Monday, January 9, 2012

Sunday Dinner 1-7-12

For this coming semester (and potentially longer as early feedback is strongly positive), Sunday dinner will be held on Saturdays.

For this week we had two special guests - Aimee Kandrac and Brett Yockey.  Brett is one of my residents, and a good friend as well.  Aimee is Brett's handler, making sure that he stays in line at least 70% of the time :-).

As always we started off the evening with a cocktail:

The Cherry Maple Leaf

1 oz cognac
1/2 oz Luxardo cherry liquor
1/4 oz maple syrup
1/4 oz dry vermuth (we used Pernucci)
1/4 oz fresh-squeezed lemon juice

Combine ingredients in an ice-filled cocktail shaker and shake vigorously. Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice.

The cocktail was incredibly well recieved.  Kathy particularly loved it and declared that it's her favorite so far.

For an appetizer we had a fantastic bean dip put together by Geri and Kathy.

Creamy White Bean Dip

1 15-ounce can cannellini (white kidney beans), drained
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, peeled
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

Puree first 5 ingredients in processor until almost smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer dip to small bowl. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) Mix mint, dill, and lemon peel in small dish; sprinkle over dip.

A tasty salad was provided by Aimee and Brett:

Green Chickpea Salad

Found on pinterest:

I used a variation of this recipe for last night:
I used spinach, chard and red leaf lettuce and I left out the red chilli...

    1 small red chilli, finely diced, optional
    1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or lemon juice
    1 can chickpeas (400g / 14oz), drained
    1/2 bunch cavalo nero, kale, spinach or silverbeet (chard)
    2 handfuls finely grated parmesan

1. Combine chilli, if using, with vinegar or lemon juice and 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Season.

2. Toss chickpeas in the dressing.

3. Slice cavalo nero or kale super finely into shreds, removing the stem if it is too coarse. Toss the shredded greens into the salad with the parmesan.

Buttermilk Dijon Mashed Potatoes
Bon Appetit Nov 2000, p 200
10 servings

4 lbs russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
3/4c (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter
2 tbsp coarse-grain dijon mustard
1 ½ c (or more) butter milk
optional: chopped fresh parsley
optional:  celery and onions

Cook  the potatoes in a large pot of boiling salted water (I also included chunks of celery and onion, which were then removed before mashing the taters) until tender, about 20 min.  drain.  Transfer potatoes to a large bowl.

Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk in dijon mustard.  Remove from heat and whisk in 1 ½ cups buttermilk.  Using handheld electric mixer, beat potatoes until smooth.  Gradually beat in buttermilk mixture.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Beat in additional buttermilk if dry.  (Can be prepared 2h ahead.  Cover and let stand at room temperature.  Rewarm in microwave until heated through, about 5 min.).  Sprinkle chopped fresh parsley around edge.

Stuffed Pumpkin

Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pumpkin, about 3 pounds
1/4 pound stale bread, thinly sliced and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1/4 pound cheese, such as Gruyère, Emmenthal, or a combination, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
2 garlic cloves (to taste), coarsely chopped
About 1/4 cup snipped fresh chives or sliced scallions
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
About 1/3 cup heavy cream
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg


Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Find a baking dish that will hold your pumpkin.

Using a very sturdy knife—and caution—cut a cap out of the top of the pumpkin (think Halloween Jack-o-Lantern). It's easiest to work your knife around the top of the pumpkin at a 45-degree angle. You want to cut off enough of the top to make it easy for you to work inside the pumpkin. Clear away the seeds and strings from the cap and from inside the pumpkin. Season the inside of the pumpkin generously with salt and pepper, and put it in the baking dish.

Toss the bread, cheese, garlic, and herbs together in a bowl. Season with pepper—you may have enough salt from the cheese, but taste to be sure—and pack the mix into the pumpkin. The pumpkin should be well filled—you might have a little too much filling, or you might need to add to it. Stir the cream with the nutmeg and some salt and pepper and pour it into the pumpkin.  Again, you might have too much or too little—you don’t want the ingredients to swim in cream, but you do want them nicely moistened. (It's hard to go wrong here.)

Put the cap in place (or foil if it’s too tall with the cap) and bake the pumpkin for about 2-2.5 hours—check after 90 minutes—or until everything inside the pumpkin is bubbling and the flesh of the pumpkin is tender enough to be pierced easily with the tip of a knife. Because the pumpkin will have exuded liquid, I like to remove the cap during the last 20 minutes or so, so that the liquid can bake away and the top of the stuffing can brown a little. NEXT TIME: Try baking pumpkin halves separately from the stuffing and then assemble at the end, may reduce the cooking time.

When the pumpkin is ready, carefully, very carefully—it's heavy, hot, and wobbly—bring it to the table or transfer it to a platter that you'll bring to the table.

You have a choice—you can either spoon out portions of the filling, making sure to get a generous amount of pumpkin into the spoonful, or you can dig into the pumpkin with a big spoon, pull the pumpkin meat into the filling, and then mix everything up. I'm a fan of the pull-and-mix option. Served in hearty portions followed by a salad, the pumpkin is a perfect cold-weather main course; served in generous spoonfuls, it's just right alongside the Thanksgiving turkey.

Or just cut it in half and serve each person a half filled with stuffing― or if baking separately, put a half in a bowl and top with stuffing.

It's really best to eat this as soon as it's ready. However, if you’ve got leftovers, you can scoop them out of the pumpkin, mix them up, cover, and chill them; reheat them the next day.

Bonne Idée
There are many ways to vary this arts-and-crafts project. Instead of bread, I've filled the pumpkin with cooked rice—when it's baked, it's almost risotto-like. And, with either bread or rice, on
different occasions I've added cooked spinach, kale, chard, or peas (the peas came straight from the freezer). Nuts are a great addition, as are chunks of apple or pear or pieces of chestnut.

yield: Makes 2 very generous servings or 4 more genteel servings

Martha Turner's Carrot Cake
The quintessential carrot cake. This is one of a few cakes that actually uses canned fruit. The pineapple makes it moist and tart. Thanks to Martha Turner of Greensboro, North Carolina for the recipe.

Cake Batter
2 cups all-purpose flour (spoon flour into dry measuring cup and level off)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
Want to have to special boil such as corn or Camilla
2 cups peeled and finally grated carrots (four large carrots)
One 8 ounce can of crushed pineapple in juice
3/4 cup (about 3 ounces) pecans, coarsely chopped.

Cream Cheese Icing
12 ounces cream cheese, softened
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened.
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup (about 4 ounces) pecans, coarsely chopped and lightly toasted
6 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted after measuring.

3 2-inch deep 9-inch round cake pans, buttered and bottoms lined with buttered parchment or wax paper

1. Set the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat at 325°.
2. Stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon in a bowl, mixing well.
3. Whisk the eggs in a large mixing bowl. Whisk in the sugar and continue whisking briefly until light, about one minute. Whisk in the oil in a slow stream.
4. Stir in the carrots, the pineapple with its juice, and the pecans, and then fold in the dry ingredients. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the tops.
5. Bake for about 45 minutes, switching the position of the pants top and bottom and back to front, once during baking, until the cake layers are firm and golden any toothpick inserted into the center emerges clean.
6. Cool the cake in the pans for 10 minutes, and then invert into racks to finish cooling. Remove the paper before icing.
7. To make the icing, in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the paddle, beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. On medium speed until very soft and light, about five minutes. Decrease the mixer speed to low and gradually beat in the confectioner sugar. Once all the sugar is incorporated, increase the speed to medium and beat for five minutes longer.
8. To assemble the cake, place one layer on a platter or cardboard rounded spread with one third of the icing. Top with another layer and spread  with another third of the icing. Place the last layer on top, bottom side up, and, using a large offset spatula, frost the top inside the cake with the remaining icing. Sprinkle the toasted pecan pieces on top of the cake, and pressing the sites.

Storage: keep under cake dome at room temperature.

Makes one 9-inch three layer cake, about 16 servings.

1 comment:

Craftyk said...

So glad you guys joined the stuffed pumpkin club! Yum. the seeds are heavenly with Penzy's smoked salt. This whole post makes me wish I were there <3