Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Fall gathering.


Last night I hosted Robert's direct reports from work here for dinner. I set my table using some fall linens that my mother sent me, and I was thrilled with how pretty everything looked. Aren't the flowers gorgeous? Expect to see this table again as I am hosting Cooking Club next week and having all of my family for Thanksgiving!



For the hors d'oeuvres I served Sue's Cajun Shrimp and some Blue Cheese Appetizers (isn't that an exciting name?) that I found on Epicurious. The shrimp is a favorite standby that is always a hit, but this was the first time I'd made the blue cheese appetizers. They were quite good and extremely easy, though I might experiment with using Stilton cheese next time to see if the color looks better on the toast.


For dinner I served Beef Tenderloin, Yam and Potato Gratin, Carrot Soufflé, Haricots Verts with Feta and Pecans, and rolls. Dessert was White Chocolate Bread Pudding, also from Epicurious. I was pleased with how everything turned out. Many of the dishes were favorites of mine from past Cooking Club gatherings.

At one point during dinner I commented that I hoped our guests didn't mind that Robert had elected to have them to our home rather than taking them to a restaurant where they could have chosen what they would eat. One man responded, "Oh, no, I never choose this well in a restaurant!" I thought that was one of the nicest compliments I've ever received!


Sue’s Cajun Shrimp

4 slices bacon -- cooked and chopped (I use microwave bacon)
4 oz butter
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1½ tsp chili powder
¼ tsp basil
¼ tsp thyme
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
½ tsp oregano
2 cloves garlic -- crushed
½ tsp Tabasco sauce
1½ lb shrimp, peeled and deveined

Preheat oven to 375°. In a small pan add the butter and all other ingredients except the shrimp. Simmer for 5 minutes. Place shrimp in an open baking dish, and pour sauce over the top. Stir once to coat all of the shrimp. Bake in an uncovered dish for 20 minutes.

Serve with toothpicks. You can double the amount of shrimp without increasing the amount of sauce.

Beef Tenderloin
Serves 8.

Marinate a 3½ lb. whole beef tenderloin for several hours in:
1 c red wine
¼ c salad oil
¼ c soy sauce
¼ c Worcestershire sauce
2 t parsley flakes
2 t black pepper
1 t seasoned salt
1 t sugar
1 clove garlic, minced

Let tenderloin marinate at room temperature for one hour prior to baking.

Preheat oven to 500° F. Place tenderloin on a rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle to taste with lemon pepper and seasoned salt. Bake at 500° for 15 minutes. Turn off oven but leave tenderloin in the oven for 45 more minutes. Do not open oven door. At the end of 45 minutes remove tenderloin from oven and allow to stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before carving.

Haricots Verts with Feta and Pecans
Serves 6.

1½ lb. fresh haricots verts (or green beans), trimmed and snapped into 1" pieces
⅔ c olive oil
2 T fresh dill weed, chopped
⅓ c white wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ t salt
¼ t black pepper
1 c chopped pecans, lightly toasted
½ c diced red onion
6 oz. feta cheese, crumbled

Blanche green beans in boiling water for 4 minutes. While draining them, run cold water over to stop cooking. Whisk together oil, dill, vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper and onions. Place beans in serving dish and toss with pecans and feta. Just before serving, pour vinaigrette over top. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Yam and Potato Gratin
Serves 8.

¾ c whipping cream
¾ t salt
¾ t ground white pepper
dash freshly ground nutmeg
1½ lb. Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into thin slices
1½ lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into thin slices
⅓ c snipped fresh chives
½ c freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Butter baking dish. In a small bowl combine cream, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Cover bottom of pan with a single layer of Russet potatoes, slightly overlapping slices. Drizzle lightly with cream mixture. Cover with a single layer of sweet potatoes, arranged similarly. Drizzle lightly with cream mixture. Sprinkle with chives and Parmesan. Repeat layers, ending with Parmesan. Cover with foil, dull side out. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking 30-45 minutes longer, until cheese is browned and potatoes are tender.

Carrot Soufflé

2 pounds baby carrots, cut in half
¾ cup butter, melted
6 eggs
1 c sugar
6 T flour
2 t baking powder
2 t vanilla

Cover carrots with water and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain, add butter and purée with a stick blender. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour into a greased 2-quart soufflé dish and bake at 350° for an hour.


JMW said...

It all sounds so delicious! Curious, does the bleu cheese appetizer have a sweet taste?

Jan M said...

Love the centerpiece arrangement! Everything looks beautiful, and am sure it tasted wonderful!

JoAnn said...

Gorgeous everything!!! You are amazing.

Did I ever tell you about the time I made a carrot souffle at Laura's? As I put it on the trivet on her table, the trivet slid across the table and the souffle landed on her sisal rug. WHAT A MESS!!! The stuff was in all the nooks and crannies of the rug.

The 5 Bickies said...

So beautiful and sounds delish!

bevy said...

Having Mike's family for Thanksgiving... Thank goodness I'm not doing all the food. However, your table is quite an inspiration! Beautiful...

Maggie said...

Sounds absolutely amazing! Thanks so much for posting recipes.

Ruby's Fairy Godmother said...

What a lovely meal! Beautiful table!

Tami said...

I love the menu, the table and that you shared the recipes. Thanks E!
At home is better, especially with a hostess like you!

Susan at www.ugogrrl.com said...

You are quite the entertainer! I am so impressed. Your table looks lovely - can't wait to try a few of the recipes!

Jo said...

What a lovely table and your menu sounds amazing! Thanks for sharing the recipes.


Cheryl said...

I am doing a dinner party next week and am going to use a couple of your recipes!! I really want to say thanks for sharing. Love your blog!!

Anonymous said...

stunned. how do you that amazing cooking all at once? I can barely throw ingredients into a slow cooker.

Christie said...

Your homemaking and cooking talents simply amaze me! I want you to come teach me how to do that!!! (Ok, maybe when I'm out of the diaper phase and can put a cohesive thought together...)