Driscoll's Berries and chef Rick Rodgers hosted the event, where tons of bloggers cooked holiday dishes based around raspberries, then watched (and discussed) as Chef Rodgers demonstrated the recipes live.
I headed to my friend Ann's house (where I do most of my cooking) and started prepping in the afternoon. The "party" started at 8, so we started mixing the drinks around just before, then settled in to a meal of appetizers and dessert. Five recipes were offered to us, and I cooked four of them (leaving out the wild rice, because I've never been a big fan of the stuff). We had a few rounds of berry bellinis, a fantastic dish of warm brie with raspberries and pistachios, roasted acorn squash with a raspberry sauce, and panna cotta topped with balsamic raspberries. We listened to the live chat on and off while discussing whatever geeky things were on our mind and stuffing our maws full of the brie (we polished off that dish in record time, especially impressive because one of the four of us doesn't even eat brie). When all was said and done, I came away with two recipes that I LOVED and intend to make again.
1 oz St. Germaine (elderflower liqueur)
0.5 oz lemon juice
0.5 oz simple syrup
3 oz dry sparkling wine
In a cocktail shaker, combine St. Germaine, lemon juice, simple syrup, and berries. Top with ice and shake vigorously. Pour champagne into a flute, then top with St. Germaine mixture. Garnish with a raspberry.
Warm Brie with Raspberries and Pistachios
1/2 cup shelled pistachios
1 small wheel of Brie, top rind sliced off
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 package (6 ounces) raspberries
Preheat oven to 350°.
In a small saucepan, toast pistachios over medium heat, tossing occasionally so they don't burn. Transfer to a plate.
Place Brie, cut side up, on a small glass baking dish (I use a small pie dish, so it can go straight from the oven to the table). Bake until warm and top is softened but not oozing, about 15 minutes.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, stir together honey, vinegar, and rosemary. Add raspberries and pistachios and gently fold the sauce over them. Pour raspberry mixture over the top of the cheese and serve immediately (I like water crackers, my friends preferred slices of baguette).
Full Disclosure note: The berries were provided via free coupons from Driscolls. I paid for all the other ingredients, though - well, the ones I didn't swipe from Ann's pantry.