Recipes: A Meal of Laughs - And A Contest!

Last night was the final LadyFingers and First Comes Health dinner for 2012.  We do have one more event coming up soon (more details below!), but this was our last dinner around the table with two special guests that we’ll serve this year.  It makes me a little sad to say a temporary farewell to our monthly ritual with Diane and her husband Jim, but we’ll return in 2013.
What doesn’t make me sad was the entirety of last night’s meal.  Our winner from two months ago was Kelly F. and she brought her friend Lori along.  I almost (not really, but ALMOST!) forgot what we ate because we sat around the table and laughed so hard.  It was a terrific evening made even more special because we celebrated Diane’s birthday too!
So, let’s get to the food, which was exceptional!
Asparagus Roasted with Finocchinona – serves 6
12 asparagus spears, medium thickness
12 Finocchinona slices or any other flavorful salami
Garlic-infused olive oil
Heat oven to 425-degrees.
Rinse asparagus spears and pat dry.  Trim woody ends.
Tightly wrap each asparagus spear with salami and place on a non-stick foil-lined baking sheet.
Lightly brush with garlic-infused olive oil.
Roast for 8 – 10 minutes or until asparagus is tender and salami has begun to crisp.
Serve with Zucchini-Caper Dip.

Zucchini-Caper Dip – serves 6
2 medium zucchini or 1 ½ large zucchini
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
juice from ¼ lemon
2 teaspoons capers
¼ teaspoon dried chili flakes
Salt, to taste
Slice zucchini and place in a steamer.  Steam for 3 – 5 minutes or until zucchini has begun to soften.
Transfer zucchini to the bowl of a food processor.
Add garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, capers and chili flakes and process until the mixture is smooth.
Add salt to taste.
Garnish with capers if desired and serve.

Seared Sea Scallops with Garlic Sherry Mushrooms – serves 6
1 pound mixed mushrooms including mini white button, crimini and shiitake
2 tablespoons garlic-infused olive oil
2 tablespoons unflavored olive oil
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped and then crushed
1 teaspoon tomato paste
4 tablespoons dry sherry
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
6 large, firm, unbroken sea scallops
Garlic-infused olive oil
Clean and coarsely chop mushrooms.
Add both olive oils to a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat.

Add mushrooms and sauté, stirring often, just until mushrooms begin to release liquid.
Add crushed garlic to the skillet and stir to combine.
Whisk tomato paste and dry sherry together and add to the skillet, again stirring to combine.
Reduce heat to medium and allow mushrooms to cook until liquid is reduced.

Meanwhile, place a large skillet over high heat.
Rinse scallops and pat them dry.  Toss the scallops with garlic-infused olive oil until scallops are lightly coated.
Place scallops in hot skillet and cook until bottoms are crisp and well-browned.
Turn scallops and cook on second side until crisp and well-browned.  To ensure that scallops are cooked through, cover the skillet with a lid during the second side.
Transfer scallops to serving plates.
Add fresh thyme to the mushroom mixture and stir to combine.
Spoon the mushroom mixture over scallops and serve.

Grilled Flank Steak with Caramelized Onions – serves 6
2 1 ½-pound flank steaks (3 pounds total)
Garlic powder
Onion powder
1 cup red wine
4 sweet or Vidalia onions
4 tablespoons butter or olive oil
Three hours prior to grilling, lay steaks on a cutting board on a flat, sturdy work surface.
Using a large serving fork, thoroughly pierce each steak on both sides.
Lightly sprinkle each steak with garlic powder and onion powder and thoroughly pierce each steak again.
Place each steak in a gallon-sized zip-lock bag and add ½ cup red wine to each bag.  Squeeze out as much air as possible from each bag and tightly seal.  Refrigerate for 2 hours, turning bags occasionally.
One hour prior to grilling, remove steaks from refrigerator and place on counter to come up to room temperature.
Heat grill to high.
Cut each onion in half, peel each half and then slice very thinly.
Place sliced onions in a large pot or Dutch oven with butter or olive oil (Olive oil is the Paleo method but butter will brown the onions with better flavor).
Heat onions over medium-high heat, stirring to coat the slices with the oil or butter.
Allow onions to cook, stirring frequently.  After 20 minutes, reduce heat to medium, continuing to cook and stir.
As onions begin to brown, scrape the caramelization from the bottom of the pot and stir it into the onions.
Continue this process for an additional 20 – 30 minutes or until onions are a deep caramel color and taste quite sweet.  Keep warm while steaks cook.
By this time, the grill should be extremely hot.  Reduce the heat to low and remove the steaks from the bags.  Place steaks on the center of the grill and close the lid.
Grill on low for 5 minutes.  Turn the steaks and grill for an additional 5 minutes for medium rare.
Transfer the steaks to a large cutting board and allow them to rest for 5 minutes.
Slice the steak, placing 5 – 6 slices on serving plates and top with caramelized onions. (We served ours with roasted beets!)

Didn’t I tell you? As usual the menu was fantastic.  I could have had seconds or even thirds on everything!  Here are the downloadable and printable versions of all that we made:
Asparagus Roasted Finocchinona
Zucchini Caper Dip
Seared Sea Scallops with Garlic-Sherry Mushrooms
Grilled Flank Steak with Caramelized Onions
And now to the BIG BIG announcement!!!
In 2012 LadyFingers Private Chef and Catering and I have hosted seven winners.  Seven lucky folks have followed our monthly cooking extravaganzas on Twitter and submitted a correct response to the questions we’ve asked about each meal.  They were diligent about following along and paying specific attention to ingredients, technique, and detail.  To celebrate these 7 lucky people Diane and I are hosting a holiday hors d’oeuvre party on December 4, 2012 and they (plus a guest!) are invited.  Yippee!
Or at least you can be if you are one of the THREE winners we will choose!  Here are the details:
Including this month’s menu, Diane and I have prepared 38 different recipes.  To win one of three invitations for you and 1 guest to our holiday hors d’oeuvre party you must prepare 1 recipe (not one whole meal menu, just one recipe), photograph your steps as you go along, and email us your version of our recipes along with the photos. No Twitter or Facebook required! We will choose three winners from all the entries, and those lucky ducks will be invited to our holiday hors d’oeuvre gathering on December 4.
So, to recap:
1. Choose one recipe from the 38 we’ve prepared in the last year.
2. Cook this recipe and take photos of your progress throughout just like Diane and I do.
3. Email photos plus a description of what you did to Diane or me. (  OR DEADLINE: November 21, 2012 at 11:59:59 PM
4. Wait with baited breath to see if you are one of the three lucky winners who will attend our holiday bash on December 4.
Fine print:
Only one entry per person.
If you are chosen as a winner, you will provide your own transportation to and from the party which will be in Pittsburgh, PA, USA on December 4, 2012.
Winner will be notified via e-mail.
You can see all the LadyFingers posts right here.
Or choose from one of these downloadable and printable PDF versions:
Wild Mushroom and Green Bean Salad with Goat Cheese
Tapenade Crusted Salmon with Roasted Red Onions
Southwestern Shrimp and Snapper Stew
Baby Greens Wrapped in Prosciutto with Blood Orange Vinaigrette
Osso Bucco alla Milanese
Savory Squash Souffle
Avocado Gazpacho Salsa
Lemon-Seared Tuna and Rosemary Skewers
Scallop BLTs
Spinach, Orange, and Beet Salad
Grilled Lamb Loin Chops
Mint Pesto
Roasted Vegetable-Stuffed Zucchini Boats
Chilled Ginger-Cantaloupe Soup
Spicy Salmon and Zucchini Patties
Orange-Glazed Carrot Ribbons
Romaine Wrapped Halibut
Watermelon Mint Gazpacho
Grilled Asparagus Salad with Bacon
Carrot and Zucchini Slaw
Spicy Paprika-Grilled Chicken Kebabs
Grilled Asparagus with Crispy Prosciutto
Crab-Encrusted Scallops with Green Pea Puree
Spicy Yam “Fries”
Garden Stuffed Peppers
Macadamia and Cashew-Crusted Chicken Bites
Mango Dipping Sauce
Asparagus Green Curry Soup
Grilled Filet Mignon with Balsamic-Roasted Tomatoes
Hard-Boiled Quail Egg with Tapenade Trio
Tomato and Spaghetti Squash Salad with Chive Oil
Poached Duck Breast Rolls
Raspberry Red Wine Puree
Maple Roasted Parsnip “Fries”
Asparagus Roasted Finocchinona
Zucchini-Caper Dip
Seared Sea Scallops with Garlic-Sherry Mushrooms
Grilled Flank Steak with Caramelized Onions

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