Sunday, December 17, 2006

Doozy of A Dinner Party

Thanks to (or is it because of?) my good friend, K. we threw a doozy of a holiday dinner party last night......K. brought her entire recipe file up from Manhattan and we cooked whatever sounded good to us. Luckily (and it really was blind luck) it all worked together well and it was all pretty easy to make.

Spicy Mixed Nuts
Roquefort Pinwheels
Little Sesame Dabs

Strawberry Romaine w/Poppy Seed Dressing

Maine Course
Roast Pork with Mustard Herb Coating
Green Beans with Crimini Mushroom Sauce
Cheesey Potato Bake

Assorted Christmas Cookies

Spicy Mixed Nuts
2 Cups Planters Dry Roasted Peanuts
1.5 Cups Planters Pecan Halves
1/4 Cup Planters Dry Roasted Sunflower Kernels
3 Tbsp Stonewall Kitchen Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix nuts in medium bowl. Combine remaining ingredients and toss to coat nuts.
Spread into a single layer on foil coated baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes or until lightly toasted. Stir at 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Roquefort Pinwheels
1 Sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
4 oz. Roquefort blue cheese
1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon cold water.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and butter a 9 inch baking dish.
Open the sheet of puff pastry and flatten with a rolling pin. Crumble the blue cheese on the sheet, leaving a good inch-wide border all around. Roll up the pastry the long way. Cut into 12 -14 1/2 inch thick slices with a sharp knife. Place the rounds in the prepared dish and brush with the egg wash. Bake until puffed up and golden brown.

Little Sesame Dabs
Sesame Crackers
Cream Cheese
Stonewall Kitchen Farmhouse Chutney

Arrange sesame crackers on plate. Spread cream cheese on the crackers and add a dollop of the chutney on top.

Strawberry Romaine Salad

1 head romaine lettuce - rinsed, dried, and chopped
2 bunches fresh spinach - chopped, washed and dried
1 pint fresh strawberries, sliced
1 Bermuda onion, sliced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/3 cup white sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons poppy seeds

In a large salad bowl, combine the romaine, spinach, strawberries and sliced onion.
In a jar with a tight fitting lid, combine the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, milk and poppy seeds. Shake well and pour the dressing over salad. Toss until evenly coated.

Roast Pork

6 tablespoons coarse-grained Dijon mustard
6 large garlic cloves, minced
4 small bay leaves, finely crumbled
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 2 1/2-pound boneless pork rib roast

Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine Dijon mustard, minced garlic, bay leaves, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and rosemary in small bowl; whisk to blend. Dry pork with paper towels. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Spread mustard mixture all over pork. Place pork on rack in baking dish. Roast pork until thermometer inserted into center registers 150°F, about 1 hour. Let stand 15 minutes. Transfer pork to platter. Slice pork thinly and serve.

Green Beans

* 1 pound shallots, thinly sliced
* 1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* Vegetable oil, for frying
* Salt
* 2 1/2 pounds green beans
* 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
* 1/2 teaspoon paprika
* Pinch of cayenne pepper
* Freshly ground pepper
* 1 pound cremini mushrooms, stems discarded, caps thinly sliced
* 2 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
* 1/2 cup crème fraîche
* 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the shallots with 1/3 cup of the flour; shake off any excess flour. In a large, deep skillet, heat 1 inch of oil until shimmering. Add the shallots in 2 batches and fry over moderate heat until very crisp, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels, then sprinkle with salt.
2. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the beans until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and refresh under cold running water; drain and pat dry.
3. Melt the butter in a large, enameled cast-iron casserole. Add the onion and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the paprika, cayenne and a large pinch of pepper; cook for 1 minute, stirring. Add the mushrooms, cover and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring, until browned, about 5 minutes longer. Stir in the remaining 3 tablespoons of flour and gradually stir in the stock until smooth.
4. Simmer the mushroom sauce over low heat, stirring, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the crème fraîche, lemon juice and beans. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beans are heated through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a large glass or ceramic baking dish.
5. Preheat the oven to 400°. Cover the casserole with foil and bake until bubbling, about 20 minutes. Uncover, scatter the shallots on top and serve.

MAKE AHEAD The assembled casserole can be refrigerated overnight. Let return to room temperature before baking. The fried shallots can be kept overnight in an airtight container. Recrisp in a 350° oven and let cool.

Potato Bake

2 pounds frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed
1/2 cup margarine, melted
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
8 ounces cheddar cheese, grated


Combine thawed hash browns with 1/2 cup margarine, onion, soup, sour cream and grated cheese. Place in buttered oblong glass dish. Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees.

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