December Dinner Club Menu

Oh by gosh, by golly
it’s time for mistletoe and holly.
Tasty pheasants, Christmas presents
the countryside covered with snow…

Oh by gosh, by jingle
It’s time for carols and Kris Kringle.
Overeating, merry greeting
from relatives you don’t know…

Now comes the big night,
to cover the tree with trim
You’ll hear voices like starlight,
singing a Yuletide hymn…

Oh by gosh, by golly
it’s time for mistletoe and holly.
Fancy ties and grandma’s pies
and folks stealing a kiss or two
and they whisper… “Merry Christmas to you!”
Frank Sinatra – The Rat Pack
It came down to a couple choices this year for what to do for December Dinner Club.  Usually we go to the Icon Grill as I mentioned in a previous post, however, it was decided by the group that the six of us would share an evening together at Stephanie’s house and recreate the Icon Grill Menu or get close. What’s more, is that we also were to have a cookie exchange.
I looked forward to this evening ever since the idea of it was tossed out as an option.  My portion was beverage this time.  With anticipation over the past several weeks, I shuffled through pages of Christmas cocktails and festive holiday drinks.  Afterall, Icon can make just about anything.  I know I was supposed to follow the rules and go with something “Icon”, but I put aside my proverbial Dinner Club rule book and decided to go on my own.  I chose the Pomegranate Champagne Cocktail.  To give credit where credit is due and despite my extensive search for the perfect drink, my sister sent this one to me, which I slightly changed and included below.  I also brought with me three bottles of wine; Layer Cake, Rosemont Shiraz, and an organic reisling, Naked, that is one of my favorite whites chilled very cold.
Turns out, the whole evening was better than Icon and just as good.  Like they say with age, after eight years of Dinner Club it just keeps getting better.
December Dinner Club Menu
Christmas Dinner Club Menu  – Friday, December 4, 2009
at Stephanie’s house
 
Hot Artichoke and Gruyere Spread
by Stephanie

Hot Artichoke and Gruyere Spread
14 ounce can of artichoke hearts, drained
1/4 C Sour Cream
1 T. Mayonnaise
Dash cayenne pepper
1 C. grated Gruyere cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly.  Using a rubber spatula, fold out into greased, decorative, oven safe baking dish.  Place in over for 15 to 20 minutes checking often. The dip should appear bubbly, and golden brown.  Carefully remove from oven, arrange with sliced french bread or with crackers. 

Christmas Wreath Salad
by Tina
Christmas Wreath Salad

1/2 lb smoked chicken or turkey
1 C.craisins
1/2 C. hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
4 oz. Oregon blue cheese crumbles
1 Granny Smith apple, diced medium
1 small, sweet red pepper, diced fine
2 T. fresh pomegranate seeds (optional)
1/2 head romaine lettuce
1/2 head red leaf lettuce
rosemary sprigs
cherry tomatoes

For Pomegranate Vinaigrette:
¼ cup pomegranate juice
¼ cup raspberry vinegar
1 small shallot, peeled
1 egg white
1 ½ cups olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Place shallot, egg, vinegar and pomegranate juice into a blender or food processor. Puree until the shallot is well chopped. While food processor is running, slowly drizzle in oil until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.

Cut each of the half heads of lettuce, cut into salad size pieces and rinse with cold water, drain and dry.  In a separate large bowl, combine lettuce with chicken, apples, craisins, and desired amount of prepared vinaigrette. Toss thoroughly.  To make the wreath shape, use a large, decorative shallow bowl or platter and place an inverted drinking glass in the center. Using your hands or tongs, firmly stack the salad around the glass.  You can use all the salad, stacking it as high as possible. Your last step is to add your nuts, blue cheese and diced red peppers to the top by carefully sprinkling them over.  Place the cherry tomatoes decoratively on top and slowly remove the glass.  Serve.

Individual Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf with Molasses 
by Tracy

Individual Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf with Molasses
http://www.fineliving.com/fine/insiders_list/article/0,1663,FINE_17956_3872203,00.html

Cilantro and Corn Mashed Potatoes
by Jeni

Cilantro and Corn Mashed Potatoes
1 lb of fresh or frozen (thawed) corn kernels – do not use canned
1 1/2 C. cream
8 cooked, peeled potatoes
1 clove peeled garlic, minced
2 T butter
Salt & Pepper
1/2 cup finely sliced cilantro

Prepare the corn as you normally would and set aside.  Place the potatoes in a large, glass bowl.  Add cream and butter and mash thoroughly*.  Add garlic, salt and pepper to taste.  Stir in corn and cilantro.  Place over hot water bath with lid to keep hot. 
* For a smoother texture, you can also use a food processor to cream the corn by placing 1/2 the corn, cream and melted butter and cream until smooth, adding back into the potato mixture.
 

Pomegranate Champagne Cocktail
by Trisha
Pomegranate Champagne Cocktail
1/2 C. pomegranate juice
1 C. ginger ale
1 bottle champagne
4 C. crushed ice

pomegranate seeds (optional)

Mix together first three ingredients in a pitcher.  Pour in pretty glasses over ice.  Garnish with pomegranate seeds.  Share with friends and enjoy.

The Cookie exchange was also a lot of fun and saves a cookie baker a lot of time in the kitchen.  A cookie exchange is a good idea.  You bring home dozens of cookies that you don’t have to make yourself.  One way to share in a cookie exchange is to put tall the cookies out on trays on a big table covered with a festive tablecloth.  The guests make up their own box by selecting cookies of choice.  Another way is to  package them up yourself and offer each of your guests an invididually wrapped package of cookies. One of the best parts was to see the different packaging that was chosen to present them.  Wrappings ranged from boxes and cellophane to stockings and holiday craft covered jars.  What a great way to start the holiday season!  I know I will be wrapping presents and snitching cookies off the tray to have with my cup of holiday cheer!

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