Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Dinner Party

Last night I had some of my old college friends come over for a nice dinner. I didn’t have much time so I decided to make it good, easy and quick. Within 2.5 hours I had shopped, prepped and had enough time to set the table, shower and be ready and relaxed for when my guests arrived.
Here is the menu:
Smoked Salmon with Black Pepper Potato Chips and Lemon Sour Cream
Carrot-Ginger Soup with Chile Butter and Roasted Peanuts
Tamarind-Glazed Black Cod with Habañero-Orange Salsa
Mango Sorbet with Ginger Vinegar and Strawberries
Ok, so there is a possibility you are rolling your eyes now and going– ‘ya, right! she did this all in 2.5 hours?’ Keep in mind the prep and total timings on the recipes when you read them, look to see how much of it can be done ahead and then plan the menu. All the recipes (except for the dessert) are from Bon Appétit magazines.
But the answer is yes! I did! And the dinner went off well, if I may say so.
It all goes back to Denise, my American mom and her idea of planning and balancing out the work load to be able to get everything out on time, at perfect temperatures, not spending most of your evening in the kitchen while your guests entertain themselves and being able to enjoy yourself too.
Let’s start from start to finish.
I charted my work out and made a list of what would take the longest and started with that first. I made the tamarind glaze and soup simultaneously. The soup involved chopping so I got that started and then while it cooked I went ahead and finished the glaze, washed and patted the fish pieces dry, seasoned them with salt and pepper and laid them out on my baking dish ready to bake for the second course. As those were done the butter for the soup was mixed and also kept ready besides the peanuts. 
Don’t forget the lay the table (sometimes I have even done this the night before!) and keep all yours plates from appetizer to dessert out and ready for you to plate and serve without having to open cabinets. Streamline it all! 
Another tip Denise has given me (but I conveniently didn’t do yesterday) is to make a list. No matter how obvious things seem and if you have everything out and in front of you will forget one thing without the list. Like last night, I forgot to finish garnishing the soup with the roasted peanuts. 
And here come the recipes–Smoked Salmon with Black Pepper Potato Chips and Lemon Sour Cream
Serves 4, Appetizer portions
5 minutes
Black pepper potato chips (use kettle-cooked, which are sturdier) are a surprising and delicious base for this starter.
Calories 109  Fat 7g  Fiber 0

1.Stir 1/4 cup fat-free sour cream and 1 1/2 tsp lemon zest in a bowl. 
  1. 2.Arrange 16 large black pepper kettle-cooked potato chips on a platter. 
  2. 3.Divide salmon amongst chips (1 4-ounce package of smoked salmon thinly sliced).
  3. 4.Spoon 1/2 tsp lemon sour cream atop salmon and sprinkle with chives.
Carrot-Ginger Soup with Chile Butter and Roasted Peanuts
Serves 6, First-course servings
Prep-time 10 minutes Total-time 40 minutes
This soup is good and velvety on its own, but the chile butter adds a luxurious crowning touch.
Calories 242  Fat 16g  Fiber 5g

1.Melt 2 tbsp unsalted butter in a large pot over medium-heat.
  1. 2.Add 1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled, cut into 1/4-inch thick rounds, 1 1/4 cups chopped onions, 1 5-ounce white-skinned potato, peeled and chopped, 2 1/2 tbsp minced peeled ginger and salt, to taste. Sauté until vegetables are slightly softened but not brown, stirring often, about 10 minutes.
  2. 3.Add 5 cups vegetable or chicken broth; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are soft, about 20 minutes. 
  3. 4.Make the chile butter by mixing 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature with 2 tbsp finely chopped green onions (white and green parts) with1/2 tsp dried crushed red pepper.
  4. 5.Cool slightly and then puree in batches or use an immersion blender, until smooth. 
  5. 6.If desired, add more broth by 1/4 cupfuls to thin soup. Bring to simmer, season with salt and pepper.
  6. 7.Ladle soup in bowls, top with small spoonfuls of chile butter; sprinkle with roasted peanuts. 
Mango Sorbet with Ginger Vinegar and Strawberries

Could this be easier?
A scoop of Haagen-Daaz mango sorbet, a drizzle of Ginger Vinegar, topped with two strawberries and garnished with mint. That’s it!
THE GINGER VINEGAR! is simply fabulous. I cannot stop buying more of it. One bottle is priced at $35, but it is great with salads, over desserts and anything where you want some ginger and some sweet. 
It is available at Sid Wainer’s in New Bedford, MA but they do take online orders. For those of us living in New York City, you will see their trucks everywhere. They supply their wide range of gourmet products to many restaurants in the city. And if you are in the MA area, definitely make a trip there– the price may seem steep but the quality is even better!

No comments:

Post a Comment