Dinner club time!

It has been quite a while since I posted. Spring has sprung in our house with the start of the softball and baseball seasons.  Cooking up new dishes has been put on hold with the late night practices and games.  Finally, we had our dinner club dinner a couple of weeks ago.  With a very busy spring we found one weekend that worked for everyone.  Our foodie friends were the host and when they plan the menu they pull out all of the stops.

Mr. Food has some special kit that he can make some peculiar concoctions.  Our palate cleaners was a lemongrass foam.  Dinner started with a pork pate, seared scallops over a corn salsa, braised short ribs plated with mock mashed potatoes and carrots and an arugula salad dressed with crushed pistachios. The dessert was our assigned dish and was profiteroles.  A little complex recipe that we probably didn’t get the attention it needed because of kiddo commitments, but in the end we pulled it off. 
Here is a sampling of our dish and a few of the others.

Dessert -Profiteroles

Arugula Salad

Scallops with Corn Salsa

Let’s start with our recipe –


1 cup milk
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
Pinch kosher salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 extra-large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons prepared coffee
Good vanilla ice cream (recommended: Haagen-Dazs), for serving

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Heat the milk, butter, and salt over medium heat until scalded. When the butter is melted, add the flour all at once and beat it with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together and forms a dough. Cook, stirring constantly, over low heat for 2 minutes. The flour will begin to coat the bottom of the pan. Dump the hot mixture into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the eggs and pulse until the eggs are incorporated into the dough and the mixture is thick.

Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip. Pipe in mounds 1 1/2 inches wide and 1-inch high onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You should have about 18 puffs. With a wet finger, lightly press down the swirl at the top of each puff. (You can also use 2 spoons to scoop out the mixture and shape the puffs with damp fingers.) Bake for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned, then turn off the oven and allow them to sit for another 10 minutes, until they sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Make a small slit in the side of each puff to allow the steam to escape. Set aside to cool.

For the chocolate sauce, place the cream and chocolate chips in a bowl set over simmering water and stir just until the chocolate melts. Add the honey and coffee and stir until smooth. Set aside.

For serving, cut each profiterole in half crosswise, fill with a small scoop of ice cream, replace the top, and drizzle with slightly warm chocolate sauce.

Now here are a couple of others

Scallops with Corn Salsa


1 to 1 1/4 pounds of dry sea scallops, approximately 16
3 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 slices of bacon, diced
3/4 cups chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 cups corn
1 roasted red pepper, diced
1 shallot
1 pinch saffron threads
1/2 cup vermouth
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Begin with corn salsa by sauteing the diced bacon in a pan.  When done, remove from pan and reserve for later.  Add onion and sauté until translucent.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute before adding the corn, red pepper and bacon.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the garlic saffron sauce, melt 2 T butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add the shallot and garlic and cook for 5 minutes or until the shallot is soft and translucent.  Add the saffron, vermouth, stock and cream then bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer for 10 minutes or until the sauce has thickened and reduced by about a third. Remove from heat, add lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. 

For the scallops, start by removing the small side muscle and rinse in cold water thoroughly, pat dry.  Add the 1 T butter and oil to a clean saute pan on high heat.  Salt and pepper the scallops.  Once the fat begins to smoke, add the scallops, making sure they are not touching each other.  Sear the scallops for 1 1/2 minutes on each side.  The scallops should have a 1/4 inch golden crust on each side while still being translucent in the center.

Plate the corn salsa, top with the scallops and drizzle with garlic saffron sauce.   Serve 8 as appetizer

Arugula Salad with Pistachios and Shave Pecorino

2 cups baby arugula
2 to 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 to 3 tablespoons high quality extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup pistachios, toasted and chopped
1/4 cup shaved pecorino, aged pecorino Toscano or pecorino Romano


Place the arugula in a bowl and drizzle in about half of the vinegar and olive oil and season generously with salt. Toss the salad gently to incorporate all of the ingredients. TASTE IT! It should taste very flavorful but not soggy. Arrange the arugula on 4 individual salad plates. Toss all of the beets together in the salad bowl and add the remaining oil, vinegar and salt, and toss. Arrange the dressed beets on the arugula and top with the pistachios and shaved pecorino.

Makes 4 servings

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