Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Tale Of Two Parties

My good friend and fellow foodie Jessica who I have spoken of many times in the past celebrated her twenty fourth birthday recently and decided to have two parties. The first was held the night before her actual day of birth at our favorite local bar Nita Nita in Williamsburg, Brooklyn with plenty of Jameson shots and blueberry lemonades. The second birthday event I am honored to say was held at my apartment; a soiree of sorts with Jessica and my other good friend Matt. I wanted to cook something elegant without going overboard and unfortunately that is exactly what I did, planning a menu that was a little over my head. The three courses that I visualized and drew up ahead of time sounded easy enough but I got caught up in the details. The first course was a creamy pasta dish with creminis and peas. I used Gigli noodles, a sort of amphibious looking pasta not to be confused with the J-Lo and Ben fiasco, dressed with lots of fresh thyme, cream, and the aforementioned veggies. It was really quite tasty and my guests, birthday girl included, enjoyed the food as well as the laugh we all shared at Gigli’s expense.

The second course is really where the meal took a turn for the worst and I barely pulled it off let alone served something edible. The dish I was going for, inspired by the short-lived midtown eatery The Lever House, was black cod with roasted potatoes and scallion cream. The main problem was my execution of the fish which is a protein that I really need to learn how to cook effectively. I can sear or roast thin fillets or sashimi grade cuts of Ahi and Salmon well enough but it’s the delicate, thicker pieces that totally escape me even with a recent upgrade to a fish spatula. The fish was underdone, overly moist, and did not have a single shred of crust, the three things that you should avoid most when cooking fish. It was sort of a catastrophe which thankfully do not occur often, but when they do, they tend to be pretty bad when I am running the kitchen. The side dish and accompanying sauce were both fantastic however and I will certainly be using both in the near future. The sauce made by pureeing sautéed scallions simmered with heavy cream had a robust oniony flavor that managed to make the fish edible and paired well with the potatoes. The spuds were steamed and then roasted with caramelized sweet onion and crispy bacon crumbs, a trio of flavors that worked exceptionally well together. I was so flustered by the end of the meal that I neglected to prepare the dessert of roasted peaches with ricotta and honey that I had planned. Jessica, Matt, and I agreed to see a movie instead which made me happy as a clam; 500 Days of Summer, great film and perfect for a post-dinner birthday night. As always, I encourage you to enjoy and share delicious food and home cooked meals with yourself and others!

No comments: