My highly exclusive dinner with LM and EW (NWY was in attendance also) went off quite well last night: we ate ALL of the food with NO leftovers, which I assume indicates it tasted good-- very gratifying!
There were essentially two courses to the meal, first a warm chocolate chip cookie course, and then a carbonara, bread, and blue cheese stuffed olive course (with wine. and eventually also with mead when we ran out of wine.)
I had the warm chocolate chip cookie course first because I wanted to be able to serve the chocolate chip cookies right out of the oven, which I wasn't going to be able to do if I served them after the pasta course since I was going to be sitting down eating the pasta. These cookies were prepared according to my newly improved chocolate chip cookie recipe:
Critical changes in this version of the recipe are that 1) I use golden sugar instead of brown 2) I break down and microwave the butter before creaming it so it is uniformly melted 3) no oats and 4) I chill the dough before baking. Numbers 2 and 4 I think made a substantial contribution to the excellence of these cookies, as previous versions had had a tendency to spread out a little too much in the oven, resulting in an unappealing shape and slightly over-browned edges. When I have the time, I think I will always chill the dough for this recipe before baking in the future.
The carbonara was my favorite that I've made to date:
I made a few changes even from the recipe I wrote about in my previous carbonara recipe post. I used only 1 cup frozen peas, and added to that 1 cup scallions (instead of chives.) I also used 4 cloves of garlic instead of 3, and did about .7 lbs of prosciutto instead of .5. Not only did I eat alot of this, but so did all the guests. It was gone by the end of the night, success! I think the keys were cutting down on the peas and adding the significant quantities of scallions, garlic, and meat. Much more flavorful.
I really did enjoy eating it, and it's so easy to make. I think I will make it again (maybe tonight!) I also found out in the process that my local grocery store sells prosciutto (usually I buy it from a specialty store.) It is not as good as the specialty store prosciutto-- it's oilier and saltier, probably it is more heavily cured / older-- but for this particular dish I think it was better. Because it was so oily, it gave a better texture contrast to the spaghetti. Mr. Monk got a tiny piece, too. He thought it was fine!
We drank 2 bottles of sweet white wine, a bottle of mead, and EW had two sam adams. So we ate and drank and all had a good time! It was great, a very successful event. EW and I were hard pressed to think of any other events that had been so straightforwardly enjoyable and that transpired in champaign across our whole graduate careers!
It looks like I will be hosting a lab brunch during recruitment weekend, so that will give me a nice venue for my blue cheese cheesecake. The future is bright!