Wednesday, April 29, 2009

"My Night Off" dinner party

It's nice to be able to cook for pure recreation. Last Saturday night I had a few friends over, 3 to be exact, to have some hotpot. Having been working 6 days a week for the past year, I suppose you really value your one day off, for me it's Saturday. But many weeks I throw a dinner party on Saturday where I'm probably harder at work at home, than I am in the restaurant.

So last night I figured I'd have a few friends over, spend the day relaxing, work on a pisco sour, research things. Basically food I'd love to eat myself, was served. Had two friends I haven't seen in a while, as well as a neighbor who is awesome. Here's how the night turned out.

I decided on a few courses. First we did a gravlax nigiri, made the gravlax a few days ago, love the texture of it. It was firmer, so I sliced it thinly...2mm in thickness, put it on rice. The top arc at the highest point of the nigiri was very elegant, nice. It's the small things. Made a cucumber salad, 1mm thickness per piece, knife cut.

Next we did some hotpot. Made a dashi for it, with some new bonito fish flakes I got from IMP foods. Extracted the glutamates from the kombu kelp at 140F for one hour, raised to 180F, dropped in the flakes, settled for a few mins, then through a chinois and into the pot for the hotpot.

Had some lamb and beef slices and moved onto Nigerian spiced short ribs. I had similar versions when I worked in Ghana, and it's made an impression on me ever since. Then made a caterpillar roll, with Hokkaido scallops. The avocado was from my CSA. Good quality. All the while drinking lots of pisco sour, wine, beer.

Total prep was about 2 hours, much of it idle time though. It's nice to be able to cook for 4 people, and have things be relatively relaxed.

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