As you may know from some of my other post, Chef Jasper Mirabile of Jaspers Ristorante holds special dinners that he calls experiences. At these dinners he takes one ingredient and makes an amazing five-course meal. One past experience he used lemons and made his own Limoncello that he used in all of the dishes for a Limoncello Experience. Other experience dinners have included prosciutto, mozzarella and locally grown heirloom tomatoes.
I have had the pleasure of attending a few of these experience dinners and am amazed at the talent Chef Jasper has at taking one ingredient and incorporating it into both savory and sweet dishes. All of the dinners have been phenomenal and when I heard he was doing another dinner with local chocolate maker Alan McClure from Columbia, Missouri and owner of Patric Chocolate, I was on the phone making my reservation!
You may think chocolate is just meant for desserts, but I am here to tell you that it works very nicely in savory dishes too, and Chef Jasper did an amazing job creating a variety of dishes.
Here is a little taste of what you missed if you were unable to attend.
Course one: Ciaccolato e Pane del Meadowlark Acres (Bread and Chocolate) – A delicious caramel flatbread, a savory flatbread and focaccia made by Suzanne Frisse of Meadowlark Acres and homemade Nutella made by Chef Jasper using Patric Chocolate PB&J OMG Bar. Other items in the first course included Crostini de Pere, Gorganzola e Patric Cioccolato that was a delightful crostini with gorgonzola and shaved Patric Chocolate and Pastinaca Arrosto e Zuppa di Cioccolato all Patric (Chocolate and Parsnip soup.)
What a way to get things started, The Nutella was made with house-made roasted hazelnuts, cream, local honey, Patric Chocolate, and heavy cream with a dash of sea salt from Sicily, and the breads made perfect dippers. The crostini and soup both had a savory component with the soup almost having a pudding texture and so very good.
Course two: Il non vostro Nana Maccheroni e formaggio di s, which translates to “Not your Grandmother’s Mac & Cheese”, and it wasn’t. I would have never thought to drizzle chocolate on my pasta, but somehow it works, tender noodles mixed with Formaggio cheese sauce topped with chocolate is magnifico!
Course three: Verdure Selvatiche e Patric Cioccolato Balsamico and Pancetta Croccante e Polenta (Mixed greens with pancetta and a chocolate balsamic dressing with a polenta crouton.) Yum! I just think I found my new diet, it is a salad after all….
Course four: Pollo alla Artusi in Salsa Agro-Dolce e Papas Loco (Sweet and Sour Chicken with Crazy Potatoes.) These tender chicken thighs were covered in a sauce made from balsamic vinegar, red wine, chocolate, and served with a scalloped like potato. I never realized how savory chocolate could be. It worked beautifully in all of the dishes.
Course five: Cannoli al Cioccolato and Liquore al Cioccolate (chocolate cannoli and chocolate-cello). Do I really need to tell you how good it was? I am sure you know it was delicious. In addition to that, the very talented Susanne Frisse of Meadowlark Acres out did herself again and made spumoni biscotti, which I dipped into the Chocoate-cello. Below is her recipe for the biscotti.
All chocolate was provided by Alan McClure, owner of Patric Chocolates in Columbia, Missouri, which he opened in 2006. Patric Chocolate is considered a bean to bar chocolate. McClure starts by roasting the cocoa beans himself and actually making the chocolate before it is ever made into a bar. He is considered a chocolate maker as opposed to a Chocolatier who is one that works with chocolate.
Each micro batch of chocolate is handmade by McClure and most bars have only 3 ingredients which are Cocoa beans, cane sugar and cocoa butter. The exception is the Signature Dark Milk Bar Patric offers, which of course contains milk, and the PB&J OMG, which has natural peanut butter. There is no fruit in the bar; the roasting technique McClure uses brings out the fruitiness in the cocoa beans, which then flavors the chocolate. There were bars available to purchase and as you can see, I stocked up. to read more about McClure, Patric Chocolate, and my indulgence of these decadent bars click here.
Once again, it was another fabulous experience at Jasper’s. If you have not had the chance to attend one his “Experience Dinners,” it is truly worth it. Below is a list of upcoming experiences. Cost is $45.00 per person and does not include tax or gratuity. Call 816-941-6600 or visit Jasperskc.com. All experiences begin at 7:00 p.m.
March 21st – Sicilian Feast Day Experience – celebrate the Sicilian feast day of the patron saint, Saint Joseph – Fresh Ricotta, Nana Mirabile’s Sicilian Pizza, Macaroni San Giuseppe and of course Zeppoles!
April 18th – Italian Pork & Beans Experience – Porchetta and Tuscan Beans
May 16th – An Asparagus Experience – Local Asparagus from Pendleton’s Farm in Lawrence, KS
June 16th – Local Cherries & Tableside Mozza Experience – Local cherries from Alan Rhodes paired with Jasper’s fresh pulled Mozzarella.
July 21st – A Limoncello Experience – Jasper’s second annual Limoncello Experience with dishes featuring his magical lemon liqueur.
See below for Suzanne Frisse’s Spumoni Biscotti recipe. If you have a great food find in KC you think I am missing, email me.
In Good Taste,
Spumoni Biscotti Recipe from Suzanne Frisse of Meadowlark Acres.
(Makes about 4 dozen)
2 1/2 C flour
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 C shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 C softened butter
1 C dried cherries marinated in Amaretto or sherry or port wine
1/2 maraschino cherries, patted dry
3/4 C mini chocolate chips
1 C sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
Pre-heat oven to 325° F.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
Combine flour, baking powder, salt.
Use an electric mixer to beat butter with sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, add extracts.
Beat in flour mixture. Stir in cherries (pat dry or drain liquid), chocolate chips and nuts. Shape dough into 2 logs and place on baking sheets 3 inches apart. Bake for 40 minutes or until edges start to brown.
Remove from oven and reduce heat to 250° F.
Cool logs until they are comfortable to handle.
Use a serrated knife to cut logs into 1/”2 inch thick, diagonal slices Transfer slices to baking sheets standing them upright or lay flat and turn midway through baking.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until edges are golden and cookies are almost completely.
Cool on rack.