Chocolate. No seriously...CHOCOLATE.

With all of the craziness here in the past weeks, I decided some kitchen therapy was in order last Friday night.  I was on Spring Break, after all.  I don't know anything about a break without at least one multi course dinner and some bottles of wine.  I am sure there are culinary gods somewhere that I would need to sacrifice something to if a gathering didn't happen.  The weather was just fantastic and I decided that the evening needed to unfold in the yard.  Still a little cool and with the sun setting throughout dinner, I added some throws to the chairs and we lit a fire to knock off the chill.  It was perfect. 

I needed an easy menu that didn't require me to be on my "A" game in the kitchen necessarily, but was still special.  I have developed this minor obsession with poached eggs in the last couple of years.  We eat them at least twice a week and I am constantly trying to figure out how many dishes to which I can add lovely white, runny orange sun colored deliciousness.  The menu ended up being simple and gorgeous and full of spring flavors. 

Fresh Pea, Mint, and Ricotta Tart

Arugula Salad with Poached Eggs and Parmesan

Pairing of Ahi Tuna and Halibut on a bed of Spinach and a Thyme, Lemon Butter Sauce

Chocolate Creme Brulee

We ate everything so fast that there were barely any photo ops.  I didn't take one single picture, so the photos are courtesy of my dad, Steven, and several hijacked photos from the web (Williams Sonoma above).  The tart was awesome and can be found here.  It was super easy, can be mostly made ahead and showed beautifully.  Mine actually looked almost exactly like that.  Easy stuff.  God bless puff pastry. 

Really what I want to talk to you about is the dessert.

Photo credit:

This picture above is not the creme brulee I cooked.  It is a poor copy of the luscious, creamy, silky smooth, deepest chocolate happy place that we experienced, but I figured you wanted a visual.  Custard is an all time favorite of mine- especially chocolate- and I found a recipe for a Mocha Creme Caramel at Epicurious. As I got into it, I realized that there was not enough chocolate in it and milk chocolate is just an insult to real chocolate lovers.  So I doubled the amount and replaced the milk chocolate with 6 oz of semi sweet and 2 oz of bittersweet.  Also you can skip the whole caramel on the bottom bit.  It doesn't need it at all and ended up taking me away from the depth of chocolate fantasticness.  I also replaced the milk chocolate with dark chocolate in the ganache.  Next time, however, I will be adding the caramelized sugar coating on top.  It wanted the texture differentiation in spite of the pizelle cookies I served with it.  Deep, dark, luscious chocolate, people.  Deep.  Chocolate that makes you close your eyes and take a moment to breathe deep and thank the Baby Jesus for chocolate and ovens.  Deep.

Springtime in Kentucky is here in all of it's glory. Til next time I will be wallowing in the grass with the dog, finalizing the Mother's Day Menu and pulling out all of the Derby recipe favorites.  I only have 6...more...weeks until I can put this year to bed, Amen.  I think I just might make it. 

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