Thursday, April 26, 2007

April Supper Club!

Wednesday night, my friend Liane hosted our April Supper Club. We decided that night that we should name ourselves, but haven't nailed one down. We've had almost-monthly suppers since October, so its high-time we had a name. Suggestions?

As hostess, Liane chose the theme: Tapas. She'd gotten these adorable tapas plates for Christmas and was itching to use them. (I would be too - they're great!!) She and I both had gotten this lovely tapas book for xmas as well - so we were well prepared. (Not that either of us actually chose recipes from it, but whatevs!)

I'm not sure how we do this every month, but its very six-degrees-of-kevin-bacon. You can start with a dish and connect them through to almost every other dish, everything always goes so well. Even more surprising because only half the members decide what they're making more than a day or two ahead of time. We're connected, Ladies!

I'll start with the bottom left hand corner and go clock-wise around:

Marcie has a supper club rule: goat cheese. Thus far, every single recipe has included goat cheese. I also blame her for my current goat cheese addiction. Her Venetian Sausage Bites were tasty little mouthfuls - the sausage is poached, sliced, browned, and then simmered in balsamic vinegar. Yum!! I knew I'd love them, their sausage/balsamic/goat cheese charms were too much to resist!

Next, we have Sara's Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms. (sausage-sausage) Sara is our newest member, brought by Stephanie last month and she liked us well enough to come back (and host next month! Thanks again!!) Her stuffing was the perfect mesh of sausage and cheese and had a really great texture (due to the cream cheese?) When you bit into it (assuming you didn't just pop the whole thing into your mouth) it didn't crumble into bits, instead giving you two great non-messy bites. They reheated really well, to boot (yay leftovers!)

Top left corner were my Chorizo Puffs with Chipotle Sauce. (sausage-sausage) I'd never done that whole dough-made-on-the-stove thing, as you would with cream puffs, and I found it much easier than I thought. The "puffs" were less puffy and more dense, but it was still a nice contrast with the sausage bits. The sauce was nice and spicy and still creamy, and couldn't have been easier to make in the food processer.

Top right corner you'll find Rachel's Chick-Peas and Spinach Tapas. (connectionless - you just had to be different, didn't you? :)) She served them with pitas, and it was just perfect. Her tapas were light and refreshing, and I really enjoyed the pop of the chickpeas. Rachel has opened my eyes to spinach (I previously disliked it, but she served us a terrific spinach salad at an earlier dinner) and for that, I thank her!

On the spoon is one of Stephanie's Polenta Bites with with Caramelized Mushrooms. (mushrooms-mushrooms) She said it was the first time she'd made polenta that didn't come from a log, and I'm glad she did! These bites were creamy and delicious! I've never made polenta in any fashion, but these little bites sent me out to the store for some polenta! Yum!

Bottom right, you'll see Sara's second dish. (goat cheese-goat cheese) She spoils us. When asked what she called them, she said "Apricot Goat Cheesy Things." I'll take it!! They were yummy, happy little bites, perfect as a snack, an appetizer, or a light dessert! Sara made the point that you should use medoterramean apricots, rather than californian, because they are more tender. Go out and get some - now! :)

We finished the evening with Liane's flans. She made two, but somehow I only have a photo of one. They were creamy and delicious. I think I could have happily eaten an entire flan in one sitting all by myself. And I don't think I was the only one. ;)

Chorizo Puffs (BunUelos de Chorizo)
Recipe courtesy Pilar Sanchez,1977,FOOD_9936_12011,00.html

1/4 pound chorizo sausage, skinned and finely chopped
Bunuelo Dough
Oil, for frying

Bunuelos Dough:
1 cup water
3 tablespoons butter
3/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
2 eggs

Sauté the chorizo in a skillet for a couple of minutes until it starts to give off its oil. (Drain off some oil if there is a lot.) To make the dough, place in a saucepan over medium heat the water, butter and salt. When the water comes to a boil and the butter has melted, add the flour all at once. Lower the heat and stir with a wooden spoon until the dough leaves the sides of the pan and forms a ball. Continue cooking and stirring for 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and beat in the eggs 1 at a time. The dough will separate, then hold together again. (This step may be done effortlessly in a food processor; once the flour has been added and forms a ball, transfer the dough to the processor. Process for 15 seconds. Add both eggs and beat for 45 seconds.) Combine the Bunuelo dough with the chorizo. (This can also be done in the processor.) (May be prepared ahead.) In a skillet heat the oil at least 1/2-inch deep to about 380 degrees F. Drop the dough by teaspoonfuls into the oil and fry over medium hear, turning occasionally, until puffed and golden. Drain on paper towels. (May be kept warm in 200 degree F oven up to 30 minutes.)

Chipotle Dipping Sauce

Gourmet Magazine

2 large egg yolks at room temperature
2 teaspoons white-wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups olive or vegetable oil or a combination of the two
3 canned chipolte chilies or to taste, minced (wear rubber gloves) plus 3 tablespoons of the juice, or to taste
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sour cream

In a bowl with an electric mixer or a whisk beat together the egg yolks, the vinegar, the mustard, and the salt, add 1/2 cup of the oil, drop by drop, beating and add the remaining 1 cup oil in a stream, beating until the mixture is emulsified. Stir in the chilies with the juice, the lemon juice, and the sour cream and chill the dipping sauce, covered, for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Makes about 2 1/4 cups.

Venetian Sausage Bites
Marcie Patchett, April Supper Club

Adapted from:,1977,FOOD_9936_32411,00.html

6 sweet Italian sausages
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup balsamic vinegar

5 ounces goat cheese

Fill a large, deep skillet 1/2 way with water. Bring the water to a steady simmer and add the sausages. Poach the sausages for 6 to 7 minutes, until firm.

Drain the sausages and slice into bite-size pieces. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. When hot, add the sausage and cook until brown. Drain off the fat and add the balsamic vinegar. Simmer until vinegar is reduced and syrupy. Top sausage rounds with goat cheese.

Serve immediately.

Polenta Bites with Caramelized Mushrooms
Stephanie Wright, from April Supper Club
Adapted from:,,FOOD_9936_32410,00.html?rsrc=search

For the polenta:
3 cups heavy cream
2 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon finely ground sea salt, preferably gray salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 cup polenta
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish

For the mushrooms:
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound button or cremini mushrooms, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
Finely ground salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley leaves

Cook the polenta: In a medium, heavy pot over high heat bring the cream, stock, salt, and nutmeg to a boil. Add the polenta gradually, whisking constantly. When the mixture thickens, switch to a wooden spoon and adjust the heat to maintain a bare simmer. Cook, stirring often, until thick, smooth, and creamy, about 15 minutes. Add the Parmesan and stir. Keep the polenta warm over low heat, stirring occasionally. If the polenta gets dry as it sits, stir in about 1/4 cup of warm stock or cream.

Sauté the mushrooms: In a medium skillet over high heat, heat the olive oil. When the oil is hot, sprinkle in the mushrooms and onions in a single layer. Let them sizzle until they have caramelized on the bottom, about 2 minutes. When the bottoms are caramelized, toss them once and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Continue for about 5 minutes. Season mushrooms with salt and pepper. Add the butter and cook until it begins to brown, then add the garlic. Continue to cook until the garlic begins to brown. Add the thyme and cook for about 10 seconds. Add the lemon juice and cook until the liquid evaporates. Add the wine, and simmer until the mushrooms are glazed with the sauce. Add the parsley. Then stir and remove the pan from the heat.

Place or pipe about 1 tablespoon of warm polenta onto a spoon. Place about 1/2 teaspoon of the mushroom on top of the polenta. Garnish with grated Parmesan. Serve immediately.

Coffee Flan
Liane Jones, from April Supper Club

3/4 cup sugar
1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk (1 1/4 cups)
3 3/4 cups whole milk
5 large eggs
4 1/2 teaspoons instant-coffee granules dissolved in 4 teaspoons hot water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.

Cook sugar in a dry small heavy saucepan over moderate heat, undisturbed, until it begins to melt. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally with a fork, until sugar melts into a deep golden caramel. Immediately pour into a 9-inch round ceramic or glass baking dish or metal cake pan (2 inches deep) and tilt dish to coat bottom (use caution, dish will be hot). Cool until hardened, 10 to 15 minutes.

Blend remaining ingredients in a blender, in 2 batches if your blender is small, until smooth. Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve over caramel in dish, then transfer dish to a 17- by 11-inch roasting pan lined with a kitchen towel. Cover dish loosely with a piece of foil, then pour enough boiling-hot water into roasting pan to reach 1 inch up side of dish. Bake until custard is set but still wobbly in center when gently shaken and a knife inserted in center comes out clean, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Transfer dish to a rack to cool completely, about 40 minutes. Chill flan, covered, until cold, at least 8 hours.

To unmold flan, run a thin knife around edge of dish to loosen flan. Invert a large platter with a lip over dish. Holding dish and platter securely together, quickly invert and turn out flan onto platter. Caramel will pour out over and around flan.

Cooks' note:
Flan can be chilled up to 1 day (before unmolding).

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Creamy Caramel Flan

Liane Jones, from April Supper Club

3/4 cup white sugar
1 (8 ounce) package cream
cheese, softened

5 eggs
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened
condensed milk
1 (12 fluid ounce) can
evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a small, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, cook sugar, stirring, until golden. Pour into a 10 inch round baking dish, tilting to coat bottom and sides. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated. Beat in condensed and evaporated milk and vanilla until smooth. Pour into caramel coated pan. Line a roasting pan with a damp kitchen towel. Place baking dish on towel, inside roasting pan, and place roasting pan on oven rack. Fill roasting pan with boiling water to reach halfway up the sides of the baking dish.

Bake in preheated oven 50 to 60 minutes, until center is just set. Cool one hour on wire rack, then chill in refrigerator 8 hours or overnight. To unmold, run a knife around edges of pan and invert on a rimmed serving platter.

Chick-Peas and Spinach Tapas
Rachel Zurowski, from April Supper Club,1977,FOOD_9936_12090,00.html

10 ounces fresh spinach leaves, rinsed, or 1 (10-ounce) package frozen leaf spinach
19-ounce can (2 cups) chick-peas, drained and rinsed
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives
1 to 2 lemons, juiced or to taste
1/4 to 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Pita, for serving

If using fresh spinach: Cook the spinach in a saucepan with the water clinging to its leaves, stirring, until wilted. Drain, squeeze dry, and finely chop. If using frozen spinach, follow package directions, drain, squeeze dry, and finely chop.

In a bowl combine the spinach with the chick peas, pepper, chives, lemon juice, oil, salt, and pepper. Serve as is or chilled with toasted bread or as a filling for pita pockets.

Sausage-Stuffed Mushrooms
Sara Mies, from April Supper Club

3 Italian hot sausages, casings removed
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
1 large egg yolk

Olive oil
24 large (about 2-inch-diameter) mushrooms, stemmed
1/3 cup dry white wine

Sauté sausage and oregano in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat until sausage is cooked through and brown, breaking into small pieces with back of fork, about 7 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer sausage mixture to large bowl and cool. Mix in 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic powder, then cream cheese. Season filling with salt and pepper; mix in egg yolk.

Brush 15x10x2-inch glass baking dish with olive oil to coat. Brush cavity of each mushroom cap with white wine; fill with scant 1 tablespoon filling and sprinkle with some of remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Arrange mushrooms, filling side up, in prepared dish. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake uncovered until mushrooms are tender and filling is brown on top, about 25 minutes.

Makes 24.

Goat Cheese Bites
Sara Mies, April Supper Club

Mediterranean Apricots
Plain Goat Cheese
Caramelized Walnuts

Assemble apricots on a serving plate, spoon a dollop of goat cheese on each apricot. Top with a walnut.


Marcie said...

Wow!! Thos sausage bites look great!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Katie, :o) Thank you so much for posting this. I made the Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms tonight, and we loved them! I posted a pic on my blog, but I don't think my camera did it justice. Please thank Sara for us as well!

Katie B. said...

Arbela - I am so glad you enjoyed them! I will most definately make sure Sara knows you loved them as much as we did! :)

Tracy said...

Hi, I found your blog because I googled Sara Mies. I've lost her email address. Can you ask her to email Tracy Ryan? Thank you! And, the recipes look great. Wish I lived closer so I could be a member of your club!