June 25, 2011

Sushi Night

Similar to Fleming's accidental discovery of penicillin, I recently discovered a new form of interactive entertaining. I invited my friends Ahna and Jen to dinner and had planned to serve homemade sushi. However, the day got away from me and an hour before their arrival, I had no sushi rolled. I calmly recalled the infamous 'taco night' formula we all grew up with and decided we could roll our own sushi. So I made the brown rice, laid out all of the fillings and put hand-roll instructions (complete with diagrams, from the back of the nori wrapper packaging) at each place setting. Miso soup and store-bought seaweed salad rounded out a "sushi night" feast. It was quite fun and I'll def do it again for a big group as interactive eating is my very favorite way to entertain: instantly engaging!
The Menu

ginger mojitos with agave

steamed edamame with sea salt

miso soup with tofu and shitakes

sesame seaweed salad with cucumbers

roll-your-own-sushi fillings:

spicy bay shrimp

salmon gravlax

salmon poke


crudites: cucumber, yellow & red peppers, asparagus, carrots

basil & mint

brown rice

soy and nori wrapping papers

soy sauce, wasabi, ginger, ponzu

June 19, 2011

Cocktail Party, Full Circle

To celebrate my high school graduation, my mom threw a lovely party catered by Elephant's Delicatessan. There was a huge spread including teriyaki salmon bites with wasabi mayo, sesame chicken satays and plenty of lemon bars. Just before the guests arrive, I came down to survey the dining room table. What I discovered led to a full blown tantrum: there was no cheese platter. "What do you mean we don't need it?" I screamed, "If we were only going to have one thing, it would be a cheese platter!" So I took action. I stormed out of the house, drove down to Wizers grocery and purchased a dozen cheeses and the appropriate accoutrements. Instead of greeting my friends, I huffily sliced baguettes and arranged grapes on a tray. Now, while this wasn't my finest moment, I realized last week just how far I've come. While planning a menu for a cocktail party, my friend suggested a cheese platter, as everyone likes it. And she's right, they do. But we didn't need it. The tomato, thai basil & mozzarella crostini plus the ricotta, stone fruit & balsamic syrup crostini were enough. The moral of the story: my mom was right. While there is always room for charcuterie and cheese, sometimes it's nice to add a little seasonal variety to cocktail fare. I even attempted to recreate Elephant's famous teriyaki salmon bites. I marinated one-inch cubes of wild Alaskan salmon in teriyaki sauce and simple roasted them on tin foil in a 500 degree oven for 5 minutes. Then, I finished them off under the broiler for one minute. For the dip, simply mix wasabi or sriracha with mayonnaise and a little lemon juice until desired spiciness. Kind of insane...like my behavior.
The Menu

teriyaki salmon bites with wasabi mayo

chicken satays with peanut sauce

smashed avocado, red pepper flakes, lemon on whole wheat toast points

tomato, thai basil and mozzarella crostini

ricotta, stone fruit, arugula and balsamic syrup crostini

sesame noodles with red peppers and scallions

green bean and chickpea salad

little gems with japanese cucumber and green goddess dressing

cookie plate

chocolate espresso, strawberry shortcake & lemon ricotta