Cooking Club – Seinfeld Theme!

Seinfeld is such a classic 90’s shows and is one of those series where I’ve seen all the episodes a zillion times and they still make me laugh. I’m actually so pleased there are currently two episodes a night from Monday through Thursday on 7mate. That’s a win right there, plus there are on at dinner time and it’s just ideal dinner time viewing. So when my friends and I that form the super awesome (self-proclaimed) cooking club J’Adore Cuisiner were wondering what theme for our next get together we decided to mix things up. We weren’t going to pick a country for culinary inspiration, but instead we were going to pick a TV show. That’s right, Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer… Come on down! It was Cooking Club time, Seinfeld style! But what to cook! So many episodes featured specific foods and dishes. Thankfully Buzzfeed had recently put together a very helpful list and with that the menu started to take shape.

After a lot of back and forth emailing we decided on our menu. And I thought it was a good combination of creativity and fun, while not too over the top. We’d previously learnt the hard way that if you made the menu too ambitious it significantly reduces the fun component of the cooking. Makes it all too exhausting and you’ll be falling asleep in your mains. Just a word of advice for aspiring cooking clubbers.

So here’s the menu and if you click on menu items it will take you to a clip of the Seinfeld episodes that it relates to ๐Ÿ™‚

Canapes
Pretzels and Chips and Salsa
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Entrรฉe

Mulligatawny soup with marble rye
http://www.gourmet.org/recipes/chicken/chicken-mulligatawny-(sri-lanka)/
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Mains

Risotto
http://www.lovethroughthestomach.com/2010/07/risotto-alla-milanese/
Big Salad
http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/17998/caprese+salad
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Dessert

Shared Tasting Plate with Snickers, Black and White Cookies, Junior Mints and Muffin Tops
http://www.allfood.recipes/homemade-snickers-bars-recipe/ย 
http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2013/04/25/black-and-white-cookies-recipe/

 

To make things even easier we worked out our shopping list ahead of time too and so when we rendezvoused at Lady L’s house we had everything we needed.

Those initial stages as you stare at all those shopping bags can be a little daunting. Knowing you need to turn all those ingredients into dishes, but hey itโ€™s a fun challenge, just remember that. We really couldn’t do a lot with mains until much later on so work began on prepping the entrรฉe and on the different components of dessert. I was tasked with the homemade snickers.

We were working off an American recipe and our first challenge had been that Coles and Woolies don’t stock marshmallow fluff. And you know what I’m kind of ok with that. So we decided we’d try regular marshmallows. It’s a layered affair that starts with melting some chocolate in a water bath (basically a glass or metal bowl over a pot filled with boiling water).ย As it turns out normal marshmallows melt beautifully! All silky and fluffy looking. You then up the indulgence factor by adding in the peanut butter and condensed milk. We’d gone with Reese’s Peanut Butter given it was an American influenced menu.

The real challenge was the caramel layer. The recipe said candy caramels and when you clicked the hyperlink it suggested Werther’s Original. I suspect in the States that Wertherโ€™s must be softer and chewier than the rock hard suckers they sell in Oz. But we tried unsuccessfully to melt these in the water bath and merely succeeded in fusing them to the bowl. Sigh. So we thought maybe a softer Aussie style Columbine might be better. These were still pretty hard but I thought I’d try blitzing them in the Thermomix and then adding some water and upping the temp to melt them in there. FYI this was a terrible idea. Do not do this. Nearly busted my Thermomix. Ended up having to tip the contents into a pot and over slow heat, by some miracle (and with a splash of condensed milk) we got the runny liquidy caramel we needed. I don’t know why melting lollies was the preferred method for caramel, I’d be inclined I suggest that you just make your own caramel, but hey we got there in the end. You mix it all together with the peanuts. With that layer complete I’d say pop the tray in the freezer for at least a few hours so it can really firm up.

You then hold onto the foil and lift the layered slab onto a cutting board. Cut into Snicker sized pieces and dip them into melted milk chocolate until fully coated. Wow. Even as you look at them you know they are going to be incredible rich and hopefully taste slightly like a Snickers should. To find the Aussieโ€™fied version for Homemade Snickers, just click here.

Ok so we didnโ€™t make our muffins from scratch, because White Wings Blueberry Muffin packet mix did a fabulous job and it made life a little easier. And you can find Junior Mints at some IGAโ€™s around town.

And the whole time that dessert was coming together the kitchen was filled with a delicious aroma of the mulligatawny simmering on the stove. Iโ€™d never had this kind of soup before but I really loved it. I couldnโ€™t actually find chicken thighs on the bone, so I bought 6 chicken thighs and 2 chicken drumsticks. The bones were actually just in there for flavour, but the meat easily shredded right off the bone. So fragrant, so yum! In the end we didnโ€™t attempt to make a marble rye, but found a nice loaf of light rye to slice up to go with the soup.

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Similarly we opted for a fairly simple risotto recipe. I was actually surprised at how rich it was. Iโ€™d looked at my plate and assumed Iโ€™d be able to easily finish it off, but it must have been the generous amount of butter and Parmesan weโ€™d stirred through. We had bought saffron and had expected the dish to have a more punchy, bright yellow colour, but even throwing in a few extra strands it just didn’t happen, but that was ok. And having the accompanying Caprese salad was a nice refreshing contrast and we really went to town with the bocconcini. And while we had dinner, we had the Seinfeld Risotto episode playing in the background. Such a classic!

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Before dessert we tested our Seinfeld trivia with a few different online quizzes. Itโ€™s fair to say I dominated. Haha just jokes, was all in good fun.

We presented the dessert platter and sampled each of our baked treats. The Snickers were very, very sweet. The guys and their gals each split a Snickers between them and even then it was a struggle to get through them, such a sugar rush. But we were all pretty happy because hey we made them ourselves and the sort of resembled a Snickers bar, sans wrapper, and taste wise there were some similarities, so we decided it was success!

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It has been a fun day of cooking with two of my favourite gals and a lovely night of dining with the lads and no one left hungry. Plus it was great to get to don our aprons and pay homage to a TV show that had provided us with hours of entertainment over the years and continues to do so now.

Thanks Seinfeld ๐Ÿ™‚

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