Zoolights, Dinner and Madeira

Oh boy – well I have lost this entry once thanks MSN…
We are planning a night out with some friends. We will go walk Zoolights then have them over for a light dinner then some Madeira tasting with a light dessert.
In my attempt to remember my ideas better I am brainstorming in this entry.
I am thinking a nice soup would be good – I will read through my recipes to see what would be good. Beer cheese or french onion might be good. Or a beef stew is always tasty. I have leftover turkey, maybe a turkey barley might be good. I did find the following which I may try:
Beer-Gorgonzola-Cheese Soup
Recipe developed by sous-chef Matthew Waterman at Denver’s Cucina Colore. Leslie Mansfield also featured this recipe in Recipes from the Microbreweries of America.
1 small red onion
3 medium cloves garlic
1 chipotle pepper (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound gorgonzola cheese
16 ounces Ridgeline Amber Ale
1 quart heavy cream
1 gallon whole milk
½ to 1 cup roux
salt and pepper to taste
Puree onion, garlic and chipotle, if used, in food processor. Heat oil over medium heat in stock pot. Add onion mixture. With hands, crumble in gorgonzola. Heat just until cheese is halfway melted. Stir in beer. Bring to boiling point. Gradually add cream and milk. Heat just to boiling point. Do not boil or soup will scorch. Whisk occasionally. (Beer and cheese should incorporate on their own so do not overwhisk or soup will foam up.)
Blend in enough roux (see below for recipe) for desired consistency, heating until thickened. Add salt and pepper. (During cooking, soup reduces in volume.)
Serves 10 to 12.
2 sticks (1 cup) butter
1 ½ cups flour
pinch nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
Melt butter over low heat. Blend in flour. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper. Roux may be made ahead or leftovers stored, covered, in refrigerator several days.
A green salad would also be good, spinach or caeser maybe?
For dessert maybe a slightly sweet dessert bread, my grandmother’s figure eights or some scones. I will need to get the figure eight recipe from grandma.
Grandma is amazing – she continues to get better from her stroke. We celebrated her 96th birthday on the 2nd. We gave her a dozen yellow roses and an advent calendar from Starbucks that was a cardboard tree with little drawers for each day of December, inside the drawer was a piece of chocolate, then you turn the drawer to reveal a picture.
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