Saturday, July 12, 2008

Puck It!... Event Round Up

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Every month I like focusing on a specific chef and hosting a special dinner in their honor, aka "Chef Spotlight Dinners." My friends and I come together by preparing a recipe created by the chef we are focusing on and bring it to share potluck style. During the event, we discuss our thoughts on the chef, their cooking style/cuisine and the recipes prepared. These Chef Spotlight Dinners have been a lot of fun as we take away a better sense of who these chefs were and how they have contributed to the culinary world - not to mention the recipes and a full belly!This month for my Chef Spotlight dinners, I'm paying homage to California cuisine and Wolfgang Puck, "who is credited with reviving California's culinary heritage. Blending fresh California ingredients and classical French training, his innovations in cooking have been enjoyed and praised by world leaders, Hollywood stars and fellow chefs alike." - Food Network

For this event, attendees made a Wolfgang Puck (or California inspired) recipe and brought it to the potluck dinner to share. At the dinner, we talked about our chosen dishes and played a foodcentric board game, Eat It!, where the winner won a prize. To join in the fun, my fellow bloggers have submitted their Wolfgang Puck and/or California inspired recipes.

As I do with each blogging event I host, a lucky blogger receives a giveaway related to the food theme. This event's winner is Jenn of Jenn's Jumpin' Kitchen! Jenn will be receiving a Pinch Bowl Set to feel like a gourmet chef surrounded by ingredients and spices. Congratulations Jenn and thanks to all that participated in the blogging event! Read on to check out the Wolfgang Puck/California inspired recipes submitted and shared at the event...
California Pasta Toss
submitted by Jenn of Jenn's Jumpin' Kitchen
3/4 lb. whole wheat spaghetti
1/2 lb. chicken, cubed and cooked (mine were rubbed with a lemon dill spice combo)
1 lb. asparagus spears, trimmed
1 14 oz. can artichoke hearts in water, chopped
2 tbsp. sun dried tomatoes, minced
1/2 c. water
freshly grated Asiago
pepper flakes

White Wine & Sun Dried Tomato Pesto:
1 large bunch basil leaves (about 30-40)
10 sun dried tomatoes
1/2 c. white wine
1 tbsp. I Can't Believe it's Not Butter Light
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup parm cheese
1/2 cup low fat ricotta cheese
2 tbsp. EVOO
Salt and Pepper

Prepare pesto sauce, blend all ingredients until well incorporated. Set aside. Cook spaghetti according to the directions. Cook the cubed chicken until no longer pink. Add to the chicken, the artichokes, asparagus, sundried tomatoes, and pesto. Cook approximately 5 minutes or until the asparagus is tender.

Top the pasta with the chicken/pesto blend. Top with the Asiago cheese and red pepper flakes and ENJOY!

Scrambled Eggs with Tomatoes and Fines Herbes
submitted by Becke of Columbus Foodie
courtesy Wolfgang Puck
12 large eggs
1 tablespoon finely chopped fines herbes (chervil, parsley, tarragon, and chives)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons heavy cream
2 to 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 small tomatoes, peeled, seeded, diced, and drained
1 teaspoon chopped chives

1. Break the eggs into a large mixing bowl, reserving 2 yolks in a separate bowl. To the large bowl, add the fines herbes, salt, and pepper. Whisk until smooth.

2. Add to the reserved egg yolks the heavy cream and mustard. Mix well.

3. In a heavy sauté pan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. When the butter is melted, add the whole egg mixture and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until creamy and slightly thickened.

4. Add the yolk mixture and the tomatoes. Remove the pan from the heat while continuing to stir constantly. The heat in the pan will continue to cook the eggs. Perfectly scrambled eggs should be creamy with very soft curds. Sprinkle with the chives and serve immediately.

California Guacamole
shared at the event by Abbie
Original recipe here

Black & Green Tapenade
shared at the event by Jenn
Original recipe here

Cold Paella Salad
shared at the event by Robert
Original recipe here

* I also served marinated Chicken Breasts on the side to pair with this dish.

Marinated Artichoke Salad
shared at the event by Ann
Original recipe here

Garlic Mashed Potatoes
shared at the event by Teresa
Original recipe here

Caramelized Onions
shared at the event by Miracle
Original recipe here

Peach Berry Cobbler
shared at the event by Mary
Original recipe found here

Lemon Bars
shared at the event by Joelen
Original recipe found here

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