As promised, here are the recipes from our most recent and very fun Mah Jongg Wednesday.
First, from my favorite chef, the Barefoot Contessa’s Lemon Drop Cocktails:
LEMON DROP COCKTAIL
2 cups frozen vodka
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice 1 lemon, thinly sliced
For our lunch I made a chopped salad inspired by Joe Trama, the executive chef at Grace’s Marketplace.
YUMMY CHOPPED SALAD
Kalamata olives (buy the ones without pits)
Red onion (optional – I don’t use this ingredient)
2 Chicken breasts
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wash and dry the chicken breasts and then rub them with olive oil. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Place them on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and cook for 35 – 40 minutes.
Once the chicken breasts have cooled enough to handle, remove the skin and dice the breasts into bite-sized pieces.Shred the romaine lettuce and place in a large bowl. Add the Garbanzo beans and pitted Kalamata olives.Cut the cherry tomatoes in half, length-wise.Cut the cucumber into small diced pieces.If you decide to add red onion, dice it up into small pieces and add to the bowl.
Break up the feta cheese. Add the chicken pieces and dress with a balsamic dressing. I don’t season this dressing as the olives and the feta are very salty. I put salt and pepper on the table and let everyone add them to their own taste.
YUM!!!Dessert was a variation of a Barefoot Contessa creation. The night before the luncheon I made her fabulous Raspberry Sauce:
BAREFOOT CONTESSA’S RASPBERRY SAUCE
1 half-pint package fresh raspberries 1/3 cup granulated sugar 1/4 cup water 1 cup (12 ounces) seedless raspberry jam (if you can’t find seedless raspberry jam, pour the sauce through a sieve before chilling) 1 tablespoon Framboise liqueur
Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 4 minutes.
Pour the cooked raspberries, the jam, and Framboise into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until smooth.
When it was time for dessert I scooped Talenti Tahitian Vanilla Bean gelato into a bowl, added raspberries and blueberries, and then topped it all with that fabulous raspberry sauce. I usually serve some biscotti with this dessert but today we had those amazing Kristin Marin Mah Jongg cookies. Plus, S1 brought some AMAZING Dulce de Leche cookies – also known as Alfajores – and S2 brought some delicious miniature Madeleines.
As promised, here is the recipe for yesterday’s Mah Jongg Wednesday lunch of Mexican Chicken Soup. This recipe is so easy and SO delicious…you will be so happy if you make it, as will everyone who gets to enjoy it with you!
MEXICAN CHICKEN SOUP – Serves 6 – 8
4 split (2 whole) chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
Good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped onions (2 onions)
1 cup chopped celery (2 stalks)
2 cups chopped carrots (4 carrots)
4 large cloves garlic, chopped
2½ quarts chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes in puree, crushed
2 to 4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
¼ to ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
6 (6-inch) fresh white corn tortillas
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the chicken breasts skin side up on a sheet pan. Rub with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until done. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones, and shred the meat. Cover and set aside.Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onions, celery, and carrots and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until the onions start to brown. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.Add the chicken stock, tomatoes with their puree, jalapenos, cumin, coriander, 1 tablespoon salt (depending on the saltiness of the chicken stock), 1 teaspoon pepper, and the cilantro, if using. Cut the tortillas in half, then cut them crosswise into ½-inch strips and add to the soup. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes.Add the shredded chicken and season to taste. Serve the soup hot topped with sliced avocado, a dollop of sour cream, grated Cheddar cheese, and broken tortilla chips. Add a wedge of lime floated on top.
It seems like it has been forever since I hosted the OMs (Original Mahjettes, as we call ourselves) but finally today we were all chez moi. And I used the occasion to celebrate three November birthdays: S1, S2, and J.
Our lunch was my favorite – one of the Barefoot Contessa‘s fabulous and very hearty soups – so delicious! I will post the recipe tomorrow. Before everyone arrived I placed a jar of my homemade cranberry relish at each place. I have been making this recipe every year since 1976…it’s a tradition for me!Right after lunch we began our game play – and we were really playing fast today so we got in many, many games. Nothing could make me happier because we were able to make a donation to Stay Strong and Mahj On (SSAMO) for $75 (a couple of days worth of winnings)!
I was so happy to have a Jokerless hand…we actually had two of them today!Here are some of the winning hands today (although there were many more than what I will post here):
Wait a minute, who is that causing trouble and suddenly sneaking out of the closet?But before we went any further, it was time for a happy birthday dessert for the three November birthday girls – Talenti Mediterranean Mint Gelato, Talenti Double Dark Chocolate Gelato, and topped with a fudge covered brownie and a happy birthday candle! YUM!
As promised, here are the recipes from our January 21st Mah Jongg Wednesday. They are all from Barefoot Contessa although I did add some special spices – DALI, PIERRE POIVRE, and TANGIER as noted – that were blended by the amazing Lior Lev Sercarz at La Boîte in NYC. Also, these are the original recipes but since I had 8 people for lunch, instead of following the amount of ingredients listed here, I had to adjust up the amounts on several of the recipes for the correct number of servings.
SPANISH PEA SOUP
1/2 cup chopped shallots (2 large shallots)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
2 pounds frozen peas, such as Bird’s Eye Sweet Garden
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 thin slices Spanish Serrano ham or Italian prosciutto
– In a deep (8 x 5-inch) heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and saute for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender and lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the chicken stock, frozen peas, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and the TANGIER spice and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Puree with an immersion blender until coarsely pureed. (I like it to have some texture.) Alternatively, use a blender to puree the soup 1 cup at a time. Pour the soup back into the pot and season to taste. Depending on the saltiness of the stock, I may add up to another teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper to give the soup a very bright flavor.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the ham in a single layer on a sheet pan and roast for 5 to 8 minutes, until crisp.Reheat the soup and serve in shallow bowls with a slice of crispy ham on top. Drizzle with a little olive oil and serve hot.
TUNA TAPENADE WITH CROSTINI
10 to 12 ounces canned or jarred Italian tuna packed in olive oil
2 teaspoons anchovy paste
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley, plus extra for garnish
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons good olive oil, plus extra for brushing bread
1/3 cup Italian mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup pitted and chopped kalamata olives
1 tablespoon drained capers
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
36 slices French bread, cut diagonally
– Drain all but a tablespoon of olive oil from the tuna and then flake the fish into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the anchovy paste, thyme, parsley, lemon zest, and garlic and pulse a few times. Add the lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and the mascarpone and process until almost smooth. Add the olives, capers, salt, and pepper and pulse just to incorporate. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Brush the bread lightly on one side with olive oil. Arrange the bread on a sheet pan and bake for 6 to 8 minutes. Allow to cool slightly. Mound the tapenade on each toast, sprinkle with parsley, and serve.
Again, sorry for this terrible photo.
CASEAR CLUB SANDWICH
2 split (1 whole) chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
Good olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces thinly sliced pancetta
1 large garlic clove, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons anchovy paste
1 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup good mayonnaise
1 large ciabatta bread
2 ounces baby arugula, washed and spun dry
12 sun-dried tomatoes, in oil
2 to 3 ounces Parmesan, shaved
– Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan skin side up. Rub the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until cooked through. Cool slightly, discard the skin and bones, and slice the meat thickly. Set aside.
Wow – the chicken looks almost raw in this picture but it absolutely was not. Time for a new iPhone?
Meanwhile, place the pancetta on another sheet pan in a single layer. Roast for 10 to 15 minutes, until crisp. Set aside to drain on paper towels.
Place the garlic and parsley in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until minced. Add the anchovy paste, mustard, lemon juice, and mayonnaise and process again to make a smooth dressing. (Refrigerate the Caesar dressing if not using it immediately.)
Slice the ciabatta in half horizontally and separate the top from the bottom. Toast the bread in the oven, cut side up, for 5 to 7 minutes; cool slightly. Spread the cut sides of each piece with the Caesar dressing. Place half the arugula on the bottom piece of bread and then layer in order: the sun-dried tomatoes, shaved Parmesan, crispy pancetta, and sliced chicken. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and finish with another layer of arugula. Place the top slice of ciabatta on top and cut in thirds crosswise. Serve at room temperature.
12 extra-large eggs
1/3 cup good mayonnaise
– Place the eggs in a large pot and cover them with cool tap water. Bring the water to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the eggs to sit in the water for another 5 minutes. Drain, then fill the pot with cold water. To peel the eggs, tap each end on a board, then roll the egg between your hand and the board to crackle the shell. Peel under running tap water and allow the eggs to cool to room temperature.
Place the eggs in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse the processor 10 to 12 times to break up, but not puree, the eggs. Transfer the chopped eggs to a bowl and add the mayonnaise, mustard, dill, salt, and pepper and the DALI spice. Combine lightly with a fork.Toast or grill the bread. Lay 1 slice of salmon on each piece of bread, spread on the egg salad, then garnish with a sprig of dill. Serve at room temperature.
This next recipe – our dessert – was absolutely delicious but I was so involved in getting back to the Mah Jongg table that I forgot to take photos. However, this is really worth making… and so easy!
FROZEN BERRIES WITH HOT WHITE CHOCOLATE
1 1/4 pounds good white chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 pounds frozen mixed berries or frozen raspberries
– Combine the chocolate, heavy cream, and the vanilla in a heat-proof bowl and set it over a pan of simmering water until the chocolate melts.
About 5 minutes before serving, remove the berries from the freezer and place them on individual serving plates. Ladle the warm chocolate sauce over the berries and serve.Note: You can either buy frozen berries, or freeze your own by placing the berries on a flat tray in layer. When the berries are fully frozen, keep them a plastic bag in the freezer. Larger berries, such as strawberries, do not freeze well.
The recipes for this Mah Jongg Wednesday with the OMs were easy and fun to make. The menu was Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Condiments, Chicken Salad with Feta and Artichoke Hearts, and Yogurt Parfaits with Cherries and Pistachios.