Ken and Jackie. I met them for lunch over some delicious ramen at Ippudo in NYC. An instant friendship was formed as we all share a passion for food. We've been meeting up to eat for at least a year now. These dynamic duos have hosted some awesome potlucks and meetups. The latest Pie Party Potluck Live was inspired by a virtual pie party on twitter. The idea is simple, just bring a pie, sweet or savory and you get to see old friends and meet new ones over some delicious pies. My contribution was the Coconut Caramel Pulled Pork Empanadas. As expected, the party was a smashing success. There were over 60 pies in total. I don't think I have eaten so many pies in a short few hours. My intention was to try every pie, but once I started eating I realized it may be impossible to taste every pie. I think Ken may be the only person that came close to trying every pie as he is an eating machine. There are too many pies to list but out of all the pies I tasted, these are some of my favorites:
Ken's Bittersweet Chocolate Dulce De Leche Tart
Jackie's Cupboard Harvest Pie
Justin's Bacon and Corn Pie with Cornmeal Crust
Blondie and Browie's Doughnut Pie
Lisa's Mini Concord Grape Pies
See this link for a list of all the pies that were just as delicious!
Rodeo Bar. The space was perfect and the staff was extremely helpful. The restaurant even sent us a tasting menu of some of their delicious food. Other than thanking the awesome hosts, Ken and Jackie; they also worked with a variety of great sponsors that provided many wonderful door prizes. I was lucky enough to win a baking set from Chicago Metallic. I also received a wedge of Jarlsberg Cheese to come up with a recipe that included this delicious semi-soft part skim cow's milk cheese.
Anna, whom I haven't seen in awhile at Casa Mono for dinner. We had the Pumpkin Goat Cheese Croquettes, and I thought this may be a great way to use my Jarlsberg cheese. So I decided to make Butternut Squash Jarlsberg Cheese Croquettes, and I'm so glad I did as they were so delicious.
1 Butternut Squash (2 lb) (yield 2 cups)
2 oz of finely shredded Jarlsberg Cheese (1/4 cup)
16 pieces of whole fresh sage leaves
1 tsp of fresh sage (minced)
1/4 tsp of freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes
1/4 cup of all purpose flour
1 egg (lightly beaten)
1/2 cup of plain breadcrumbs
Salt for seasoning
2 cups of vegetable oil for frying
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the butternut squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Season with salt and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil. Roast the squash in the oven for about 45 minutes until tender and easily pierce through with a fork. Once the squash is cooked and cooled enough to handle, scoop the squash out with a spoon. Then add the nutmeg, pepper flakes, taste and season with salt if necessary. Finely shred the Jarlsberg cheese. Pack a teaspoon of cheese and roll into a ball. Cover the cheese with a tablespoon of butternut squash and roll into a ball. The squash may be a little wet, but don't be discouraged if you have a little bit difficulty rolling it into a ball. I assure you it'll be well worth the effort. Set aside until all are assembled. Then prepare the ingredients for a standard breading procedure. Make sure to season the flour, egg and breadcrumbs with a little salt. Also add the minced sage to the breadcrumbs. Dust the croquette with a little flour, roll it in the egg then lightly cover with the breadcrumbs. In the meantime heat the oil to 375 degrees for deep frying. Once the oil reaches to 375 degrees, fry the sage leaves for a about 20 seconds until it's crispy and set aside. Add the croquettes a few at a time, and fry until they turn golden brown. Once the croquettes and sage leaves are done, season it with a little bit of salt at the end, then serve immediately.
I was so glad to participate in the inaugural Pie Party Live Potluck and can't wait for the next pie party! Thanks again Ken and Jackie for putting this wonderful event together.