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Fall Lunch Menu Plan

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Here is a yummy Friday Flashback.

We ended with Turtle Cheesecake

Here are the recipes:

Wild Rice and Tomato Soup from Bernard Clayton, Jr.

(I always double this recipe—one is never enough it is so delicious!)

3 Tablespoon butter
3 Tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 – 16 oz cans tomatoes, chopped
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup wild rice, washed and picked over
salt to taste
1 grinding of pepper
pinch of sugar
3 Tablespoon fresh basil or 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half

Place butter and olive oil in a medium sauce pan, with lid. Heat until the butter is melted; add onion, carrot and celery. Cook over medioum heat until the vegetables are translucent and partially cooked, about 10 minutes. Stir frequently.

Pour in the tomatoes, stock and wild rice. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and boil gently–just above a simmer–until rice opens and fluffs, about 1 hour. Add salt, pepper, sugar and basil. Stir frequently. If the liquid boils away too much, replenish with additional stock or water. (Don’t add extra liquid if you like a thick soup) For a rich soup add cream and heat through.

Prosciutto, Mozzarella and Basil Panini (adapted from Epicurious.com)

1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, finely minced
About 10-12 slices thinly sliced prosciutto
1 ball of fresh mozzarella cheese sliced
10 -12 tomato slices
12 large fresh basil leaves
1 loaf ciabatta bread (about 12 inches long by 6 inches wide), halved horizontally

Whisk olive oil, vinegar, and garlic in small bowl to blend; season dressing to taste with salt and pepper (I make this in advance). Layer prosciutto, mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil over bottom of bread. Drizzle with dressing, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Press top of bread over.

Grill sandwiches until bread is golden brown and cheese melts, pressing occasionally to compact sandwich, about 5 minutes per side. I used a Hamilton Beach Contact Grill. This could easily be done in a skillet, use a smaller heavy skillet or brick wrapped in foil to compact sandwich. Cut into equal sandwiches

Mandarin Salad

Mix the following in a container that can be shaken:

1/4 olive oil
2 T red wine vinegar
2 T sugar
1/2 tsp salt (I use Kosher)
a dash of Tabasco pepper sauce
1 T chopped fresh parsley

I think it is best to make this dressing ahead of time to allow the flavors to come together and fully get the sugar dissolved. Shake well before dressing the lettuce. This makes enough dressing for about 4-6 nice size salads (about 6 to 7 large handfuls of lettuce)

Candied Almonds

In a dry skillet place 3 T sugar and heat over medium heat. As soon as you see any of the sugar melting add in 1/2 cup slivered almonds. The sugar will turn to syrup and coat the almonds. As soon as you see the slightest color change on the almonds– remove from heat. The almonds will continue cooking and it is very easy to burn them. Sometimes when I make these I get more of a crystallized looking coating. It doesn’t matter—it is all good!

Toss mixed greens with dressing, a regular sized can of drained mandarin oranges and the candied almonds. Serve immediately after dressing the salad.

Turtle Cheesecake

Crust
1 9-ounce package chocolate wafer cookies (chocolate graham crackers or chocolate animals crackers work well)
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Filling
4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
5 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 tablespoons whipping cream
4 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

Topping
1 cup caramel sauce (I gently boil a can of sweetened condensed milk covered completely in water in a covered stock pot for about 3 hours, cool slightly, open and pour onto cheesecake)
1/2 cup (about) chopped toasted pecans
chocolate ganache (melt about 4 oz chocolate chips with 2-3 Tablespoons heavy cream)

For Crust:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Finely grind cookies in processor. Blend in butter. Press crumb mixture onto bottom and 1 inch up sides of 9-inch-diameter spring-form pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides. Double wrap outside of spring-form pan with foil.

For Filling:
Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese in large bowl until fluffy. Gradually add sugar and beat until smooth. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Mix in vanilla extract.

Bring cream to simmer in heavy small saucepan. Reduce heat to low. Add chocolate and stir until mixture is melted and smooth. (This can be done in the microwave) Remove from heat.

Pour cream cheese mixture into crust. Spoon chocolate mixture over by tablespoons, spacing evenly. Using tip of knife, swirl chocolate mixture into filling. If you feel chocolate mixture is too thick just stir in a bit of the cheese mixture. Place cheesecake in a pan filled with water so it comes about 1/3 up the side of the cheese cake pan and bake until sides are set and center moves slightly when pan is shaken, about 1 hour 5 minutes. (Cake may crack.) Cool in pan on rack. Chill overnight.
Using small knife, cut around pan sides to loosen cake. Release pan sides. Drizzle caramel and chocolate ganache over top of cake. Garnish with pecans.

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