Philip always laughs at me when it comes to my cooking; I’m either all or nothing. Take for instance his 26th birthday party… I served a seven course dinner to an intimate group of 10 of our friends. Yes I cooked all seven courses and I greatly enjoyed it and got great reviews from all the guests. But most nights I just look at him and say, “Yeah I’m not cooking tonight. It just isn’t going to happen.” I enjoy cooking and from all those who eat my food I’ve heard I’m really good at it. I just don’t like coming up with a menu or deciding what we should have. But I have found that if I take pictures while cooking with the intention of blogging, I actually enjoy cooking and making lots of dishes. I’ve also started enjoying the plating and displaying part of cooking. If I can make it pretty then I’ll cook it. 🙂
Last week we had our dear friends Laura and Ricky over for dinner. Laura and Ricky previously lived in Ireland and were amazing host to us last October when we visited Belfast (for more on that click HERE HERE HERE and HERE). They have moved to New York and stopped in Memphis to visit family before fully moving up to New York. The last night we were in Belfast we had a great dinner with them at a tiny little French restaurant that was by far one of our favorite places from the trip. In honor of that last night in Belfast I decided to go with a French meal for their visit.
Menu for the night:
Coq Au Vin
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Flourless Chocolate Cake with a Strawberry Reduction
A few pictures and the recipes:
- 6 large fresh or frozen strawberries
- 2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
- 1 cup water
1. Rinse strawberries and remove green caps.
2. Slice each strawberry in half and transfer to a pot, add sugar. Turn heat on to low-medium, add water
3. Let boil for 15 minutes over medium heat.
4. After about 5-10 minutes, it should start frothing quite a bit. Stir at this point and mash lightly with fork.
5. 5 more minutes later, it should start thickening up, stir again.
6. Turn off heat, transfer to a serving bowl/dish. Let cool before serving.
Flourless Chocolate Cake glazed with Strawberry Reduction
Original Recipe is from Whole Foods and is found HERE. I have slightly altered it.
6 ounces dark chocolate chips and 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
1 cup (2 sticks) plus 3 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray (5) 3-inch springform pans with nonstick cooking spray, then line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper. Spray the paper with cooking spray, too, then set the pans aside. (You can also use 1 9-inch springform pan)
Place two-thirds (8 ounces) of the chocolate and 1 cup (2 sticks) of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium low heat. Stirring often, melt chocolate with butter until completely blended. Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl. Add sugar and mix well. Add eggs one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Sift cocoa into bowl and stir until just blended.
Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until cake has risen and top has formed a thin crust. The cake should be just firm in the center when done. Cool for 10 minutes, then invert onto a plate, removing sides of springform pans. Remove and discard parchment paper and set cake aside to cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the chocolate glaze. Melt remaining 4 ounces chocolate (make sure you have reserved 2 ounces of dark chocolate and 2 ounces of semisweet) and 3 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat, then stir in milk, honey and vanilla. Set aside to cool slightly.
When cake has cooled, pour glaze onto the center. Using a spatula or the back of a spoon, very gently smooth glaze along the top and sides of the cake. Chill cake, uncovered, for 30 to 60 minutes before serving to set the glaze and make the cake easier to slice.
Before serving place two fresh strawberries on top and cover with Strawberry Reduction and chocolate sauce.
For the plating chocolate sauce I used a powder sugar, milk, and cocoa mixture. Start with about half a cup of powder sugar and a half teaspoon of cocoa. Add in milk one tablespoon at a time, stirring in the milk as you add, until the mixture has thinned to a fluid glaze.
Coq Au Vin (Recipe from The Food Network)
- 6 slices bacon
- 2 chicken breasts
- 2 thighs
- 2 legs
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- Kosher salt
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 cups pearl onions, peeled
- 2 cups mushrooms
- 2 carrots, cut in 2-inch pieces
- 1/4 cup cognac or brandy
- 1 bottle Burgundy wine
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 teaspoons herbs de Provence
- 3 bay leaves
- Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
In a large, heavy skillet or Dutch oven, fry the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Coat chicken pieces in flour, salt and pepper. Brown chicken in hot bacon fat on both sides.
Add garlic, onions, mushrooms and carrots. Saute 2 minutes to soften. Pour cognac into a small glass. Remove pan from heat, pour in cognac, Flambe by lighting a long match and holding it just above the pot, light the fumes. The brandy will catch fire and the flames will burn out within 1 minute. When the flames die down, return the pan to the heat and gradually stir in the wine and broth. When the wine is well blended, add the herbs. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Remove cover and continue to simmer for 15 minutes to allow the sauce to reduce a bit. You may want to add 1 tablespoon of tomato paste or cornstarch to aid in the thickening process.
To serve, top the chicken and vegetables with reserved crumbled bacon and fresh parsley.
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 4 bunches broccolini (1 1/2 pounds)
- 3 tablespoons good olive oil
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons of lemon juice
In a large pot, bring 8 cups of water and the salt to a boil. Remove and discard the bottom third of the broccolini stems. If some stems are very thick, cut them in half lengthwise.
When the water comes to a full boil, add the broccolini, return to a boil, and cook over high heat for 2 minutes, until the stalks are crisp tender. Drain and immediately immerse the broccolini in a large bowl filled with ice water to stop the cooking. Drain in a colander and set aside.
Heat the oil in a saute pan. Add the garlic and lemon juice and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the broccolini and stir until heated through.
Garlic Mashed Potatoes:
- 3 medium baking potatoes peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
- 1 table spoon of bacon grease
- 4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup mozzeralla cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature or warmed
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a medium saucepan, cook the potatoes, garlic, and bacon grease in salted water until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes and return them to the saucepan.
Add the butter, sour cream and garlic. Mash the potatoes with a potato masher or the back of a fork until the ingredients are blended. Add the milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the potatoes are the desired consistency. Taste and add salt and pepper, if needed. Serve with a wedge of melted butter and parsley.
And a look at the dinner table for the night. We are almost finished with the dining room! We will be changing out the light fixture and adding crown molding but for the most part this room is finished. I built this farm table for Philip’s birthday party and I am so glad that it fit into our dining room! It is over 8 feet long and not many dining rooms would hold this table comfortably. We ended up going with Eames chairs instead of benches like I planned and I am super happy with how these look! I love the mixture of modern and rustic.
A full look at the table ready for guests 🙂
The London Bridge painting is by my sister and is actually available for purchase. You can view her work here.