May 22nd, 2002


Sunday dinner, May-19-2002

For last week's Sunday dinner, Lori had been feeling like doing something more fancy, since she was finally done with finals. So I talked her into making something from the mega-fancy Death by Chocolate cookbook that jpbl and her husband had given us. We agreed on a confection titled "Caramel Chocolate Surprise".

For an entree, I suggested something simpler; Lori was considering salmon-stuffed rigatoni, but I talked her down into letting me do something simpler. I had started out thinking of the tasty salmon chowder that we had had at La Charcuterie on Saturday, and then I started considering the differences between New England clam chowder (cream-based) and Manhattan-style clam chowder (tomato-based), and that started me thinking about Cioppino...

What I ended up making was based on a cioppino recipe, but with the seafood replaced with some frozen grilled cod, a couple of cans of salmon, and a package of imitation crabmeat. It was very tasty, IMHO, with a very nice tomato-sofrito flavor. But it did have quite a lot of fish.

The Chocolate Caramel Surprise was very fancy indeed. Let me try to paraphrase the assembly instructions:

Pipe a circle of the hazelnut mocha mousse [that you've made] around the edge of 12 of the vanilla cookies [that you've made]. Spoon a tablespoon of caramel sauce [that you've made] into the center of each circle of mousse. Make stacks of one cookie-with-mousse-and-caramel on top of another. Top each stack with a third cookie without mousse.
Put a tablespoon or two of Bourbon Anglaise [that you've made] in each of 6 dinner plates. Carefully place one stack in the center of each plate. Top it all with Golden Sugar [that you've made].

This is clearly not a dessert to be made often. We wouldn't have managed had Lori not decided to make the cookies and the golden sugar the night before.

Unfortunately, it wasn't as delightful to eat as we had hoped. Everything tasted lovely, and it looked really pretty, but the cookies were rather tough; people asked for knives to cut into the dessert. Perhaps we should have made them thinner, baked them longer, or let them dry longer, so that they would be crisp instead of resilient.

Oh well. I'm glad we finally used that cookbook.