey
  • Salad: Erin – Cucumber Tomato and Pineapple Salad with Asian Dressing.  Lots of color! And a great alternative to a lettuce/greens-based salad!
  • Main: Laura – Spicy Fajita’s!  These had some kick to them! And they were absolutely fantastic! SUCH great flavor. I would make them again in a heartbeat.
  • Side: Kelly – tried to re-create an AMAZING pork and pineapple salad that we had in the Cayman Islands in February.  I used pork tenderloin and fresh pineapple.  I couldn’t find a recipe that seemed like a good match, so I just experimented a bit with the notes I had made myself on the trip. Sadly, this did not turn out well!!! It’s not even worth mentioning what I tried to assemble. bleh.
  • Dessert: Sarah – Angel Food Cake with delicious custard filling and fresh strawberries. This recipe is for cupcakes, but Sarah made it as a layer cake with strawberries on top. Very light!
  • Wine: Meredith
  • Not present: Kelly J – she’s at home with a newborn!!!!

Stacey's flavorful goat-cheese app!

More goat cheese all around.

Erin's delicious and refreshingly Summery salad.

October 22, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment