Bruised Rosemary Pineapple

Another combination from Aki and Alex's book Ideas In Food. This is a whole pineapple cut into planks, lightly seasoned with salt, brown sugar and cayenne, packed and vacuum sealed with lots of rosemary.

I gently froze it overnight because I don't have a vacuum sealer. This apparently gives a close approximation.

Results? Flavors were more subtle than expected, but noticeably unique. Tasty on it's own, it was best combined with other things we had around - such as a piece of grilled shrimp or a bite of spicy steak. We used quite a bit of it the first night as an important garnish and flavoring for Grey Goose vodka.

With some leftover, the flavor intensified brilliantly over the next few days.

A Quick Cocktail Party for 50

First - there's no such thing a quick party for 50. But, you might find yourself quickly planning such a party, with little time to spare. That's where I found myself last week. A dear friend called and asked if I could make a few appetizers and salad for a 40th birthday party. I said "sure" quickly, then asked how many people were to be served. 50.

Twenty people or so is just a good sized family gathering. 30 is a party. 50 is a catering job. The total volumes really do affect choices of dish to serve, greatly extend prep and cooking time, and may even drive some changes in technique choices.

Here's the menu:

- "Everything Bagel" Cured Salmon with Goat Cheese on Savory Bagel Chips
- Chunky Gazpacho with Basil Oil and Tarragon Cream garnish
- Shrimp and Roasted Zucchini Brochettes with Bacon
- Caesar Salad with Rosemary Chicken-Drenched Croutons

Here are some quantities to consider:

11 pounds of shrimp
30 plum tomatoes
15 heads of romaine
10 pounds of yellow squash and green zucchini

And here are important techniques to use:

- Detailed planning for shopping and timeline
- Roasting in large hotel pans instead of pan-searing
- Always have something cooking in the oven (because in this menu you can)  while you are prepping other parts of the meal.
- 2 gallon zip lock bags, lots of plastic containers
- An assistant / gopher who can run to the store, do dishes and do simple prep tasks (quartering tomatoes, spinning lettuce, washing veg, ......)

No time was taken out to snap photos of these dishes......but then again, they were being loaded into bags and containers for transport, not presentation!!

Penne Carbonara with Zucchini and Thyme

Very nice dish from Jamie Oliver's Jamie at Home. Very few ingredients, only a touch of cream, and though he recommends a handful of egg yolks to finish the carbonara (as is traditional), I used half as many and still had a delicious result.

The fresh twist in this dish is the use of zucchini saute over high heat in bacon drippings (bacon removed, much of bacon fat removed). Fresh thyme over the top, especially if you can score some thyme flowers from the tips of the plant - adds color and great unique flavor.

This dish was also a case where i used a high-end $5 for 17.6 ounce pasta. It did not disappoint. I recommend that indulgence once in a while.

Strange Memorial Day Menu - Brats and Vegetable Fried Rice

Even if it's just our small family, we normally have a BBQ feast of some sort on the  warm holiday weekends - Texas style brisket, Ribs, mixed grill.....something in the spirit of the holiday, anyway.

This year, well, we were pretty busy. And just a day before I had made a Chinese menu to celebrate Nora's birthday, and had leftover chilled rice and some dry-fried long beans. The result was a Memorical Day menu of:

  • Johnsonville Bratwursts in lame grocery store buns
  • Flavorful Vegetable Fried Rice
I'm guessing that this combination has never been served in on a holiday weekend, or any weekend, ever in history. 

The most unusual part of this menu? All three children asked the question, "What's a bratwurst?" I guess we've been out of the Midwest for a long time now. 


Roasted Fennel, Leek, Celery Root and Peppers

Miscellaneous vegetables on hand, some needed to be used soon. Here's what happened.

  • Peppers cored and laid out in quarters skin side up. Broil until skins blister. Remove, cover.  
  • Celery root cut into 1" batons, similar in size to a small french fry. Shallot and Fennel sliced, tossed with olive oil, S & P. Roast 450 degrees 15 min. 
  • Peel and chop peppers. Toss with other vegetables. 
  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in small skillet, add 1 garlic clove, sliced, 1 teaspoon fennel seed, red pepper flakes to taste. Heat to soften garlic. Add 1/2 teaspoon sherry vinegar. Add vegetables ti skilled if cooled, or toss garlic and spices onto warm vegetables. 

Serve as a piquant side dish, as a topping for small pizzas, or on baked potatoes.
Leftovers can be mixed with rice cooked in chicken stock. Add a touch of olive oil.

Related Posts with Thumbnails