Thursday, May 17, 2012

On May 17th Holly, Tori and Mandy hosted our 3rd Gourmet Club Dinner.  The theme was "A Taste of Oregon".  Everything was done so tastefully and captured perfectly the beauties and flavors of Oregon.

The invitations were tied to a seedling.  So creative and fun to get a doorstep delivery!

Mandy, Holly, and Tori our amazing hostesses for the evening.

The place settings.

The table.  Seriously, the picture does not do it justice.  (And I'll just apologize now that for my camera, it was acting up and I couldn't figure out why so some of the pics aren't the best.)  It was gorgeous.  There were lights strung above the ceiling and the whole room had a relaxing and cozy feel to it.

Also on the table were postcards of different places in Oregon, then on the back were interesting facts about those places.  We had fun going around the table and reading them during the evening.

The menu was next to the table on this big board.  Fun and different from what we've had before.

The appetizer table. 

Hood River Pear with Pancetta Crisp, Goat Cheese and Honey.  Yum!

Pacific Northwest Clam Chowder with a Portland Sourdough Roll

Oregon Crab Stuffed Phyllo Cups.  I was madly in love with these.

A Wedge Salad topped with Pear, Gorgonzola and Candied Cashews.

Hood Strawberry Seltzer Smoothie - this was so refreshing

The main course - Walnut and Brown Sugar Crusted Salmon topped with Blackberry Sauce served on a bed of Wild and Whole Grain Rice.  A Tillamook Cheddar Rosemary Biscuit.  Asparagus with Mushrooms.  All divine!  And the Salmon was fresh out of the Columbia River!

Desserts - Oregon Apple Pie - this was hands down probably one of the favorites by all of the whole evening.  The best apple pie ever.  The crust is the best pie crust I have ever had in my life (sorry to all our mothers, grandmothers and aunts, but when you try this you'll agree)

Trifle with Lemon Curd Mousse, White Chocolate Whipped Cream and Oregon Berries.  I loved the lemon curd mousse in this.  It was light and so yummy.  We were all soooo full by this point we were trying to shove every last bite in but it was nearly impossible!

Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies with Alpenrose Milk - the chocolate flavor in these was so perfect!

Back Row - Alisha, Brenda, GG, Holly, Mandy, Tori
Front Row - Corinne and Baby Theo, Alyssa, Carrie, Tanya, Brittany, Emily

The take home gifts were some homemade Oregon Strawberry Jam.  Love it!  And a bag of Chocolate Covered Hazelnuts.  Thanks girls for a WONDERFUL and relaxing evening.  It truly was perfect!

Clam Chowder
½ cup diced onions
½ cup diced celery
½ cup diced potatoes
2 cans (4 oz ea.) chopped clams
1 cup milk
1 cup half and half
½ cup flour
5 oz butter
1 chicken bouillon
½ teaspoon thyme

Sauté onions and celery in 2 oz. butter.  Add clam juice, chicken bouillon cube, potatoes and simmer until potatoes are cooked.  Make a roux of 3 oz butter and flour.  Gently stir roux into soup.  Add clams, preheated milk and stir until thickened.  Add thyme salt and pepper to taste.

Pear and Gorgonzola Wedge Salad

1 head of iceberg lettuce cut into wedges and core removed
¼ cup dried cranberries
1 pear diced
½ cup gorgonzola cheese crumbled
½ cup candied nuts

Dressing½ cup mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
¼ cup sugar
(Tip:  this is an excellent dressing for broccoli salad)

Remove a couple layers from each wedge to create a “bowl” of lettuce.  Lightly drizzle dressing.  Add pear and cranberries and more dressing.  Top with cheese and nuts.

Strawberry Spritzer

2 cups frozen strawberries
2 cups cold spritzer water
½ cup white grape juice
Juice of 1 small lemon or ½ large lemon
¼ cup sugar (more or less to taste)

Blend all ingredients in a blender.  Serve with frozen strawberries.

Pancetta Crisps with Goat Cheese and Pear (
Yield: 6 servings


 12 thin slices pancetta (about 1/3 pound)
1 Bartlett pear
½ (4 oz.) package goat cheese, crumbled
Freshly cracked pepper
Garnish: Fresh thyme sprigs


1.     Arrange pancetta slices in a single layer on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet.
2.     Bake at 450 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a paper towel-lined wire rack using a spatula. Let stand for 10 minutes or until crisp.
3.     Core pear with and apple corer. Cut pear crosswise into 12 thin rings. Arrange on a serving platter. Top evenly with pancetta and goat chesses; sprinkle with pepper. Drizzle with honey just before serving. Garnish with fresh thyme sprig, if desired.

Rosemary Cheddar Biscuits  (

Yield: 24

3 cups all-purpose flour
                  8 ounces butter, cubed
                  1 pint buttermilk
                  2 tablespoons double-acting baking powder
                  2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
                  salt & pepper to taste


1.     Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2.     In a mixing bowl add flour, baking powder and salt and pepper. Cut cubed butter into flour until it resembles crumbs.
3.     Mix in rosemary and buttermilk. Do not over mix to avoid chewy biscuits.
4.     Dough will be sticky
5.     Spray non-stick baking pan with Pam. Drop dough onto pan.
6.     Bake for 8 minutes.
            Balsamic Asparagus and Mushrooms

Yield: 5-7

                  1 lb. of asparagus
                  8oz. Mushrooms (I used brown Crimini, but any will work) cut in ½ slices
                  1 ½ Tablespoons of olive oil
                  1 Tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
                  Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
                  2 Tablespoons of finely grated parmesan cheese

1.     Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.     Wash mushrooms and let drain. Cut into ½ inch slices.
3.     Trim asparagus.
4.     Wisk together oil and vinegar
5.     Put asparagus and mushrooms in a Ziplock bag and pour oil/vinegar mixture over. Squeeze the bag until the asparagus and mushrooms are lightly coated with the mixture.
6.     Arrange asparagus and mushrooms on a large baking sheet, spreading them out well so they aren’t too crowded.
7.     Bake for about 10 minutes.
8.     Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve.

Brown sugar and Walnut crusted Salmon:

Egg whites
1 -2 C. Brown sugar
1-2 C. Walnuts (chopped)
Mix walnuts with brown sugar.
Brush Salmon with egg whites,
dip into flour, then into brown sugar/walnut mixture to form a crust on the salmon.
Brown and Caramelize salmon in butter in a large pan; about 5 min. Transfer to a 350 degree oven to finish cooking; about 5-7 min. 

Blackberry sauce:

2 C. Fresh or frozen blackberries
1 Tbsp. Lemon juice
2T. Sugar (more if needed)
1/4 C. Water
Put all ingredients in a saucepan, bring to boil, reduce to simmer and cook until berries break down and sauce thickens.

Dungeness Crab Dip:

1 C. chopped Dungeness crab meat
1 block of cream cheese
1/2 C. Mayo
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 C. Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. fresh chopped parsley
1 Tbsp. fresh chopped dill
1/4 C. diced red onion
salt and pepper to tasteMix all ingredients except for crab until smooth and creamy, carefully fold in crab meat. 

Phyllo cups:

4 sheets of phyllo dough
Butter each layer of phyllo dough, and layer them on top of each other. Cut into squares about 2 inches squared. Place in mini muffin tin and shape into cups. Bake @ 350 for 8-12in; until golden brown and crisp.


Lemon curd cream:

1/2 C. fresh squeezed lemon juice
4 Tbsp. lemon zest
5 egg yolks
1/2 C. sugar
pinch of salt
2 C. white chocolate whipped cream (see recipe below)
In a sauce pan, combine all ingredients except the whipped cream. Bring to 170 degrees, whisking constantly, it will become thick. Transfer to a glass bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cooled. Fold in whipping cream. Chill until ready to serve.

White Chocolate whipped cream:

1 quart Heavy Whipping cream
1 C. White chocolate

Beat whipping cream until very heavy and thick. Melt white chocolate and allow to cool to room temp. Fold chocolate into whipped cream.

Vanilla pound cake:

1 box moist yellow cake mix
1 box instant vanilla pudding mix
1 C. sour cream 
2 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs
3/4 C. oil
Combine well. Grease and flour bundt pan. Bake @ 325 45 min.

Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies (

Yield: 2-2 ½ dozen

½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ½ cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not dutch process)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup hazelnuts (toasted & skinned), finely chopped


1.     Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2.     In a large bowl beat together the butter and sugar on medium high speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
3.     Add the eggs one at a time.
4.     Add the vanilla.
5.     In a separate bowl combine the flour, cocoa powder baking soda and salt.
6.     Add dry ingredients to the wet mixture and mix on low until combined.
7.     Add hazelnuts.
8.     Spoon onto baking sheet by rounded tablespoons and press down lightly with palm.
9.     Bake 8-10 minutes. Cookies will be very soft.
10.  Transfer to wire rack to cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.

Apple Pie

2 cups AP flour
1 teaspoon salt
¾ stick well chilled Crisco baking sticks butter flavor all-vegetable shortening.
4-8 tablespoons ice water

Blend flour and salt in mixing bowl.  Cut cubed, chilled shortening into flour mixture using a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Sprinkle 4 tablespoons ice water over flour mixture; mix gently with fork.  Add more water by the tablespoon, mixing until dough holds together.  Flatten dough into a 1 inch thick disc and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for at least an hour.

Roll dough out and place in a pie plate or divide into 5 small pie pans.  Trim the edges (you’ll have some excess because this is a double crust recipe). 

5 golden delicious apples
¾ cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Dash nutmeg
Dash salt

Peel, core and very thinly slice apples into a bowl.  I like to use an apple corer/slicer and then cut small pieces crosswise (little thin triangles).  My apple corer/peeler/slicer doesn’t cut thin enough.  Mix apples with sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.  Put in pie crust.

11 tablespoons hard butter
½ cup sugar
¾ cup flour

Mix sugar and flour in a bowl.  Cut in the cubed butter.  Using a pastry blender mix until it becomes small crumbs.  Using your hands, take mixture a handful at a time and press between palms.  Place each piece over the top of the pie starting from the outside in.  Seal the outside crust to topping as much as you can.  Cover pie with foil.

Bake at 400 degrees for 50 minutes.  Put a cookie sheet under the pie.  Remove foil about half way through baking.