Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dinner Party

A couple months ago I invited another couple over for dinner. I thought the evening turned out pretty well overall. Here is what I ended up making:

  • Bruschetta w/White Beans, Sun Dried Tomatoes & Basil

  • Spinach, feta, raspberry, candied nut salad w/ raspberry vinaigrette

  • Chicken with Goat Cheese and Sundried Tomato Sauce

  • Saffron Rice and Red Pepper Pilaf

  • Strawberry Mascarpone Tart

  • Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures of most of the meal. Starting with the appetizer, I loved the flavor of this dish and it had a hint of spice.

    Bruschetta w/White Beans, Sun Dried Tomatoes & Basil (joelens.blogspot.com)

    1 -2 cloves garlic sliced thin
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1/2 teaspoons Chili flakes
    2 tablespoons Basil leaves (8-10 pieces)
    1/3 cup Sundried tomatoes, julienned
    Lemon juice to taste
    Kosher salt & fresh black pepper to taste
    3/4 cup canned white beans (Great Northern)
    1/4 cup chicken broth
    2 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated
    Thick slices of Italian bread
    Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
    Italian Parsley for garnish, chopped

    In a saute pan on medium heat, toast the sliced garlic in the pure olive oil. When it is light golden, add the chili flakes, cook for 10 seconds and then add the basil leaves. Do this carefully, as the basil may spatter some oil. When the leaves are wilted and crispy, add the sundried tomatoes. Toss for a minute or so and adjust the seasoning with lemon juice, salt and pepper.

    Add the beans to the pan. Add the chicken broth and mix all together and mash to your preferred texture - smooth or chunky. Hold warm. Adjust consistency as necessary with the bean liquid, a little at a time.
    Grill or toast the bread on both sides until crispy. Be careful on high heat as bread burns easily. Lightly swipe the remaining garlic clove on one side of the bread. Arrange the toasted bruschetta on a serving platter. Top each piece with some of the tomato-bean mixture, then sprinkle the grated Parmesan over the mixture. Drizzle the remaining extra virgin olive oil on the bruschetta and finish with the parsley. Serve warm.

    Sunday, September 27, 2009

    Blueberry Muffins

    Wow, its been so long since I last updated. My apologies! Between marathon training, family visiting, and a new job, I have not had much time to try lots of new recipes. However, I did try a few new things, and I hope to be posting on a more regular basis again.

    These muffins were easy to make and tasty. The streusel topping really makes them taste more like mini coffee cakes.

    Blueberry Muffins (Annies-Eats.com)

    yield: 8 muffins

    1 ½ c. flour
    ¾ c. sugar
    ½ t. salt
    2 t. baking powder
    1/3 c. vegetable oil
    1 egg
    ~1/3 c. milk
    1 cup blueberries (or more)
    streusel topping:
    ¼ c. sugar
    2 T. and 2 t. flour
    2 T. butter, cubed
    ¾ t. cinnamon

    Preheat the oven to 400°. Grease or line 8 muffin wells with muffin liners.
    Combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with flour mixture. Fold in blueberries. Pour into lined muffin cups; fill to the top.
    To make streusel topping, combine listed ingredients and mix well with a fork until crumbly. Sprinkle over tops of muffins.
    Bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes.