The hostess of the month chooses which cookbook that each of us will cook from. This month our hostess chose to cook from one that is very near and dear to my heart, our own Junior League cookbook. I was on the committee so many years ago that published this book. I worked on it for three years and it taught me so many things and I believe that was when I really learned the joy of cooking. It was published in 1988 but in my opinion has withstood the test of time.
We always serve it buffet style and each of us want to try each and every dish that was brought to this lovely affair.
Belgian Style Seafood
(An over the top entrée' filled with fresh shrimp, scallops, and crab meat and served over angel hair pasta, what's not to like about this incredible dish?A recipe that I will definitely prepare again for my family.
Wild Rice and Chicken Salad
Artichoke Chicken Casserole
This was served over yellow rice and another amazing dish.
Potato Broccoli Vinaigrette
Zucchini Carrot Bread
A very moist, rich, and flavorful bread.
Another nutritious bread that can be served for breakfast or as a tea nosh.
I failed to get a photo of our dessert, French Silk Pie. It has an amazing crunchy crust with a velvety smooth chocolate filling. It was quite simply, DELICIOUS!!!!!
And lastly, my own contribution to this fabulous luncheon.
This was a recipe that could have been served hot, cold or at room temperature which is what I chose to do. I had brought some diminutive punch cups for ease of serving and we also topped it with a slight drizzle of black truffle oil.
24 to 30 pencil-thin asparagus spears
1/4 cup butter
1 cup chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon flour
2 cups chicken stock or broth, warmed
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup finely minced parsley
2 fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 small seeded and peeled tomato, chopped for garnish (optional)
Trim woody ends of asparagus and cut stalks into 2-inch lengths. Trim and reserve tips.
Steam asparagus tips for 3 to 5 minutes. Rinse tips in cold water. Drain well and refrigerate for garnish.
Melt butter in a large saucepan. Add onions, sauté over medium-low heat, until onions are transparent, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for only two minutes being careful not to burn the garlic. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly for 3 minutes. Add warmed broth slowly, stirring constantly. Add asparagus stems, parsley, seasonings, and basil. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook covered for 30 minutes.
Cool asparagus soup slightly and puree' in batches. Strain in a medium sieve to remove woody pieces. Add cream and reheat gently if serving hot, refrigerate if serving cold. Garnish for serving with asparagus tips, chopped tomato or both, if desired.
May be made the day before.
I have always loved a good asparagus soup but had never prepared this particular recipe. I had an excellent asparagus soup recipe in my repertoire that I have used over and over again but this particular soup is so delicious that it will now become my go to recipe.
Instead of pureeing in a blender I used an immersion blender and did not put it through a sieve. I liked the rustic nature as it is but I also added in the juice of 1 fresh lemon which gave it a pop of flavor.
There is something so powerful in sharing wonderful, carefully prepared food with friends. As the Prelude of this book reads, "Linger for a moment over a timeless collection of special family occasions. Enjoy for a lifetime the exquisite atmosphere created when family, food and festivity are intertwined. Discover the flavor of the graceful lifestyle and casual elegance which is Tallahassee. Thymes Remembered is a portrait of the food and settings which convey an ambience reflective of our way of life." I vividly remember the meeting where we went over the wording of the Prelude of this book and yesterday I could not help but remember these eloquent words as we were sharing good food, good fellowship and making memories.
I had put this book aside for more recent books that are out today. I knew better than anyone that each and every recipe had been tested a minimum of three times and I learned something. It is an excellent "go to" book and has indeed endured the test of time. Thank you my friends for allowing me the honor of being a part of this group.