Saturday, September 29, 2007

Friday Night Dinner Club

Last night, my boyfriend and I went to the Friday Night Dinner Club at The Chopping Block in Chicago. The Chopping Block is a cooking school for average joes like you and me located in the famed Merchandise Mart. They do just about everything there. They host parties, have a retail store and a tons of different hands-on cooking courses you can take.

On the menu last night was Seared Salmon with Hericot Verts and Truffle Bacon Vinaigrette and a Bittersweet Chocolate Pudding. Now, I hate fish so I'm not going to bother with the salmon recipe because you just pan sear it. As for the haricot verts...

Haricot Verts
2 pounds haricot verts (french green beans)
5 slices bacon cut into 1/2 pieces
1 shallot, sliced thin
1/32 lemon juice
Salt and pepper

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a pinch of salt. Blanch the beans until they are crisp yet tender, about 2-3 minutes. Shock in a bowl of ice water until cold. Drain well.

Add bacon to pan and cook until crispy. Add the sliced shallot and cook about a minute until tender. Add the blanched beans to the pan and toss until warmed through. Deglaze the pan with lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper.

1 shallot, minced
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons truffle oil
salt and pepper to taste

Mix together the shallot, mustard, vinegar and honey. Slowly drizzle into the oil while whisking vigorously. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Bittersweet Chocolate Pudding

3 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup of corn starch
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
1/2 stick of butter
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Place 1 1/2 cups of mile and the cream in a heavy sauce pan and heat gently.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, yolks, cornstarch, and the other 1 1/2 cups cold milk. Slowly whisk some of the warm mixture into the egg mixture, then put everything back into the pot and cook, stirring, over low heat until you ave a nice thick pudding. It can take up to 10 minutes. Don't stop stirring.

Remove from the heat and add the chocolate, stirring to melt. Add the butter and vanilla. Ladle into either ramekins or dessert cups and allow to chill in refrigerator. Serve garnished with a dollop of whipped cream.

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