culinary wonderland

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31st birthday party last night. Here’s the invite (was decorated with a pic of Lady Gaga in her egg):

“Nobody can eat fifty eggs.” –Cool Hand Luke, 1967.

In honor of the momentous occasion of my birth, and the Spring season of holidays of regeneration and rebirth, I would like to cordially invite you to a dinner celebration on the evening of April 23.

Since it’s Easter weekend, and my earlier idea of rabbit in chocolate mole sauce was vetoed, I thought it would be nice to have an egg-themed dinner party.

There will be food made with eggs and/or shaped like eggs. There could potentially also be drinks involving eggs: this idea was hatched (ha ha) over a Wisconsin Beer Bomb at the Old-Fashioned… for those who haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing this yet, it’s a PBR with a pickled egg in it. (There will probably also be some food not involving eggs at all, for the sake of our digestive systems.)

Let me know if you have any food restrictions or special requests. Gifts not needed, but if you would like to bring something to drink other than wine or water, or if you are inspired by the theme and are dying to bring along a boiled ostrich egg or board games or something, please feel free.

Attendees: Jeanne, Steve, Lizbert, Stephanie, Josh, Kelly, Matthew, Tim, Ivan, Aaron, briefly Tim’s lady friend Elizabeth, and of course me and Rahul

A main dish roughly inspired by this shakshuka: http://smittenkitchen.com/2010/04/shakshuka/

Soffritto of diced onions, carrots, and celery sauteed in grapeseed oil till almost browned and then I added plentiful garlic and fresh jalapenos, minced; dumped two big 28-oz cans of drained diced tomatoes in, seasoned it with sugar, cumin, and oregano, and simmered with a bay leaf and cinnamon stick for an hour or two. I pureed it with an immersion blender after taking out the cinnamon stick and then simmered meatballs in it and poached eggs directly in it. I garnished it as suggested, with feta and chopped fresh flatleaf parsley.

1 1-lb package ground lamb (the halal lamb was cheapest! From Willy St. Co-op)
1 package ground turkey
About 3 handfuls pine nuts, toasted in a pan over medium heat
A big handful of raisins, rehydrated in hot water, then drained and coarsely chopped
1 egg
About 1 cup instant potato flakes (I normally would use breadcrumbs moistened in milk, but I thought Mary would be coming so tried to keep it gluten-free)
Zest of 1 lemon
1-2 green onions, chopped
Seasonings: salt, pepper, cinnamon, cumin
Mix everything together and shape into golf-ball-sized meatballs. Poach in tomato sauce and/or bake in 350-degree oven for about 20 minutes, till cooked through.

White long-grain rice–although washed till the water ran clear, the grains were not as fluffy and separate as I was hoping. I need to find out what kind they use at Zuzu.

Meringue mushrooms
The recipe is the one I posted earlier for hazelnut macarons with chocolate frosting filling (from Knitcircus); I piped small rounds for the caps and pairs of little tubes for the stems. The stem halves get flat on one side, so have to be glued together first with frosting, then the “gills” smeared with frosting and attached to the stem, and the whole mushroom anchored to a sheet of parchment paper with extra frosting. Steve and Jeanne and Rahul helped make these. I arranged these on two cookie sheets and scattered malted milk eggs and sprigs of fresh mint around them to make it look like a woodland scene.

Bacon nests
Thanks to Kelly’s advice, I did what Brian Boitano would do and made these over upside-down muffin cups after a few unsuccessful experiments with ramekins. Rahul brought home a package of turkey bacon and I’d bought 2 packages of regular bacon at TJ’s. These all got cut into long, thin strips on the diagonal and shaped over the muffin cups. I think the most successful ones were a mixture of the two kinds of bacon. It shrinks a lot, so you need to use a HUGE amount of bacon. I baked the nests at 400 degrees for probably half an hour per tray, till the bacon seemed crispy. Oddly, it stuck like crazy to the cups despite all the fat, so I’d recommend using silicone muffin cups or greasing the cups first (as counterintuitive as that may seem). I felt like I was dressing Lady Gaga, and I never want to touch so much bacon again. Some cups broke or shrank too much and had to be combined to make more-or-less whole cups. I sliced several green onions first lengthwise and then into 2-inch lengths to make “grass” to line the nests, then laid a single hard-boiled quail egg in each one. (The eggs were from a can from Midway Foods; Jeanne said they tasted too metallic, but you can’t tell if you’re eating them with the bacon nests, since the bacon flavor is so overpowering)

Guacamole with tortilla chips
I had nothing to do with this one (RPK and Steve), but assume it’s the standard avocado/lime/cilantro/salt/chili powder recipe.

Deviled eggs
Jeanne made these with organic mayo, Dijon mustard, and a dab of homemade horseradish. Sprinkled with paprika, of course. YUM! I could probably eat a dozen deviled eggs in one sitting.

Hummus, served with broccoli, pita chips, and celery. Blend together:
1 can white beans (I ran out of chickpeas)
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup hot water
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup? extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic
Garnished with green onions and paprika

1 bag Spring mix
1 head Romaine lettuce, cut up
Slivered toasted almonds
Feta cheese

Dress with a dressing made from:
Whole-grain mustard
Walnut oil
Lemon juice and zest

Liz brought chocolate chip meringues, Matthew brought lemonade and soda water, Tim brought some very popular peanut butter/Rice Krispie eggs covered in chocolate and sprinkles, and Kelly and Josh brought egg cream fixings–Bosco syrup and whole milk, while we supplied the seltzer–and disposable bowls (and three-month-old frozen and reheated raccoon, which tasted like heavily spiced beef stew, almost like it had been soaked in cloves or allspice). Rahul got me a cookie cake and a Boston cream pie–we haven’t even unwrapped the latter yet.

It was all pretty awesome.


Written by orata

April 24, 2011 at 11:34 pm

Posted in parties, recipes

Tagged with , , , ,

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