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Spring Harvest April 8, 2017

Posted by Cynthia in Gourmet Club.
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Spring dinner – so delightful! Thanks to Per and Andrea for hosting us on April 8, 2017. The menu was as follows:

  • Appetizer (Mary): Spring Deviled Eggs
  • Salad (Gwen): Springy Caprese Salad
  • Soup (Steve): Fresh Pea Soup
  • Entrée (Per): Filled Spring Pork Hare
  • Sides (Linda):  Roasted Potatoes, Carrots, Parsnips and Brussels Sprouts
  • Dessert (Cynthia): Home-grown Éclairs




Cruising into Christmas December 17, 2016

Posted by Cynthia in Gourmet Club.
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We met on December 17 at Cynthia’s house to celebrate the season of Christmas. The theme was Cruising, which played out in some people’s choice of clothing, and also by serving ourselves dinner buffet-style, like on a cruise ship. We wanted to keep it simple and casual, but still delicious.

Here are the food highlights. Note there are no photos of the main course (ham) and the potato-rutabaga dish. Sigh. Too busy eating to pick up the camera!

Scallop and shrimp cocktail in shooter glasses – Steve and Kathi. Sauce was a mixture of finely diced red onions, clam-tomato juice, ketchup, lime juice, cilantro, and a finely diced serrano chile pepper. Quartered scallops, added shrimp, garnished with a shrimp on side of glass.

Christmas wreath salad – Steve and Kathi. Mixed green salad, with Gorgonzola crumbles, thinly sliced pears and pomegranate seeds, placed on a circular plate to resemble a wreath; centered with a champagne vinaigrette.

Chopped salad – Per. Served in a “boat” to go with our cruise theme.

Mustard and maple syrup glazed spiral ham – Cynthia. Served with pickles, choice of mustards, and horseradish on the side.

Potato, rutabaga, parsnip mash with a caramelized onion top – Larry and Mary.

Chocolate shells with white mousse and fresh fruits – Gwen and Linda.

As usual, we enjoyed a gift exchange game after supper, and everyone went home with something they loved. It was a delightful end to another year of wonderful food and friendship with The Plano Gourmet Club.

Friendsgiving November 26, 2016

Posted by Cynthia in Gourmet Club.

We gathered at the MacPhees’ to celebrate Friendsgiving in November. In Mary’s words, this was a “Thanksgiving-themed menu, but made with all new, delicious fall recipes rather than the ones we have to make each and every year for our family traditions.”

It turned out to be a great theme and the dishes really brought out the flavors of fall.

  • For our appetizer, Andrea brought assorted cheeses, crackers and grapes.
  • Jessie and Ellen contributed Prosecco for our bubbly drinking pleasure.
  • Gwen served an orange and pomegranate salad with walnuts and pomegranate dressing – very fresh!
  • The soup course was by Steve. He gave us a unique-tasting sweet potato coconut milk soup.
  • Mary and Larry prepared herb-stuffed roasted pork loin with spiced cranberry sauce, and roasted potatoes and glazed carrots for the main course.
  • Kathy contributed stuffing muffins which went beautifully on the side of the roast pork.
  • We finished off the meal with Cynthia’s apple cheesecake brûlée.



Spring Sensations April 4, 2016

Posted by Cynthia in Gourmet Club.

On April 2, we celebrated the advent of Spring at Per and Andrea’s home.

Cynthia brought the appetizers: spicy lamb meatballs with spiced yogurt dipping sauce, and ham roll-ups with Havarti cheese, asparagus, and garlic mayonnaise.

Gwen created a lovely variation on Waldorf Salad with composed plates of apples, raisins, nuts, and bacon bits in a secret dressing.

Per imbued his main course with the flavor of fresh tarragon. Tarragon chicken, whipped potatoes with tarragon and parsley, and crisp-tender green beans. Delish!

Mary and Larry had slaved over a hot stove to create rich vanilla custard and homemade lemon curd, using the freshest of eggs, cream, and butter. We were assured the lemons were sustainably wild-harvested. These were layered in our dessert bowls and topped with raspberries and ribbons of basil. The flavor combination was rich, tangy, and altogether devastating.

Sadly, Linda, Steve, and Kathi were not present. We look forward to their renewed participation in the near future.

Photo credits go to Ellen!

Christmas in Eastern Europe January 2, 2016

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We were really in Texas but our theme was Eastern European food. Hostess Linda and her travel pal Cynthia were anxious to use the paprika they had bought in Hungary last summer! Here’s how our Christmas celebration meal shaped up:

Cynthia brought the appetizers: Liptauer with Rye Toast and Pickled Red Onions. Liptauer is a Hungarian cheese spread heavily flavored with sweet paprika and a touch of the hot kind.

Steve and Kathi brought a warming soup with complex layers of flavors.

Per and Andrea and Katarina, Andrea’s mom, contributed a salad focused on sweet peppers and it was a lovely, crisp interval for the taste buds.

Linda provided the main course, traditional Paprikash Chicken with Spaetzle. This dish was creamy and satisfying, with an addictive flavor. Linda also offered lots of wine, hot cider and eggnog.

Mary and Larry completed the table with a selection of marvelous breads, butter and sparkling wine

Gwen outdid herself making individual Spanische Windtorte for dessert. Not only were they beautiful to look at, the taste was out of this world.

Italian-American Evening November 13, 2015

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By guest blogger Steve

On October 24th we met at Steve and Kathi’s new home. The theme chosen was “What would Tony Soprano eat?” This was a tribute to the uniquely American take on Italian Food.

Kathi went all out decorating in a motif that included basil in tomato cans, mob monikers for each guest, and “Volaré” playing in the background.

The Antipasto was a full table spread; Linda provided a generous assortment of meats, cheese, and olives.

Gwen also prepared Antipasto and a homemade Focaccia Bread that set the standard for the night.

Per prepared a Frisée salad that provided a great break before the rest of the meal.

The Gibsons’ main dish was Eggplant Parmigiano with homemade sauce and a side of broccolini.

Cynthia topped off the evening with Tony Soprano’s favorite pineapple ricotta pie. This was washed down with Linda’s homemade Limoncello – che bella!

A special thanks from Steve and Kathi for the generous house warming gift.

People’s Choice July 5, 2015

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It was the Fourth of July so clearly, a picnic was in order. The full title of Mary and Larry’s theme was “Friendly Fun, Decidedly Delicious, People’s Choice of Daring or Old Favorite, with plenty of red, white and blue mixed in.” The menu did not disappoint.

Steve and Kathy made a wonderful selection of appetizers inspired by a recent visit to the South. There was roasted red pepper dip, homemade crackers with anchovy, a dip made with a secret recipe, almond milk cheese, homemade pickled cucumber slices, olives, and more.

Mary treated us to lime and strawberry flavored water to quench our thirst, while Larry served Lambrusco with a frozen blueberry and raspberry fizzing away in each glass.

Larry outdid himself with barbecued brisket cooked long and lovingly on the grill, with another secret recipe used for the barbecue sauce. It had shrirhaca in it but by the time we were eating it, the flavors and spices had melded to perfection.

Cynthia made Super Potato Salad, a Gourmet Magazine “best” recipe from many years ago. It had lots of ingredients including smoky bacon and chopped bread and butter pickles.

Larry and Mary made up a platter of crudités to accompany the brisket and potato salad. This was in lieu of Gwen’s fabulous coleslaw – sadly absent from the table as Gwen had become ill and couldn’t attend. She and Linda were both missed.

We finished the meal with a red, white, and blue Swedish Princess cake stuffed with strawberries and floating in whipped cream.

Our next dinner will be in October at Steve and Kathy’s. If anyone wants to arrange a Restaurant Week outing in August, I’m sure many of us would love to attend. See you next time!

Everything Cold May 31, 2015

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Another delicious gourmet night, this time chez Gwen! The theme for the evening was “everything cold.”

  • Per made the appetizer: shrimp and avocado marinated in lime juice and served on toast points, topped with chili sauce.
  • Linda made a fabulous cold cantaloupe and raspberry soup garnished with mint.
  • Cynthia made a delicious rice salad with lots of veggies.
  • Gwen made an outstanding salmon terrine with alternating layers of cream cheese with dill and cream cheese with lemon.
  • Larry and Mary made an exotic and refreshing dessert: mango-basil sorbet with whipped coconut cream and blueberries.

Lots of delicious cold wines accompanied the meal as well as artisan bread and European butter.

Thanks to all for a wonderful evening! See you on July 4th for a boom-town barbecue.


Retro / Metro Dinner Party April 26, 2015

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For April, we drew our inspiration from the fancy dinner parties of the 60s or 70s (“Retro”), with the option to drag old, familiar recipes into the 21st Century (“Metro”). As a special treat, Cynthia’s mom, Ann, hosted the party in her house, so we packed up our ingredients and traveled outside the Plano area for a change.

  • Appetizers were pure Retro: Ann provided chicken liver pâté with cracker selection, and shrimp with Thousand Island dressing.
  • Steve gave us a luxurious Metro soup course, chilled Heirloom Tomato Soup with Tropical Lobster Relish.
  • Gwen brought a very Retro salad: tomato aspic served with avocado and hearts of palm, and some of the aspics were made Metro with the addition of Sriracha sauce. Hot-cha-cha-cha!
  • For the main course, Cynthia made Retro Beef Wellington with Madagascar green peppercorn sauce.
  • Mary made Julia Child’s Retro Potatoes Gratin Dauphinois. For the Metro twist, she used Gruyère cheese.
  • Linda made Metro green beans with bacon vinaigrette.
  • Larry brought fabulous Retro yeast rolls and yummy French butter.
  • Per’s dessert was a fresh and dried fruits salad with cinnamon cream, topped with homemade sugar cookies cut in the shape of a bear and a star.

Lots of fine wine was contributed to the meal and everyone had a lovely time.

Jörg’s Café Vienna March 7, 2015

Posted by Cynthia in Gourmet Club.
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Quick road trip for the group … we enjoyed lots of fine schnitzel, roast pork, and wurst. The winning dessert was either the bread pudding with brandy cream sauce “made by angels,” or the homemade tiramisu, also heavily brandied.