Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: 4 Courses, 2 Ways, 1 Night

It’s time for another Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24 event. This time I decided to present a four-course dinner party. Now, don’t yawn and click away because there’s more to it. Hold on and pay attention. You see I am going to do each course two ways. One of the recipes will be “traditional”, “classic”, or a bit “expected”. But the other version will take all those expectations and razzle-dazzle you!

I’ll start with a Classic Swiss Fondue. My recipe is based on the version that first appeared in Gourmet magazine in 1966. Earning it the right to be called a classic. Version number two is going to take a creative turn with a vaguely Irish twist. I do this to honor The Daily Spud because she is constantly inspiring me with her creativity. I call this Farmhouse Cheddar and Irish Stout Fondue with New Potatoes.

For the soup course, I am taking a beloved favorite Grandma’s Chicken Noodle Soup and attempting to do it justice. After all, this soup has a lot of baggage. I hope I can juggle it all alright. But every culture has Grandmas, so my second version goes south of the border (way south). It’s called Aguadita (Peruvian Chicken Soup).

For the main course, it’s a good old Traditional “All-American” Meatloaf. This is Martha Stewart’s mother’s recipe (supposedly) and it’s a good one. But who says meatloaf has to be meat?  I think Salmon Loaf en Croûte should count and it’s my second (totally original??) entry in this category.

Lastly dessert. I am starting with Old-Fashioned Chocolate Chip Cookies. I adapted this one from Savory Sweet Life. Alice claims it’s the best – and she may be right! But I if I am going to steal a recipe from a blogger I better return the favor with something that has my own stamp on it. So I am turning up the heat on these iconic cookies with my version of Chili Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies.

This challenge is a little bit ambitious for me, (but not for Eric Rivera… he’d have done 24 menus, 4 courses each, 2 versions of each recipe – and still go out dancing afterward)… I need a little help.

However, my friends don’t know this. They think they are here for a “typical” Greg Henry dinner party. Instead, I am enlisting their help tonight. I am getting them here nice and early and together we are going to do all the last minute cooking chores. I admit I did a lot ahead of time, which is a smart move for any dinner party. But there’s still more to accomplish. I hope it won’t be too much of an imposition.

Speaking of imposition, I have set up a rather elaborate “photo studio” in the pantry. This way we can get top notch photos as we finish each dish. Of course, this means people may have to wait a few minutes before we eat each course.

And lastly I am just exhausted, so I am going to ask them to each write a short essay on one of the courses, comparing and contrasting what they just ate. I think it sounds like fun… let’s go.


cheddar fodue

Classic Swiss Fondue and Farmhouse Cheddar and Irish Stout Fondue with New Potatoes

CLICK on the links for a printable recipe

TONY- Appetizer

I drew the Fondue. Greg is making me write something before we can sit down for the soup course. I don’t really know what to say. I did not come prepared to write something. I hope I don’t hurt Greg’s feelings. But he said he was bullet-proof and I’ll just shoot from the hip. I hate going first.

Two fondues. One Greg said to call Classic Swiss Fondue, the other he named Farmhouse Cheddar and Irish Stout Fondue with New Potatoes. I’ll start with the stout Fondue because I like Guinness. But it tastes nothing like Guinness. It tastes like really good sharp cheddar cheese, but sweeter. Greg said that comes from apple juice concentrate. How does he think of this stuff?

The cheddar Fondue was pretty good. He asked us to dip potatoes in it, which again was unusual. I would have preferred bread. But he said “no”. The bread was for the Classic Fondue. So many rules.

So I’ll just end by saying maybe I am boring. But I liked the Classic Swiss Fondue best. It seems to me it is one of those recipes that should not be messed with, unless you REALLY like cheddar, then just forget what I said. TONY

chicken noodle soupaguaditaGrandma’s Chicken Noodle Soup and Aguadita (Peruvian Chicken Soup)

CLICK on the links for a printable recipe

LIZ- Soup

After going on three weeks of the worst cold and cough I think I have ever had, I have been making soup for myself almost every day. With three weeks of downtime, I really got to try many different soup possibilities. Of course, what’s better for a cold than Grandma’s Chicken Noodle Soup – until I tried the Aguadita (Peruvian Chicken Soup)

I love the ease and simplicity of Grandma’s soup. Why would you buy that awful sodium-laden canned stuff? Just a few ingredients (made even easier if you use a store-bought rotisserie chicken), a quick chop of the veggies and “poof”…easy and satisfying.

But I long for something with a little more complexity, power, and spice while still easing my congestion. The Peruvian soup is just what the doctor ordered. In my travels throughout Latin America, most countries offer some version of this chicken classic. It reminds me of a good chicken tortilla soup. I might even use the broth for a Tom Ka Gai base tomorrow. At least this version doesn’t call for guinea pig, a Peruvian favorite.

You’ll need a little more time for this one, and a few more ingredients than with Grandma’s, but the payoff is something hearty enough for the main course and you could even be happy serving at a dinner party as Greg did. The aromatics of the ginger and garlic in the broth, along with the limes, chiles, and cilantro have me breathing easier already. LIZ

meatloaf salmon loaf en crouteTraditional “All-American” Meatloaf and Salmon Loaf en Croûte CLICK on links for a printable recipe

SUP! (that’s me)- Main Course

Okay, maybe it’s the wine. Or maybe I am just not forceful enough. But my idea of having all my friends write my blog post for me is not going over well. There has been a mutiny and I have decided that I will write this section. Now, won’t they all be sorry when they see how much fun I am having; while they’re in there drinking…?

I did a Traditional “All-American” Meatloaf, It’s everything you’d expect in a meatloaf and well, a little bit more. I can hear a lot of you out there complaining about the pork or the veal (most likely both). All I can say is, this is an “All-American” meatloaf, buck it up! When did Americans become so afraid of food?

But seriously, the ratio of pork, to veal, to beef is very important. The beef is for flavor. The veal is for texture, and the pork keeps everything moist. You could substitute turkey (and I have). It will still be tasty, but I guarantee you in a side-by-side taste test, the turkey meatloaf will seem like the ugly cousin at an Italian wedding. Sure, everyone will dance with her; but only ‘cuz Nonna made them!

Still, keeping all the meat-a-phobes in mind I decided to go out on a limb for my “non-traditional” meatloaf and not even use meat. I used fish instead; salmon to be precise.

And because I wanted this to be a fancy-pants presentation I did Salmon Loaf en Croute. Which is French for “in a crust”. I also made them individual-sized, and to be extra-special-fancy-pants about it I shaped my croutes like little fish! HA! I am so clever.

I loved this recipe, it’s an original Sup! recipe too, and it turned out so well. So well in fact that I am devoting an entire post to how it was made. So check back!

Next up is dessert, and I am getting the evil eye from my guests. They know I am going to assign one of them the dessert write-up. But rather than make enemies of them I’ll just make the hunky BF do it, because I still have power over him. GREG

chocolate chip cookiesdouble chocolate chip cookie with chili powderOld-Fashioned Chocolate Chip Cookies and Chili Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies CLICK on links for a printable recipe

KEN- Dessert

Call them staples, standards or comfort foods, there’s a reason why some things we eat never go out of style. They’re literally “no brainers.” That’s how I feel about this Old-Fashioned Chocolate Chip Cookie. You can almost taste it just by reading the words. You may have had thousands, or tens, or hundreds of thousands of them in your lifetime. They all were pretty much the same: a consistent sweetness interrupted by bursts of rich (or waxy) chocolate buzz. You may even judge them by the frequency of these buzzes (I remember when Pepperidge Farms chunky style cookies were all the rage – at least with me). The only difference was textural: if the cookie itself was crisp like Chips Ahoy! or chewy like mom used to make.

All this is a long-winded way of saying that after the first bite of a traditional chocolate chip cookie, I don’t even taste it. I keep shoveling it in (and another and maybe another) to satisfy a sweet tooth, to end a meal or accompany coffee. The experience doesn’t really register with my brain.

Not so with the Chili Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies (love the alliteration). Your brain and taste buds DO register it. Though not at first. At first, you are simply overwhelmed by chocolate-ness. Then… wait for it, there is a strong spice note that tells you that you just injected something different, something interesting, something you might like to decipher. Or not. It might trigger a memory of a cup of Mexican chocolate, or it might remind you that your significant other puts chili peppers or cayenne in just about everything. Maybe that’s why I preferred this take on the classic – something to think about. KEN