Fall Colors — October Dinner

Mashed-sweet-potato-bacon-cups-twoTake in the fall colors with a savory combination almost too beautiful to eat.  Crimson reds, orange, cinnamon and herbal accents make for a full sensory experience. Special thanks to Carla and Peter for dreaming up this fun, easy menu to end our dinner season.

MENU — Remember to adjust recipes for 8 generous servings.

Let’s toast the season with host-selected wine fit for a feast.

APPETIZER:  Guest 1
Mashed Sweet Potato Bacon Cups

1st COURSE: Guest 2

Roasted Beet & Heirloom Tomato Salad

MAIN COURSE: Host
Baked Garlic Pork Chops
Polenta with Wild Mushrooms

SOMETHING SWEET: Guest 3
Cinnamon Baked Apples – serve with whipped cream or ice cream

TIPS…
  • Reminder to hosts that all costs are shared among guests: Use this handy COST CALCULATOR when dividing up costs after the meal.
  • To receive automatic notices when new menus or events are posted, click on the “follow” request at the lower right of this page.
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From Tapas to Tempranillo – September Soiree

Easy-Spanish-Tapas2Join the Highland Park Gastro Club for a tasting of Spanish wines and member-prepared delicacies — small-plate tapas, meats, salads, appetizers and finger food. Members Leah and Ian Burk will curate an indulgent selection of Spanish wines and a house-made specialty drink.

DATE: Saturday, September 22
TIME: 7:00 p.m.
WHERE:  Private

RSVP by Sept. 14 (evite)
COST: $30 per couple to cover wine/drinks ($15 if coming solo)
WHAT TO BRING: Something delicious  to share.

Need inspiration? Consider an authentic tortilla Española, garlicky prawns, saffron-infused paella, roasted pork, marinated olives, stuffed mushrooms or peppers, any variety of tapenade, cured meats (Jamon Iberico and Chorizo) or a simple Pisto, a stew of tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and zucchini.

Bring what you love! Ideas and recipes below:

 partyWeather permitting, we’ll take the festivities poolside and under the stars, so dress comfortably. Please RSVP early to help us with planning.  If you know what you want to bring, include that in your RSVP.  If you haven’t decided, just add that later.

 

 

New England Escape — August Menu

sheet-pan-clambake-103Longing for sea, sand and cool ocean breezes? Escape to the shore with this steaming hot menu featuring seafood favorites. You might have to turn up the AC, but the aromas are sure to fulfill any Yankee longings, real or imagined.

Kick it all off with a cold beer, sparkling rose or libation of choice, followed by…

APPETIZER: Guest 1
Farmers’ Market Crudites with Buttermilk Herb Dip

1st COURSE: Guest 2
Herbed Watermelon Salad with Goat Cheese

MAIN COURSE & SIDES:  Host
Seafood / Lobster Boil served with butter and lemon, plus Martha Stewart’s Cheddar Biscuits (or shortcut version)

TIPS: Adjust recipe to serve 8 Texas-sized appetites. Mix and match your favorite seafood as you wish. Don’t like clams? Replace with mussels. Love shrimp? Throw in a few lbs. to satisfy. There are dozens of similar recipes online, so feel free to choose one of your own or go freestyle with these tips from Epicurious. Tips on boiling lobster tails: here

DESSERT:  Guest 3
Boston Cream Pie
This is the real deal. The recipe states 1-hour prep time and recommends making the pudding creme center the day before.

  • Reminder to hosts: Use this handy COST CALCULATOR when dividing up costs after the meal.
  • To receive automatic notices when new menus or events are posted, click on the “follow” request at the lower right of this page.

Breakfast for Dinner — June 2018

bloodymary 2Join your neighborhood pals for the most important meal of the day… breakfast, plus some day-drinking favorites. It’s quite a spread, so come hungry for grazing start to finish. Jammies optional.

MENU — Remember to adjust recipes for 8 servings. Because everyone has their own favorites, feel free to tweak these recipes or come with you own inspiration.

Let’s toast: Host-prepared drink options
Bloody Mary Punch
Sparkling Ginger Cocktails

APPETIZER:  Guest 1
Buttermilk Biscuits with Jam
Melon Salad with Honey, Lime and Mint

1st COURSE: Guest 2
Cheddar and Scallion Savory Pancakes served with Greek yogurt garnish

MAIN COURSE: Host
Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole
Small side salad or fresh vegetable

SOMETHING SWEET: Guest 3
Blueberry Coffee Cake  

TIPS…

  • Reminder to hosts: Use this handy COST CALCULATOR when dividing up costs after the meal.
  • To receive automatic notices when new menus or events are posted, click on the “follow” request at the lower right of this page.

Spring Forward — April Dinner

20-minute-Easy-Apple-Arugula-Salad-with-Pecans-and-Lemon-Vinaigrette.-A-healthy-hearty-side-dish-for-fall-and-winter.-salad-recipe-vegan-healthy-dinner-meal-minimalistbakerThis garden friendly dinner sings of farm-fresh ingredients fit for a king. It’s a vegetarian menu designed for all tastes and sensibilities. Let’s call it our Spring Flexitarian Dinner — giving you mix and match entrees with a protein chaser.  Cheers to longer days and living well!

As a reminder, your host will select and purchase wine, then divide the cost among guests. Keep costs around $15 a bottle and include only open bottles in cost estimate.

MENU — Remember to adjust recipes for 8 servings

APPETIZER: Host prepared cheese plate

1st COURSE: Guest 1
Apple Pecan Arugula Salad

2nd COURSE: Guest 2
Pioneer Woman Tomato Tart

MAIN COURSE: Host
Option #1: Gorgeous Greens Farro Bowl 
Option #2: Savory Gruyere Bread Pudding  (ignore salad/salad ingredients)
Your choice of optional protein add-on: Sauteed or Grilled Shrimp 

DESSERT: Guest 3
Milk & Cookies — Vanilla Pudding Chocolate Chip Cookies
Bring chilled dough if you would like to bake fresh. Serve with milk or ice cream.

Note: According to U.S. News and World Report, flexitarians weigh 15 percent less than their more carnivorous counterparts; have a lower rate of heart disease, diabetes and cancer; and live an average of 3.6 years longer.  Not bad, right?!  

TIPS…

  • Reminder to hosts: Use this handy COST CALCULATOR when dividing up costs after the meal.
  • To receive automatic notices when new menus or events are posted, click on the “follow” request at the lower right of this page.
 

Italy is for lovers — February Dinner

ossobuccoIt’s all out romance for our indulgent February dinner, starring the classic Milanese dish Osso Buco – veal shanks braised in wine and brightened with a sprinkle of lemon and herb gremolata. Chef Giada De Laurentiis presents this easy video demonstration with step by step directions. This is a multi-course meal with lots of flavors, so pace yourself and keep the wine flowing.

As a reminder, your host will select and purchase wine, then divide the cost among guests. Keep costs around $15 a bottle and include only open bottles in cost estimate.

MENU — Remember to adjust recipes for 8 servings
Some recipes have alternative options with photos and additional instruction. Use the one you prefer.

ANTIPASTA / APPETIZER: Guest 1
Recipe #1: Caponata Recipe
Recipe #2: 
Easy Caponata 
Caponata can be made ahead of time. Serve in a bowl with flatbread and endive on side.

PRIMI / 1st COURSE: Guest 2
Roasted Tomato Basil Soup (Optional croutons) Ina’s video is here.

SECONDI / 2nd COURSE: Host
Ossobuco (Braised Veal Shanks) served with side and crusty artisan bread
Recipe #1: Ossobuco
Recipe #2: Ossobuco for a crowd method
Order veal shanks ossobuco 2-4 days ahead of time. The HEB meat department near Far West will order them by phone or in person. Double check day before. Other tips:
• Keep meat dry for effective browning.
• Tie shanks before cooking, so they hold together.
• With 8 at your table, you’ll need a heavy pan or casserole dish to cook in oven. Recipes are similar. Choose either, but adjust for 8 servings.
• Watch this video demo

Sides — Host’s choice. Smaller side portions with simple options below.
Recipe #1: Pasta Caprese
Recipe #2: Pasta with garlic and oil
Recipe #3: Risotto for Beginners

SALAD COURSE: Guest 3
Insalata De Finocchi Ed Agrumi: Fennel and orange salad

Lemon cakeDOLCI / DESSERT: Guest 3
Option #1: Lemon cake served with fresh berries
Note: Guest 3 brings both the dessert and fennel salad.Optional: Dessert wine, tea or coffee (decaf)
You may serve cocktails at your own expense (not billed to guests).

TIPS…

  • Reminder to hosts: Use this handy COST CALCULATOR when dividing up costs after the meal.
  • To receive automatic notices when new menus or events are posted, click on the “follow” request at the lower right of this page.

Blind Wine & Cheese Tasting – January 27, 2018

IMG_6051Are you a wine appreciator or aficionado? Test your skills and discover if your tastes outshine your budget during our 2018 Gastro Club kickoff event — a great chance to meet all our new and returning members!

DATE: Saturday, January 27
TIME: 7:00 p.m
WHERE:  Private home

Featuring:  A casual evening of food and wine, lots of wine… some very good, others not so much. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Gastro Club event without a little competition. You’ll each get a score card and a chance to compare and win. Consider it “The Price is Right” with wine.

WHAT TO BRING: $10 per person ($20 per couple) & a gourmet food item
We’re keeping it simple! Each member will bring one food item to comprise an extravagant spread — cheeses, olives,  pate, tapenade, prosciutto, salami, candied nuts, figs, dates, fresh fruit, crusty breads, etc. No cooking required for this one unless you are so inspired. If you are going paleo or low carb, consider bringing a crudite or lite bite to share.  Expect enough food for a light meal, plus alternative libations if you are not imbibing.

RSVP by January 20
All full and sub members, please accept or decline via email to Diana Hyland. Having an accurate count helps us budget for the amount of wine needed.

How can we possibly taste fine wines for $10 a person? That’s where the Gastro Club party fund kicks in. We’ll invest in several high-end bottles at the club’s expense — wine most of us do not buy every day.  Expect tastings ranging from your standard HEP special to the more sublime at $50 bucks plus. We’ll stick with mostly reds for the Wine Tasting, but will have a variety on hand for those who enjoy a white or sparkling.

Cheers to a New Year!