Friday, October 21, 2011

Date Night Dinner (Steph’s Virtual Bridal Shower!)

I have to say that what I love most about blogging is the community. My fellow bloggers are caring, supportive and giving and even though we haven’t all met in real life, strong friendships are so easily formed. I often find myself amazed and humbled by the strong bond of these people that I call friends.

Kita of Pass the Sushi thought we should collaborate and throw Stephanie a bridal shower with our favorite date night recipes and I was thrilled to be on board. Stephanie (Steph’s Bite by Bite) and her fiancé, Lucas, are getting married next Saturday, October 29. Head over and send them your some well wishes!

I created spaghetti squash with a spicy red wine sauce as an entrée. It’s (just as the title says) spicy but rich with flavor from the wine and herbs. I love spaghetti squash this time of year too. Simple to prep but elegant and delicious! For dessert, I planned to do a traditional French apple and pear tart. Then I stumbled across Biscoff spread at World Market and it shook up my plans. I had seen so many bloggers rave about this stuff so I couldn’t pass it up. So instead of a traditional pastry crust on the tart, I created a Biscoff granola bar crust of sorts and topped it with the fruit. I’m addicted already!

Cheers to you, Stephanie and Lucas. Congratulations and best wishes for many years of happiness and love!

Spaghetti Squash with Spicy Red Wine Tomato Sauce

1 (2-pound) spaghetti squash, halved and seeds discarded (see note below)
3 Tbs. olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 Tbs. tomato paste
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
1/4 cup red wine
1 tsp. chili powder (optional)
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a large rimmed baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Place the squash, flesh side down, on the baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the skin can be easily pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

While the squash bakes, sauté 2 tablespoons of olive oil, garlic, onion until fragrant. Add the tomato paste and stir until the paste is incorporated. Deglaze with red wine and stir in the chili powder if desired. Add the grape tomatoes, basil, red pepper flakes and rosemary, and cook on very low heat, covered, for about 20 minutes. The tomatoes will break down and add to the sauce.

When the squash is cool enough to handle, use a fork the create strands of flesh. Add the strands to the sauce mixture and toss to combine. Add in the remaining olive oil. Garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Cassie’s Notes:
To make the squash a bit easier to halve, stick it in the microwave for about 2-3 minutes to soften the skin.

Alternatively, bake the squash whole in the oven at 375 degrees for one hour until the skin can be easily pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven and allow the squash to cool.

Apple Pear Tart with Biscoff Spread Granola Crust Recipe

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup + 2 Tbs. Biscoff spread
2 Tbs. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cup oats

2 cups fresh pears and apples (I used 2 Bartlett pears and 2 small Granny Smith apples)
3 Tbs. light brown sugar
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. honey
Juice of 1 lemon

2 tsp. honey
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. water
1/2 tsp. almond extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Liberally spray one 9-inch tart pan or four individual tart pans. Set aside.

Pulse the oats in a food processor until they are broken up. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, heat the butter and Biscoff spread until melted. Stir together and mix in the sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and oats until combined. Press into the prepared pan(s) and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes just until the crust begins to brown.

Meanwhile, peel and remove the core from the pears and apples. Quarter each fruit and cut into slices then dice. Toss in a bowl with the brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, honey and lemon juice.

Remove the crust(s) from the oven and pour the fruit mixture on top of the crusts. If making individual desserts, divide the fruit mixture evenly among the four tarts. Bake an additional 25-30 minutes until the apples and pears are tender. Remove from the oven and set aside.

While the tarts are baking mix the glaze ingredients together. Allow the tarts to cool for 3-4 minutes before glazing.

Cassie’s Notes:
Feel free to use only one fruit rather than both. Other fruits would be delicious as well.


30 Responses to “Date Night Dinner (Steph’s Virtual Bridal Shower!)”

  1. #
    Liz — October 21, 2011 @ 6:54 am

    Oh, what a delicious idea!!! All my best to Steph and Lucas, too!!!

  2. #
    Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts — October 21, 2011 @ 6:58 am

    Great date night meal for Steph! I love that tart!!

  3. #
    Bobbie {the vegan crew} — October 21, 2011 @ 7:05 am

    Mmmmm…we will have to try that spaghetti squash recipe soon. Looks wonderful (as does the tart)!

  4. #
    Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. — October 21, 2011 @ 8:03 am

    This meal looks delicious, Cassie! That spicy red wine sauce sounds so tasty, and that tart! Great idea to add the biscoff spread!

  5. #
    Jennifer @ Mother Thyme — October 21, 2011 @ 8:08 am

    This looks delicious! I have been wanting some ideas of spaghetti squash and this is great! Definitely going to be trying this! Now I just need to get my hands on Biscoff! 🙂

  6. #
    Erin — October 21, 2011 @ 8:10 am

    Um, yummy! I can’t remember the last time I had spaghetti squash but that may need to change.

  7. #
    Apron Appeal — October 21, 2011 @ 8:21 am

    I don’t need crisp autumn air to enjoy spaghetti squash, I’ll eat it anywhere…but it certainly sets the mood doesn’t it?

  8. #
    RavieNomNoms — October 21, 2011 @ 8:26 am

    This is so great! I love any kind of squash! Love your dish for Steph

  9. #
    Bev Weidner — October 21, 2011 @ 8:33 am

    Red wine sauce…..I can’ t get past the red wine sauce….I’m so in love.

  10. #
    Lauren — October 21, 2011 @ 9:24 am

    I love spaghetti squash! What a yummy recipe!

  11. #
    Baker Street — October 21, 2011 @ 12:02 pm

    Spaghetti and squash and rine wine sauce! This is just perfect C!

  12. #
    Ramona — October 21, 2011 @ 12:37 pm

    What a totally cool idea!! Love the recipe. : ) Wishing the bride and groom loads of luck and happiness.

  13. #
    Nami | Just One Cookbook — October 21, 2011 @ 4:31 pm

    I agree, the blogging community is amazing. And what you did for Stephanie is a wonderful idea! It’s a nice day night recipe with red wine in hand.. yummy!

  14. #
    steph@stephsbitebybite — October 21, 2011 @ 7:45 pm

    Humbled is right, this is so amazing of you guys! Totally melted my heart! And this dinner looks fab! I love the sneak of spaghetti squash!

  15. #
    Kita — October 21, 2011 @ 9:31 pm

    What a comforting and beautiful date night meal! I love it and that apple pear tart sounds like the perfect after dinner treat! Thank you so much for joining us in celebrating Steph’s virtual bridal shower!

  16. #
    Ann — October 21, 2011 @ 10:15 pm

    What a terrific meal and such a nice thing to do! You’re right….the blogging community is the BEST!

  17. #
    Kim Bee — October 21, 2011 @ 11:22 pm

    Cassie this is absolutely drool worthy. I love this dish. And so wonderful of you to participate in such a great event. Love the blogging community.

  18. #
    foodie @ Tasting Spot — October 22, 2011 @ 2:03 am

    i like your food pictures and want to invite you to try out it’s for anyone that just wants another place to submit photos and share it will other foodies.

  19. #
    Anna — October 22, 2011 @ 3:03 pm

    This sounds great! I’ve yet to come across Biscoff spread but if I ever do, I have such a line of amazing looking recipes for it, I’ll have to buy all the jars I see!

  20. #
    Parsley Sage — October 22, 2011 @ 3:17 pm

    Another bookmark. This looks amazing! And I’m loving this link up, great party! Buzzd 🙂

  21. #
    CJ @ — October 22, 2011 @ 8:10 pm

    thank you for the tip about making the squash easier to cut!! its quite comical when i am wrestling with the gosh darn squash as its moving all over the counter and my knife is barely getting through the skin! you are so full of useful knowledge and awesome recipes 🙂

  22. #
    Alyssa — October 23, 2011 @ 12:11 am

    What a great meal! Very nice for a date night.

  23. #
    Holly — October 23, 2011 @ 9:44 am

    I totally agree, it is so fun meeting and connecting with other bloggers. This meal sounds wonderful!

  24. #
    Autumn@Good Eats Girl — October 23, 2011 @ 1:32 pm

    What a fun idea! Your dishes look great!

  25. #
    LaTisha — October 23, 2011 @ 5:17 pm

    yummy! Stopping by from basilmomma’s blog hop. I liked you on facebook too!

  26. #
    Maggie — October 23, 2011 @ 9:41 pm

    Such a beautiful idea! And a delicious meal! Enjoying your blog already!

  27. #
    Baking Serendipity — October 23, 2011 @ 10:56 pm

    Such a sweet event 🙂 And I love your date night dinner! Spaghetti is one of our simple favorites, and the spiced up version would be a perfect change up 🙂

  28. #
    Angie@Angiesrecipes — October 24, 2011 @ 8:12 am

    Love red wine tomato sauce..this is definitely my type of weekday dinner.

  29. #
    Carolyn — October 29, 2011 @ 6:50 am

    Sad I had to miss Steph’s shower. I signed up originally, but then realized it was when I was on vacation. Yummy dinner!


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