April Supper Club

The menu: Sauce & Sinatra

The menu: Sauce & Sinatra

Charcuterie Board

Charcuterie Board with homemade Rosemary Olive Oil Flatbread

Mini Caprese Skewers

Mini Caprese Skewers

Shitake, Basil & Lemon Cauliflower Pizzas

Shitake, Basil & Lemon/Margarita/Carmelized Onion & Spicy Sausage Cauliflower Pizzas

Mama Fiorella's Bolognese

Mama Fiorella’s Bolognese

The table setting

The table setting

Noms

Clockwise from top: Homemade Focaccia, Penne & Bolognese, Pancetta Brussels Sprouts, Fried Cardoons

Homemade Limencello

Homemade Limencello

Cannoli

Yummy Cannoli!

Supper Club

Supper Club Guests, minus two people

April was all about old world Italian. From cardoons to bolognese to limoncello, we covered a lot of regional specialties and practically had to be rolled out of our hostesses house! Luckily, about half of us come from Italian backgrounds so we were really able to flex our culinary muscles this SCB.

I opted for making an Italian charcuterie board. The cheese portion of the charcuterie board consisted of Rustico Black Pepper Cheese, Langa Castelbelbo, Piave (my personal favorite), Miti Sottocenere with Truffles and Ricotta Salata. I found all my cheese at Wegmans after consulting with one of our SCB members who used to work in their Cheese Shop. I learned the key to creating a good cheese board is you want to have a good balance of flavors (from strong to mild), textures (soft, semi-soft, semi-hard and hard), colors, shapes and sizes. For the meats, I added Felino, Genoa Salame and Riserva Prosciutto. I rounded my board out with some kalamata olives and made some delicious Rosemary Olive Oil flatbread to accompany it.

Rosemary Olive Oil Flatbread
adapted from Epicurious.com

  • 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup olive oil plus more for brushing
  • sea salt

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix flour, rosemary, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center, then add water and oil and gradually stir into flour with a wooden spoon until a dough forms. Knead dough gently on a work surface 4 or 5 times. Divide dough into 3 pieces and roll out 1 piece at a time into a 10-inch round. The shape can be rustic and the dough should be thin. Lightly brush the tops with additional oil and scatter small clusters of rosemary leaves on top, pressing in slightly. Sprinkle with sea salt. Transfer rounds onto a foil-lined baking sheet and bake until pale golden and browned in spots, 8 to 10 minutes.

December Supper Club Buffalo

I’d like to start out the new year by thanking everyone who reads my blog for all your love and support. With absolutely no idea what I was doing, I started this blog a year ago as a new year’s resolution. I couldn’t be more happy that people not only read it, but actually enjoy it. Over the past year I’ve learned a lot, namely how to take better pictures (some of my old posts are REALLY ugly with iPhone-only pics), but also how to open myself up without being scared of what people might think. It’s been a challenging, yet fun and rewarding journey and I am looking forward to continuing that! To keep the positive momentum going, check out my interview on Buffalo Eats, a WNY-based food blog, where I’m now listed as a Buffalo Foodie. Woot woot! Also check out my interview with Channel 7 about a new food market that opened in Buffalo. Special thanks to my techie husband for recording it and figuring out how to post it to YouTube! Yea, I’m pretty popular these days. Ha!

Ok, enough of the self-promoting. Onto the fun stuff. BOOZE! That was the theme for our third installment of Supper Club Buffalo. Each dish needed to incorporate alcohol into it which wasn’t very hard to do for all us boozers. I made Penne alla Vodka without the sausage. I’m over a month behind on posting this, but hey, better late than never, right? Oh, and sorry for all the Instagram/iPhone pics, but that’s all I have.

the menu

the menu

some booze to go with our booze

some booze to go with our booze

cute favors from our crafty hostess

cute favors from our crafty hostess

tablescape

lovely tablescape

lovely ladies!

lovely ladies!

my penne alla vodka dish

penne alla vodka

guinness braised quiche

guinness braised onion and aged white cheddar quiche

drunken dueling chickens

drunken (and dueling!) chicken

drool-worthy tiramisu!

drool-worthy tiramisu!

Yum!

Twice Baked Winter Squash Gratin

attendees for the November Supper Club

attendees for the November Supper Club

the delicious menu

the delicious menu

Twice Baked Winter Squash Gratin

For our second Supper Club our host chose Crockpot and Stovetop dishes as her theme, as she is in the middle of a kitchen renovation. While this dish was neither (no one ever said I was good at following the rules), I figured I could just bring it over hot. I had (and still currently have) so much winter squash left from my farm share that I really needed to use it up. And since the hubs doesn’t eat it, this was really the only opportunity I had to use some of it up. It came out pretty good for just winging it! The only issue I ran into was when I was running the onions through the food processor. They kept getting stuck around the blades so I needed to make sure to check that those got pureed. Other than that, this dish was delish!

Twice Baked Winter Squash Gratin

  • 1 butternut squash, acorn squash and red kuri squash (or any other combination)
  • 4 small onions
  • 3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, plus 3 tablespoons extra
  • pinch of fresh or dried parsley

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice squash in half, scoop out seeds and cut the onions in half. Coat the cut sides with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Lay the squash halves, cut-side down, on a baking sheet. Place the onions under each squash cavity and place in the oven. Roast until very soft and fork tender, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside until cool enough to handle. Scoop out the flesh from the squash halves and place in food processor with the roasted onions. Purée until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl and mix with ricotta and parmesan cheese until well incorporated. Add more salt and pepper if needed. Fill a shallow dish with mixture. Sprinkle the top with remaining parmesan cheese, parsley and a light drizzle of olive oil. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Place under broiler for 5 more minutes, until top of gratin has browned.

Roasted Acorn Squash Stuffed with Sausage, Quinoa and Apple

Supper Club Place Setting

Service for 10!

Supper Club Menu

The menu!

Supper Club Attendees

The gorgeous group of attendees!

Sausage, Quinoa and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash

Sausage, Quinoa and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash

I mentioned last week that I hosted my first-ever Supper Club. As the host, I was responsible for the main dish and everyone else brought sides that went with our theme for the month, Fall. I decided to go with stuffed acorn squash because I could make all the ingredients the night before and just reheat the day of. I’d say it worked out pretty well. So well that we ate and drank ourselves into mini food comas and we even had leftovers for a few days. Bonus!

Roasted Acorn Squash Stuffed with Sausage, Quinoa and Apple

  • 6 acorn squash, rinsed
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1-1/2 pounds spicy chicken sausage, casings removed
  • 2 Fuji apples, peeled, cored and diced
  • 1 small green pepper, diced
  • 1 small jalapeño, minced
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut each squash in half crosswise; scoop out seeds and save for Roasted Acorn Squash Seeds. Cut a thin slice off the bottom of each half so they can stand upright. Season the inside of each squash well with some of the olive oil, salt and pepper. Place each half, cavity side down on a cookie sheet and bake until tender when pierced, about 45 to 50 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet over medium-high heat, add remaining olive oil, chicken sausage, apples, peppers, jalapeño, onions, garlic, shallots, salt and pepper. Stir often until apples are tender when pierced, about 8 to 10 minutes. Cook quinoa according to package directions, substituting the chicken broth for water. When cooked, add quinoa to the apple-sausage mixture. Fill each squash equally with sausage-quinoa-apple mixture and bake, uncovered, until filling is slightly browned on top, about 15 minutes longer.

Our Fourth Wedding Anniversary

Four years ago

Ghost of Negroni and Saz-that-rac Cocktails

Amuse-Bouche: Radish and Butter Pudding

Wagyu Beef Tartare

Gem Wedge Salad

Filet Mignon

Wagyu Filet

Chocolate Soufflé and Vanilla Ice Cream

This Thursday we celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary by taking the day off, getting a couples massage and having dinner at a new restaurant in Buffalo, Mike A’s Steakhouse. The restaurant is located within the newly renovated Hotel Lafayette and it doesn’t disappoint. The interior has been lovingly restored with no expense spared. Upon walking into the space you feel as though you were transported back in time. Because all that time transporting can make you thirsty, we decided to start our culinary adventure with cocktails from the bar. I went for the Saz-that-rac which consisted of rye, cognac, flower honey, bitters and lavender absinthe. Spencer had the Ghost of Negroni which was described as pepper añejo tequila, blanco tequila, aperol, punt e mes, rhubarb amaro and clove-mescal. Ask me what half of those ingredients are and I really couldn’t tell you! Mine was too strong for my liking, so I could only take small sips, but Spencer really enjoyed his.

After our drinks we were served warm, crusty bread and an amuse-bouche of radish and butter pudding. It was an interesting flavor combination, but I enjoyed it. The radish was fresh and crisp and it complimented the richness of the butter pudding. Shortly after we received our first course, the Wagyu Beef Tartare ($16) and the Gem Wedge Salad ($8). This was my first time experiencing tartare, but I really enjoyed it and the presentation itself was stunning. It came topped with truffled yolk, onion and basil and served in a large round pita-type chip. The raw beef was chopped so thin that it melted in your mouth and all the flavors complimented it well. The salad was pretty standard, but it was well seasoned and the ingredients tasted fresh.

For an entrée I ordered the 8-ounce Filet Mignon ($42) and Spencer ordered the special, a 6-ounce 9th Grade Australian Wagyu Beef Filet ($69), because the 12-ounce Wagyu steak wasn’t available. The story behind Wagyu beef, as our server described it, is that it’s based on Japanese meat standards and is graded for it’s texture, marbling and color, hence the hefty price tag. My filet or ‘regular’ beef was presented beautifully and tasted absolutely delicious. The meat was perfectly cooked and seasoned and came served with an herbed butter, potato puree, roasted mushrooms and asparagus. Spencer’s Wagyu beef was also delicious, but compared to my plate, his looked empty. His came served with potato patties topped with roasted tomatoes and onions. He enjoyed it, but was still hungry and ended up eating half of my dish.

Thoroughly stuffed (and pretty darn buzzed) we thought it was a good idea to order dessert. We decided to split the Chocolate Soufflé ($10). The warm dark chocolate came served with vanilla ice cream and was the perfect dish to end a perfect evening. If you have a special occasion and are ever in the Buffalo area I’d highly recommend Mike A’s for a great meal.

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Well, it’s 50 degrees and sunny here in Buffalo today. Certainly way above normal temps for January 7th! I decided it was a perfect day to whip up some yummy soup. We had a large butternut squash leftover from our farm share that ended back in November. I’ve been mulling over what I should make with it for some time now. My husband (Mr. Picky Eater) won’t dare eat squash of any kind so it’s all for me!

Butternut Squash & Apple Soup
Adapted from http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Butternut-Squash-Apple-Soup-365210

  • 6 slices bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 pound boiling potatoes
  • 2 medium Granny Smith apples (about 3/4 pound total)
  • 1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (3 1/2 to 4 cups)
  • 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken stock or broth
  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups water

Cook bacon in a 6-quart heavy pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, then transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain, reserving 2 tablespoons fat in pot. (Add vegetable oil if your bacon is very lean and doesn’t yield enough fat.)

Cook celery, carrot, and onion in fat in pot over low heat, covered, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Add cinnamon and cook, uncovered, stirring, 1 minute.

While vegetables are cooking, peel potatoes and coarsely chop. Peel and core 1 apple and coarsely chop.

Stir squash, potato, chopped apple, stock, 2 cups water, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper into onion mixture, then simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

Puree soup in 4 batches in a blender (use caution when blending hot liquids), then heat in cleaned pot over medium low heat, stirring occasionally. (Add additional 1/2 cup water to thin, if necessary.)

While soup is heating, cut enough of remaining apple into thin matchsticks (about 1 1/2-inches long) to measure about 1/2 cup.

Serve soup topped with sour cream, bacon, and apple matchsticks.

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