Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Gourmet Pantry 1 year Blogg-iversary!!

Well folks, it has officially been one year since we embarked upon this culinary tour that we have called "The Gourmet Pantry," trying to bring you all some simple yet amazing recipes that every New Yorker, non-New Yorker, cook, and non-cook can enjoy. And let me tell you, it has been one hell of a ride. From the initial gut-wrenching excitement when we first hit the "publish" button, to the stressful weeks where we were both certain we had given up on logging our kitchen stories.

Needles to say, we have loved every minute of sharing our awesome, not so awesome, and funky recipes with you. To celebrate this occasion, we decided to throw a little shin-dig and invite some of our closest friends, followers, and foodies (and Foodies & Fatties to be specific) over to eat these goodies we keep telling you all about!

Appetizers, desserts, champagne, wine.... and many Celine Dion songs later, it was one happy-go-lucky scene. In keeping with our Gourmet Pantry tradition, we took some old recipes, some new ones, and wanted to share with you all the fun fixings.

Thank you all for following us, and here's to another year of Gourmet Pantry deliciousness, and all that it may bring to the table- pun intended!

Party Please #1- Gouda Stuffed Dates w/ Bacon

1 box pitted dates, about 20 dates
1 package pre-made pie crust (2 sheets per package, Pillsbury is best)
1 lb bacon, strips cut in half
1 block smoked gouda cheese

Preheat oven to 400F. Next, take out the pie crust (make sure it is defrosted fully if was frozen), and roll one sheet out onto a lightly floured surface. Next, assemble the dates:
Chop the gouda cheese into 1 inch cubes. Stuff the gouda cubes into the dates where the pit should be (be careful to check dates, sometimes pitted store bought dates miss one or two!). Take one strip of bacon and wrap around the date. Place date on the rolled out sheet of pie crust, and assemble the next one. Be sure to leave 2-3 inches in between the dates from each side (depending on how large your dates are). When all is done, place the second pie crust sheet on top of the dates, seal, and cut. Pinch the ends up with your sides to form fit the date so it looks like one little football. Make a tiny slit on top to allow air out while cookie, and stick onto a baking tray for 15-20 minutes or until crust is browned on edges and cooked. Serve with a toothpick. Vegetarian version- just leave out the bacon!

Party Pleaser #2: Turkey Meatballs with Soy Glaze Reduction

In the party snacks department, tiny meatballs will always win over a heart attack inducing 7 layer dip or stale peanuts/popcorn! These Scallion Turkey Meatballs were the perfect addition to our Bloggi-versary and a nod to Chinese New Year!
Moist, succulent, salty and sweet; the soy sauce and sesame oil glaze on top just elevated the experience of popping one of these babies in your mouth! The meatballs were so popular at our party that they were gone before we could say “Holy Meatballs!”

1 pound ground turkey
4 large scallions, finely chopped
½ cup cilantro, finely chopped

1 egg
2 tablespoons sesame oil

2 tablespoons soy sauce (I used low sodium and the salt content was fine!)
Freshly ground black pepper
(Soy Sesame Glaze)
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup soy sauce (I used reduced sodium in order to control the saltiness)
1/2 cup white wine (I used a slightly dry wine)

2 heaping tablespoons of your favorite chili garlic sauce (e.g. Sriracha Sauce)
1 large piece of peeled, chopped ginger

1 teaspoon ground coriander powder
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Vegetable oil to cook the meatballs

Make meatballs:  You can actually mix the meatballs a day or two in advance and store in an airtight container. This saved me a lot of time!

I, however, cooked the meatballs an hour before the party started. They did not take very long and were warm and moist!
Mix turkey, scallions, cilantro, egg, sesame oil, soy sauce and black pepper in a bowl.
In a skillet over medium-high heat, generously cover bottom of pan with vegetable oil.
I used a teaspoon to roll out bite-sized portions of the meatballs. Simply cook with a teaspoon and drop into the hot skillet. Worked perfectly!
Turn the meatballs, until browned all over and cooked inside, about 8 minutes per batch (My skillet held about 12 per batch, cooking time would need to be adjusted based on the stove you use, electric or gas)
Once cooked, let the excess oil drain by placing the meatballs on some kitchen paper towels

Make the sauce/glaze The sauce can also be made up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated until needed. When you drizzle it over the warm meatballs it’ll be nice and gooey and stick to the meat instead of sliding off the sides.
In a large saucepan bring sugar and water to a boil.
Reduce heat to a simmer and add soy sauce, wine, chili garlic sauce, ginger, coriander powder and pepper.
Simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half. (This took me about 40 minutes, because I wanted to achieve a more syrupy consistency).
Once it has reduced to your satisfaction, strain through a sieve and store in a squeeze bottle

Assemble the Meatballs: Stick each meatball with a fancy toothpick and place on a serving platter. Now drizzle the glaze over the meatballs, be generous! You can place the leftover glaze on the table, in case your guests would like more. I noticed our guests pouring that glaze over everything! Even the Biscotti!

Party Pleaser #:  Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

If the turkey meatballs didn't last 40 minutes, these didn't last 15. I mean, just re-read the title: Cheesecake. Stuffed. Strawberries. I don't need to explain further, other than show you how it's done. Try not to stare too long at this one, the pressure and salivating will become unimaginable until you just can't take the pressure anymore, and are forced to do it yourself. Trust me, this one is worth the effort!


2 cups crushed graham crackers
1 stick melted butter

2 8 oz packages cream cheese
3 large eggs
1 pint sour cream, full fat
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla

3 pints fresh strawberries - the larger the better

Preheat oven to 300F. In a bowl, crush mix the crushed graham crackers with melted butter. Grease an 8 inch springform pan, and pour crust into the pan. Smoosh down with hands until even layer is formed. Refrigerate for 5-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a bowl with an electric hand mixer, beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time. Mixing until combined. Add the tsp vanilla, sugar, and whip until sugar is creamed, 2-3 minutes. Add the sour cream and mix until just incorporated, another 30 seconds - 1 minute. Pour batter into crust, and bake for 40 minutes. *Note, the cheesecake will still jiggle considerably in the middle, but will harden during refrigeration and this recipe baking time is intended to use the cake as a filling, so even after refrigerated it will be very smooth and lose. This will making piping into hollowed out strawberries much easier. Refrigerate cheesecake for at least 30-40 minutes.

As the cake cools, wash and rinse your strawberries. Pat dry with a paper towel. With a pairing knife, trip off the top and hollow out as much of the berry as you can without puncturing a hole. This take some practice, and use the tiniest knife you can find. Once they have all been hollowed out, take the cheesecake out and let come up to room temperature for 5-10 minutes. Scoop out the cheesecake (leave the graham cracker in tact to crumble on top later if desired), and pour into a piping bag (or a large plastic bag with an edge snipped off to resemble one). Pipe into strawberries and chill in refrigerator for another 15-20 minutes so they are cold upon serving. Sprinkle with crumble graham cracker crust, fresh graham crackers, chocolate syrup... or nothing. These are AMAZING as is...... (wipe that drool off your chin, please, you're getting the computer dirty)

Other items included a savory biscotti of Parmasan cheese & Herbs De Provence with a vodka tomato cream dipping sauce, homemade crostini & herbed butter with onion marmalade topped with goat cheese, Indian spiced vegetable fritters, and of course... lemon, strawberry & vodka shot cupcakes! If you'd like the recipes, just give us a shout!!!

Life isn't always about having what you want... it's wanting what you've got. Keep cooking!!!!

The Gourmet Pantry ladies


  1. Cheesecake stuffed strawberries- Stellar!

  2. Thanks for the love! Can we find you on Twitter?