Monday, February 28, 2011

Dinner with friends, and a fudge SUCCESS!

After a whirlwind past week and weekend, I'm finally getting caught up and am excited to share with you how I spent my Valentine's Day! I don't know about you, but sometimes I just like an excuse to get dressed I invited some girlfriends over for a dinner party complete with fussy food (risotto!), sparkly dresses (sequins!) and decadent desserts (nutella!). I even busted out my chef's jacket to protect my dress while I pranced around the kitchen in heels. [Men, are you hearing this? I cook and I wear heels in the kitchen.]

All the ladies, minus the one taking the picture
For dinner, I stuck with some classic yet elegant basics. One package of boneless, skinless chicken breasts turned into fresh herb-seasoned chicken cutlets (halved longwise, pounded thin, flour-egg-breadcrumbs, air-dried on a rack over a baking sheet for 10 minutes, pan-fried), and they were served up with easy sauteed spinach and creamy risotto - both infused with a hint of lemon and garlic to tie it all together.

Not the most creative presentation...but delicious!
The star of the show on Valentine's Day has got to be dessert. I wanted to make sure I had two different things to offer my friends - one intense and rich and sweet, the other a little lighter but still satisfying. Martha Stewart's cranberry-almond biscotti (though made with whole wheat pastry flour) was a great Valentine's Day treat because of the pop of color from the red cranberries, and they were perfect for dunking in coffee. This other recipe, though - OH. EM. GEE. Probably the best fudge I've ever had, and more importantly, it turned out like fudge and not like dirt candy! SUCCESS! Thanks to Nnr for directing to me to Cookin' Canuck's hilarious blog post with the recipe from Giada.

Chocolate Nutella Fudge with Sea Salt
(adapated from Cookin' Canuck)

1 (14 oz. ) can sweetened condensed milk
1 t vanilla extract
1 heaping c dark chocolate, chips or chopped (I used 72% cacao)
1 c Nutella
3 T unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Sea salt, approximately 1/2 t

Line an 8x8 square pan or a pie dish with parchment and spray with cooking oil. Add the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, chocolate, nutella and butter to a medium glass or stainless steel bowl. Place the bowl over a small saucepan filled with a few inches of boiling water, and stir with a spatula or wooden spoon until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth, about 5-7 minutes. Empty the mixture into the pan, and sprinkle the top evenly with the sea salt - depending on the grain of your salt, you may want to use a little less than the 1/2 t called for. Refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours. When ready, use the parchment to lift the fudge from the pan and cut into 3/4-inch squares. Note: limit yourself to 8 pieces of fudge per night, and bring the rest in to work when it gets too hard! :)

1 comment:

  1. Annie, I love the blog. Cooking is my therapy as well (especially after a hard roommates realized recently that all they had to do was piss me off in order to get fresh bread...)Anyways, thanks for sharing the great recipes and I am really looking forward to trying the nutella fudge recipe sometime soon. P.S. Tell Jenn I said Heyyyy.

    Best, Emileah