17 February 2010

Nando would approve.

I cannot rave enough about our new little Supper Club. It's such a simple idea -- get together, make some food -- but the results are just awesome. Delicious food, great company, a roomful of people that love food as much as you. Extra hugs to Sarah for spearheading the whole idea. Last night we had our second dinner: theme South American, hosts Jen and Justin. I drew dessert again (fine by me!). I did a little research and it led me to alfajores, South American caramel sandwich cookies. (According to Meg, they are pronounced alfa-whore-ey, which makes me laugh. These cookies are floozies!) This time, I read the recipe extra super special carefully, so I am certain I got the sugar content correct. So no sugar OD, but there was a LOT of butter.

Overall these were pretty easy -- the recipe wasn't complicated and there weren't any crazy ingredients. My only trouble was with the dough. Having never made this before, my brain didn't make the automatic connection -- dough, just like pie dough. So when the recipe said to put it in the fridge for 30 minutes, I just stuck it in the fridge as is in the bowl. When I pulled it out and tried to then smoosh the dough together to roll out, it was a disaster. It took about another half-hour of fiddling, adding water, rolling into smaller, individual balls, and rechilling it before I was able to roll out the dough in batches. Eventually I was able to cut out my cookies. Using an Alcatraz shot glass, of course.

The recipe said to bake the cookies for 10 to 15 minutes -- I ended up baking them for nearly 20 minutes before they seemed set and "barely golden brown," which leads me to believe I left the dough a little thicker than it should have been. But they turned out just fine, so no harm done.

Pretty maids, all in a row.

I waited until the next morning, the morning of Supper Club, to assemble the cookies so they didn't get soggy. I'd picked up some pre-made dulce de leche at our local Latin grocer earlier in the week, so I got that out and dumped some coconut on a plate. The dulce de leche gets spread in between two cookies, and I quickly learned not to push too hard lest the cookies crumble to bits. Then I just rolled the edges in the coconut, making sure to leave a few w/o, just in case there were some weirdos that don't like coconut. :)

7:30 finally rolled around, and it was time to get this thing started. Thanks to Justin and Jen for hosting in their lovely home with adorable nooks and envy-worthy TV and couch!

Busy bees in the kitchen.

I was too busy stuffing my face to take any sort of notes, and my memory sucks. So pardon my layman terms when describing this amazing meal. For the main course, we had stuffed flatbread -- J&J were so sweet to make me one minus chicken -- and these stuffed potato balls that unfortunately had beef but looked amazing (I believe they were filled with beef, veggies, raisins, and garlic). Sarah and Mike made Juan's cheesy balls (as seen here in January) and Lisa and Brad made a fish and avocado ceviche and pickled jicama salad. I cannot rave enough about this meal. It was just amazing and I remain in awe of everyone's skills (ceviche? come on! that's craziness!). If I had to pick a favorite, I think it would be Lisa's ceviche (my first ceviche!) -- I ate at least three scoops. I could seriously eat this meal over again right now, and then again for dinner. So many strong delicious flavors with an amazing heat that bites but doesn't burn. I even got to try Brad's favorite chimichurri sauce because J&J made one that was light on the garlic. J&J also served Argentinian and Chilean wines, which continued to renew my interest in red wine. I was totally moaning in delight throughout the meal.

Thumbs up to South American food.

Finally it was time to bring out my dessert...

I don't think my banana pudding last month was that bad. But I do think I redeemed myself with these cookies. (Mike: "These are effing good." Woo!) Brad even said they were his favorite dish of the meal (thanks, hubby!). Nothing crazy, as you saw from the recipe, but the cookies were buttery and sweet, crunchy and crumbly, and nicely offset by the gooey caramel in the middle. Yeah, I ate three. What's it to ya?

Coming soon: Supper Club French style!


Sara said...

Oh this is killing me! I want, I want! :)

Mrs. Church said...

Sara, you need to start a Boston extension!

the two of us said...

so fun! i'm gonna have to make an ann arbor trip to join in on supper club!