Cake Mix Brownies…an experiment

I’m prepping for Sunday’s dinner party. Menu is set (don’t want to share it all as it’s a surprise for my guests), groceries have been purchased, and I decided to start on the dessert tonight. I want to make ice cream cake because not only is it summer, I probably haven’t made one in about 2 years. Looking back on my own recipe, I swore it was Oreo-bottomed, but turns out it is brownie-bottomed. 

Thinking I had all the ingredients for brownies, I sought out to make it, but alas, I’m out of sugar. Since I don’t feel like bugging any of my neighbors (I don’t really know them), I figured surely I have a mix somewhere in my pantry. I was stoked when I saw a box of No Pudge!, but alas, it was open as I was making a serving at a time.

I saw a box of chocolate cake mix and looked to see if there was a recipe for brownies. Alas, there was not. So I googled….I prefer chewy brownies so I did a search and settled on a recipe that sounded super easy – just an egg, some oil, and water.

I put the mix together and the texture was super thick and gooey – almost like peanut or almond butter. It also tasted a bit off, so I added a tinge more oil, some salt, and some vanilla extract.

I had some trouble spreading it in my springform pan. It is baking as I write this….wish me luck! 

Update – it came out looking right, but rose more than regular brownies. I hope it shrinks down a bit because I want a thinner base. Worst case, I’ll saw some off the top.


Dinner Party Menu Planning

chef's journal

I hit a pretty big milestone at work. Big for me, at least, and it warrants celebration. I had told my team if we reach our goal, I would make them dinner. The time has come, and I am ready to show off my culinary skills. However, I am at a loss of what I feel like making. I know for sure what I want for dessert, some version of my Ice Cream Cake.

Appetizers is also not hard – I figure Focaccia, cheese/charcuterie/crudite, maybe some Greek tyropita or spanakopita.

Where I am struggling is with my main course. My favorite things to make for a dinner party are a bit more “wintry.” Lately I have also been cooking a lot of fish, but one of my guests is not a fan of seafood, so why torture the celebration?

Some of my faves for a crowd:

Maybe I’ll revisit the Chicken Roulade with a different stuffing. Or maybe I’ll do a steak and feature my mashed potatoes. So many decisions!

Any thoughts out there?

The Dinner Party – Roulade Style Chicken stuffed with Pesto, Proscuitto, and Fontina

This chicken roulade recipe is an oldie but goodie from my catering days at Fine Catering by Russell Morin. I’m not sure how much I’ve deviated from the original, but this is what I remember about how to make this dish. Continue reading

The Dinner Party – Introduction

Tomorrow night I’m hosting some friends for a long overdue get together. My “cousin” (I use quotations as we are family both being Greek and having grown up together, but we’re not blood related) and his girlfriend live here in Hackensack just a few building away from my own but we NEVER see each other. There is another couple they are super tight with that I also have known for years and wanted to hang out with, so we organized a get together and I agreed to host.

My cousin, God bless him, loves my cooking, and because he is always eager to see what I’m going to make next, I like to please and make some fancy shmancy stuff.

This is  what I decided for the menu –

  • Hors d’oeuvres – assorted cheeses, hummus with pita chips, pretzels with French onion dip, Greek sausages
  • Roulade-style Chicken stuffed with Basil Pesto, Proscuitto, and Fontina with Beurre Blanc and Egg Noodles
  • Bacon and Onion Brussels Sprouts
  • Sauteed Broccoli/Cauliflower/Mushroom Mix
  • “Anna” Salad
  • Cheesecake Brownies

As with any dinner party, it is highly recommended to do as much as you can ahead of time. This evening I prepped the chicken, made the sauce, and blanched the vegetables. I’m going to spend the next few posts highlighting recipe by recipe.