Todays luncheon was fabulous as usual and we cooked from our second league book in our community, A Thyme to Celebrate.
We lost a couple of members since January so we invited a new member to our group. She brought this delicious appetizer, The Perfect Corn Dip. An easy and tasty recipe.
The Roasted Tomatoes with Feta Cheese Olives and Pine Nuts were another amazing recipe. These would be wonderful as a side but I think could also be served as an appetizer on cocktail plates, soooooooo good.
This was probably my favorite, Tortilla Pie and I feel quite certain my Mr Picky Eater would really enjoy this. I think I will be preparing it soon.
Oh and this recipe was divine, Gruyere Thyme Potatoes. I can see it becoming a family favorite at my house. The last time I prepared a Potato Gratin was at Christmas but this one was much tastier. I think it was the use of the shallots and thyme in this recipe but there was a definite taste difference to some I have made before.
This was my contribution to our luncheon. I tested this recipe about a week ago and I'm glad I did. I think it was much better when I made it today.
Summer Garden Chicken Pasta
2 pints grape tomatoes
8 ounces baby Portobello mushrooms
2 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced (about two garlic cloves)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
18 large basil leaves, julienned (1 ounce)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
8 ounces angel hair pasta
Grated Parmesan cheese to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the tomatoes into halves and place in a shallow baking pan. Slice the mushrooms and add to the tomatoes. Sprinkle with the garlic, salt and pepper. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Toss gently to coat. Roast for 20 minutes or until the tomatoes are a bit shriveled.
Combine 1/2 cup olive oil, the basil and red pepper flakes in a large bowl and mix well. Add the chicken and roasted vegetables and toss well. Let stand until serving time.
Cook the pasta using the package directions. Drain well and return to the saucepan. Add the chicken mixture and toss well. Spoon into large individual serving bowls and sprinkle with cheese.
My Notes: Obviously I did not serve this in individual bowls but instead in a large pasta bowl. I also added in some fresh feta cheese (a 7 ounce block that I cubed) after the mixture had cooled. I feel that the blocks of feta are so much tastier. The red pepper flakes, I used an imported pepperoncino that I always keep on hand. I also used farfalle pasta for ease of serving. This is a dish that can be served warm or at room temperature which I think tastes better. When making the vinaigrette it is important to use a really good olive oil, a lot of the flavor for this dish comes from the olive oil you use. I am truly a believer in not skimping on the ingredients you use in any given dish.
The roasted veggies made their own sauce as well and I poured every bit of it into the pasta dish.
I roasted my own bone in chicken breast with salt and pepper, a little olive oil and a drizzle of fresh lemon juice. You could also use a rotisserie chicken but roasting chicken breasts yourself lended itself to a more moist chicken. I baked them at 400* for about 40 minutes.
In my opinion this was an exceptional summer pasta dish, one I will make often. I also think one could add in some kalamata olives for added flavor.
I failed to get a photo of the BEST part, dessert. A Coconut Cream Cheese Pound Cake was shared and it had the most wonderful flavor using the coconut. An excellent pound cake and I will do a better job next time of getting photos of all recipes shared.
This was a delightful luncheon and it makes me think that I should go back and use more of the tried and true cookbooks. That's what I am taking away from the experience along with making some new friends.
Next month we will be cooking from one of Ina Garten's books, Make It Ahead. Ina is one of my most favorite cookbook authors so I am looking forward to that experience. I'm finding that every single time we meet there are always recipes presented that I have never made before. I most often think to myself, "Why have I not tried this recipe before?" It's a "Good Thing".
Have a wonderful Fourth of July weekend and stay safe.