VIRTUAL DINNER PARTY #95 MIDDLE EASTERN SWEET POTATO TOSTADA WITH WHIPPED FETA AND SALSA VERDE

WHIPPED FETA DRESSING INGREDIENTS:
3/4 C mayonnaise, homemade or high quality store bought
¼ C Greek yogurt
8 oz. of feta, crumbled
1 lemon, juiced and zested
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
(any extra dressing can be reserved for later use)

SALSA VERDE INGREDIENTS:
½ C toasted pumpkin seeds – toasted sunflower seeds may be substituted
2 green onions, sliced
¼ C fresh cilantro, minced
2 T lemon juice
3 T olive oil

TOSTADA INGREDIENTS:
4 T olive oil, divided
1 small onion, cut into thick slivers
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ ea. jalapeno, deseeded, ribs removed and minced (optional)
2 small sweet potatoes, skin on cut into thick 3” planks
2 t cumin powder
2t smoked paprika
2t honey
1 bunch kale, washed, trimmed, and well dried
4 pita toasted rounds or flatbread, additional cilantro, pumpkin seeds and feta for serving

METHOD:

Prepare whipped feta dressing: Combine all dressing ingredients and blend well using an immersion blender or food processor. Adjust seasoning to taste. Transfer to a container and refrigerate.

Prepare Salsa Verde: Combine all salsa ingredients in the work bowl of a food processor and using quick pulses combine to make a chunky puree. You may need to add a bit of water to get the proper sauce-like consistency.

Prepare Filling: Preheat your oven 400 degrees. Line two large, rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine all filling ingredients except the kale on one sheet pan and toss with 2 T olive oil. Spread out in a single layer and roast for 15-20 minutes, until tender and appealingly charred. Remove from oven and set aside. On the second sheet pan combine kale and 2 T olive oil. Toss lightly and spread out in a single layer. Roast in oven for 10 minutes or until crisp. Remove from oven and sprinkle lightly with salt. Set aside to briefly while toasting pita or flatbread in oven.

Assemble the tostadas: Spread the whipped feta on the warmed pita rounds. Arrange sweet potatoes on feta mixture and top with crispy kale. Drizzle salsa verde over all and sprinkle with additional pumpkin seeds, cilantro and crumbled feta if desired.

Serves 2 generously

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VIRTUAL DINNER PARTY #94 PRESERVED LEMON HUMMUS WITH TOMATO CUCUMBER TOPPING

HUMMUS INGREDIENTS:

2 cans of garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

½ t baking soda

6 T tahini (can found in most grocery stores-sometimes near the peanut butter)

2 T high quality olive oil

1 preserved lemon, roughly chopped, seeds removed  (available at Harmon’s or TRY MY RECIPE @ https://petitefeastutah.com/blog/2014/10/30/preserved-lemons/)

½ lemon, juiced

2 cloves garlic

2 t ground cumin

2 t smoked paprika

4 T cold water

Salt if needed

METHOD:

Place garbanzo beans and baking soda in a pot and cover with 2” of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and rinse well with cool water. 

Combine beans and preserved lemon in the work bowl of a food processor and pulse until well combined.  Add tahini, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, preserved lemon, spices and water. Blend until mixture is smooth and very creamy.  You may need to add additional water to achieve the consistency you like.  Set aside while you prepare toppings.

ROASTED GARBANZO BEAN TOPPING:

1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained and patted dry

2 T rase el hanout (available at Harmons or you can substitute equal parts cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, ginger)

1 pinch salt

3 T olive oil

1 t dried oregano

Preheat oven to 350.

METHOD:

Combine garbanzo beans, ras el hanout, salt, oregano and olive oil in a bowl. Toss well to combine and distribute flavors throughout. Place seasoned beans on a rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Roast in oven for 20 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Be sure to shake pan midway through to ensure even cooking.  While beans roast, prepare tomato salad.

TOMATO CUCUMBER SALAD TOPPING:

1 basket cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into ¼” chunks

3 oz feta crumbled

¼ C parsley, minced

2 T olive oil

½ lemon, juiced

Salt and pepper

METHOD:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, toss well and season with salt and pepper.

To serve: spread the hummus in a large serving bowl.  Spoon the ras el hanout chickpeas over the hummus along with the accumulated oil in the bottom of the sheet pan.  Top with tomato cucumber salad.  Drizzle with additional olive oil if desired and serve with fresh pita or vegetables to dip. Leftovers keep well, refrigerated for up to a week

Serves a crowd

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VIRTUAL DINNER PARTY #93 BANG BANG SHRIMP WITH UDON NOODLES

INGREDIENTS:

6 oz. Udon noodles

1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined 

1 T minced garlic,

2 t smoked paprika 

1 t freshly black pepper,

1 T vegetable oil

¾  C coconut milk 

⅓ C mayonnaise (high quality store bought or homemade)

¼ C sweet chili sauce (available in any grocery store) or substitute 3 T honey

1 T minced ginger

2 t minced lime zest 

2 t Sriracha 

2 T lime juice 

2 T chopped cilantro

Garnish with chopped peanuts and scallions

METHOD:

Cook udon noodles in a pot of boiling salted water according to package directions; drain and set aside.

Toss shrimp with garlic, paprika, and black pepper. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and cook until pink but still tender and moist. Transfer to a plate.

Whisk together coconut milk, mayonnaise, chili sauce, ginger, zest, Sriracha in same skillet. Mix well and bring up to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer sauce until slightly thickened. Stir in lime juice.

Add udon noodles, cooked shrimp, and cilantro back to skillet and heat through. Place on serving platter and garnish with peanuts and scallion.

Serves 2 with leftovers

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VIRTUAL DINNER PARTY #92 CARROT MISO SOUP

 INGREDIENTS: 

2 T unsalted butter

2 # carrots, peeled and cut into ½” chunks

1 large onion, peeled and chopped

2 T garlic, minced

2 T ginger, grated

Pinch crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

6 C vegetable or chicken stock

½ C white miso paste

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 T sour cream mixed with 1 T fresh lemon juice and chopped fresh parsley for service

METHOD:

Melt butter in a pot over medium high heat.  Add chopped carrots and onions and sauté briefly until carrots have softened and onions are fragrant. Add garlic, ginger and crushed red pepper if using.  Sauté 1 minute.  Add stock and bring to a boil.  Cover pot and reduce heat to medium low.  Simmer for 10 minutes or until carrots are very tender.

Remove from heat and puree using a handheld immersion blender.  Alternatively, cool soup and puree in batches in a good processor or stand blender. Whisk in miso and season with black pepper and salt, if needed.

To serve, combine sour cream and lemon juice in a small bowl. Mix well until thoroughly combined.  Portion soup into shallow bowls and top with a swirl of lemon cream and a sprinkling of parsley and soak in the sun.

Serves 2 generously with leftovers or 4 more modestly.

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VIRTUAL DINNER PARTY #91 SAUSAGE AND SPAGHETTI TORTE

 INGREDIENTS: 

¼ C extra virgin olive oil

4 oz spicy Italian sausage

3 large cloves garlic, peeled and thinly slivered

2 (28 oz.) cans peeled and crushed tomatoes in juice

Pinch crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

1 tsp. fennel seed

2 t salt

1 bunch baby spinach coarsely chopped

1/2 # spaghetti

1 ½ C grated fontina cheese

Fresh basil, Pecorino Romano for serving

METHOD:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare springform pan if using *see preparation sidebar

Prepare sauce: Heat oil in a medium saucepan over low heat.  Add sausage and cook through until no longer pink. Using a slotted spoon, remove cooked sausage from pan and set aside. In the same pan, add garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally until very fragrant but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and their juice, red pepper flakes, fennel seed and salt.  Bring up to a simmer and cook about 20 minutes or until tomatoes break down and sauce has thickened slightly.

Stir chopped spinach into sauce and cook until wilted.  Add reserved sausage and cook an additional minute or two until heated through.  Remove 1 C of sauce and set aside before proceeding with recipe.

Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain well and set aside.

Prepare Torte: Combine remaining sauce, cooked spaghetti and 1 C grated fontina in a large mixing bowl. Toss gently until pasta is evenly coated with the sauce and cheese is evenly distributed throughout. Transfer the mixture to the prepared springform pan and press down lightly to compact. Top with remaining fontina cheese and chopped fresh basil.

Bake Torte:  Place torte on a rimmed baking sheet in preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes or until cheese has melted and edges begin to brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 15-20  minutes. Once rested, release springform clasp and carefully remove the pan and  parchment paper collar. Stand back and admire your work!  Slice and dust with Pecorino Romano cheese, passing reserved sauce at the table.

Serves 2-4

Chef’s note: I like to line my springform pan with a parchment collar to prevent sticking and ensure an easy release. It’s not 100% necessary, but the extra step guarantees an Instagram worthy presentation. To do it, on a sheet of parchment paper, trace around the bottom of your springform pan. Cut out the circle and set aside.  Then cut a strip roughly 1” taller and 1” longer than the circumference of the interior of the pan and set aside. Lightly spray the interior of the pan with pan spray.  Press the circular piece to the bottom of the pan. Then, carefully press the strip around the interior circumference overlapping the edge for complete coverage.

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VIRTUAL DINNER PARTY #90 CURRIED TURKEY POT PIE WITH FILO TOPPING

 INGREDIENTS:

1 # cooked turkey breast cut into bite size pieces

2 T olive oil, divided

½ small white onion, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

2 t curry powder

2 T all-purpose flour

1 ¼ C low-sodium chicken broth

½ cauliflower, cut into small florets

½ zucchini, diced

½ red bell pepper, diced

½ green bell pepper, diced

½ sweet potato, peeled and diced

3 T raisins

½ C coconut milk

Salt and black pepper

8 sheets filo dough

2 T cashews, chopped

1 T cilantro, minced

black nigella seeds (optional)

olive oil pan spray

*Cooked, leftover vegetables may be substituted for what I’ve suggested here.  You many need to reduce cooking times to accommodate.

METHOD:

Prepare filling:  Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium high heat with 2 T olive oil.  Add onion and cook until softened but not browned.  Add garlic and curry powder and remaining oil to pan.  Sauté until fragrant.  Add 2T flour, cook stirring constantly, until completely incorporated.  Slowly whisk in chicken broth and bring to a simmer.  Add diced sweet potatoes and cook until almost tender, 10-12 minutes.  Add cauliflower florets, peppers, zucchini and raisins.  Simmer until vegetables are tender and cooked through.  Stir in coconut milk and diced turkey.  Simmer until heated through, about 3 minutes. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.  Remove from heat and allow to cool while you prepare topping.

Prepare filo topping:  Place filo sheets on a clean, dry surface.  Carefully cover with plastic film and a damp towel.  Remove 1 sheet from filo stack and spray lightly with olive oil spray.  Sprinkle with chopped cashews and cilantro.  Top with second piece of filo and spray lightly with olive oil spray.  Carefully bunch up the filo in a loose ball and place it on top of the curried chicken mixture.  Repeat with remaining filo until top of skillet is covered.  Sprinkle top of casserole with nigella seeds. Bake 12-15 minutes until filling is bubbly and filo is nicely browned.

Take care to keep filo sheets that you are not working with covered with a sheet of plastic film and a well wrung out damp tea towel to prevent them from drying out.

Serves 2-4 with ample leftovers

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VIRTUAL DINNER PARTY #88 STREAMLINED VEGETABLE PAELLA

INGREDIENTS:

3 C vegetable stock

2 bay leaf

2 generous pinches of saffron (about 30 threads)

1 small yellow onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic

2 t dry thyme

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 red bell pepper, cut into strips – reserved

1 green bell pepper, diced

½ dry white wine

2 large tomatoes, diced (1 28 oz can diced tomatoes may be substituted)

1 ½ C medium grain rice

1 C pimento stuffed Spanish olives

1 T Spanish paprika

1 can canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 14 oz can or frozen artichoke hearts, drained and rinsed

½ # haricot vert or green beans, blanched

1 ea. yellow squash, zucchini, cut into ¼ “rounds

1 ½ C frozen peas

Fresh lemon and minced parsley for serving

METHOD:

Simmer vegetable stock with bay leaf and saffron in a saucepan over low heat for 10 minutes.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion, garlic, and thyme, and cook until soft but not brown. Add the diced peppers and cook 2-3 minutes.

Deglaze with wine and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes, until reduced by half. Stir in chopped tomatoes and cook until tomatoes have softened and have given up most of their juice. Add the rice and sauté briefly.

Add seasoned broth, artichoke hearts, chickpeas, olives and paprika. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Rice should be almost cooked through but still have a bite.

Remove the lid and decoratively arrange red pepper strips, squash and green beans on top of the rice. Cover tightly and let cook over low heat for an additional 5 minutes to cook vegetables through. Finally, remove the lid and turn the burner to medium high. In a few moments you will start to hear the rice to crackle which develops the socarrat – the delicious, often fought over crispy layer of browned crust of rice that usually forms on the bottom of the pan.  Scatter peas and minced parsley over the top and serve with lemon being sure to serve some of the crispy bottom to each guest.

Serves 6-8 but can easily be scaled up or down to suit

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SWEET! VIRTUAL DINNER PARTY #87 KIRRA WILKINSON’S BLUE RIBBON WINNING SOUTHERN BUTTERMILK PIE


*This month’s VDP recipe celebrates all the bakers who entered Ivins’ City First Annual Show Us How You Roll Heritage Days Pie Baking Contest. Congratulations to all the bakers who entered. Each of you is a winner!

The First Annual Ivins Heritage Days Pie Baking Contest had fourteen pies entered, and competition was tight. Every pie was delicious. From sweet to savory, Ivins bakers really showed us how they roll. The contest brought in a variety of pies from across Ivins. Kayenta’s Nate and Sara Dupree, Lois Hewitt, Sally McNeil-Blimling, Jeff DeVore, Holly Ragland all turned out inspired creations that won high praise from the judges. Resident Ivins City bakers were there in full force too. Jessie Kaonohi, Phillip and Lydia Craven, and Heidi Blake baked noteworthy pies that were not only beautiful but very tasty. And Sammi’s beautiful Rhubarb Berry Pie had a tender crust and fruit forward filling that that demonstrated pie baking perfection.

Who won? Ivin’s resident, Kirra Wilkinson, and her Southern Buttermilk Pie really won the judges over. The well-balanced flavor paired with her expertly baked graham cracker crust captured the blue ribbon win and hopefully a place on your Thanksgiving table. I am certain its pleasantly creamy custard and crisp sugar topping would be a welcome addition to your family’s holiday pie lineup. Abigail Grossen’s delicious Hawaiian Chocolate Coconut Pie and Liz Fortney’s luscious Pecan Pie claimed second and third place respectively. Congratulations to all who entered and many thanks to Kirra for sharing her winning recipe.

If you have not joined the Virtual Dinner Party but would like to dine with us, please prepare this recipe – or any other – and share it with your family, friends and neighbors. It is our group’s firm belief that by preparing something good to eat and sharing it with those we love, we are participating in one of life’s greatest joys. The connection, community and good will that come from it fill us with joy, hope and gratitude. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I do.

Thanks for coming to the party and participating in the contest. Cook On! – Victoria

Special thanks to our judges and our contest sponsors, Bosch, L’Chef, Petite Feast and Red Mountain Market. We’re already looking forward to next year.

VIRTUAL DINNER PARTY #87
KIRRA WILKINSON’S BLUE RIBBON WINNING SOUTHERN BUTTERMILK PIE
INGREDIENTS:
Crust:
10 oz. graham crackers
5 T butter, melted

Filling:
1 ¼ C granulated sugar
2 T flour
3 eggs
½ C butter, melted
1 C buttermilk
2 t vanilla
Pinch of salt

Topping: (optional)
1 tablespoon cream cheese
1 tablespoon granulated
sugar
¼ t vanilla
¾ C heavy cream
Fruit as garnish

METHOD:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Crush the graham crackers until they’re small crumbs (I use a bag and mallet)
In a bowl, combine the graham crackers and melted butter using your hand or spatula until it’s well mixed.

Grease the sides and bottom a 9” pie pan and press the graham crackers into the base and up the sides. Set aside. Take your time pressing it into place to get a firm crust.

In a large bowl, add the sugar and flour and whisk to combine. Add the eggs and whisk to combine. Add the vanilla, buttermilk, melted butter, and salt and whisk to combine.

Once the oven is up to temperature, pour the buttermilk mixture into the unbaked prepared pie crust and bake for 50-60 minutes.

The center will be set when the pie is done so if you notice the center jiggling at all when you’re pulling it out, cook it for another 5 minutes and check again.
Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 2 hours before serving.

For the Topping:
Combine cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in a mixing bowl with a whisk attachment and whisk on medium speed for about 2 minutes until combined. Add the cream and whip on medium speed until the cream reaches soft stiff peaks, about 2 minutes. Keep a close eye though because it will go from perfectly whipped to over-whipped in a matter of seconds.

Immediately use or keep refrigerated for up to 2 days until ready to use.
Add fruit of your choosing as a garnish.

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VIRTUAL DINNER PARTY #85 GRILLED GREEK PORK SKEWERS WITH MINT, LEMON AND GARLIC

SKEWER INGREDIENTS:

1 # pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 1 ½” cubes

1 zest of lemon

¼ C fresh lemon juice

3 T olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

¼ C fresh parsley, chopped

2T fresh oregano, chopped

¼ C fresh mint, chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

CREAMY YOGURT DIPPING SAUCE:

1C fat-free Greek style yogurt

2T reduced fat sour cream

2 T tahini

3T ea. fresh parsley and mint, minced

1t fresh oregano, minced

1 T lemon zest

2 T feta cheese, crumbled

½ t honey

METHOD:

Prepare the marinade:  Combine lemon juice, zest, olive oil, garlic, parsley, mint, oregano, salt and black pepper in a small bowl.  Place pork in a large zip-lock bag and add marinade.  Toss to distribute marinade evenly with pork.  Refrigerate 2-3 hours or overnight.

Thread the marinated pork onto skewers and season lightly with salt and pepper. **If using wooden skewers, soak skewers in water 30 minutes before using to prevent burning while grilling.

Preheat grill to medium high.  Lightly spray skewers with olive oil pan spray.  Place on grill and cook 8-10 minutes or until nicely browned and pork is cooked through but still pink (about 145 degrees).

Prepare the creamy yogurt sauce:  Combine all sauce ingredients. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve skewers on warmed flatbread with creamy yogurt sauce.

CHEF’s TIP

The skewers can be made in a broiler or on a stovetop, but they won’t achieve the same charred crust that they would on a grill. To broil: Place the kebab skewers on a foil-lined sheet pan and broil on high for about 8 to 10 minutes, turning a few times. Keep a close eye on the skewers so they don’t burn. For stovetop: Heat a grill pan or cast iron skillet over medium-high until hot. Place the skewers on the skillet and cook, turning a few times, about 10 to 12 minutes total.

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VIRTUAL DINNER PARTY #84 BLUEBERRY NECTARINE PIE

PIE DOUGH INGREDIENTS:

3 C + 2 T all-purpose flour

3 T sugar

1 t salt

¾ C unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes

¼ C all vegetable shortening, cold, cut into small cubes

¾ C ice water

2 T apple cider vinegar

FILLING INGREDIENTS:

¾ C sugar

4 T + 2 t tapioca flour (basically the same thing as tapioca pearls but ground fine)

3 C fresh nectarines pitted and sliced

2 C fresh blueberries

1 T fresh lemon juice

¼ t freshly grated nutmeg

2 T unsalted butter

METHOD:

Prepare pie dough:  Stir together flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of food processor.  Add cubed butter and shortening and pulse briefly to combine. Using a quick on-off pulsing action process mixture until shortening and butter are roughly pea-size and well distributed throughout the mixture. The food processor makes short work of the process but you can also do it by hand or with a mixer using the paddle attachment.

Stir water and vinegar together. Add ice cubes to make about 1 ¼ C. Taking care not to add ice cubes, sprinkle about half the liquid over flour mixture. Pulse briefly. Add half of the remaining liquid (minus the ice cubes) and pulse again until a shaggy dough is formed in the bowl of the processor. * You may need to add some of the extra liquid if the dough is too dry.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times just until dough holds together.

Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a flat disk about 6” in diameter. Wrap in plastic film and refrigerate for at least an hour or for up to three days. (disks may also be frozen at this point for later use)

Prepare Pie:  Preheat oven to 425.  In a large bowl whisk sugar and tapioca flour together.  Add fruit, lemon juice, and grated nutmeg.  Toss until well combined and let rest until fruit begins to release its juice.

While fruit rests, remove dough from refrigerator and let stand at room temperature to soften slightly. When softened, roll dough out on a lightly floured surface to a 12” diameter circle. Transfer to a 9” pie plate, pressing bottom and up sides.  Trim dough to a 1” overhang.  Fill with fruit mixture and dot with small pieces of butter.

Roll out the remaining disk to cover top of pie decoratively and crimp edges.  Freeze pie for 20 minutes. Chef’s Tip: This step is not required, but I think it helps reduce pie crust shrinkage and slump in oven.  Remove from freezer and place on rimmed, parchment lined baking sheet. Brush top of pie with beaten egg and sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Bake for 10 minutes at 425 and then reduce oven temperature to 375. Continue to bake until filling has thickened and is bubbly. 45-50 minutes. Let cool for 2 hours before serving.

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