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Old 06-27-2007, 10:17 AM   #1

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Party of 11

Got in from Vegas on Friday afternoon and found out I was cooking for a party of 11 for the next evening. Managed to hit the store and get a couple butts on by 11pm Fri night (rubbed with (in order of volume) thyme, onion, sage, marjoram, extra hot NM chile, sugar, coriander, sumac, garlic, green, white and black ground peppercorns, and cinnamon. Stretched it slightly with some Szeged paprika).

Prepped the rest Saturday. Dinner started at 6:30 with this app:

Chilled grilled shrimp cocktail

[16-20 white shrimp, straight brined, then peeled and marinated in evoo with lime juice and zest, a little garlic and thyme. Grilled then chilled. The cocktail sauce I made out of diced tomato, tamarind paste, fresh pineapple juice, flesh from one mango, a hunk of Vidalia, a hunk of red bell pepper, a roasted ripe jalapeno, lemon juice, lime juice, ginger, horseradish powder, salt and pepper and a little honey]

Then chilled soup (cuke with an avocado-chive garnish):

Next, a mixed greens salad tossed with calamondin-aji amarillo vinaigrette, topped with red bell julienne, Vidalia julienne, and hand-picked blue crab lump meat; drizzled with a little more dressing:

[The lettuce was mainly butter lettuce, a great one with crab, plus a little baby romaine (red and green), a little frissée, and a bit of radicchio. The dressing: a dried aji amarillo reconstituted in boiling water then peeled, split, seeds removed, mashed into calamondin juice (a sour orange juice) whisked with a tiny bit of minced garlic, a little minced Vidalia, salt, white pepper, and a tiny bit of honey, then emulsified with Morea evoo with a hand blender.]

The entrée: Raz el hanout-dusted sea scallop, grilled, then served atop a cauliflower purée, with chopped salt-wilted baby spinach, and a sauce of reduced Sauvignon blanc and fresh pineapple juice.

[Not shown (mistakenly deleted the pic), a beef dish served the same way for a diner who does not eat scallops. For this, I simply seared a small piece of flat iron steak at the same time I grilled the shrimp. I cooked it only to very rare then chilled it. For service, I sliced it into 1/4-inch x 1/2-inch x 1/2 inch pieces, tossed with a little of the same spice blend, then heated indirect at the same time I grilled the scallops. I mounded the beef on the plate atop the cauli purée and dressed and sauced the plate the same way as I did for the scallop. Raz el hanout is a blend of spices one finds in Moroccan cuisine. The blend is made by--and specific to--the spice vendors who make it. It rarely contains herbs but can contain upwards of 15 spices. I make mine with over 25, including the standard additions of mace, cinnamon, allspice, coriander, cardamom, plus the less familar (in the US) cubeb, grains of paradise, long pepper, rosebud, lavender, orris root, African bird pepper--and several other items--plus a little bay leaf.]

The main course: pork pulled into large pieces (rather than shredded), tossed with finishing sauce for reheating, then topped with a caramelized onion/pineapple-based sauce made with a little tomato, lots of tamarind paste, garlic, thyme, bay and honey, finished with lime. The pork was served over lightly sauteed triangles of grits made with minced andouille and Mahon cheese. Not shown, a side of warm Napa slaw (Napa, shredded and braised with onion, red and orange bell peppers, and dusted with minced toasted pecans.

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Old 06-27-2007, 10:19 AM   #2
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WoW that's some high class food porn thanks for the pics...want to share that cuke soup recipe...thanks

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Old 06-27-2007, 10:28 AM   #3
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Looks AWESOME Kevin! [smilie=a_bravo.gif] [smilie=a_goodjob.gif]
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Old 06-27-2007, 10:37 AM   #4
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Old 06-27-2007, 10:53 AM   #5
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Dude, you should be a Firefighter being able to put together a meal like that in a short period of time. You can work at my Fire House anytime.
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Old 06-27-2007, 11:08 AM   #6

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Thanks guys. It turned out good.

Witt-- I peeled 2 long seedless cukes then sliced them and spread the slices out a bit on the board (you could use 3-4 med 'regular' cukes, peeled, halved lengthwise then seeded with a spoon; salted as above). Toss the slices into a colander, toss the slices with each other, then let them drain of excess water for a half-hour or so (weight the slices with a Zip-loc full of water.

Remove the slices to a blender then add about 2 T heavy cream, 1 c plain yogurt, 1 T chopped fresh dill (or 1.5 t dried dill leaves), 1/4 of a medium peeled Vidalia, chopped, 1 T evoo, 1/2 a medium clove of garlic*, a squeeze of lemon juice, 1 small gherkin pickle, and one small-medium dill pickle. Puree till smooth then add a little ground white pepper and taste for salt. Blend again and check consistency: Add a some more yogurt if needed to thin a bit--or, if thicker is needed, add more cuke (if available) or simply a 50-50 mix of Vidalia and pickle(s), a T of each at a time, blending well in between additions.

[Mint works in place of the dill. Use more cuke and skip the pickle additions.]

* If making ahead of time don't add the garlic yet. Either chill the soup in the blender container or package it in something else to chill. Up to an hour before serving, return the soup to the blender and add the garlic, blending very well. (If garlic goes in early and the soup is held it can get stronger and be a bit overwhelming.)
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Old 06-27-2007, 11:09 AM   #7
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Fine lookin, No Damm Fine Lookin meal KK. You must be a Prof. Chef Huh?
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Old 06-27-2007, 01:00 PM   #8
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WOW Off the hook. Looks absolutely delicious.
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Old 06-27-2007, 02:31 PM   #9
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I bet the 11 were very happy and full after that great meal you cooked....
Great Job!!!
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Old 06-28-2007, 04:58 AM   #10
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It's hard to believe, but that's the same meal I cooked on Sunday!!!!

Really though, spectacular meal.


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Old 06-28-2007, 05:34 AM   #11
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Outstanding; Gourmet BBQ, who'd have thunk it?

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Old 06-28-2007, 08:35 AM   #12
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Great looking plates.
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Old 06-28-2007, 02:13 PM   #13

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Funny, Al!

007/Cliff-- I am the former exec chef of a couple places on South Beach; prior, I cooked in Calif and New England. For many years I've owned and operated a one man/one truck/one trailer company (yes, I'm a truck driver!). But I still cook professionally. I cook privately for clients hither and yon (mostly southern Calif, Conn, Ga, Nev and Tex but a few have second and third homes elsewhere so I cook there too). I've always liked the travel but have been over the trucking part of it for some time. (I very much miss the restaurant biz.)

Though I don't travel internationally like the guy on the FN link (I wish!) I do carry a few things with me: my knife case, a Thermapen, about 2 dozen hard-to-get-at-the-last-moment spices and herbs, pomegranate molasses, tamarind paste, real Dijon, saba, cognac and sherry vinegars, demi, and Morea evoo. (I will be eternally grateful to Bryan S for the Morea heads-up.)

oct-- I do quite a bit of what might be called 'gourmet' Q. Slow-cooked meats lend themselves well to many of the types of dinners I plan because of their versatility--change the rub and sauce and you change the direction; change the sides as well and you can change the dynamics of the entire meal. Of course this can be said about many things but the large cuts typical for Q I particularly like because, for one thing, the cooking is pretty much set-and-forget, giving me lots of time to focus on the other courses and sides; for another, cooking outside frees up the cooktop or oven inside--a big deal at home where I only have a single oven and a 4-burner, not such a big deal in some kitchens (worth more than my entire ranch --veritable dream kitchens) with their multiple workspaces and mega-ovens; and another, many people don't eat the cuts typically used for Q very often so it's a nice change. Lastly, with few exceptions, slow-cooked foods have a place in many of the world's cuisines. It's easy (and fun) to conflate New World and Old World approaches to arrive at some pretty good stuff.

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