Everyday Inspirations


~ how to: special edition ~

{angie and ash}
A few weeks ago during a Foodies Night In Twitter party, we were discussing wine pairings and serving a different wine with each course. I usually only cook for two so the thought of four bottles of wine for just me and my husband seemed like a bit much. However, this scenario with a party of six was simply fabulous. After a good chat with Ash we decided to make it happen and invited our friends Lindsey and Mario to join in the fun.

For our party we decided on four courses: hors d'oeuvres, salad, entree, and dessert. Each couple chose one smaller course to make and, because the entree is more expensive, we picked it together and split the cost three ways. Then we all got to use our food and wine pairing creativity to make a truly gourmet four course dinner while only needing to prepare and pay for one course and our entree. 

The time and expense it would have taken for one couple to host this kind of party would have been beyond all of our means. This was more fun anyway because we all got to search for dishes to make and taste what everyone came up with. It was truly a blast (complete with a good game of Crainium to follow) and we will definitely be doing this again. Check out our menu and recipes below.

~ Menu ~

Hors d'oeuvres
Bruchetta with Tomato Basil Salsa

Fall Salad with Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette

Grilled Steak with Balsamic-Rosemary Butter

Hazelnut Souffle with Spiced Apple Cider

Click below for full recipes

~ Bruchetta with Tomato Basil Salsa ~

Our newlywed hosts, Lindsey and Mario, with their dish
Wine pairing: Reisling

Bruchetta slices
3 ripe Roma tomatoes
8 leaves fresh basil
1/2 onion
1 clove garlic
Salt and pepper to taste

Finely chop all ingredients and let flavors meld together for at least 30 minutes. Scoop onto bruchetta toasts and serve.

Fall Salad

~ Fall Salad with Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette ~

Dan and Ashley with their delicious salad
Wine pairing: Savignon Blanc

Dan and I chose this salad as a tribute to my favorite restaurant in Salt Lake City, Tiburon. We used the ingredients from their salad but had to get creative with three different online recipes to try to recreate the incredible vinaigrette. I think we did pretty well!

For the salad:

Mixed baby greens
Roasted tomato vinaigrette (recipe below)
Candied pecans (recipe below)
1 large Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced
Fontina cheese, thinly sliced
Sun dried tomatoes

Lightly dress the salad with the vinaigrette (I did not using all the dressing because I wanted the flavor to be light). Add to bowls or plates and garnish with a few slices of fontina, a couple sun dried tomatoes, apple slices, and candied pecans. Enjoy.

For the vinaigrette:

2 medium vine-ripened tomatoes
1 small Roma tomato
1 medium clove garlic, minced
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp salt
Pepper, to taste
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet with olive oil. Cut each tomato in half lengthwise and place cut side down on the baking sheet. Cook about 15 minutes. The skins will blister, shrivel, and brown, and the insides of the tomato will be gloriously soft.

After the tomatoes cool, add them to a blender (skin and all). Add the garlic, mustard, Italian seasonings, salt and pepper, and both vinegars. Puree until smooth. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while running the blender to combine into a dressing. Store in the fridge for at least one hour to let flavors combine. I recommend taking the vinaigrette out at least an hour before serving to bring to room temperature.

For the candied pecans (thanks, Epicurious.com!)

1 large egg white
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups pecan halves (8-9 oz)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Brush a large rimmed baking sheet with butter.

Whisk egg white until foamy. Add the sugar, spices, and salt, and continue whisking until thick and opaque. Add the pecans; stir until coated. Using forks, transfer the nuts to the baking sheet, spacing apart. Bake until deep golden brown (about 35 minutes).


~ Grilled Steak with Garlic Rosemary Butter ~

Lindsey's beautiful table
Wine pairing: Cabernet

Recipe from Bobby Flay's Grill It.  

2 cups balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
2 teaspoons honey
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves plus springs for garnish
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened
1 teaspoon kosher salt perfectly grilled steak  
New York steak

Combine the vinegar and peppercorns in a small saucepan over high eat and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced 1/4 cup, 8-10 minutes. Remove the peppercorns, whisk in the honey and rosemary, and let cool to room temperature. Combine the balsamic mixture with the butter and salt in a food processor and process until smooth. Scrape into a bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes to set slightly. The balsamic-rosemary butter can be made one day in advance and stored, covered, in the refrigerator. Remove from the refrigerator 15 minutes before serving. Top each steak with a few tablespoons of the butter and garnish with rosemary sprigs, if desired.

Hazelnut Souffle

~ Hazelnut Souffle ~

Nate and Angie with their yummy dessert
Pairing: Spiced apple cider

1 1/2 cups roasted hazelnuts, chopped
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp white wine

4 egg yolks
9 egg whites
4 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp lemon juice

Finely chop hazelnuts and roast on cooking sheet for 5 minutes at 350 degrees. In a saucepan combine hazelnuts, vanilla, 1/2 cup sugar and white wine and cook on medium low for 15-20 minutes. Transfer to a blender and puree. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat six ramekins with butter and sugar. Mix the hazelnut mixture with egg yolks until smooth. In a separate bowl beat egg whites until foamy. Add 4 tablespoons sugar and lemon juice until peaks form. Fold hazelnut mixture in with egg whites. Scoop mixture into ramekins, place dishes on a cookie sheet and bake for 13 minutes until golder brown.

~ Spiced Apple Cider ~

64 oz apple juice
4 cinnamon sticks
8 strips tangerine zest
8 cloves
2 tsp ginger, minced
2 tbsp honey

In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients and simmer over low heat. Remove from heat and let it soak for 30 minutes. Strain and serve.

10/3/2010 03:40:27 pm

Girls - this looks like a so fun event! Makes me want to host something similar while I can still run the waterfall outside.

10/4/2010 12:35:51 am

It was SO much fun! You should definitely host your own and take advantage of this very summer-like weather we're having in October. :)

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