Simple, Aged or Both

It may have been pouring rain for this week's CEC festivities, but that didn't dampen our spirits. Our theme started out as Aged (as in, we had to use recipes with aged ingredients) then some forgot and turned it into Simple Finger Foods, then Darren decided it was the perfect time to make mozzarella from scratch. It was a delightful hodgepodge of yumminess.

Beer and wine were poured as we nibbled on cheese, Italian salami and lovely, chewy bread dipped in olive oil, balsamic vinegar and garlic.

Selwyn busied himself toasting rounds of baguette, crumbling Gorgonzola and sauteing garlicky flank steak for Black and Blue Crostini.

Darren stirred his milk mixture, cut it into squares, stirred, heated, stretched, pulled, and twisted until what had once been a gallon of milk became delicious knots of fresh mozzarella.

Deb made a wonderfully creamy and spicy Chimichurri sauce to dip slices of beef in, and Toby made a comforting mound of potatoes seasoned with bell peppers and all manner of colorful herbs.

I finished off the menu by mixing mascarpone, chevre and scallions together, stuffed the mixture into deliciously plump Medjool dates...

...and wrapped them in prosciutto. Then Cameron grilled them for me until they were slightly charred, the cheese a bit melty and the dates warm and soft.

After dinner we hung around for a couple of hours, talking with that comfortable amiability that comes with good wine, good food and good friends.

Selwyn's Black and Blue Crostini


Flank Steak (preferably Black Angus but any will do)
Granulated Garlic (enough to dust both sides of the steak)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tsp of sugar
Sliced Baguette Rounds (preferably sour dough)
Gorgonzola or Blue Cheese Crumbles

  1. Take the Flank Steak and slice it in half lengthwise to make a more manageable piece of meat. Dust both sides with granulated garlic. Mix the soy sauce and sugar together, then marinate the steak in the mixture for an hour. Making sure the steak is in the fridge for at least the last 15 minutes of the marinading will make it easier to slice. Slice the steak into thin strips on a 45 degree angle to get a nice cross section, and set aside on a plate.
  2. Place the baguette slices on a cookie sheet and stick in a broiler on high until lightly toasted on one side. Flip the baguette slices and set aside to wait for the beef.
  3. Into a very hot pan with a little bit of olive oil to just coat the surface and keep the meat from sticking, place the marinated steak strips in and sear on both sides to desired level of doneness.
  4. Place the strips of beef on the untoasted side of the baguette, coat with your desired level of Gorgonzola, and Broil until the cheese is melted and begins to turn golden brown.
  5. Serve hot out of the oven.
  6. You can also serve this with a nice corn & black bean salsa to make a full meal out of it, or leave out the baguette and serve on a bed of spring greens that have been tossed in a light vinaigrette.
Deborah's Steak with Chimichurri Mayo
(From America's Test Kitchen)


1 small flank steak (about 1 pound)
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (I used Olive Oil)
1/2 c. mayo
1/2 c. chopped fresh parsley
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar

  1. Pat steak dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. 
  2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Cook steak until well browned, 3-6 minutes per side. 
  3. Transfer to cutting board, and let rest for 5 minutes. Slice thinly and serve with mayo.
  4. Whisk mayo, parsley, shallot, garlic and vinegar in bowl. Serve. 
Krista's Cheese-Stuffed Dates with Prosciutto
(Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis)


1/4 cup (2 ounces) mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup (2 ounces) goat cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
16 (12 ounces) Medjool dates, pitted
8 thin slices prosciutto, halved lengthwise
Special equipment: 16 toothpicks or cocktail picks

  1. In a small bowl add the cheeses, chives and salt and pepper, to taste. Mix together until well combined.
  2. Gently pull the dates apart and spoon about 1/2 teaspoon of the cheese mixture inside. Close the dates around the filling. Wrap a piece of prosciutto around each date and secure with a toothpick.
  3. We grilled them for 5-10 minutes. 
  4. Arrange the stuffed dates on a platter and serve.


    1. Your stuffed and wrapped dates look delicious and just the right size too :)

    2. Yes, those dates look incredibly good. Perfect bites to be followed by a nice gulp of wine. Bite, gulp...repeat. :)

    3. Thank you, Elizabeth :-) I like little bite-sized things :-)

    4. Ohhh, that sounds perfect, Amuse! :-)

    5. So muc of delciciousness on one single page-am drooling...

    6. I looooove bite sized food! My goodness I don't think I can say anymore. I am swooning. Big time.

    7. :-) I'm delighted to hear it, Frugal girl! :-)

    8. Do you have any recipe for those potatoes? I'm having a s.e.r.i.o.u.s. craving ;)

    9. I finally got the recipe, Frugal! I shall email it to you just as soon as I can get it typed out. :-)