Archive for category Dinner Club

Dinner Club: The Opposite of Bacon

Each month…six friends get together for great food and good times! Check out the recipes and rundown.

The Jaegers hosted and made the appetizers and entree. The Shalins brought over tasty beverages, and the Shooks were in charge of dessert. The theme was Vegetarian. After last month’s Bacon Bonanza, our hearts needed a break. Here’s how it broke down:

Appetizers
Squash Soup in Pumpkin Bowls
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/squash-soup-in-pumpkin-bowls-recipe/index.html

Cranberry-Brie Bites
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/saras-secrets/cranberry-brie-bites-recipe/index.html

Grilled Honey-Orange Figs with Mascarpone and Pistachios
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/grilled-honey-orange-figs-with-mascarpone-and-pistachios-recipe/index.html

Spicy Sweet Potato Fries
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/spicy-sweet-potato-fries-recipe/index.html

Main Course
Potato Gnocchi with Wild Mushroom Sugo
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/michael-chiarello/potato-gnocchi-with-wild-mushroom-sugo-recipe/index.html

Dessert
Pumpkin Brownies (served with vanilla ice cream)
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Pumpkin-Brownies/Detail.aspx

Sensational Chocolate Sauce
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Sensational-Chocolate-Sauce/Detail.aspx

Drink
Cucumber Martini
http://www.drinknation.com/drink/cucumber-martini

The Rundown: Anytime you eat soup served from a hollowed-out pumpkin bowl, you know life is good. A hollowed-out, soup-filled pumpkin bowl to 30-somethings is like a three-kegger to college students. Staying with that theme, I treated those figs like they were jello shots…I popped about eight of them. So d@mn good. You haven’t eaten a fig? Try it. The gnocchi was cooked to perfection and the pumpkin brownies really tasted like pumpkin. Judging by the plates, everyone enjoyed them. Conversation ranged from the Jaeger’s dog Nona getting hit by a car (and surviving and back to normal) to head lice (non of us have it, at least at the time of this posting).

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Dinner Club: Bacon Bonanza

Monthly Feature
Each month…six friends get together for great food and good times! Check out the recipes and rundown.

The Shooks hosted and made the appetizers and entree. The Jaegers brought over tasty beverages, and the Shalins were in charge of dessert. The theme was Bacon Bonanza. Here’s how it broke down:

Appetizers:

Bacon Wrapped Pineapple
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Bacon-Wrapped-Pineapple/Detail.aspx

Cayenne Candied Bacon
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/cayenne-candied-bacon-recipe/index.html

Avocado BLT
http://www.mealsmatter.org/recipes-meals/recipe/45171

Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/spinach-salad-with-warm-bacon-dressing-recipe/index.html

Main Course:
Bacon, Chicken* and Tomato Pasta
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/guy-fieri/bacon-and-tomato-pasta-recipe/index.html
*Chicken was an extra the recipe didn’t call for

Dessert:
Vanilla Ice Cream with Caramelized Bacon and Sensational Chocolate Sauce
http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Caramelized-Bacon-3059
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Sensational-Chocolate-Sauce/Detail.aspx

Drinks:
PDT’s Bacon-Infused Old Fashioned
http://nymag.com/restaurants/recipes/inseason/45776/

The Rundown: My arteries feel violated. Even the bourbon cocktail was infused with bacon fat. I honestly don’t even want to look at bacon for a good two weeks…maybe longer. I particularly enjoyed the Cayenne Candied Bacon. Thick cuts of bacon, super sweet, with a nice, slow burn at the end. Everything was great, and even the crumbled bacon bits worked well in the dessert.

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Dinner Club: Herbs Galore

Monthly Feature

Each month…six friends get together for great food and good times! Check out the recipes and rundown.

The Shalins hosted and made the appetizers and entree. The Shooks brought over tasty beverages, and the Jaegers were in charge of dessert. Here’s how it broke down:

Theme: Herbs Galore

Appetizers:
Panzanella a la Kevin (recipe below is similar…I recommend adding a cheese like Fontina)
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/panzanella-recipe/index.html

Asparagus and Green Beans with Tarragon Lemon Dipping Sauce

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/asparagus-and-green-beans-with-tarragon-lemon-dip-recipe/index.html

Main Course:
Flank Steak with Saucy Mushrooms
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/flank-steak-with-saucey-mushrooms-recipe/index.html

Sides:
Smashed Potatoes
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/chive-and-garlic-mashed-potatoes-recipe2/index.html

Roasted Orange Cauliflower with Greens Beans and Zucchini

Toss vegetables in olive oil, salt, cayenne pepper, and fresh garlic. Bake in a 425 degree oven fo 15 minutes.

Dessert:

Lemon Wow Cake
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Lemon-Wow-Cake/Detail.aspx

Drinks:
Traditional Mojitos
http://www.bacardimojito.com/features/mojito_recipe_01.htm

I’ve never chopped so many herbs in all my life. The food and drinks were perfection. Molly ate about 75% of the Panzanella. Everyone else got a bite and seemed to like it. I loved the mojitos. The Lemon Wow Cake lived up to its name…and even kept with the theme by containing trace amounts of dried tarragon. Finally, steak smothered in a tri-mushroom sauce is never ever a bad thing. Conversation spanned from highly intelligent to borderline insane. All and all…another great Dinner Club!

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Dinner Club: Mark’s


Our Dinner Club this month took a field trip…to a little place I like to call Mark’s. For the non-Houstonian followers, Mark’s is just about as good as it gets in our fine city. There’s a million positive reviews of this place. Thought I’d switch things up a bit with a Pro/Con breakdown of Mark’s.

Mark’s
1658 Westheimer Road
Houston, Texas 77006
http://www.marks1658.com/

Atmosphere
Pro: Dark, seductive, mysterious, elegant, architecturally mesmerizing…get the picture?
Con: Because of extreme elegance…I had to put on a pair of slacks. It had been a few months and I think I gained a little weight. Thanks for that reminder Mark.

Drinks
Pro: Best mojito ever!!! Think it was called the 1658.
Con: I think the 1658 was actually $16.58…coincidentally, the same price as last month’s water bill.

Apps
Pro: My oyster (that’s right, just one…we split it) and corn chowder were perfection. So many flavors…my tongue was in heaven.
Con: That’s what she said.

Entree
Pro: My shrimp were good, but I had a bite of Keith’s Japanese Sea Bass…that was a memorable moment in life.
Con: In a jealous rage over Keith’s choice…I tipped the waiter to spit in his bread pudding.

Dessert
Pro: My fat ass didn’t order any. Thank god…my already tight slacks were cutting into my love handles.
Con: Tasted a bite of bread pudding and blueberry mascarpone tart…those were good…maybe next time.

Service
Pro: Our waiter was at the top of his field…as knowledgeable as they come. Most of the menu was off-menu. The guy didn’t miss a beat.
Con: With service this good, there’s nowhere to go but down.
Con 1A: That’s what she said?

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