The Ides of March/Shrimp & Radicchio Salad

I have been part of a Supper Club for over a decade and we have slowed down the past couple years. But, we are coming back to life! So last month we were able to catch up with a very fun theme – the Ides of March. How did this come about? Somebody RSVP’d on this day, so why not make that the theme, even though the event didn’t take place on that day.  So, anything you brought had to have an ‘I’ in it – black bean dip, skirt steak, pizza. You get the drift.

It was funny, because I thought awhile on this, because so many things I was thinking about didn’t have the letter ‘I’ in them. I was out running on the Sunday morning of the dinner with a friend who cooks a lot and we were talking about this and I was bouncing ideas off of her. I’m making this sound like I’m making a major life decision! She told me come the end of this 12 mile run – ok, worst case scenario, it’s ‘Mel’s Recipe’.  Thanks, score!

Well, I ended finding a great one – Shrimp and Radicchio Salad. I think I was pretty covered there. It was so simple. I also happened to have all the ingredients already, too, except for the radicchio. I had both raw and precooked shrimp and I opted for the precooked, which made it so much easier. Made it a no-cook meal. The tang in the dressing/marinade was awesome. And that’s what was great. You just marinade the shrimp and then toss them all together with the salad.

Ingredients

1⁄2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 shallot, minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1⁄2 lb small shrimp, cooked and drained
1 head leaves lettuce, shredded (used a big of mixed greens)
1 head radicchio, shredded
1 cup cherry tomatoes

Directions

Combine first five ingredients (olive oil – mustard) in a bowl.  Stir in shrimp ***I just put all those ingredients in a ziploc and then added the shrimp. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes. In a large salad bowl combine lettuce and radicchio, pour shrimp and dressing on top. Toss add tomatoes and toss again.

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Also, at the dinner, we had pizza, dips (both appetizers and desserts) and quinoa. And of course some wine.

Sausage & Potato Pan Roast


Had Supper Club at my place awhile back and it was right before Halloween (yes, catching up on writing many posts). The theme I chose was Orange & Black, meaning that anything people cooked had to contain something of/with those colors. I came across a recipe in Food & Wine, Sausage-and-Potato Pan Roast, that with some slight alterations to the ingredients would fit the theme.

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Active: 20 minutes Total Time: 50 minutes Servings: 4-6

Ingredients

2 large red potatoes, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
2 Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch wedges
1 large baking potato, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
**for the potatoes overall, I used fingerlings, several medium reds and a sweet (for my orange color)
10 medium unpeeled shallots, halved
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
Kosher salt and pepper
1 1/2 pounds sweet Italian sausage, cut into 3-inch lengths **I grabbed chicken sausage from Trader Joe’s
One 8-ounce bunch of arugula, stemmed and chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Prep

Preheat the oven to 425°. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss all of the potatoes with the shallots and the 1/3 cup of olive oil. Season generously with salt and pepper. Roast for about 15 minutes, until the potatoes are lightly browned. Brush the sausage with olive oil and add to the baking sheet. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes longer, until the potatoes are tender and the sausage is cooked through.

Transfer everything on the baking sheet to a platter. Fold in the arugula and lemon juice, season with salt and pepper and serve.

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This stuff was delicious! So easy to make, too. Definitely added this to my default list for recipes to make.

Koper Pennie Wortel Slaai (Copper Penny Carrot Salad)

Last week I had my monthly supper club and the theme was Food From a Place You Want to Visit/Love to Visit.  South Africa is on my (near future) itinerary so I did some searching for a dish from there.  I finally decided on Koper Pennie Wortel Slaai (Copper Penny Carrot Salad).  It’s fresh veggies and quite the ‘dressing’.

Ingredients:

Salad

1 kg Carrots
3 Onions (I used white)
3 Green Chillies or if you prefer Green Pepper (I did that — nice green bell peppers)

Sauce/Dressing (note — I did some major amount adjustments to these)

250ml water
1 packet of tomato cream soup (I used a can of tomato soup because of lactose intolerance, so eliminated the aforementioned water)
200 ml Vinegar – used about 2 tbsp white vinegar
250 ml Sugar — used about 2-3 tsp
125 ml Oil — used about 1/4 cup olive oil
10 ml Worcester Sauce — used about 1 tsp
7 ml Mustard — used about 1 tsp

IMG_2545To make:

Cut carrots and onions into rings.  Boil carrots 15 minutes with a little salt. During the last 6 minutes, add the onions.

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Dice green peppers or chillies.  Add carrots, onions and chillies or green peppers in a low bowl. (Remember not to use stainless steel bowl, as it will cause a reaction due to acidity).

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For the sauce/dressing, combine all ingredients and bring to boil for about 5 minutes.

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Pour hot sauce over the vegetables.  Refrigerate for at least one day.  Enjoy!

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For the balance of the meal, some food came from Italy with a Tuscan Bean soup, the Southwest with some great spicy beans, Northern Africa with some Moroccan Chicken.  Delicious all around!

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You say dolmades, I say dolmas

In the end, they’re all the same.  I was making dolmas the other night for a supper club, for the 2nd time in about 8 years because they are a food that I do not enjoy preparing but thought I’d give them another try.  I have wondered about the difference in the two names so did a bit of research.  And, it’s not rocket science.  Based on various sources, dolmas OR dolmades is just the plural form of dolma.  So on we go.

I checked out several recipes and after weighing my options I went for Tyler Florence’s.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/dolmades-stuffed-grape-leaves-recipe/index.html

I made a couple substitutions because I had them on hand and they wouldn’t alter the taste too much:

-almonds vs. pine nuts

-veggie vs. chicken stock

-dry vs. fresh dill

So to begin, prep the onion, fennel, lemon zest.

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Saute the onion, fennel, nuts, zest and rice…ahh, smells good. Then add some stock and when done stir in dill, parsley, S&P.

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Then you blanch the grape leaves.  I think this is what the recipe I used years ago didn’t have me do so that caused tearing (both ripping and water coming out of my eyes from frustration) issues.  You do that for 5 minutes.

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Then the true work begins.  Get those leaves separated.  Have one ready, put about 2 tablespoons of mixture in the center, be strategic in rolling (all in the recipe), then place in a dutch oven.  You roll and roll, then roll some more.  Eventually you run out of filling.

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You put the pot on the stove, put some stock to cover the dolmas half way, some olive oil and lemon juice.

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They cook for about 30-40 minutes and voila!  I was a bit disappointed in mine.  The rice wasn’t quite done, but I didn’t determine this until too late.  I made, I ate, I will next time and thereafter forever enjoy them from elsewhere (aka restaurant or storebought).

Beer-scotti

Yes, oh, yes.  You read it right.  Why stick with the norm?  I love making biscotti, but when opportunity knocks, find the bottle opener!  I have my monthly supper club tomorrow and the theme is Texas.  I was debating what to make and after some deep thought I remembered that a beer I love is right out of that state.  The name — Shiner Bock.  So (I feel like Alton Brown here), time to get to the lab.  I’d made one beer-scotti before, but it’d been awhile, so I had to get the juices (aka beer) flowing.

I started by combining 12oz of Shiner (1 bottle) and about 1 cup of dried cranberries in a pot on the stove to have the cranberries get nice and drunk.  Oh, sorry, absorb all the liquid.  I kept it at medium heat for about 20 or so minutes.

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Once that was done, I let them cool for a bit (and sampled a few…very good!…keep away from children, unless you need them to fall asleep).

Next I was trying to decide what flavors to use as accents.  Do I want this to be savory or sweet?  I chose to do a bit of both.  I opted for rosemary and cinnamon.  So, here I go with all these ingredients, and of the the staples of my normal recipe…

Flour, sugar, baking powder & soda, salt, cinnamon, rosemary, egg yolk, vanilla, (more) Shiner, drunk cranberries, walnuts.

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Dough ready, make it into two logs, throw it into the over at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

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When the first part is done, take it out and slice it.  I use a pizza cutter.  Makes it so easy.  Samples required at this point.  WOW!  WOW!   For the second baking, I just turn the oven off and throw it back in there. I don’t time it, I know it will work perfectly because I’m not picky on the crunchiness, softness, etc. of the biscotti.  If you are wondering, the recipe called for 10 minutes at 325 degrees.

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I am so excited to take this to supper club tomorrow.  So, to summarize…pass me another.  Make that a biscotti this time.

 

Grown-Up Kids’ Food

I had my monthly supper club the other night and was excited as usual!  How can you not be excited about getting together with a bunch of people who love to cook with a changing theme every month?  This month’s theme — grown-up versions of kids’ food (based on foods you loved — at least that was my addition to it).

It took me awhile to decide what to make because a lot of kids’ foods that I think of have dairy (aka cheese) and I have to nix those because of the darn lactose intolerance. So I did some personal outreach and mental recap of what I liked as a kid (and what others would eat since I grew up eating almost everything).  So what did I come up with — Caesar Salad.  Ahh, Caesar Salad.  Come on, how could that not be a kid food.  Ok, ok, I’ll stop now.

The recipe I use is from The Washington Post in the ’80s.  It’s scribbled down though now I have it pretty much memorized.  Simple basic ingredients, combine, shake, taste, dress romaine.  And, in the interim, toast some bread for croutons to throw in there.

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Once at dinner, there was a great combo of other treats —

Chicken ‘lollipops’

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PB, Banana & J

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Spaghetti & Meatballs (a view of the sauce)

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There were also Chicken Fingers, Brownies and Wine (grape juice, right?).  It was Charles Krug Cab — DANG!

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The plated look(a bit dark, I know):

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As usual, the food and company were spectacular.  Look forward to meeting again.