It's been a while since I've shared the fine dining inspiration of The Finer Things Club. It's a gloomy, rainy Sunday in Chicago- the kind of day when you want nothing else but to eat someone else's cooking. Looks delicious, right? I'm glad I come from a family of amazing cooks! I just wish they lived closer to me.
Here is the foodie awesomeness from the FTC's second gathering.
Appetizer One - Platter of Salami, Cheese, Marinated Artichokes, Tomatoes & Fresh Basil
Appetizer Two - Tomato Basil Bruschetta
Appetizer Three - Roasted Peppers Stuffed w/Spinach, Feta & Bacon
First Course - Arugula, Pear & Bleu Cheese Salad
2 pears, 4 TB extra-virgin olive oil, 1/2 TB shallot (diced), 2 TB sherry vinegar, 2 TB pure maple syrup,
1 TB lemon juice, salt and pepper (to taste), 4 tsp bleu cheese, 3/4 cup arugula or baby greens
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice pears in half. Toss with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil. Roast in oven for 6 to 8 minutes. Scoop out seeds with a spoon or melon baller. To make vinaigrette, mix shallots, vinegar, maple syrup, lemon juice, 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil and salt and pepper, to taste, in a mixing bowl. Meanwhile, stuff about 1 teaspoon blue cheese into the center of each pear half, and place back in the oven until cheese melts. Toss greens with vinaigrette. Place a warm pear half and 1/4 of the greens on four salad plates.
Second Course - Pumpkin Gnocchi w/Raisins, Pine Nuts, Brown Butter & Sage
1 cup (little more then half of 15 oz. can) organic canned pumpkin, 2 cups flour, 1/4 tsp nutmeg (optional), 4 TB butter, 3 TB fresh sage leaves (chopped), 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup Raisins, 1/4 cup Pine nuts, salt and pepper (to taste)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, combine pumpkin, flour and nutmeg, if desired, in a medium bowl. Blend with a fork until dough forms, then turn out onto a cutting board and knead a few times until smooth. Divide dough into eight equal pieces. Roll each piece into an 8-inch rope and cut into eight pieces.
Reduce water heat to medium and add gnocchi. Cook about 2 minutes, just until gnocchi float to the top. Drain and set gnocchi aside. Melt butter in the gnocchi pot over medium heat. When it starts to brown, add sage and toss for 30 seconds. Slightly toast pine nuts in a dry pan. Return gnocchi to pot and toss with sauce. Dish gnocchi, then sprinkle with cheese, raisins & pine nuts and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Dessert - Lemon Olive Oil Cake