February 8, 2010

Playing Restaurant, for Anita’s Birthday

Yesterday Nyanko and I, cooked dinner for my Aunt Anita’s Birthday. Usually, we cook everything and serve everything at once so that everyone, cooks included, can eat together. This time, I decided to cook and eat from the kitchen only and serve the each dish as courses. It didn’t quite work out as planned, but it was fun “playing restaurant”.

First Course: Arugula and Endive Salad with grape tomatoes, toasted walnuts, and Parmesan Cheese. Nyanko made this and although probably one of the simplest dishes of the night, this may have been my favorite. The fresh arugula from Dean’s Produce, endives from Draegers, and tomatoes from Costco made the salad. Recipe from Food and Wine Magazine.

Course Two: Tuna Tartare with Diced Tomatoes and Avocados and Rosemary Flatbread and black sesame seeds. The sesame oil marinate went well with the tuna, tomatoes, and avocado, but I thought that the flatbread didn’t quite work. Last time, I used baked wonton skins and I preferred those.

The plating happened mostly randomly. We stuck the avocado on the bottom to prevent the lemon juice from cooking the tuna and stacked layers of flatbread and tuna on top of it. When I get around to going to a restaurant supply store, I would like to try setting them in cylindrical molds. I know I know… typical!

Third Course: Smoked Salmon with Apples, Cucumber, Radishes, and Yogurt. We whipped this out in maybe ten minutes and unfortunately did not get the proportions right. This little yogurt mix had potential, but needed more yogurt and salmon. This tasted pretty good with bread though! Recipe stolen from

Fourth Course: Foie Gras with Granny Smith Apples and Sourdough Baguette. Most of the photos in this set look bad, but this one especially. It isn’t easy being the cook and the photographer! This one was rushed out so I didn’t get to get as “nice” a picture with it. It was my first time cooking foie gras, but I thought it came out pretty good. Super artery clogging, but yummy with the apples and bread. Cooking tips thanks to Gordon Ramsay.

Fifth Course: Seared Scallops with Miso Sauce and Parmesan Cheese. It was good, but it felt like it was missing something… and that is because it was. We forgot the Parmesan Cheese, which would have made this dish. Recipe stolen from epicurious.

Sixth Course: Lamb Chops with garlic mashed potatoes and asparagus. This was another straightforward combination. The lamb was cooking pretty much spot on and the potatoes were creamy, much thanks to oil and butter. The asparagus was sweet too, but maybe we should have seasoned it and put a few more on the plate.

Dessert:? I didn’t have anytime to make a cake, so we went out and bought a Strawberry Mousse cake. from Sheng Kee… I think we could have made a better one 😡

Overall pretty yummy meal. I liked the salad and the foie gras the best. Playing restaurant with the plating/serving was fun too although its hard when family wants you to eat with them. Also! Cooking, eating, serving, and taking pictures of your food is super hard. The pictures look terrible and I apologize for that. Next time I need to assign someone to be the photographer.


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