Two Girls, Two Guys, One Dog, and a Grill!
June Theme: Grilling
Nearly six weeks after the inaugural night of the LP Supper Club we had our second soiree. Being in mid-June in Texas we needed a theme that did not favor heavy food yet brought about the beauty of summer. While the weather was not ideal, too much wind and sweltering heat, the theme for the June dinner was one that we all enjoy, grilling!
The evening started off perfectly, but we soon realized that grilling all the dishes was not something we cared about anymore. Most dishes were grilled and those that were not at least came from grilling cookbooks.
What can we say? We got a little lazy and tired towards the end of the evening.
Why you ask? Because we had an abundance of carbohydrates that stuck to our ribs for a few days.
Was it worth it? Of course, it’s the LP Supper Club!
(Some recipes will be disclosed, others will not. For other recipes related to this blog see Life on Washington Ave.)
For the tablescape of the evening I wanted something subtle and welcoming. I knew I wanted bright summer colors but in which direction should I go? Hot pink and neon orange? Nope! When I think of summer and June my mind automatically goes to the beach and the ocean. After a summer day on the beach, collecting seashells, and watching the sailboats go by, lighting a charcoal grill is the perfect end to a summer day.
Keeping the beach and the sea in mind I went with sky blue and bright yellow placemats with white plates. For a color contrast I used green cloth napkins wrapped in a simple flower napkin holder. I bought some cheap nautical lanterns to hold candles and placed them in the center of the table. Weaving through the center of the table I had seashell beads (brought back from our Honeymoon in Hawaii four years ago) and homemade Anchor and Seashell die-cuts.
Instead of focusing on creating a cocktail for June, we made it simple and enjoyed beer and wine. During the cooking process we enjoyed a light, citrus home-brew. Once the preparation of dinner was finished we opened some rich red wines.
1- Valentin Bianchi Malbec– The first thing I noticed as I poured the wine was the deep burgundy color. A beautiful rich red wine portrayed notes of vanilla and ripe plum. The finish lingers on your palate. I REALLY enjoyed this Malbec and it paired perfectly with our carb-heavy meal.
2- La Mano Mencia Roble– A Spanish red wine was opened towards the end of the evening. An oakey nose leads itself to cherry and strong tannins. We had to decant this bottle because the tannins overpowered your palate at first sip.
Source: Seven Fires: Grilling the Argentine Way by Francis Mallman
While all of the dishes were delicious, the appetizer was my favorite dish of the evening hands-down (and the healthiest). A fresh blend of grilled vegetables is plated alongside fresh-baked bread and topped with a poached egg. When the egg is cut into, it creates a creamy sauce that engulfs the vegetables. It is perfection!
Store-bought bread can be used but we used homemade bread. The bread should be made several hours before dining, as the dough will need to rise and it takes an hour to bake. We prepared our bread in a dutch-oven.
Step 1: Blanch Fava Beans (when Fava Beans cannot be found, use Edamame).
Step 2: Saute fresh-cut bacon in a skillet over a heated charcoal grill.
Step 3: Wipe the excess fat out of the skillet and saute Cherry Tomatoes until plump and juicy, yet still firm.
Step 4: Add the blanched Fava Beans and Sweet Peas to the hot skillet and cook until softened.
Step 5: Add chopped Mint and Basil and set aside.
Step 6: Slice your freshly homemade bread.
Step 7: Bring a pot of water to a boil and add a tablespoon of white vinegar.
Step 8: Poach eggs!
Step 9: Plate…Enjoy!
Grilled Lamb Gyros with Chapa Bread, Greek Spinach Salad, and Tzatski Two-Ways
Vegetarian Alternative: Grilled Chickpea Patties
The entrée was a culmination of a variety of recipes from Seven Fires and Bobby Flay’s Grill It, they were made by our friends. Many components of the entrée were grilled: bell pepper, chapa bread, chickpea patties and lamb.
The dish was delicious and filling. The soft chapa bread was perfect for the moist lamb and chickpea patties. There was a conflict of interest with this dish however. We had two fillings: lamb and chickpea burgers, and two tzatzikis: traditional yogurt/onion, and the non-traditional red bell pepper. While I fell bad saying I like one over the other, because I do not want to create a fight between the couple that made them, I do have favorites! Thankfully, I like one creation from each person. My favorite combination was the chickpea patty with the red-bell Pepper tzatziki. The burger was moist and flavorful while the tzatziki had a hint of spice that was showcased through the creamy consistency.
Unfortunately by this point we did not need any more food. We were very full and overfed with bread, bread, and more bread! However, we wanted to try our hands at some tasty recipes, so we had two side items.
Side #1: Potatoes Dominos
Another dish from Seven Fires we could not resist. An entire chapter is dedicated to Potatoes and they all looked amazing. Potatoes Dominos is a dish that even a child could make. It has four easy steps (cut the potatoes into a brick shape, slice on mandolin, lay like dominos on a cookie sheet and coat with clarified butter, bake for 45 minutes).
Once the ‘Dominos’ were out of the oven, I moved them to a beautiful dish to serve and sprinkled them with sea salt and fresh rosemary.
Side #2: BBQ Potato Chip Gnocchi
My husband read about this recipe in a food blog and wanted to try it immediately. Who wouldn’t? It’s Gnocchi with BBQ sauce, potato chips, and beer! Sounds like a perfect upscale Superbowl food right?
A combination of BBQ sauce, IPA beer, butter, and Garam Masala are boiled in a large pot. Flour is then added to it and you stir it like a mad person until it pulls away from the bowl. Extra sharp cheddar cheese and eggs are added to the dough and refrigerated.
The gnocchi is then cooked traditionally (boiled in a pot of water then sautéed).
The soft gnocchi was plated and garnished with frisee that was tossed in white wine vinegar. The frisee was a great added component to the dish because it balanced the richness of the gnocchi. While the gnocchi had a nice flavor, it put us over the edge with food. Luckily we only made a half batch.
Aside from the Appetizer the dessert was my favorite dish! Who would have thought?
Homemade Grilled Pound Cake with Mexican-Chocolate Sauce, Rum Whipped Creme, and Basil Strawberries
Step 1: Pound Cake
An easy combination of butter, cake flour, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, and kosher salt is baked in a loaf pan for an hour. This was the first time I had made pound cake and I found it surprisingly easy and delicious.
Step 2: Mexican Chocolate Sauce
Semi-sweet chocolate chips are melted in a saucepan with ground cinnamon, ancho-chile powder and a hint of kosher salt.
Step 3: Rum Whipped Creme
A fluffy combination of heavy whipping creme and powdered sugar with a hint of vanilla extract and dark rum. The rum did make a strong flavored whipped creme; rum extract could be used in place of dark rum to create a more mild whipped flavor.
Step 4: Toss sliced strawberries with fresh chopped basil and lemon juice.
Step 5: Plate the dessert and top with toasted almonds for a crunch!
One of my favorite desserts I have made at home! The rich, dense pound cake absorbs the spiced chocolate while the strawberries and whipped creme cool the dish; creating the perfect sweet bite.
The second annual LP Supper Club was a fun evening filled with stuffed bellies and good friends. Overall the food was great, we just had too much of it! While we did not stick to the theme of the night very well, it was June and hot and the charcoal burned out. As far as the July dinner goes, we have a long list of ideas. What ideas do you have for a Supper Club theme?