Friday, February 10, 2012

Chic Couples Dinner Party: Part 2

The Chic Couples Dinner Party Menu continues today! You can't go wrong with a juicy piece of red meat and risotto is just one of those feel good foods. Chocolate is a must for dessert and homemade vanilla bean ice cream with Amaretto whipped cream takes it OVER THE TOP. Our Blackberry Champagne Jelly Shots are a glammed up, festive version of the typical jello shots found at house parties in college on Saturday nights!

Main Course:
Steakhouse Filet
Lemon Parsley Risotto

Sweet Endings:
Molten Chocolate Cakes
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Amaretto Whipped Cream
Blackberry Champagne Jelly Shots

Steakhouse Filet
recipe from Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa)

4 (10 oz.) filets
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Cracked pepper
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat, until very hot. (I used my Le Creuset grill pan)

Pat the steaks dry and brush them with olive oil. Make a mixture of kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper and place on a plate. Roll the stakes in the mixture and coat on all sides.

When the skillet is hot and ready, sear the steaks for about 2 minutes on each side, 8-10 minutes total. Top each fillet with a tablespoon of butter and place skillet or grill pan directly into the 400 degree oven. Cook until a meat thermometer reaches 120 degrees for rare- medium rare and 125 degrees for medium. Make sure you are testing the center of the steaks when taking the temperature.

Cover filets tightly and allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Lemon Parsley Risotto

1 cup Arborio rice
3 shallots, minced
Olive oil- 1.5 swirls of the pan
4 cups low sodium chicken stock, plus more
Juice of 1-2 lemons
2 Tbsp. lemon zest
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
Fresh parsley, chopped

Mince the shallots and saute them in a shallow sauce pan or French oven, until they are fragrant and tender. Add the rice, stirring constantly, for 1-2 minutes, or until the rice starts to brown. Add the first cup of chicken stock. The rice will slowly absorb the stock. Continue to add stock until the risotto is a creamy consistency. The slower the liquid is added, the slower the starches in the rice are released, making for a creamier risotto. When the risotto is done cooking, add lemon juice and zest. Finish by mixing in grated Romano cheese and butter, then garnish with fresh parsley.

Molten Chocolate Cakes
Recipe from Emeril Lagasse

8 Tbsp. unsalted butter (1 stick)
2 Tbsp. flour
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 Tbsp. cold, heavy cream
2 Tbsp. confectioner's sugar
2 large eggs, lus 2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 pinch salt
Sweetened cocoa, to garnish

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Butter and flour four 6 oz. ramekins or baking dishes, tapping out the extra flour, then set on a baking sheet.

In a double boiler, melt the butter, chocolate, cream, and powdered sugar, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, vanilla, and salt until thick ribbons form, about 3 minutes. Sift flour into the egg mixture and fold together.

Carefully fold the chocolate into the egg mixture. Divide among the ramekins and bake until the sides of the cake are set and the tops are puffed, but still soft, about 10-12 minutes.

Remove from the oven, let sit for 2-3 minutes, then unmold onto dessert plates. Serve with vanilla bean ice cream, whipped cream, and fresh berries.

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 pint milk
1 & 1/4 cups sugar
1 vanilla bean, split
2 egg yolks

Combine the cream, milk, and 1 cup of the sugar in a medium, heavy bottom saucepan. Scrape the seeds of the vanilla bean into the cream mix and add in the bean itself. Bring to a light boil over medium high heat, watching carefully so the mixture doesn't boil over. Remove from the heat.Beat the yolks in a mixing bowl and slowly whisk in 1 cup of the hot cream mixture. Gradually add the egg mixture back into the pot of cream. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon or reaches 170 degrees F, about 6- 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and place in a container. Cover and place in the refrigerator to cool for about 2 to 3 hours.

Once custard is fully cooled, place into the frozen body of your electric ice cream maker and let churn 20-25 minutes, or according to the manufacturer's instructions.

NOTE: This is the ice cream base I use for all of my vanilla based homemade ice creams. Chocolate Banana Nut Chunk and Peaches and Cream are two of our favorites!

Amaretto Whipped Cream

1 cup cold, heavy whipping cream
1 Tbsp. powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. Amaretto, or other nut liquer

Whip the cream to soft peaks using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer or electric hand mixer. Add powdered sugar and liquer and whip to combine.

Blackberry Champagne Jelly Shots

1 package blackberry jello
1 cup boiling water
1 cup chilled champagne
Fresh blackberries

Add jello to boiling water and stir until powder is dissolved. Cool to room temperature. Slowly add the champagne and stir in. Place one blackberries into ice cube trays, one in each spot. Pour champagne mixture over the blackberries and refrigerate until set.

To serve, run a knife around the perimeter of each jelly shot. Place in a bowl and serve.

Preparation tips and a love note:

1. Ice cream can always be made in advance.

2. Do not make the whipped cream until just before serving. This is a good thing to do while the molten cakes cook.

3. If you are planning a cozy night in this Valentine's Day, filet, lemon risotto and chocolate molten cakes would make for a wonderful meal for you and your love!

There are few things that I love more than entertaining loved ones. I was raised in a home that warmly welcomed in others and everyday was a reason to celebrate. Now that I have my own home, I absolutely love doing the same. Which is why I also enjoy sharing my recipes and memories with all of you. Cheers!


  1. Yummy! Such a fun night. And I finally get to see a photo of the McConnells :)

  2. That’s so great idea you have! As a fan of football, I want to offer to try a football as a cure! I think, that’s one of the best ways to be healthy. And you can start just watching and then playing. Let’s go with me to and leave the bad thoughts behind, trying to live better life!