It’s A Party

August 23, 2009 at 3:20 pm | Posted in Appetizers, Beef, Pasta | 5 Comments
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023We had a birthday party for Bob this past Friday night.  Since it was on a weekday I had to plan an easy menu.  One that I could multi-task, prepare during the afternoon and still do some things for work.  Here’s the menu:

  • Dill Scones with Horshradish Cream and Smoked Trout
  • Olive Plate (courtesy Teri and Dan)
  • Cheese, Cracker and Fruit Plate
  • Spinach Salad with Strawberries (courtesy Kathy and Tom)
  • Chipolte Macaroni and Cheese
  • Potato Salad
  • Sliders
  • Cupcakes from Child’s Bakery


Just look at this beautiful array of assorted olives, those little balsamic onions, and roasted garlic.  Beautiful, Dan, thanks.  I loved the roasted garlic and those crackers were wonderful. 


Nothing special here, just some Jarlsberg Cheese slices, Rye Krisp and Water Crackers and some herb and garlic cheese spread. But I do want to point out the plate.  Our son Sean made this platter a few years ago and I love it for serving a cheese and cracker platter.  The black color makes a great display and all the ingredients pop.   

Let’s start with the scones.  On our vacation in Oregon this summer, we stopped into a wine bar and ordered a small plate of Dill Scones topped with Horseradish Cream and Smoked Trout.  It was delicious and I was bound and determined to to recreate this dish.   I googled for a recipe and sure enough found one.  Due to our high altitude, baking can be an ornery task here in Colorado.  I have a fear of dough.  I was really nervous about making these.  They turned out really good and I now anticipate gaining about 20 pounds over the next few years with my new found confidence for baking.  

Here’s the recipe for the scones: 

 Dill Sour Cream Scones

2 cups All-purpose flour
2 teaspoons Baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
4 tablespoons Butter or margarine
2 Eggs
1/2 cup Sour cream
1 tablespoon Fresh dill — chopped
1 teaspoon dried dill weed

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Beat the eggs with a fork in a small bowl. Add the sour cream and dill; beat until well combined. Stir into the flour mixture until the mixture forms a soft dough that pulls away from the side of the bowl.

Turn out the dough onto a well-floured surface. Knead the dough 10 times. Roll out the dough into a 9 x 6-inch rectangle with a lightly floured rolling pin.

Cut the dough into 6 squares. Cut each square diagonally in half, making 12 triangles. Place the triangles 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Serve warm or cool completely.

Since this was an appetizer, I cut the scones into smaller triangles before baking, reduced the cooking time to around 7 minutes and watched them closely to make sure they were perfectly done.  I topped them with a simple mixture of sour cream, prepared horseradish, salt and pepper. I purchased some smoked trout from Whole Foods.  Simply frost the scones with the the horseradish sour cream mixture, and top with a sliver of smoked trout.  As far as I can remember, they turned out exactly like the ones we had in Oregon.  Thanks R. Stuart  for this idea.  Sprinkle some fresh cut dill on the plate for a nice presentation.

Next let’s talk about the Macaroni and Cheese.  Just look at this beautiful golden topping compliments of the toasted Panko Bread Crumbs and Chipolte Chili Powder


 Have you ever been to Fleming’s Steakhouse and had the Chipolte Macaroni and Cheese?  It’s fabulous.  Again, I turned to Google and sure enough found this recipe from Recipe Zaar.  This is stated to have appeared in a newspaper and to have come directly from the Executive Chef of Fleming’s.  Warning:  continued reading could be hazardous to your health and not for the faint of heart.  It starts out with a stick of butter.  This reminds me of a quote from Julia Child:  “If you’re afraid of butter, use cream”.  Well, the next ingredient calls for 5 cups of a mixture of half and half and cream.  I was afraid, very afraid and couldn’t do it so used mostly half and half.  Here’s the recipe:  

Fleming’s Steakhouse Chipolte Macaroni and Cheese


  • 1 lb pasta (cavatappi or curly)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup onion, 1/2-inch dice
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 cups half and half
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper (ground)
  • 3/4 lb smoked cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/4 lb cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried chipolte chili (chipotle chili powder)
  • 3/4 cup panko


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large pot, bring 1 gallon of water to boil. Add 2 teaspoons salt and pasta and cook for 8 – 9 minute
  2. Drain pasta and cool under cold running water. Pasta should be slightly firm. Toss drained pasta in oil and reserve
  3. Melt butter in a large sauce pot over medium heat. Add onions and saute for 4 – 5 minute.
  4. Add flour and cook 1 – 2 minute but do not brown.
  5. Add cream, half and half, kosher salt and white pepper.
  6. Bring pot to a simmer. Cook until sauce is thick, about 5 – 6 minute Blend cheese into sauce and add cooked pasta.
  7. Pour pasta and sauce into a 9 x 12″ baking dish. Reserve.
  8. In a saute pan over medium-high heat, add oil and chipotle chili powder. Heat for 30 seconds, until pan starts to smoke. Remove from stove and stir in bread crumbs.  Sprinkle bread crumbs over macaroni and cheese and bake for 20 minutes.

Next up are the sliders.  By this time in the evening, I was trying to be hostess with the mostess and didn’t get any pictures of these.  Where’s my professional Food and Wine Magazine photographer when I need her?   You’ll have to look at the pictures from The Noble Pig website.  This is where I found the recipe.  LOVED these.  Thanks to Cathy in Oregon for this recipe.  It was a hit.  I really think those Classic Sarah Lee rolls are the ticket for the little buns. 

I’m not going to post my potato salad recipe.  I’ve found over the years that potato salad recipes are very personal and people are very picky about their recipes.   Everyone already has their favorite version.


Along with the food, the wine was a very special part of the evening.  Bob has been saving a very special bottle of 2004 Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve for his birthday.  What a wonderful wine.  We were threatening to suck the decanter dry, it was so good.

Another treat was a bottle of Crumbled Rock Pinot Noir from Oregon.  I’ve got to start from the beginning for this part.  Last year, all six of us (pictured above) traveled to Oregon for a wine tasting trip.   We all fell in love with Oregon, it’s food and it’s wine.  We stayed at Dundee Manor.  Dundee Manor is a fabulous, and I mean fabulous Inn located in the Dundee Hills and just outside of the town of  Dundee, right in the heart of Oregon Wine Country.  Beautiful grounds and accommodations and oozing with hospitality and charm.  Please take the time to click on this link  to take a look.

This year when Bob and I returned to Oregon solo, we stayed in McMinnville to be closer to the IPNC Food and Wine Festival.  We couldn’t leave Oregon without stopping in and saying hello to Dundee Manor owners, Brad and David.  Being the gracious people that they are, they gave us a bottle of wine from Crumbled Rock Winery.  Crumbled Rock is just up the road from Dundee Manor and the bottle was from their first vintage 2007 and was just released this year.  Juliard Vineyard.  What a marvelous and special souvenir to bring home to Colorado.  Ya gotta love those guys.

Well of course, we saved it and broke it out as a surprise for this party!  We self-timed the camera to take a group picture to send a big Thank You back to Dundee, Oregon.

Of course, we ended the food part of the evening with a flaming birthday candle in each of the brownies from Child’s Bakery while singing a  rousing rendition of Happy Birthday to Bob.



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  1. The scones & chipoltle macaroni & cheese look and sound positively delicious! If we’re going to gain weight anyway, might as well enjoy it immensely! 😉

  2. For the sake of our reputation, I’m glad you didn’t descibe all of the bottles we consumed. : )

    The crackers are Rutherford & Meyer three-cheese gourmet wafers, from New Zealand. Purchased at King Soopers.

    I’ll never feel the same about mac and cheese again, way to go. And After a few glasses of wine, I called the scones “those fish and biscuit things”…a very un-gourmet moment. But they were maybe the best item of the evening.

  3. Those balsamic onions look so intriguing! I’ve never had any before.
    I tried very hard not to comment about the mac and cheese, thinking if I don’t comment, I won’t have to make it, eat half of it in one sitting, and then I won’t have to have my arteries scrubbed. Too late…. *sigh* 😉

    • I think those little onions are called Ciopino Onions (or something with a similar spelling) They have them at Whote Foods and they are wonderful. I can’t find a reference to them being called that on the internet, so just called them Balsamic Onions.

      I hope you don’t mind, I had to poke fun at Wichita on my most recent post about Spinach Pasta. 🙂

  4. I love this mac & cheese at Fleming’s – thanks for posting!! I can’t wait to try it at home.

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