September Sluts, Standards and (Ice Cream) Sandwiches

did your last party have light installations?  

This months Supper Sluts was brought to you by SAGL (I cooked...control issues I know). As I still feel that I am in my probationary period with The Supper Sluts I say this month was completely hosted by SAGL. And being that I live in the same building as SAGL there is no reason for Supper Sluts to meet twice in a row at the same address.

With that I we decided that this month's edition of Supper Sluts should be themed "Over The Top".  So I we scoured resources for what to impress our fellow street walkers with and came up with a somewhat tasty feed bag. 

Thanks to my addiction to multiple Ms. Stewart publications (Praise Be To Martha) and to some well worn, sticky stained, mattress homed back issues of Gourmet and Food Network magazines (don't judge, I am an equal opportunity home cook) I settled in to find us some semblance of food.  

Please note that there has not been a single bad meal at Supper Sluts since my induction last May.  I had a sinfully tasty Taco Salad (with friggin' Doritos!) at White Kelly's pied a terre in the country side.  Let us recall Black Kelly's toast to her roots.  Brunch Sluts was a DUI waiting to happen.  And Irish Car Bomb just had me nervous with the hulking European man circling the table (but I enjoyed myself...really).  

But being that this month's Supper Sluts was going to be hosted by royalty I felt the need to up the ante a bit....

Here is what I we decided to serve: 

Starter - Ginger Nuts (we'll call them O'Brian's Balls)
Main - Chicken Pasta Bake with Pepperoncini
Side - Asparagus and Cheese Tart
Side v2.0 - Marinated Zuccuni and Cucumber Salad
Dessert - Homemade Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Bars
Dessert v2.0 - Chocolate Chip Cookies (because I wanted some raw dough)
Cocktail - Warm Cider and Rum Punch

Saturday was filled with a trip to the local market (and by market I mean coupon graveyard). This was followed by an evening of prep work.

As a card carrying democrat...I know that ambiance makes a party. And as we all know when I am left to my own devices I tend to take on projects.  So late on Saturday night while SAGL was out with friends and I patiently waited for a gentleman caller I decided that Supper Sluts: Over The Top would take place in the sub level recreation and home improvement area of the living complex (aka The Basement).  With the aid of some saw horses, a sheet of plywood, nice linens, pickle jars and a nosey tenant who knew that SAGL had Christmas lights somewhere I created our temporary dining room.  

light installation one

the sub level recreation and home improvement area pre dinner guests
i spiderman'd my way to get this photo

pickle jars come in handy...screw you hoarder police
just a note that Irish Car Bomb was not the one in the irish t shirt

This month's meeting had a rock star turn out.  Camp Counselor, Irish Car Bomb, Jeggings, SAGL, White Kelly, Black Kelly, DIYB (Do It Yourself Bridget - kid you not the last two conversations we had were about home maintenance) and of course ME.

Black Kelly providing a "show" - she's the one on the left standing

Sunday was spent in the kitchen sweating up a storm.  Please keep in mind that I did all this work not in hopes of setting a new standard in Supper Sluts but in hopes of blowing it out of the water so the next person hosting orders Domino's or lets us bake our own damn Jack's Pizza. I was told when this started that I would be getting pizza at some point and that has yet to happen. All I want is my own pizza and a corner in the dining room.  

And for those of you not interested in what I have to say.  Here are the pictures of the food: 

Asparagus and Cheese Tart - adapted from Food Network Magazine April 2012

1 lb asparagus, trimmed
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (about 1/2 pound), thawed
All Purpose Flour, for dusting
1 C Grated Fontina Cheese (about 3 oz)
1 C Grated Havarti Cheese (about 3 oz)
1 T Minced Shallot
2 Large Eggs
3 T Milk
1/8 t Freshly Grated Nutmeg
Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
2 t Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 t Finely Grated Lemon Zest

1. Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside.  
2. Bring about 1 inch of water to a boil in a large skillet.  Add asparagus; cook until bright green and crisp-tender, 2 to 5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the asparagus.  Drain and transfer to the ice water to stop the cooking; drain and pat dry.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
3. Roll out the puff pastry into a 10 by 6 inch rectangle on a floured surface.  Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet and prick all over with a fork.  Bake until light golden brown, about 12 minutes.  Let cool slightly on the baking sheet. 
4. In small bowl mix fontina, havarti, shallot, egg, milk, nutmeg and a pinch each of salt and pepper, until combined.  Spread cheese mixture evenly over the puff pastry, leaving 1 inch border on all sides.  Toss the asparagus with the olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste.  Arrange the asparagus on the tart and bake until the cheese mixture is slightly puffy, 15 to 20 minutes.  Sprinkle with lemon zest.  Serve warm or room temperature.  

(you must use your imagination with this one - we inhaled them)

Brownie Ice Cream Sandwich - Recipe from Everyday Food
Makes 12 

1 stick unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan
1 C Sugar
2 Large Eggs
1/2 Teaspoon fine salt
1/2 C All Purpose Flour
1/2 C Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
2 Pints Ice Cream, Softened

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, butter a 10 by 15 inch jelly roll pan.  Line with parchment, leaving a 2 inch over hang on short sides, then butter paper.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together butter and sugar, then whisk in eggs and salt.  Add flour and cocoa and mix until just smooth.  Spread in pan.  Bake until brownie is dry to the touch and edges have begun to pull away from pan, 10 to 12 minutes.  Let cool 5 minutes. Using paper overhang, transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.  

3. Transfer brownie to a work surface and cut in half crosswise.  Cover pan with large sheet of plastic wrap and place one cake half on it.  Spread with ice cream, invert remaining brownie half on top, and wrap tightly in plastic.  Freeze until firm, about 2 hours.  

4. Unwrap, cut into 12 pieces, and serve. (To store, wrap each sandwich in plastic and freeze, up to 1 week.)

(again I cannot spoon feed you images...I kinda forgot to take a picture)

Marinated Zucchini (or Cucumber) Salad - adapted from Everyday Food 

1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Small Red Onion, halved then thinly sliced
1/3 Cup Red Wine Vinegar (I used Balsamic)
1 Tablespoon Sugar
Salt and Pepper
6 Medium Zucchini (I used one large cucumber and 2 medium zucchini), thinly sliced

Mix together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sugar and salt and pepper.  Combine in air tight container with onions and zucchini.  Let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.  (To store, cover and refrigerate, up to 8 hours.)

let's not talk about what this looks like...because it tasted nothing like that

Chicken Pasta Bake with Pepperoncini and Goat Cheese Sauce
based on Chicken Stuffed with Pepperoncini and Goat Cheese from Everyday Food

4 Ounces Fresh Goat Cheese
1/4 C Finely Chopped Pepperoncini
1 1/2 Teaspoons Finely Chopped Fresh Thyme Leaves
Coarse Salt and Ground Pepper
4 Bone-In, Skin-on Chicken Breasts (about 2 pounds total)

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a small bowl, mash goat cheese with a fork until smooth. Stir in pepperoncini and thyme and season with salt and pepper. With a paring knife, cut a 1 inch horizontal slit in thick end of each chicken breast.  Using your fingers, create a deep pocket between meat and bone.  Tightly pack each pocket with about 2 tablespoons cheese mixture.  

2. Heat a large cast iron or other heavy oven proof skillet over medium-high. Pat chicken dry with paper towels, season with salt and pepper, and arrange in skillet, skin side down. Cook 5 minute. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until chicken is cooked through and skin is golden and crisp, 18 to 20 minutes. Flip chicken over in skillet and let rest 3 minutes before serving. 

O'Brian's Balls - spicy ginger nuts for those who dare to go red

Gingered Nuts - From Everyday Food

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine 1 pound unsalted mixed nuts (3 cups), 3/4 cup minced candied ginger, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 2 teaspoons coarse salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper, and 2 tablespoons sesame seeds. In a small saucepan combine 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water over medium-high. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves, 3 minutes. Pour sugar syrup over nut mixture and toss well to combine. Arrange in a single layer on a parchment lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake until nuts are golden, 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool completely on sheet on a wire rack before breaking into bite size pieces.  (Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place, up to 2 weeks.)

stop having a "bar" at your parties - punch is the new cool kid to invite

Warm Cider and Rum Punch - From Everyday Food

In a large pot, combine 8 cups apple cider, 1 apple, thinly sliced crosswise, 1 orange, thinly sliced crosswise, 2 cinnamon sticks, and a 1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced. Bring to a boil over high; reduce to a simmer and cook 5 minutes. (Keep warm over low, up to 2 hours.) Remove from heat and stir in 2 cups dark rum. Transfer to a punch bowl; serve warm.  

Okay lovers...I have to go. There is something important for me to do.

See you very soon!