Thursday, October 9, 2008

Eat, Drink, and be Merry

This past weekend was conference and so Kimberly and I decided that it would be a perfect opportunity to try out some of our fall recipes. I picked out a few I wanted to try this time, went grocery shopping, and then planned for our feast! I was so excited about kicking off our Autumn excursions and at first I thought I was being a little ambitious, but the recipes ended up not being very difficult, and the end results were pretty darn good.

On the menu was:
Wild Mushroom Dip
Vertical Pear Salads
Curry Pumpkin Soup
Spice Rubbed Chicken
and Pumpkin Chocolate Cookies.

Mmmm.... it even SOUNDS delicious!
Here are the recipes, along with pictures! I'm going off of memory here, but I'm pretty sure I got them right:

Wild Mushroom Dip
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 1 5 oz package of dried wild mushrooms (I had to use dried shitaki mushrooms that I found in the Asian food aisle. I almost didn't find any anywhere in the entire store but then a clerk that I recruited to hunt some with me found me later in the store with the shitaki ones. So if you want to make this and you can't find dried mushrooms, check the Asian aisle if there is one.)
- 2 cups white cooking wine
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 can (10 3/4 oz) cream of mushroom soup
- 1 cup shredded mozzerella cheese
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. dried tarragon

- Heat wine in microwave on High for 4 minutes. Place mushrooms in wine for ten minutes to rehydrate. Then blend mushrooms in blender/food processor with 2/3 cup of the wine (throw away the rest of it). Blend until it becomes a thick paste.
- In a crock pot mix mushroom paste and remaining ingredients together until well blended. Cook on low for 2-3 hours.
*I served it with some fresh tarragon on top.

Last minute I remembered some pitas I had in my fridge so I cut them up into little triangles and put them on a cookie sheet, sprinkled some grated parmesean cheese on them, and put them in the broiler for about 5 minutes. They came out slightly crispy with the cheese nicely melted on them.
I had this out to eat during the last session of conference and it tasted great with the pita chips. I loved the kinda smoky taste it had and the tarragon was delicious in it. Even Kimberly, a self admitted mushroom hater, seemed to like it.

Vertical Pear Salad
- 4 smooth skinned pears (whatever that means... aren't they all smooth?)
- 2-3 cups water cress (depending on how much salad you want)
- 1/2 cup toasted pecans
- 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
- vinagrette dressing (your choice. I used raspberry vinagrette and it was really good.)
- honey
- lemon juice (I had lime juice already in my fridge so I just used that instead.)
*I didn't measure any of the ingredients, I just added as much/little as I wanted.
- Cut pears horizontally (short ways) into four slices each. Use a kife to cut out the cores so the peices look like donuts. Leave the stem on the top peice. Brush lemon juice on each cut side of the pear peices.
- Toss the pecans, blue cheese, water cress, and dressing until coated.
- Reassemble the pear, vertically (ahhh... get it now? ;) ), with the watercress salad in between each slice. Once assembled, Drizzle with honey.

I absolutely LOVED this! It was delicious and surprisingly simple. And it looks awesome. The hardest part was remembering which order the pear peices went in the reassembly...
Pumpkin Curry Soup
- 1 30 oz can of canned pumkpin
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1/2 cup chopped onion (I used a white onion)
- 1/2 cup chopped carrot
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1 tsp curry powder (I used some yellow curry powder that Bradford has.)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 cup half and half
- water ? (I can't remember how much water it called for... I'll look at my recipe tonight and adjust it on here.)
- In a large pot melt butter on medium heat. Once melted add the celery, carrots, and onion. cook until somewhat soft. Then add the pumpkin pie spice and curry powder. Cook for 2 minutes.
-Add water and pumpkin. Bring to a boil. Then add salt and pepper. Reduce heat and let simmer for 15 minutes. Stir occaisionally. Remove from heat and let it slightly cool. (I stuck it in the fridge for about 15 minutes.)
- In a blender, blend about a 1/3 of the mixture at a time until welll blended. Once entire mixture is blended through, return to pot and allow to simmer. Once its simmering stir in the half and half.
This soup was really good. Everyone liked it a lot. Bradford gave it a 9 out of 10 even. I served it with some Italian parsley on top and some french bread Kimberly brought with her. I added some more salt and pepper to my serving, just because that's how I liked it, but it was perfectly fine without it. It had such a delicious flavor and it smelled incredible.
Spice Rubbed Chicken
- 1 5-6 lb roasting chicken (my grocery store didn't have roastign chickens so I picked up 3 cornish hens instead. I just adjusted the cooking time)
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander (we only had whole coriander, and it was like 7 dollars at the grocery store for the ground stuff, so I just used a spoon and ground it myself. It was a lot cheaper that way. :) )
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- olive oil
- 1 med. red onion thickly sliced/chopped
- 1 med. white and/or yellow onion thickly sliced/chopped
- Set oven to 350 degrees. Lay onions in the bottom of a shallow roasting pan. Sprinkle with salt.
- Mix all spices together in a bowl.
- Rinse chicken and pat dry. Rub with Olive oil then rub on the spice mixture. Coat entire chicken.
- Place on the onions and loosley cover with foil. Cook for 1/2 an hour. Then remove the foil and cook for another hour and a half to two hours. Or until juices run clear.
* For the cornish hens, I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I didn't get them done all they way on the first try and we ended up sticking them back in the oven after we'd cut into them and noticed they weren't done. Whoops. But, all in all, I found that they need to cook at 350 degrees for about two hours. I served the little guys a big ol' chard leaf from Bradford's parents' garden. I was going to braise it and serve it with the chicken but I forgot about it until I was done cooking and we were sitting down to eat, so I just plopped the birds on top of it instead.
We were so full by the time we finished our soup and salads and after all the munchies that we had throughout the day that we ended up not eating the chicken and Bradford and I had it for dinner a few days later. :)
- 1 cups uncooked rice
- 5 cups water
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 Tbsp vanilla
- Blend the rice and water in a blender until the rice begins to break up. Then let it soak for 3 hours.
- With a mesh strainer, remove the rice from the water. Stir the remaining ingredients into the rice water and then let chill. Serve over ice.
Bradford was in charge of the horchata. We actually doubled this recipe and ended up with a lot of it, but it was so good.
Kimberly made the chocolate pumpkin cookies and I don't have to recipe for it. I'll try and get it from her soon because they were so good. I realize now that I didn't get pictures of them. Sad. But they looked just as good as they tasted!
I got the recipes I used from the Better Homes and Gardens magazine. They always have tons of really great recipes each month and I am constantly collecting any recipe I can find from the various magazines we recieve for our waiting room at work.
Here are some more pictures. The two of Bradford I just had to post because they are so very Bradford. :)


Bradford said...

Ugh, I'm hideous! You always post the ugliest pictures of me.

The food was delish, my favorite was the soup and salad. mmm.

Taffers Dawn said...

so not only is it a feast for the tummy but for the eyes as well! It did look good. I think the pears looked the best.

Kimberly said...

It was definitely a tasty feast. I really enjoyed the pumpkin curry soup. It was actually better the next day for my lunch. Yum! I also thought the Horchata was a perfect accompaniment to the meal. It was a fabulous fall fiesta! :)

Curtis and Courtney said...

Everything looks so good. I'm thinking I may need to try a recipe or two.