Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Iron Chef Potluck #1, Volume 4: Jamie's Peanut Butter & Chocolate Cupcakes and Quinn's Key Lime & Mint Cream Pies

There is something inherently cruel about serving desserts at the climax of a potluck. Stuffed to the brim with tuna tar tar, burgundy beef stew, rigatoni carbonara, creamy gnocchi and sweet potato fries, we were left with the painfully wonderful task of finding room in our stomachs for such scintillating desserts as Jamie and Quinn's.
We waited as long as we could for our stomachs to settle and then got to work. Jamie presented a platter of fluffy chocolate cupcakes with  peanut butter frosting. She said the secret is a splash of boiling water in the cupcake batter before you bake it, to get them frothy and light. The peanut butter frosting was whipped and whisked to utter perfection with peanut butter, butter and powdered sugar. Not only did I enjoy these that night, but continued to snack on the leftovers the following week whenever I dropped by the boys' apartment (often).

Then of course, were the pies. The only thing sexier than a man who cooks is a man who bakes. I happen to have both embodied in my boyfriend. Having grown up with a culinary goddess as a mother, Quinn possesses some extraordinary skills in the kitchen. Despite a  little food baby growing plump in my stomach, I had to taste not one pie but both... in order to be a sufficient judge, of course.

Quinn's official birthday pie is a mint chocolate pie straight from the heavens, atop a crumbling, buttery homemade crust. Not pictured is the also-handmade whipped cream that , along with the lavish and cool chocolate mint cream filling, created an absolute orgy in my mouth. 

A welcomed lighter pie was the key lime in the same home-made crust. Tart and sweet, it coupled splendidly with the richness of the chocolate. I wolfed down both pieces, my ever expanding body crying out in anguish as my stomach sleepily accepted such a delicious offering. Yes, my gorgeous and brilliant boyfriend also bakes pies. I'm a lucky little woman.

Dessert concluded our first potluck, leaving us with full bellies and some ideas for the next:

1. Even smaller plating. We were pretty much comatose after such splendor, and wanted to be able to function at the next event.
2. Points! What fun is an Iron Chef Potluck if nobody wins? A little competition is good in the kitchen.
3. Themes. Either a main ingredient, a type of cuisine, or something of the like. It evens the playing field and leaves room for creativity.

We hope to be making these potlucks a somewhat regular tradition, so if you live in the LA area and would like to join in, let me know!

* Where was Culinary Therapy for the past week? She took a much-needed vacation to the down and dirty South -- New Orleans! I attending the second weekend of the Jazz Festival down there, as well as tasted gumbo, jambalaya, gator pies, and crawfish I could get my hands on. I also had time to take a four course cooking class at the New Orleans School of Cooking, so look forward to some Cajun posts & more about the second Iron Chef Potluck: Avocado.


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