Are you ready for another round of delicious, mouth-watering Supper Club photos? Every month, our Supper Club meets for an extravaganza of food and wine as we each cook a dish using the same four pre-chosen ingredients. What everyone is serving is kept a surprised until the last moment when each dish is revealed at the table.
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This month, our ingredients were chicken, cauliflower, black garlic and a pickled element. I was in love with these ingredients from the start. I’ve always wanted to try black garlic but was never motivated enough to go out and find it, must less figure out how to use it. That’s one of the best perks of supper club, actually. It gives you the motivation you need to try new things and be experimental and creative.
I found the black garlic at Britt’s Pickles in Seattle at Pike Place Market, which was convenient because we also had to include a pickled element. Tasting it for the first time, I was surprised at how mild it becomes once its roasted. I don’t like regular, uncooked garlic because of its overpowering pungentness, so I wasn’t sure how I would feel about the black garlic, but it’s entirely different. It has a soy sauce-type umami flavor that I could tell was going to add great flavor to whatever we chose to put it in.
Cauliflower is another ingredient I’m slightly enamoured with these days. There are so many applications for what looks to be a boring old head of cauliflower. While I also don’t really care for it raw, it takes on an altogether different taste when roasted – sweet and nutty – almost like candy. It’s delicious. Cauliflower is also being used a lot these days as a substitute for carbs. It’s being successfully turned into pizza crust, breadsticks, rice and puree. The possibilities are almost endless.
Put it all together, and the creativity factor is at an all-time high for supper club. So let’s see what everyone came up with.
Per the usual rules, the host provides a starting cocktail, an appetizer and dessert.
The cocktail was a Bourbon Moscow Mule with ginger beer, Maker’s Mark and mint. It was a nice refreshing drink for a spring day. Each couple also picks out a wine that will pair with their meal. And we always end up with a really nice variety. This time, the wines were a 2012 Viognier from Cougar Crest in Walla Walla, WA, a 2013 Chardonnay from Balboa Winery in Walla Walla, WA, a 2010 Chardonnay from Goose Ridge Winery in the Columbia Valley and a 2012 Riesling from Ryan Patrick Vineyards in the Columbia Valley.
INGREDIENTS: Chicken – Cauliflower – Black Garlic – a pickled element
Appetizer – Black Garlic Toast with Ricotta Cheese & Spring Salad
For the appetizer, Heidi served black garlic toast with ricotta cheese and a light and crunchy spring salad with butter lettuce, carrots, asparagus, fennel and radishes, topped with a tangy vinaigrette. It was the perfect way to ease into what promised to be a lot of delicious food.
First Course – Cauliflower Rice Sushi with 3-Cup Chicken
This is where the dishes start to become really interesting. For the first course, Ann-Li and Mike made a traditional Taiwanese dish called 3-cup chicken (San Bei Ji) with soy sauce, rice wine and basil. They used the chicken as a filling for a sushi roll along with some braised green onions and picked daikon. To make it even more creative, they used cauliflower as the rice by pulsing it to a course texture in a food processor, then combining it with honey, rice vinegar and coconut oil. The “rice” stayed together really well inside the roll and it was almost impossible to tell that it wasn’t actually rice. On top of the roll was a mixture of chicken pieces, mayo and sriracha, plus a few diced pieces of Mama’s Lil Peppers (pickled peppers) for some heat. I fell in love with the chicken the second I tasted it. It was so full of flavor from the black garlic and creamy from the mayo. The sushi was served with the Cougar Crest Viognier, which had just the right amount of acidity to match.
Second Course – Chicken and Black Garlic Plin w/ Creamy Cauliflower sauce
The second course was made by us. We wanted to use the chicken in an unusual way, so we settled on Plin, which is a pasta made in Piedmont that resembles a tortelloni. It’s traditionally stuffed with roasted chicken thigh, pork shoulder and rabbit. We left out the rabbit, but the chicken and pork went into the food processor with the black garlic to make a filling for the plin. I really like making fresh pasta by hand. There’s something fulfilling about creating something delicious like pasta with your hands. Nick and I created an assembly line in the kitchen – me rolling out the pasta sheets, him stuffing, folding and cutting the plin.
For the sauce, we wanted to use the cauliflower. I’ve made cauliflower puree many times and it always turns out so creamy and decadent. There’s never a leftover sulfury taste of cauliflower. It worked out very well to puree the cauliflower, then add to it some butter, chicken stock, parmesan cheese and white wine to make a creamy pasta sauce. If you didn’t know one of the ingredients was cauliflower you never would have guessed the sauce was made from it. We added some crispy chicken skin, pieces of roasted cauliflower and capers to finish the dish. We served it with a Chardonnay from Balboa winery, which had just a hint of oaky, buttery flavors to compliment the sauce.
Third Course – Pickled-Brined Chicken and Smashed Cauliflower
The third course was made by Heidi. This was an interesting technique I’d never heard of – she pickled the chicken in leftover pickle juice, then braised it with black garlic and swiss chard. It was served over smashed cauliflower. It reminded me a lot of a Thanksgiving meal with the cauliflower acting as the mashed potato. The chicken was so juicy and flavorful from the pickle brine, and the sauteed greens brought it all together. I have to say, the black garlic really boosted the flavor of this dish. I was trying to soak up all the sauce with my cauliflower so as not to leave a drop behind. The dish was served with a Chardonnay from Goose Ridge that was a nice combination of fruit and oak.
Dessert – Vanilla & Pear Puff-Pastry Tart
I love puff pastry. The crunchy exterior and the way it collapses into the fluffy interior when you bite into it – it’s heavenly. The Pear Tart that was served for dinner was exactly what a dessert should be – sweet and decadent. The pears were soaked with a vanilla pod before being placed on top of the tart to bake. Once the pastry was perfectly browned, it was removed from the oven and topped with a vanilla whipped cream and honey that melted down the sides and melded with the toasted pastry in each bite. It was served with a Riesling from Ryan Patrick Vineyards that had its own hints of pear on the nose and a nice crisp finish.
At the end of the night, we decided to do something a little different for next time. Instead of having the host pick the ingredients, we agreed that for this time only we would each contribute 3 random ingredients that would be pulled at random by the host to make up the final ingredients we would cook with at the next Supper Club.
We had some pretty interesting choices. Alpaca even made it into the mix, although I think (read: hope) it was a joke. So the ingredients have already been revealed for next time. Here they are, for better or worse: