Really Cool Women\'s Book Club

Brie topping by Susan E May 16, 2008

Filed under: Recipes — Susan @ 6:34 pm

½ cup mixed nuts chopped in large pieces

½ cup craisins

1 T strawberry jam

2 T carmel topping


Mix together and put on top of Brie

Serve with crackers


Pistachio Soup by Marci January 20, 2008

Filed under: Recipes — Susan @ 6:29 pm
Pistachio Soup

1/2 white onion, peeled
4 tomatillos, peeled and halved
4 Serrano chilies, stems removed
3 unpeeled garlic cloves
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups unsalted pistachio nuts
2 cups chicken stock or canned chicken broth
1 cup loosely packed cilantro
3 black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon oregano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups heavy cream

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut onion half in two, and place on a baking sheet with tomatillo halves, chilies and garlic cloves. Rub vegetables with oil, and bake until tender and lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Peel garlic cloves and transfer to large saucepan, along with other roasted vegetables; do not turn off oven.

2. Place pistachio nuts on a baking sheet, and bake until lightly toasted, 5-7 minutes. Reserve 1/4 cup of nuts for garnish, and add rest to saucepan of vegetables.

3. To the saucepan add chicken stock, cilantro, peppercorns, bay leaves, sugar, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Place over medium heat, and simmer for 15 minutes. Cool for about 15 minutes; discard bay leaves.

4. Puree soup using a food processor or blender. With processor running, add cream and continue to puree until mixture is smooth. Transfer soup to a clean saucepan, and place over low heat; do not boil. Serve hot, garnished with reserved pistachio nuts.

Yield: 5 cups (4 to 6 servings.)

I’ve made this several times and I’ve learned a couple things about this recipe (the hard way, of course), so I’m also including my personal recipe notes here:

1. In the ingredients: don’t use 4 Serrano chilies unless you know you/your guests like very spicey food. 2 will give a slight kick. 3 a solid kick. All 4 is a statement (I happen to like all four, but I damn near killed my guests the first – and only – time I made it with all four.) For book club, I used 2 and served hot sauce on the side.

2. In step 1: Any vegetable or olive oil spray works every bit as well an individually rubbing oil on each vegetable, and it’s easier too.

3. In step 2: watch the pistachio nuts. They cook funny: nothing, nothing, nothing, perfect, burnt – and the time between “perfect” and “burnt” is only about 10 seconds. Don’t bother reserving any nuts for garnish. Unless you chop them very finely, they sink like stones in the soup with the result that your garnish ends up gracing the bottom of the bowl/cup. I throw all the nuts into the soup and garnish with cilantro (if I think about garnishing at all, that is.)

4. In step 3: Like all soups, you can cook this way longer with no worries. Not shorter, tho. Also, at this step, you can stop and hold the soup for a couple of days more successfully than later on.

This recipe is easily doubled.

Gazpacho from Susan E July 10, 2007

Filed under: Recipes — Susan @ 10:50 pm

Recipe courtesy Food Network Kitchens
Show:  How To Boil Water
Episode:  Blender Soups

1 clove garlic
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes, preferably heirloom varieties, roughly chopped
1/2 pound cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and roughly chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and roughly chopped
2 scallions (white and green), roughly chopped
1/4 jalapeno, stemmed and chopped with seeds, if you like the heat
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (1/2 small bunch)
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh mint leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 1/2 cups chilled tomato juice
4 ice cubes
On a cutting board, lightly sprinkle the garlic with a pinch of the salt and smash it into a paste with the side of a cook’s knife. Mix the garlic, tomato, cucumber, bell pepper, scallion, jalapeno, parsley, and mint in a large bowl. Season with the salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in the olive oil and sherry and toss well. Add half of the vegetable mixture to the blender and pulse. Add half of the tomato juice and 2 ice cubes. Pour into a large bowl. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Store in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour for the flavors to come together.

The Perfect Vodka Martini July 8, 2007

Filed under: Recipes — Susan @ 4:12 pm

MartiniThe Perfect Vodka Martini is easy to make, and ultimitely refreshing. Try it!

1 Martini Glass, Chilled

2-3 Ounces of your favorite Vodka. I recommend Ketel One!

A miniscule amount of vermouth, if absolutely necessary.

2-3 olives, skewered.

Put the vodka and vermouth (if necessary) in a martini shaker full of ice, and shake. Pour that into the martini glass, add olive, and guzzle!