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Megans Cookin: July 2009

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Palm Leaf Dinnerware For The Party!

Recently I was sent a set of some Palm Leaf Dinnerware from Marx Foods. I was having an outdoor dinner party and I thought these plates were perfect for such an occasion.. They are made out of naturally discarded sheaths of the leaves of the Adaka palm tree and are collected from the forest floor. No trees are harmed in the making of this natural and biodegradable dinnerware. They are an eco-friendly alternative to conventional disposable plates and green all the way.

For my dinner party, I served my Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Dates on a leaf lined plate.
It was one of three appetizers.

After our salad, I served a Cedar Planked Lemon Salmon and paired it with Gnocchi and Browned Butter. I barbequed the salmon on cedar planks with pickled Meyer lemon slices on top, a little salt and pepper, and it was cooked to perfection.
Plated on, of course, a Palm Leaf Plate.

And our main course was Beef Tenderloin with Balsamic Reduction Cream served with a Wild Mushroom Saute. I used some Dried Black Trumpet Mushrooms, Dried Lobster Mushrooms, and Dried Maitake mushrooms that I also got from Marx Foods, along with some fresh Baby Portabellas.

It was a wonderful dinner complemented by these wonderful disposal plates.
Because let's face it, after an evening of delicious food and robust wine,
who wants to do dishes???

Certainly not me!

Thank you
Marx Foods!

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Friendship, Fun, and a S'more Cookie!

It's been a very busy month for me. Alot of traveling and going, going, going. At the beginning of the month we left for a ten day vacation along the Oregon coast with friends, only to turn around and head to Lake Almanor for our annual family wine pairing dinner.

The very next day I was off for a few days to play and
camp with old childhood friends on the Rogue River in Oregon.

We have all turned or are about to turn 50!

Kim lives in Oregon and turned 50 last November, Jenny from Florida turned in February and I, the baby of the pack, turns 50 in October.
(That is so hard to say but even harder to see in print. Sigh)
So it was a celebration of our fifties, friendships, and great wine.
Errr, I mean fabulous food. Yea, that was it.

Fifty's, Friendship, and Food!

I have known these girls many years. I met Kim when I was in 1st grade. I was five, she was six. Growing up over the years, there was Barbies, boys, party's! Where there was Kim, there was Megan. That's 45 years of friendship! It's funny, I now work at the very same elementary school that Kim and I attended. I see all those little kids, and those hallways, and the memories, it seems a lifetime ago. Well... I guess it was.

I met Jenny when we started the 9th grade. Freshman's, we were. Silly little Freshman girls with very big dreams! Ironically, this is the year my daughter starts high school and it seems weird to think I was just her age when I met Jen. How soon we all grow up.

Here's a fun cookie I wanted to share with you. Made with graham cracker crumbs, chocolate chips, and mini marshmallows, It's a S'more cookie! Perfect for a camping trip or a backyard sleep out, this cookies delivers. If I close my eye's, let my mind wonder,and nibble a cookie, I can be transported back to the big old redwoods.

But here's a hint for perfect cookies. The recipe says to bake them for 9 minutes and then place 3 marshmallows and the Hershey pieces on the cookie and finish baking. Well...I have a recipe for a Mississippi Mud Cookie that you just bake the whole time with three marshmallows on top. So in the interest of saving a few minutes, I tried it that way.

The marshmallows slid around a bit and weren't quite as pretty as the one's where I did follow the directions. Lesson learned!

A perfect S'more cookie!

S'more Cookies
Cookie Madness
3/4 cup butter — softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate
1 cup (more or less) of mini marshmallows
2 Hershey Bars, broken into pieces

Beat together butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Blend in egg and vanilla. Add combined flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking soda and salt. Mix well. Stir in chocolate chips and (if using) other stuff.

Drop dough by heaping tablespoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets about 3 inches apart.

Bake in pre-heated oven 375 degrees F for 8 minutes. Remove and quickly press marshmallows and chocolate into cookies. Return to oven and cook until done (about 3 or 4 more minutes)

Makes about 3 dozen

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Old World, New Life. A Wine Pairing Dinner

We had a family celebration this last weekend at Lake Almamor.

Celebrating the birth of the newest member of the family
(5 month old Will from New York)
to celebrating the birthday of the matriarch,
it was lots of family, lots of fun, and lots of food!

The Matriarch, Isabel

With a family of 30, we had an action packed weekend. Bird house painting, swimming, and boating were just a few of the highlighted activities. And it all started with a noon tee-off for many, and a welcoming dinner on Friday night,

In the spirit of Old World, we were treated to a menu of:

Argentina Spiced Ribs
Chinese Chicken Drumsticks
German Potatoe Salad
Greek Salad
French Rolls
Dutch Chocolate Cake

Saturday afternoon held a lakeside bbq lunch .

Can you tell by the menu below that this is a family descended of Portugese?

The BBQ Menu

The wine pairing dinner was held on Saturday night.

With each meal served at a different house, we had the wine dinner over looking the golf course. Many activities were planned throughout the evening, including a family photo, games and a silent action for art work that was contributed by the many talented children in the family.

After appetizers, the children were hauled off to another one of the homes where they were served frozen pizza and brownies. The older children helped look after the younger ones. This has become an annual event that I look forward to each year.

Each place setting has their own menu and the table is
decorated with old world maps.
Several family members are in charge of different courses and
the wine that is to be served with their course.

Mozzarella and Tomato Lollipop

Mozzarella and Tomato Lollipops
Spanish Chorizo-stuffed Mini Potatoes
Cristalino Brut Nature Vintage Cava 2005-Spain
Nino Franko RUSTICO Prosecco di Valdabbliadene-Italy
Vinho Verde 2007-Portugal

Spanish Chorizo stuffed Mini Potatoes

First Course
Salade Au Chevre with Thyme and Lavender Honey
Pouilly Fuisse 2006
Laboure-Roi - Vallon d' Or
Burgundy, France

Second Course
Crispy Halibut on Piminton Grilled Corn Cakes
with Red Pepper Coulis
Cabernet sauvignon Rose 2008
South Africa

Third Course
Bodega LAN Crianza Rioja 2005
Fuenmayor, Spain
Burgans Albarino 2007
Rias Baixas, Spain

Champagne, Peach and Mint Chilled Soup with Creme Fraiche

Fourth Course
Beef Medallions Wrapped in Apple-smoked Bacon
On Crispy Fries with Chimichurri Sauce
Santa Ema Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
Maipo Valley

Fifth Course
Old World Cheeses with Quinche Paste, Marcona Almonds
and Turron Blando
Warre's Warrior Special Reserve Porto

Sixth Course
Panna Cottta with Berries Compote, Vin Santo Sauce
with Italian Polenta Cookie
Moscato di Asti 2007
Del Marchesi Di Gresy
LaSerra, Italy

We finished up the weekend with a send off breakfast for the whole gang.

What's for Breakfast?

Mexican Eggs
w/salsa, avocado, and Sour Cream
German Glazed Ham
Polish Kiekbasa
Tahitian Fruit Salad
Kartoffelnester Hash Browns
Hawaiian Rolls
Flour Tortillas
Danish Pastry
Hawaiian Mimosa
Brazilian Coffee

I glad I could share my weekend with me.

I hope the menus intrigue you,

the food inspires you,

and the weekend invigorates you!


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Thursday, July 16, 2009

A New Look, Easy Cheesy Danish and The Redwoods!

Welcome to the newly designed Megan's Cookin' How do you like it?
Since I'm coming up on the 2 year anniversary of my blogging AND it's my 300th post,
I thought it was time for a face lift! Actually this is my 301st post, but who's counting?

So... come on in, Join the party!
Grab a drink and enjoy some pictures and a danish.

Note: If your just here for the danish, it's at the bottom. But Since your here,
please stick around and enjoy The Redwoods!

Living in Northern California, I'm just hours away from almost anything. An hour to the mountains, few hours to the coast, few hours to the city, heck,
I even have two beautiful lakes in my own back yard.
On our way home from our Oregon vacation,
we spent our last night in the Redwoods.

These pictures were taken in the Lady Bird Johnson Memorial Grove. It's a pretty fern lined path that loops through the grove of these Redwood giants. They are just awe inspiring! It was a misty foggy lovely afternoon and we had water droplets falling on our heads.

Aren't they beautiful?

You can see how huge they are. There's Kellie peeking between two trees.

This next picture is for Grandma.
I thought she would enjoy a picture of the family and friend.

Now ya ready for some danish after that little hike through the redwoods? This is an easy cheese danish that I got from Jo at The Adventures Of Kitchen Girl. I made it her way the first time and my way the second time. Yep! I've made it twice in a little over a week.

And it all starts with a couple cans of crescent rolls,and some cream cheese!

Roll out your dough!

First I slathered it with seedless raspberry jam.Then I flavored the cheese mixture with not only the vanilla but a little bit of rose water. You couldn't taste the rose, but I think it complimented the raspberry filling and just gave it some depth.

Then instead of just putting the top layer of dough on top, I thought I would do a lattice. That way some of the cheesy goodness could peek through.
I just thought that I was so darn smart. :)

Drizzle a little glaze over the top and that's it. If you would like to see another similar version of this, check out My Tasty treasures. Donna made individual danishes using the same stuff. Enjoy!

Easy Cheese Danish


2 cans ready to use refrigerated crescent rolls
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese (I used 1 8oz package)
1 cup sugar (I used 1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I added more, I LOVE vanilla)
1/2 teaspoon rose water (Optional)
1 egg
1/4 cup any flavor jam
1 egg white-for egg wash

1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons milk (I used less)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350* degrees and grease a 13X9-inch baking pan.
Lay a pack of crescent rolls in the pan and pinch the openings together.
Spread jam all over dough.
Beat the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and egg together until smooth. Spread the mixture over the jammed crescent rolls evenly and then lay the second pack of crescent rolls on top of the cheese mixture and brush with egg white. Bake for 35-45 minutes until the top is golden brown. Top with glaze after cooling for 20 minutes.

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