February is a lovers' month and this month's Cooking Club theme was Food for Red Hot Lovers. Can you say spicy? The king in the kitchen was our friend, Antonio Andrade (Mary's dashing hubby) who taught us to make authentic chile rellenos. Antonio went straight to work charring the chiles and cutting the cheese (Ha! Ha! No pun intended.) He even whipped the batter by hand - his mother's secret touch.
While Antonio and Mary worked on the chile rellenos, I worked on some fresh honey-lemonade to add a little pucker to our evening. Since citrus is in season we had to make use of our colorful findings. In 2008, our Cooking Club is making an effort to find healthy recipes and cook with in-season produce.
We decided to make these chile rellenos stuffed with cheese our appetizer since they looked so fabulous and everyone wanted to try one early. We served them with a spicy tomato sauce that topped off the flavors. (I think there was a throwdown to see who would get to eat the extras.)
Chris and Christine got a "lover's night out" without their little Caleb and we benefitted from their extra help in the kitchen. They brought the sirloin and sliced veggies for our Kung Pao beef. We definitely had an Asian-Latin Fusion menu. We served the Kung Pao Beef over brown rice and the dried red chilies added quite the punch.
Paula Beery hunted down the recipe for the main dish. We were both big fans of the spicy fare. And we finished out the meal with chipotle brownies created by Cori and Angela. The brownies were a fascinating meld of flavors - at first rich, dark chocolate and then a little heat that lingered at the back of the throat. A scoop of vanilla ice cream made this dessert a surprising balance. (Yes, I did have seconds!)
We ladies decided to be nice to our "red hot lovers" and use paper plates for the appetizers, entrees and desserts, but these hotties still helped out in the kitchen with the silverware and remaining pots and pans. We rounded out the evening with a never-ending game of Ticket to Ride that left us all groaning and Susan (with Niana in tow) as the winner!