Why we started this idea????

A passion for food, wine, friends and entertaining is a big part of our life. This is a way for us to document our experiences, passion for food & life and also share it with others.
















Thursday, September 27, 2012

Steamed Manila Clams with Chorizo


We kicked off our 2012-13 Supper Club this September with a theme that never tires....Mexican hosted by the lovely Jenni & Arnie. Oh yes, we were hooked at Chipotle and chorizo.

Most of the menu recipes came from the May 2003 Bon Appetit. The great thing about Supper Club is that it gives us the opportunity to do things like pull out those old recipes that we stuffed away for just the right occasion. And that"s exactly how this Mexican theme came our together.

It was our first gathering after our 2012 summer hiatus.



Its always great to gather and catch up on each others lives after not gathering for a few months.



As always Jenni had set a beautiful table.




We were pleased to be assigned appetizer as we've been enjoying these Steamed Manila Clams with Chorizo and thought it would be the perfect kick off to our flavorful meal. Sadly they were so delicious that I was too into enjoying them that I forgot to get the photo until it was too late and they were all gone.




The next course made by Lisa & Derek was a superb Mexican style chop chop style made with black beans and avocado from the same May 2003 issue of Bon Appetit.



Finally it was time for Arnie & Jenni's main Pork Tenderloin with Orange-Chipotle Sauce. The pork was perfectly prepared and so well flavored with the scrumptious sauce.



Grilled veggies were served with the pork and added yet another perfect smoky flavor component.


Along with the main course Jenni & Arnie opened a beautiful bottle of Milbrandt Grenache that was perfectly paired with the meal.



Lastly our meal was wrapped up with this beautiful Mexican Brownie served with vanilla ice cream that was so warm and cinnamon spiced. They were wonderfully dense and perfect.


Recipes: 

Steamed Manila Clams with Chorizo & Jalapeño
3 lbs. manila clams, scrubbed and cleaned
2 cups dry white wine
1 cup chicken broth
2 Tblspns butter
2 Tblspns diced jalapeño 
2 Tblspns diced garlic
1/2 cup sliced chorizo
2 loaves crusty bread, sliced

Clean clams by scrubbing w/ vegetable brush. Place in large bowl and fill with cold water. let sit for 15 minutes. Drain water. Fill and repeat 3-4 times until drained water runs clear of any sand.

Melt butter in dutch oven and add jalapeños, garlic and chorizo. When soft add wine and broth and bring to a boil. Add clams and cover. Clams are done when the shells open. Serve clams with broth and sliced crusty bread for dipping in broth.

Pork Tenderloin with Orange-Chipotle Sauce-Bon Appetit, May, 2003

3 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin
6 cups orange juice
2 teas. salt
2 Tbs. butter
3 large shallots, finely chopped
1 cup dry white wine
2 3/4 cup low-salt chicken broth
2 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tbs. chopped fresh chives
1 Tbs. minced canned chipotle chiles

Divide pork between 2 resealable plastic bags. Pour 1 cup orange juice and 1 teas. salt into each bag; seal. Turn to coat. Chill at least 3 hours or overnight.

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallots; saute until soft but not browned, about 2 minutes. Add wine; boil until reduced to glaze, about 10 minutes. Add 4 cups orange juice and broth; boil until reduced to 1 3/4 cups, about 45 minutes. (Can be made one day ahead. Cool, cover & chill).

Prepare BBQ (medium-high heat). Drain pork; pat dry. Grill to desired doneness, turning often, about 18 minutes for medium. Transfer to work surface; tent with foil and let stand 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring sauce to a simmer; mix in cilantro, chives and chipotle chiles. Slice pork. Serve with sauce.













Monday, September 24, 2012

Fig, Prosciutto and Blue Cheese Pizza


We so look forward to fig season around here. Red wine just tastes better with figs.



And there is truly nothing more tasty with figs than blue cheese in our opinion. 


Throw these two amazing flavors together with some salty prosciutto on a grilled pizza crust and we are 100% in foodie heaven.


Even better with some arugula and some shaved parm on top.


Served with an amazing Milbrandt Red Blend that was perfect with this seasonal pizza.



Recipe:

Fig, Prosciutto and Blue Cheese Pizza
1 refrigerated pizza dough ( we used Trader Joe's brand)
3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon course sea salt
1/2 Cup shredded Gruyere & Swiss cheese
1 prosciutto, cut into strips
1 dozen fresh figs, cut in quarters 
1/2 Cup crumbled blue cheese
Handful of loose arugula
Sprinkle  Red pepper flakes

Roll out pizza dough. Grill until par cooked. Drizzle par cooked pizza dough with olive oil and sea salt. Spread shredded cheese. Top with prosciutto then cut figs and crumbled blue cheese.

Place Pizza back on grill until cheese is melted and crust is browned. Once cooked top with arugula and sprinkle with red pepper flakes.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Classic Macaroni & Cheese


As these long summer days are slowly getting shorter nothing sounds more appealing for a Sunday dinner than homemade macaroni & cheese.


Well, except maybe cuddling our worlds cutest puppy of course. But that's got to be the most appealing thing in the whole wide world. 

Okay back to the food. G is a HUGE mac & cheese fanatic. Not only the homemade version but basically any version. He's quite well known for eating a whole box of it when he's watching football or finishing up whatever our niece & nephew can't finish even when he's already finished his adult dinner. 


But truly the homemade version is what it's all about. And while I was growing up if we were having mac & cheese for dinner that most often meant we were also having pork chops & applesauce with it. Although as a kid I can only remember having the boxed version of mac & cheese mixed with applesauce and pork chops it was a favorite family dinner. 

So G got to work making the mac & cheese and I started on the homemade applesauce. Homemade applesauce is so comforting and perfect and really so simple to put together. When I do finally get around to making it I also question why I don't make it more often.


First you start with some good sweet apples, they don't even have to the pretty, perfectly shaped ones. Once peeled and sliced it doesn't matter how pretty they were on the outside.

Throw them in a dutch oven with some apple cider, a bit of brown sugar, vanilla, nutmeg & cinnamon. 


After awhile your entire house will smell like love and applesauce will be in your pot.


And if you have never tried a bite of mac & cheese with a touch of applesauce on top you are really missing something special.

It was our first fallish meal of 2012 and it was simple, sweet and perfect for a quite Sunday family supper after a day spent together with our pup.


Recipes:

Classic Macaroni & Cheese (adapted from Fine Cooking Recipe)
Sea salt 
6 Tbs. unsalted butter 
1 medium onion, finely diced 
6 Tbs. all-purpose flour 
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard 
1 quart whole milk, heated 
1 large sprig fresh thyme, plus 1 tsp. chopped thyme leaves
1 bay leaf 
8 oz. grated extra-sharp white Cheddar 
4 oz. grated gruyere/swiss
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce 
1/2 tsp. hot sauce 
Freshly ground black pepper 
1 lb. small pasta, (we used petite penne)
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil; more for the baking dish 
2 cups panko or breadcrumbs
1-1/2 oz. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano 

Heat the oven to 400°F and put a large pot of well-salted water on to boil over high heat.
Meanwhile, in a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven or other heavy-duty pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and 1/2 tsp. salt and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, until slightly darker, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the mustard.

Switch to a whisk and gradually add the milk, whisking constantly. To avoid lumps, go slowly at first, whisking until the mixture is smooth before adding more milk. Once about half the milk is in and the mixture still isn’t very thick, you can add the rest more quickly.

When all the milk is in, switch back to the spoon and stir in the thyme sprig, bay leaf, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Let come to a bare simmer, and cook, stirring frequently, for 15 minutes to meld the flavors .

Discard the thyme sprig and bay leaf. Add the Cheddar and Gruyere/Swiss cheeses, stirring until melted, and then add the Worcestershire and hot sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm, stirring occasionally.


Cook the pasta in the boiling water until al dente. Pour into a colander and shake it a few times to drain really well. Add the pasta to the cheese sauce, and stir until well combined. Generously season to taste with salt and pepper. Lightly oil a 9x13-inch baking dish and spread the pasta in the dish.

In a medium bowl, toss the breadcrumbs, Parmigiano, olive oil, chopped thyme, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Scatter the panko evenly over the pasta.
Bake in the center of the oven until the panko topping is golden, about 15 minutes. Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Homemade Applesauce (adapted from Food Network recipe)

  • 8 apples peeled, cored, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 cup apple cider or juice
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Dash nutmeg

Directions

Add apples, apple cider, lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon sticks and a dash of nutmeg to a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover with a lid and reduce to a simmer. Let cook for 15 minutes or until apples are tender. Remove cinnamon sticks and discard.
Mash with a potato masher, and stir in the 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon and dash of nutmeg. Transfer to a serving dish and serve warm.



Monday, September 17, 2012

Roasted Chorizo Chile Relleno


This recipe was motivated by the fact that not too long ago our friends Frost & Becky invited us over for a lovely meal of freshly made chile relleno that were wonderful. And we were both somewhat shocked, "why haven't we thought of making chile rellenos before?" It's just something that hadn't occurred to us for some weird reason.

It is more shocking given that actually I grew up watching my dad order his predictable choices of chile Colorado with a side of chile relleno every single time we went out for Mexican food growing up. And because my dad loved Mexican food, this order was at least one he made once a month. And he would always be willing to share a bite of his chile relleno or two during dinner out which make it one of my fav dishes as well. Again very surprising it had never occurred to us to make them before. 

But making them our own without the frying and adding some chorizo got us really excited about making this recipe.

So we knew for our Mexican flavored feast this recipe needed to make it's debut. At the Farmer's market we picked up both some beautiful poblano and hatch peppers. We threw them on the grill to get them charred and roasted.


Once blistered and blackened they were ready



to steam in a
 in bag to prepare for being peeled.



While we steamed the chiles we cooked up the bulk chorizo.


We split the chiles then carefully slipped in to each chile a combination of mozzarella cheese, goat cheese crumbles and some chorizo.


It was a bit of a messy job but well worth it. Next we scrambled some eggs and made a small omelet to blanket each stuffed chile with.


Lots of steps but trust us so worth it in the end.







 After the chiles were all wrapped individually with eggs we placed them in a casserole dish.



We then poured our favorite Mexican tomato sauce over the chiles. This sauce is the best and we use it in lots of our recipes. Love reliable products like this.


The final step was to sprinkle some Mexican cheddar on top.



They were so delicious! Like we've made them twice in two weeks kind of delicious. These are definitely now added to our favorite Mexican recipe rotation. The melty mozzarella with the bite of goat cheese and spicy chorizo. Mmmmmm....my mouth is watering just remembering the last time we made them.



Recipe:

Roasted Chorizo Chile Rellenos (recipe written to make 4 chiles but can be easily adapted.)
4 chiles (we used 2 poblano, 2 hatch)
1/4 lb. bulk chorizo
4 slices mozzarella
1/2 Cup crumbled goat cheese
4 eggs
3 Tablespoons water
Salt & Pepper
1/2 Cup Mexican tomato sauce
1/2 Cup shredded Mexican cheese
Chopped cilantro for garnish

Grill/roast chiles until charred and blackened. Steam chiles 10 minutes until skin is easy to peel back. Cook chorizo. Peel chiles. Carefully sliced down one side and remove the seeds. Stuff each chile with a combo of mozzarella, goat cheese and chorizo. 

Set oven to 350 degrees. Wisk eggs with water and salt & pepper. Make 4 omelets and wrap each chile with the  omelet. Place each wrapped chile into a casserole dish. Pour tomato sauce over the chiles. Sprinkle cheese over the chiles. Cook for 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted. Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Serrano Citrus Margarita



If you dropped by this space at all this summer you know jalapeño drinks have been frequenting our palates a lot lately. 

Along with jalapeño we've also been experimenting with Serrano chiles as well. This drink , our Serrano Citrus Margarita, kicked off our recent Mexican Flavored Feast


We started with some good blanco or silver tequila. There is no better tequila in my opinion for a margarita than a good blanco. In Mexico we typically use Don Julio because you can get a bottle that cost almost $60 here for around $20. Lately G has been buying this locally made; Espolon brand for margaritas. Blanco tequila along with some lime, orange, serrano and a bit of blue agave nectar for some additional sweetness. 



To replace the usual salt on the rim we used a brand of Mexican chile powder we use often on fruit to keep with our Mexican flavored theme.


This was is a refreshing only slightly spicy margarita that was the perfect kick off to our feast. And it will make a great drink to indulge in this weekend as well.

Happy Friday to you all!

Recipe:


Serrano Citrus Margarita 
2 Limes, squeezed
1/2 orange squeezed
2 shots blanco tequila
1 serrano chile, finely sliced (remove seeds if you want less heat)
1 Tblspn. blue agave nectar
2 cups ice

Pour tequila into shaker, squeeze citrus into shaker with chiles and agave. Muddle with a muddler or end of a wooden spoon. Add ice and shake until shaker is frosty. Use lime to moisten edge of glasses and turn into a bowl of chile powder to rim edges. Pour margarita into glasses, fill with ice. Add wedges of lime & orange.



Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Mexican Style Caprese Salad


We love summer ripened tomatoes. I mean what right minded foodie wouldn't really?  At our old house we were able to grow the most beautiful tomatoes that flourished in the sun. But our current house just doesn't have a space that gets that kind of sunshine. Tomatoes need good sun.



Now we just rely on the Farmer's Markets to provide us with beautiful sun ripened heirloom tomatoes like these. And during the summer we most often enjoy them in a Caprese salad with fresh mozzarella, basil and a sprinkle of some good balsamic vinegar.

For our Mexican Flavored Feast we wanted to make a Mexican inspired Caprese to compliment our meal with these glorious tomatoes we picked up that morning at the market. 

We sliced the beauties up, layered them with some fresh mozzarella (although next time I might try this some good manchengo style cheese), sprinkled them with a good dose of salt & pepper. Tip= tomatoes need salt.



We adjusted to the Mexican theme by making a Mexican flavored vinaigrette to stand in for the usual good quality aged balsamic. Instead of the usual basil picked from our patio herb garden we used fresh cilantro in it's place.


Really you can't go wrong with any adjustments made to this recipe as long as you are using sun ripened heirloom tomatoes. Well at least that is in our opinion. 


These tomatoes will taste great regardless of the tweaks you make to the "extras." Because let's face it; a Caprese is about the tomato. If the tomato is good, the salad will be great.

Recipe:
Mexican Flavored Caprese Salad (quantities adjusted as you need)

4-5 ripened heirloom tomatoes (adjust amount based on size of tomato and desired size of salad)
4 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced
Salt & Pepper
handful cleaned cilantro
3 Tblspns extra virgin olive oil
1 Tblspn balsamic
1 tspn chipotle powder
1 tspn red chile flake
1 tspn minced garlic

Slice tomatoes & mozzarella ( we bought pre-slice fresh mozzarella but if not pre sliced, slice it.) Layer tomatoes and mozzarella on a large plate. Salt & pepper tomatoes to taste. ( we are generous with our salt & pepper of tomatoes.) Whisk together olive oil, balsamic, spices and garlic. Pour vinaigrette over salad. Garnish with cilantro. Serve immediately. 




Monday, September 3, 2012

A Mexican Flavored Feast!

We are feeling a bit neglectful of this space that we love to document and share about our life in food lately.

But we have just a few really good excuses. 

 Excuse #1: Sally Pork Chop 12 Weeks old

1) This adorable baby bully that we are devoting as much free time as we have to raising into a well behaved pup.

2) School starts this week and the past two weeks and the next 4 weeks are the busiest work weeks in our lives as educators. 

3) These two excuses are making us fairly well exhausted. Just to be plain honest.

But good food and fun are still part of this busy life as we can fit it in. And one such celebration of some good food was our Mexican flavored feast we put on last weekend to start our wind down of summer.


We kicked it off with one these super yummy Serrano Citrus Margaritas to help us have a little more fun while we were cooking.


Our first course was a take on the classic Caprese salad adjusted with Mexican inspired touches which turned into our Mexican Caprese Salad.



The next dish in my opinion was the absolute star of the feast. Baked Chile Relleno. Truly these were DELISH! (Sadly the photo does it absolutely NO justice. We need to remake them and reshoot the photo. Which we are happy to do again.)



Finally we made a Marinated Grilled Skirt Steak with grilled onions, jalapeños and peppers. 


We decided that to go along with our special feast we'd do a taste test comparison of 3 different Spanish Granache wines to pair with our Mexican flavors.

This feast really represents our most current cooking style. If it's grilled, roasted, spicy and full of flavor you can bet it's on our menu this week.

Come back this week and get the recipe for each of our dishes from our Mexican flavored feast.