Our second course was all about comfort. We whipped up a cheese course (brie, Parmesan and sun-dried tomato/pesto torte) and potatoes stuffed with mushroom bruschetta and salmon.
Our clever friend Maggie used the scooped potatoes to create an incredible deconstructed potato chip appetizer. Since we're lucky enough to live in Maryland, the deconstruction centered around Old Bay chips, of course.
Sundried Tomato & Pesto Torte
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 2/3 cups softened cream cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/3 cups sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil, drained
1/3 cup tomato paste
3/4 cup butter
salt and pepper to taste
*Note: The first five ingrediants are for the pesto. If you're pressed for time, store bought pesto can easily be used.
Chop the garlic in a food processor. Mix in basil, lemon juice, pine nuts and olive oil. Process until well blended. Mix in 1/3 cup cream cheese and Parmesan cheese. Blend using pulse setting until almost smooth. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl.
Coarsely chop sun-dried tomatoes in the food processor. Mix in tomato paste and 1/3 cup cream cheese. Blend until smooth.
Place 2 cups cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat until fluffy. Season with salt and pepper.
Lightly grease a 1 1/2 quart baking dish. Line dish with plastic wrap so that the wrap extends over sides of the dish.
Evenly spread 3/4 cup cream cheese and butter mixture in the prepared dish. Layer alternately with 1/2 the sun-dried tomato mixture, 1/2 cup cream cheese and butter mixture and 1/2 the pesto mixture. Repeat layering, topping with remaining cream cheese and butter mixture. Cover and chill in the refrigerator 8 hours, or overnight.
Carefully invert dish onto a platter and remove plastic to serve.
2 packs of mushrooms (we used baby bella)
2 cups gorgonzola (we prefer Stella)
1 cup walnuts
2 gloves garlic
2 sprigs rosemary
2 sprigs thyme
Small baguette rounds
freshly shredded parmesan
Finley chop mushrooms. Sauté in butter with garlic until brown but not soggy. Strain all liquid from mushrooms and refrigerate in a large mixing bowl. When mushrooms are cool, add blue cheese, chopped walnuts, and finely chopped herbs. Mix to combine. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. To serve, scoop mushroom mixture onto bread rounds brushed with olive oil and sea salt. Top each with a sprinkle of Parmesan. Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes.
New potatoes stuffed with smoked salmon
20 small new potatoes
4 oz smoked salmon
2 blocks cream cheese
4 tbs sour cream
2 tsp horseradish
1 lemon, juiced
2 cloves crushed garlic
bundle of chives
Slice potatoes in half horizontally. Toss halves in olive oil and s&p. Bake at 400 cut side down for 20-25 mins. Put in fridge to cool. In food processor, combine cream cheese, salmon, chives, lemon juice, horseradish, garlic. Let mixture cool in fridge for about 2 hours. When potatoes are able to be handled, scoop out center with melon baller and cut bottom flat. Using a large Ziploc bag, create an easy filler. Fill the bag with the salmon spread, cut a small hole in one corner et voila! Top with chives.