When our dear friend Don announced his engagement to his fabulous girlfriend Jen, our cooking club was delighted! We were even more excited when we found out we were going to get to make the Rehearsal Dinner.
This week was our trial run and we had such fun experimenting, tasting, making notes, and giving each other tips on how to make everything just right for the big night. While we cooked, Don and Jen entertained us and kept us supplied with red wine and Brandy Alexander’s. Before long it was time to eat.
We started out with Selwyn’s fabulously fresh salad filled with all sorts of yummy bits: crispy bacon, toasted sunflower seeds, and dried cranberries.
Then it was time for the main course: Cameron’s savory Smoked Pork Tenderloin, Darren’s melt-in-your-mouth Smoked Prosciutto-wrapped Scallops, and his succulent Lemon Risotto. Deeelectable! For the real deal we’re also adding grilled and roasted vegetables.
We rounded off the meal with my Coffee Rum Creme Brulees. They tasted marvelous but melting the sugar properly didn’t quite work out. We have a plan of attack for next time to ensure smooth, glossy tops.
We’ll do everything we can to make Don and Jen’s rehearsal dinner scrumptious and beautiful.
If you’ve had a wedding, what did you eat at your rehearsal dinner?
Darren’s Lemon Risotto
6 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
3 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large shallots, chopped
2 cups arborio rice or medium-grain white rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 teaspoons grated lemon peel
- Bring broth to simmer in large saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to low; cover to keep warm.
- Melt 1 1/2 tablespoons butter with oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat.
- Add shallots and sauté until tender, about 6 minutes.
- Add rice; stir 1 minute. Add wine and stir until evaporated, about 30 seconds. Add 1 1/2 cups hot broth; simmer until absorbed, stirring frequently.
- Add remaining broth 1/2 cup at a time, allowing broth to be absorbed before adding more and stirring frequently until rice is creamy and tender, about 35 minutes.
- Stir in cheese and remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Stir in parsley, lemon juice, and lemon peel.
- Season risotto with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl and serve.
Krista’s Coffee Rum Creme Brulee
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp instant coffee granules, ground fine (or coffee ground fine)
4 large egg yolks
1 tsp rum
1 tsp vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Arrange 6 ramekins in 9 x 13 metal baking pan. (MUST be metal or will not bake properly.)
- In saucepan combine cream and sugar over medium heat. Bring almost to simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar.
- Remove from heat, add coffee and whisk to dissolve.
- Whisk egg yolks in medium bowl until just blended. Gradually stir in warm cream, then rum and vanilla.
- Using large measuring cup with spout, pour equal amounts of cream mixture into ramekins.
- Pour enough hot water into pan to reach halfway up ramekins.
- Bake about 35 minutes then chill until cold, about 3 hours.
- An hour before serving, preheat broiler.
- Arrange brulees on baking sheet and gently press 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar evenly over each one.
- Broil 6 inches from heat until sugar melts, bubbles and caramelizes. Watch carefully so it doesn’t burn.
- Chill 30 minutes to one hour and serve.