Thursday, June 9, 2011

Summer Girl's Night

(notice the ominous weather from tonight---thunderstorms over Boston meant for a beautiful lightening show during the evening)

On the menu:

Red lambrusco (a fruity and effervescent red wine, perfect for summer!)

Sun dried tomato and olive pasta salad (adapted from Martha Stewart)

Coarse salt
8 ounces gemelli (or fusilli or penne)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
10 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
2 teaspoons salt-packed capers, rinsed  (capers are just so strong, I didn't end up adding any; you can if you like, though!)
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, quartered (as many tomatoes as you want, really)
1/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved  (I forgot to add olives!  Oops.)
1/3 cup fresh basil, torn (also, as much as you want)
Fresh mozzarella or ricotta

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook until al dente. Drain. Drizzle with just enough oil to coat. Spread on a baking sheet, and refrigerate 10 minutes. Pulse sun-dried tomatoes, vinegar, capers, and garlic in a food processor. With machine running, add oil in a slow, steady stream, and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Toss together pasta, sun-dried-tomato vinaigrette, grape tomatoes, olives, basil, and salt. Transfer to serving plates. Top with a scoop of ricotta or mozzarella balls, drizzle with oil, and sprinkle with pepper.

Chocolate pots de creme (adapted from Cup and Table)

2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
6 oz of the best bittersweet or semisweet chocolate you can afford, finely chopped
1/2 cup fine sugar
6 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 300ºF.  Bring cream/milk mixture to a nice simmer, and remove from heat.  Add chopped chocolate and fine sugar; stir once, cover, and allow to stand off the heat for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yolks, the vanilla and just the tiniest pinch of salt in a mixing bowl.
Now, stir chocolate mixture gently and use it to temper yolk mixture.  Continue gradually stirring in the yolk mixture.  Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer or sieve, into a pitcher (I used my pyrex four cup measuring cup).  Organize your ramekins into 9x13 glass pyrex pans, and fill ramekins to roughly the same point in each ramekin.  They won't expand, but the lower the level, the more evenly they will cook.  Fill up the pan halfway with warm water, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.  The center will jiggle a bit, but they will not be liquid.  Allow to cool for five minutes in the pyrex pans, then remove and cool on the countertop for about 20 minutes before putting in the fridge.  The easiest way to store them is directly in the same 9x13 pan, just drain the warm water and let them cool.  Keep in the fridge. 

No comments: