Sunday, July 10, 2011

Dining in Style

That china, crystal, silver, etc. collecting dust in your cabinets should be used and enjoyed.  
That is exactly what we did this weekend.  To celebrate Kendra's birthday, I invited everyone over for a formal dinner party.  We all donned our best bridesmaid dresses, prom gowns, vintage tuxedos, and fine jewels.  
Everyone pitched in.  Kelly sourced the most amazing garlic bread from a market in the Haight; Doug spent all week creating a music playlist to set the perfect mood for the evening; Barbara cooked up the best corn fritter appetizers; and Mitch transformed two huge blocks of ice into a conversation starting sculpture!  
The meal started with a peach, red onion, and basil cold salad.  In the fine French tradition, the salad was followed by a refreshing palate cleanser, a Meyer lemon sorbet was served to all guests.  Then on to the main event:  macaroni and cheese, roasted asparagus, and a tomato, cucumber, and onion salad.  Yes, I realize mac and cheese is not the most sophisticated dish, however, it can be pulled together the night before which allowed me to spend my time at the party enjoying the company good friends as opposed to slaving away in the kitchen.  
And no birthday party is complete without cake, and this is no ordinary cake!     

Deep Dark Chocolate Cheesecake 


  • 24 chocolate wafer cookies (from one 9-ounce package)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted


  • 1 9.7-ounce bar Scharffen Berger 70% Cocoa Bittersweet Chocolate,* chopped
  • 4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Scharffen Berger)
  • 4 large eggs


  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • Scharffen Berger 70% Cocoa Bittersweet Chocolate,* chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Bittersweet chocolate curls
  • *If unavailable, substitute another high-quality bittersweet chocolate.



  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 3-inch-high sides. Blend cookies in processor until finely ground; blend in sugar. Add melted butter and process until well blended. Press crumbs evenly onto bottom (not sides) of prepared pan. Bake just until set, about 5 minutes. Cool while preparing filling. Maintain oven temperature.


  • Stir chopped chocolate in metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth. Remove bowl from over water; cool chocolate until lukewarm but still pourable. Blend cream cheese, sugar, and cocoa powder in processor until smooth. Blend in eggs 1 at a time. Mix in lukewarm chocolate. Pour filling over crust; smooth top. Bake until center is just set and just appears dry, about 1 hour. Cool 5 minutes. Run knife around sides of cake to loosen. Chill overnight.


  • Stir cream, 6 ounces chocolate, and sugar in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until smooth. Cool slightly. Pour over center of cheesecake, spreading to within 1/2 inch of edge and filling any cracks. Chill until topping is set, about 1 hour. DO AHEAD Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover with foil and keep refrigerated.
  • Release pan sides. Transfer cheesecake to platter. Top with chocolate curls. Let stand 2 hours at room temperature before serving.
Recipe from Bon Appetite 

1 comment:

  1. What a fun party!! Is that the cake you made for my last birthday? If so, you must love Kendra, it's like a "died and gone to heaven experience"! Your friends are so creative and amazing. I loved all the parts and pieces of this party, including the mac and cheese! The ice sculptures? Speechless. Glad you kept the china...