Graduation Dinner

Posted on 05/20/2010. Filed under: Baking, Dinner, Grilling |

This last week was my friend Matt’s turn.  He was graduating from college the day after we made this dinner, and this was what he wanted.  He went to the store and picked up four ribeyes, a navel orange, scalloped potatoes and a couple of cans of Bush’s Grilling Beans in Bourbon & Brown Sugar. 

Meat. Orange. Syrup. Ready to roll!

I dug out a casserole dish for Matt to marinade the steaks in.  He wedged the steaks together in the dish, cut and squeezed the orange out over top of the steaks, like so:

Preview of The Gun Show

After squeezing out all the pulp from the orange onto the steaks…

Pulpy goodness & fatty meat

The meat was drizzled with plenty of syrup…

I get the same intense look when I'm chopping things. Although Matt's form is impeccable.

And let them sit for about an hour while we chilled out and caught up on the week.

Marinating meat

After about an hour, and when our friend Dan arrived, the boys went outside to grill whilst I worked on the sides that Matt brought (boxed scalloped potatoes that we goosed up with extra cheese and the beans).

Meat. Fire.

When the steaks were done, they rested while the potatoes finished and the beans were heated through.  And here’s Matt’s final plate:

A manly meal of meat and beans. Potatoes were added soon after.

The steaks were delicious.  The syrup had caramelized on the meat, and along with the fire it was a unique combination of that sweet yet grilled flavor.  Matt cooked the steaks perfectly.  The beans complimented the steaks really well and the cheesy potatoes were a nice diversion from the sweetness of the other dishes. 

After dinner I whipped up some dessert.  There are conflicting opinions on what to call this dessert.  One person calls it “Fudge Pudding.”  I’ve also heard it called “Chocolate Pudding Cake,” which is really a more accurate description.  Matt dubbed it “Chocolate Crack.”  I got the recipe several years ago from a book I recently mentioned, The Sweet Potato Queens’ Book of Love, by Jill Connor Browne.  It’s addictive, really easy to make, but the bitch is waiting 40 minutes while it bakes and you’re smelling chocolate baking.  Torture followed by heaven.

I preheated the oven to 350, and began the batter by dumping a cup of granulated sugar, half a cup of a.p. flour and two eggs in a large glass bowl and mixed them on medium speed with the hand mixer until it was all moist.  Then I melted a WHOLE STICK of salted butter together with two HEAPING tablespoons of Hershey’s Cocoa together in the microwave, then added it to the egg/sugar stuff and mixed again with my beaters.  Then I added a quarter teaspoon of salt and one running-over tablespoon of vanilla (pure extract or flavoring is fine), and mixed the batter again.  Here’s where one can get creative: I’ve added cinnamon for a Mexican Chocolate flavor; I’ve added mint extract as well.  I think next time I may melt some strawberry jam or just add fresh strawberries to the batter and bake it off.  The boys were hovering the bowl at this point when I was done mixing and Matt went to town on his beater.  It was strange, yet fascinating watching two dudes that are like my brothers work the hell out of these beaters with their tongues, trying to get every last bit of chocolate.  Ahem…where was I?

Right.  Then I poured the batter into a greased loaf pan (scraping sides with my rubber spatula), put the loaf pan in a larger casserole dish, filled the larger dish with hot water until the water was about halfway up the smaller loaf pan.  Then I baked it off for about 40 minutes.  Then Matt helped by cleaning off the spatula and bowl….with his tongue.

Forty agonizing minutes of smelling heaven finally came to an end and what came out was gooey, fudgey, chocolatey heaven.  Crunchy on the top and warm and gooey on the bottom.  Much like some humans.  (Figuratively, of course.)  I added a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream and we all dug in.

Chocolate Crack with a scoop of vanilla ice cream

So good, so rich, so bad for you.  A STICK of butter for every batch, as well as a cup of sugar.  Worth it though.

Next week is my turn, and I’ll be making a dish in preparation for our New Orleans trip.  It’ll be put off until Sunday though, as this Friday we will be enjoying the sights and sounds that are a Dark Star Orchestra show!  Woo hoo!

Many congratulations to my good friend, Matt, upon graduating! 

Bon Appetit, Y’all!

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