After a brief hiatus due to weddings and schedules, Wine Club was back in action Friday night. As I mentioned before, it was my turn to host. With Cabernet Sauvignon to drink and comfort food on the menu, it was a very enjoyable evening.
We started with Green Goddess Dip with vegetables and homemade pita chips. The dip was light and fresh and a nice contrast to the food we’d be eating next.
Green Goddess Dressing
Next we enjoyed Ina Garten’s Cream of Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Panini. I cannot sing the praises of this soup loud enough. I’ve made this soup before and it is hands down my favorite tomato soup. With four pounds of vine-ripened tomatoes, fresh basil and a touch of cream, how could this soup be anything but amazing?! Quite frankly, this soup is deserving of it’s own post, but this will have to do. I paired the soup with a grilled cheese sandwich consisting of 4-year aged cheddar and gruyere on fresh Italian bread, then pressed to perfection. I could eat this meal once a week!
Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese
To round out the meal, Emril’s Cocktail Meatballs were the perfect dish. Pan-seared and then baked in sauce, these meatballs are extremely flavorful. There is a long list of ingredient in this recipe, but I think that’s what makes these so tasty and sets them apart from other cocktail meatballs.
Finally, for dessert, we had Rolo Brownies with Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting, left over from these. They were chocolatey, delicious and SO easy – using boxed fudge brownie mix, bake the brownies in a mini muffin; push a Rolo into the middle of the brownies as soon as they come out of the oven, and top with frosting! Mine did not turn out so beautiful but that did not affect the taste!
Green Goddess Dip with Vegetables & Homemade Pita Chips
What You Need
- 3 six-inch whole-wheat pitas
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- Chili powder
- Kosher salt
- 2 cups chopped avocados (about 2)
- 1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt or plain nonfat yogurt
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
- 2/3 cup chopped fresh chives, divided
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
- Assorted vegetables
What To Do
- Preheat oven to 350°. Cut each pita into 8 wedges. Brush with oil and sprinkle with ground cumin, chili powder, and kosher salt – all to taste. Bake for 8 minutes, or until edges begin to brown. Turn off oven and let chips stand for 15 minutes or until crispy.
- Meanwhile, put avocado, yogurt, lemon juice, vinegar, 1/3 cup chives, parsley, and salt to taste in a small food processor or blender and puree until creamy. Stir in most of remaining chives, reserving some to garnish dip.
- To serve, spoon the dip into a small bowl and surround with vegetables and pita chips on a platter.
Cream of Fresh Tomato Soup
What You Need
- 3 tablespoons good olive oil
- 1½ cups chopped red onions (2 onions)
- 2 carrots, unpeeled and chopped
- 4 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes, coarsely chopped
- 1½ teaspoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- ¼ cup packed chopped fresh basil leaves, plus julienned basil leaves for garnish
- 3 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- ¾ cup heavy cream (I cut the cream to ½ cup)
What To Do
- Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions and carrots and sauté for about 10 minutes, until very tender. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the tomatoes, sugar, tomato paste, basil, chicken stock, salt, and pepper and stir well. Bring the soup to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, uncovered for 30-40 minutes, until the tomatoes are very tender.
- Add the cream to the soup and process it through a food mill into a bowl, discarding only the dry pulp that’s left.
- Reheat the soup over low heat just until hot and serve with julienned basil leaves.
What You Need
For the Meatballs:
- 1 pound ground beef (I used Laura’s Lean Beef)
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- ½ cup finely chopped yellow onion
- ¼ cup fine dry breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 2 tablespoons Creole mustard (I used Dijon)
- 1½ teaspoons minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried parsley
- ½ teaspoon Essence, recipe follows
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ teaspoon hot red pepper sauce
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
For the Sauce
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
What To Do
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- In a large bowl, combined all the ingredients for the meatballs, except the oil and butter. Mix well with your hands.
- Form into individual meatballs, about 1-inch in diameter.
- In a large skillet, heat the oil and the butter over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and cook, turning until browned on all sides. Transfer to a baking dish.
- Make the sauce my combining all the ingredients in a medium bowl, whisking to dissolve the sugar and combine. Adjust the seasoning, to taste. Pour the sauce over the meatballs and bake until the meat is cooked through and the sauce is bubbly, 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.