Last night was Bob and mine’s 4 YEAR ANNIVERSARY!!! We decided not to do big gifts, but I still wanted to do something special. So with the help of my co-worker, I planned a 3 course dinner based on different import beers. The three areas I chose were Italy, Asia and France.
First course was Italian.
The beer I bought was Peroni Nastro Azzurro and we had bite sized Caprese salad.
Caprese Salad Bites Recipe (from Jo Cooks)
Fresh Mozzarella Balls
Balsamic Vinegar (I made 7 “kabobs” and used 1/2 cup)
- In a small skillet add the balsamic vinegar and cook over medium heat until it reduced to less than half and thickened. Make sure you stir occasionally. It should only take about 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the amount you’re reducing.
- Take a toothpick/skewer and on it stick a mozzarella ball , a basil leaf and a cherry tomato. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Using a teaspoon drizzle some of the balsamic reduction onto each appetizer. I added a little olive oil too!
The second course was inspired by Asia. Unfortunately, I didn’t find a beer to go along at the Copps Make Your Own 6 Pack Station. However, I went to Festival the day after I bought all my ingredients and beer and they DO HAVE Tsingtao in their Make Your Own 6 Pack Section. So note to self – always go to Festival when it comes to Alcohol!
So we didn’t have a beer, but we had a delicious Asian inspired scallop dish. Plus, from all my recent Asian cooking, I had all of the ingredients except the scallops.
Honey-Seasame Scallops (from Family Circle)
3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons chopped ginger
2 teaspoons sesame oil
Angel hair pasta, cooked
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds (I omitted this ingredient)
1. In a large bowl, whisk together soy sauce, vinegar, honey, ginger and sesame oil. Add scallops and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add scallops, reserving marinade; cook scallops 3 minutes per side. Remove and place on a plate.
3. Pour reserved marinade into same skillet and boil 1 minute. Return scallops to skillet and heat through, coating with sauce.
4. Put pasta on plates and drizzle each with sauce from skillet. Place scallops over each serving.
The third and last course was of course DESSERT. And we decided to go to France. Like with my Asian course, I had difficulties finding a French beer, so I picked out a Belgian Wheat Beer. I’m glad I did too. The beer had just a hint of sweetness, so it was a perfect complement to our Chocolate Mousse.
Chocolate Mousse Recipe (from my French Cookbook)
11 oz good quality dark chocolate
1 oz (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, chopped
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons Cognac or brandy ( I used blackberry brandy and it gave the mousse the slightest blackberry flavor)
4 egg whites
1/2 up sugar
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1. Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Leave the chocolate until it looks soft and then stir until smooth. Add the butter and stir until melted. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and cool the chocolate mixture for a few minutes. Add the lightly beaten eggs and Cognac and stir to combine well.
2. Beat the egg whites in a clean dry bowl until soft peaks form, gradually adding the sugar. Whisk one third of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to loosen. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites with a large spoon or spatula.
3. Whip the cream using electric beaters until firm peaks form. Gently fold into the mousse. Pour into serving glasses, then cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
For my gift…
Bob put up my cook book shelf in the kitchen and put together my drift-wood/door knob necklace holder for the bathroom.