Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Weekend Away

So, let’s just say that life as of late has been… interesting. And sensing my need to unplug and unwind, G & C generously offered a little weekend getaway at a cabin down in Vida, right on the McKenzie. It was definitely sigh-worthy.

Just see for yourself…

On the way down, O2 and I made a little detour to pick up some of these…

You know. For the kids.

Since this month we were celebrating both mine and G’s birthdays, we opted for a Tapas Extravaganza. And as I mentioned before, we had holy-moley-was-it-good-cheesecake.

Which we didn’t get photos of. Because I think when we saw it in its amazing-ness (caramel, hazelnut, oh…. my), any thought other than diving in went out the window.

We had a few blasts from the past, like the potatoes from our chocolate night, and these

As you can see, we had quite the spread…

Carley’s Menu

Eggplant Meatballs with Almond Butter Sauce
Feta Stuffed Dates wrapped in Pancetta (these were also a marvel)
Tofu Artichoke Dip (also great, I might add, stirred into pasta - C’s idea)
OMG Caramel Hazelnut Cheesecake
Vietnamese Spring Rolls (look how pretty)

Carri’s Menu

Grilled Shrimp Skewers
Jalapeño Poppers
Butternut Squash/Spinach Gnudi
Corn Fritters w/ Shallot and Sour Cream Dipping Sauce
Butternut Squash/Apple Puffs
Meyer Lemon Pesto
Cocoa Spiced Potatoes

Ok, I honestly thought I had 5 items to bring. At some point during the preparation process, I added more. I apparently have this unconscious fear of not having enough to feed everyone.

We should have invited the neighbors. There’s was PLENTY…

Since there was a grill at our disposal, I put together some jalapeño poppers and little shrimp skewers. I kind of threw a bunch of stuff for a marinade in a plastic bag, so I’ll see if I can try to recreate the recipe…

Shrimp Skewers

1 lb cleaned and deveined medium shrimp
½ cup soy sauce
1 Tbs Ponzu sauce (optional)
½ tsp dried ginger (use fresh if you have it)
2 cloves garlic, mashed
2 tsp sesame oil

Thread shrimp onto skewers (I used 2 shrimp to a toothpick). Combine remaining ingredients in a sealable bag. Add shrimp skewers. Allow to marinade for 30 minutes to an hour. Cook or grill to your liking.

* * *

A friend from work has been kind enough to share some of the hazelnut oil he’s pressed himself. The second bottle I received was a hazelnut truffle oil. How amazing is that? I’ve been mulling over how I wanted to use it for its maiden voyage, and this was what I came up with.

Butternut Squash and Spinach Gnudi

2 cups fresh spinach
1 cup cooked and mashed butternut squash
15 oz container fresh ricotta
½ cup flour
1 large egg
½ cup Grana Padano
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1 Tbs olive oil
1 clove garlic, mashed
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
¼ cup red wine
2 Tbs Balsamic vinegar
¼ cup fresh basil, cut into a chiffonade
½ tsp black pepper

Optional: truffle infused oil

Preheat oven to 350º.

Drizzle a little olive oil in a sauté pan. Add spinach. Cook over medium heat until spinach is wilted, about 3 minutes. Allow to cool. Squeeze any excess moisture from spinach. Chop.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the chopped spinach, butternut squash, ricotta, flour and egg. Mix thoroughly. Stir in the cheese and nutmeg. Set aside.

In the same sauté pan you cooked the spinach in, add 1 Tbs olive oil. Heat pan on medium and add the garlic. Sauté, stirring occasionally, for about a minute. Pour in canned tomatoes. Add red wine and balsamic vinegar. Allow the mixture to come to a boil and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Stir in basil and pepper. Pour into a square glass baking dish.

Form ricotta mixture into balls and place in baking dish. Bake until top is brown and crispy, about 35 minutes. Drizzle with truffle oil.

Corn Fritters w/ Shallot and Sour Cream Dipping Sauce

10 oz package frozen corn
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 Tbs baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 oz soft butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups milk

Combine dry ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until well combined. Add eggs and mix well. Add the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Stir in corn kernels. Heat a griddle or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add a small amount of butter and an equal amount of olive oil. Make small, silver dollar sized dollops of the batter. Cook until bottom is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Flip the fritter and cook the other side until it is golden, another couple of minutes. Place on cookie sheet in a warm oven until all the fritters are cooked. Serve with sauce.


1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup tomatoes, finely diced
1/2 shallot, minced
1 green onion, cut into thin slices
Salt and white pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and season to taste.

Butternut Squash, Apple and Sage Puffs

1 box puff pastry, defrosted
4 oz cream cheese
2 Tbs grated parmesan
1 clove garlic, minced
1 granny smith apple, peeled and grated
1 cup cooked and mashed butternut squash
1 tsp olive oil
1 Tbs fresh sage, chopped
Salt & pepper to taste

Flour for dusting work surface
Small dish of water

Preheat oven to 400°. In a large mixing bowl, cream the cream cheese, parmesan and garlic until well combined. Add the apple, butternut squash, olive oil and sage. Mix thoroughly. Season to taste.

Lightly flour a work surface. Unfold the first sheet of puff pastry and lay out on work surface. Lightly roll out with a floured rolling pin (the dough should be the same rectangular shape) with the long edges at the top and bottom. Cut dough from top to bottom into four equal strips. Cut each of these in half crossways.

Working one strip at a time, place 1 heaping tablespoon of the filling towards one end of the dough strip (leave about ¼”). Using finger, wet the edge of the half of the dough strip that has the filling. Fold the other half on top of this and crimp the edges with a fork. Repeat with remaining strips.

Repeat the process with the remaining dough.

Arrange puffs on a baking sheet , leaving about ½” or so of space around each. Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden and puffed up. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Meyer Lemon Pesto
(makes 1 cup)

1 Meyer lemon (remove center membrane, seed and cut into pieces)
1/2 cup fresh basil (packed)
1 clove garlic
2 Tbs toasted walnuts
1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano (grated)
3 Tbs olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Place everything into a food processor and blend.

* * *

I don’t really have a recipe for the arancini. I took some leftover risotto I had made, added an egg to bind it, and then made little provolone stuffed disks with it. I rolled this in flour, then in egg and finally in panko breading. I cooked them in a little olive oil. That’s it.

All Photos Courtesy of CHP

No comments:

Post a Comment