Thursday, March 15, 2012

Virtual Dinner Party

Well, I had an interesting evening.

My Sous Chef is out of town for work this week, so I was planning on a quiet evening by myself, where I'd cook something he wouldn't have loved to "sous."  I got home, poured a glass of wine, and opened the laptop to look at recipes.

On a whim, I decided to try out the FaceTime app, which I had also installed on my Mom's iPad a few weeks back.  To my surprise, she answered my chat, and what followed was a 3 hour dinner party...from the comfort of my own sweats...over video chat.  We even had a wine toast!

I had my mind set on some type of quinoa burgers, similar to the ones I posted a while back.
With this recipe loosely in the back of my mind, I began throwing into my mixing bowl whatever I had on hand that seemed to fit with my idea.

My dinner party co-host seemed to be on board with this menu plan, so she moved into her own kitchen and raided her fridge for similar ingredients.  We switched off prepping our meals and chatting in front of the computer screen the whole time.

Our chat evolved into a friendly Iron Chef episode.  We started with the same secret ingredient (quinoa), and what we each ended up with looked rather different.  My quinoa turned into "burgers," and she said her dish ended up looking and tasting like fried rice.

I ended up with this in my bowl:
quinoa, about 1 cup uncooked (which expanded a ton after cooking)
2 eggs
1 can of black beans
1/4 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves
several baby carrots, grated
panko bread crumbs
2 cubes of chopped basil (from the Trader Joe's frozen herb tray)
salt, pepper, red pepper flakes

I sauteed the onion, garlic, and carrots before mixing them with the cooked quinoa, black beans, panko bread crumbs, basil, and spices.  Then I mixed in the whisked eggs.
I formed the mixture into patties--my mixture yielded 7.
Finally I heated some olive oil in a skillet and cooked the burgers on both sides until heated through and browned on the outside, melting a bit of cheddar on top at the very end.

I served mine with a bit of spicy salsa verde over a balsamic vinaigrette bed of greens.  So tasty!

Partway through our cooking show/dinner party, my Dad arrived home...just in time to try Chef M's quinoa fried rice.  The judge scored her dish a 5, and then he awarded my burgers a 5 from afar  (it must have been my convincing presentation).  I will not comment on whether this judge's grading scale is any different than my other rater's standards!

Our virtual dinner party made for a significantly more social night than I had expected of my quiet evening in.  I have a feeling this was just the first of many cooking parties.  I'd better go tell my Sous Chef he's got competition...

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