Monday, July 26, 2010

Family & Friends Gather

This past Thursday we finally served our first actual reservation. It had been set about a month ago and we were both very proud to have received it. So of course we planned out the dinner very carefully. And in case you were curious who these mysterious guest were, well, yes they are my parents, but the point is still valid! Tamy’s parents experienced the Worth St Kitchen a month ago and now my parents were the ones that made the trip to New York. Along with my parents we had a great family friend that flew in from Miami and my uncle and his girlfriend that came in all the way from Brooklyn (Park Slope!).

If any of you readers were in New York or even in the Northeast you would have noticed that it was HOT last week. But not like “oh my god, it’s the middle of summer, boy its hot.” NO it was “HOLY CRAP I CAN’T WALK ANOTHER BLOCK WITHOUT LOSING ANOTHER LITER OF SWEAT!” Might not be the nicest picture you would like to have before reading some succulent recipes, but I needed to set the mood. Considering the heat, we needed to serve something fresh as an appetizer. And thanks to our Greek friend that introduced us to watermelon and feta cheese we had the perfect appetizer.

As for the main course, the choice was to try out a meat we have not used as of yet, we went with lamb. But not the traditional lamb chops, instead lamb loins were the cut of choice. We served these with a mint cream sauce accompanied with edamame mashed potatoes and beet chips. The chips made the difference in the decoration of the plate.

The dinner was fantastic. The wine was by far the best we have had as of yet on a Thursday (may this be officially a competition to all guest, who can bring the best wine) two Italian Super Tuscan and two Argentine Pinto Noirs (not known for their Pinots but definitely worth a try).

Enjoy the recipes:

Watermelon & Feta Cheese Salad
1 mini watermelon
1 cup of feta cheese (block not crumbled)
1 cup of chopped mint leaves

The process is very easy, all you have to do is mix the above ingredients together. For presentation sake, what I did was dice the watermelon into 1/2 inch thick slices and the feta cheese sliced thinly. Then began to stack them, watermelon, feta, mint and repeat. Sprinkle some mint on top.

Edamame Mashed Potatoes
4 Idaho Potatoes
2 cups of steamed edamame beans
6 tb spoons of butter
2 cups of soy milk

Peel the potatoes cut into big slices and place into boiling water (salted). Boil for about 10 minutes, or until potatoes are soft. Drain and return into pot and set heat medium. Stir in the butter until melted. with a masher begin to press the potatoes. Slowly stir in the soy milk, one great tip to creamy potatoes is to stir in the milk hot, so heat the milk for about 1 minute in the microwave. Then add the edamame and begin to mash together. For best results process the potatoes/edamame in a food processor for about 5 minutes or until smooth. Add more milk and butter if you want more creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Seared Lamb Loins w/ Mint Cream
6 1.5 inch thick lamb loins
1 cup of chopped mint
2 cups of white wine
1/2 of heavy whipping cream
2 shallots
2 tb spoons of butter

The cream is very straight forward. Chop the shallots and place into hot sauce pan with melted butter. Cook for 2 minutes add the wine and let reduce for a 10 minutes. Transfer mixture to a food processor and add the mint and the cream. Mix until very finely shopped. Add salt and pepper to taste.
For lamb, pre heat over to 400. Salt and pepper the loins and quickly sear them, one minute on each side. Place in oven for about 10 minutes until medium.
To serve sprinkle the cream lightly over the meat. Lamb is very intense in flavor, so you do not want to drown it with too much sauce.

Ginger and Mint Crème Brûlée
2 cups of whipping cream
1/2 cup of sugar
4 tb spoons of freshly chopped ginger
1 vanilla bean
1/2 cup of chopped mint
5 large egg yolks

In a double boiler, begin to mix the first 6 ingredients. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and try to scoop out the beans and place both into the mix. Stir occasionally for about 10 minutes until mix begins to simmer. Strain into large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl mix the 5 egg yolks and begin to fold in eggs into mixture. Once you have the final mixture separate into 6 small serving dishes (small bowls) and place cooking pan. Fill pan with water until half way up dishes and bake at 350° for about 35 minutes. Remove from oven and chill in fridge until just before serving. When serving, remove from fridge and sprinkle sugar over the top. If you have a kitchen torch, begin to burn the sugar on the top to make the hard layer. If you do not have a torch, do not worry, broil all in the oven for about 3 to 4 minutes until the top gets toasty. Cool with water in the pan again and serve.

The Beauty Behind being Sous-Chef

I have one word for you, well, actually two words, a one in two word to be precise which I have grown extremely fond of lately: SOUS CHEF.

Here is the wiki definition for all of you kitchen amateurs:

The sous-chef de cuisine (under-chef of the kitchen) is the direct assistant of the executive chef, and is second in command. Last Thursday, I felt for the first time, I may just truly be the “second in command” at the Worth Kitchen. And although my cooking skills are not nearly as experienced, delicate and refined as Felipe’s, I have to say I am starting to master the role of the assistant and best of all, I am starting to love it!

Beyond the peeling and the chopping, which could potentially be somewhat fun, there is something else I am growing much more fond of, and that is, sharing a kitchen with Felipe. Before this project began, my space in the kitchen was just taking up space, in a very crowded and small NYC kitchen. Because of that, for the most part, I would refrain from stepping in and instead would idly sit by on a stool across the kitchen counter. The only times that I would step back into the kitchen to either set the table or clean the dishes. But before you go judging on the fairness or the unfairness of the splitting of chores, let’s get back to where the real story is, let’s revisit my latest little favorite word…SOUS CHEF! During the last few dinners, especially the last one we had, Felipe has really let me into the kitchen. And I gotta say, the two of us working the kitchen is truly an incredible experience. Given the limited space and the limited time available to execute a three course dinner, all movements have to be completely synchronized. The communication has to be precise and simple, and you have to really put all trust in each other that at the end, everything will taste, look, and smell deliciously.

I love being in the kitchen’s circle of trust, taking sensory leaps of faith, and knowing I can impact the outcome of the food, even it its only a tiny bit. I am happy to assist and shall continue assisting!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Healthier Side of Life

What an awesome time. Sometimes it is really fun to write in retrospect, why? Well because before every dinner I am always running. Always with the adrenaline levels high, yet the stress levels are low. The adventure begins the moment I step out of work. The dash to the market (usually Whole Foods, but after today I think Chelsea Market is by far the best place to go in New York City for crazy ingredients), running through the aisles to grab all the ingredients as quickly as I can. I always have a list written, ALWAYS, if not I will get distracted in the amazing truffle oil or the fresh sea bass or what not. I need to focus, this place is the closest thing to a playground that I have had since I was 6 years old. Veggies, check, fruit, check, meats or seafood check. Do I need some saffron butter? No, but at that gives me some amazing ideas for the future! Regardless, the point is I never have enough time to write in real time before the dinner. The moment we close the door after our last guest has left there is an immediate rush of "Wow, what a fantastic success!" And that is the energy we use to communicate with. So again... What an awesome night.

Challenges are always fun. And every week we receive people with different dietary needs or restrictions. Its part of our plan to adapt to others instead of other adapting to our food. At the end of the day I prefer for everyone to enjoy their dinners rather than leave a plate half full of food. So this time around, when I heard we had a vegetarian coming, I decided to have the appetizer dedicated to her needs, and it wasn't a salad. That morning while running, I had a crazy inspiration to make a ceviche, but instead of your regular ceviche I would make a veggie ceviche. In my head it made sense, now it just needed to execute it well.

As for the main dish, I wasn't going to sacrifice the protein for everyone, but I wasn't going to let our vegetarian suffer either. So I made a delicious zucchini pasta (imagine the zucchini cut jullien style, mimicking a linguini) as a side (main dish for our vegetarian) with turkey-bacon wrapped scallops. Imagine this combined with some amazing champagne, malbec and great friends, the perfect combination for a great night.

Now for all of you reading this, and I really hope there are a lot of you reading this. Please let me know what you think about the recipes. If you try them out, let me know how they went. I would love your feedback. We finally fixed the feedback options below, so you can leave it as anonymous if you would like. Oh, and by the way, thanks for reading!

Here are the recipes:

Veggie Ceviche
2 green tomatos
10 baby corns
1 red onion
1 white pear
1 cup of edamame beans
6 limes squeezed
1/2 cup of fresh orange juice.
3 tb spoons of fresh cut cilantro
3 tb spoons of fresh thyme
3 tb spoons of fresh rosemary

The preparation of this is quite simple, the only real trick is in you mastery with the knife. All ingredients must be sliced very very thin, to the degree in which its almost transparent. Nothing is cooked, steamed, or baked, thats what the citric acids of the lime and orange are for. Begin by placing the lime juice and the orange juice in a mixing bowl. Then cut the red onion as thins as you can place it into the juice mix. After that, cut and mix the rest of the veggies as thin as you can and mix it with the onions. The baby carrots might be more difficult to slice, so try to at least cut in half. The edamame beans is the only veggie that you have to steam, but after steaming cool quickly by rinsing through ice cold water. Split the edamame in half (can be done easily by hand). Once all veggies are mixed in, add the chopped cilantro, thyme and rosemary. Let the mix sit in a fridge for about an hour, this will allow the lime juice and orange juice to seep into the veggies.

Zucchini Pasta
1 green zucchini
1 yellow zucchini
1 lemongrass
3 servings of spaghetti (about half of a box)

Another very simple dish to prepare where the most important part of the preparation is the actual cutting of the veggie. Cut the zucchinis jullien style (into long thin straw like pieces) and steam for about 4 minutes in salted water with the lemongrass (cut in half longwise).
Cook the past in boiling water with salt (do not worry about adding a lot of salt, this will flavor the pasta) to al dente.
Mix the zucchinis and the pasta together. To serve, twist the pasta with a large serving fork onto the plate and make sure the zucchini (which will be soft and flexible) is wrapped around to give it the feeling of additional pasta.
You may see this plate, a pasta with no additional sauce as bland, but the taste all lies in the preparation of each ingredient. You will end up with a very flavorful combination.

Turkey bacon wrapped Scallops
18 Scallops
9 pieces of turkey bacon
3 tb spoons of fresh thyme
3 tb spoons of fresh rosemary
1 cup of orange juice
4 tb spoons of butter
4 tb spoons of olive oil
1 shallot
3 tb spoons of aged balsamic (about 12 to 15 years)

For the sauce, chop the shallot up and place it into a sauce pan with half of the butter melted. Add a pinch of salt then the orange juice with the olive oil. Let the mix reduce a bit. Very simple, but the olive oil and the oranje juice should create a great flavorful mix.
For the scallops, cut the bacon in half lengthwise (most turkey bacon is very wide) and wrap each scallop with the raw bacon. Put a toothpick through the bacon and the scallop. Heat up the skillet and place the butter to melt. Salt each scallop with a small pinch of sea salt and a mix of rosemary and thyme. Place the scallops in the hot skillet salted face down and repeat mixture on the other side. Cook each side for about 5 minutes (bacon will cook through, do not worry).
When serving the scallops, be sure to remove the toothpicks (thats what I am actually doing in the picture above). Sprinkle the orange sauce on each scallop and the aged balsamic after that. Sprinkle some on the empty plate for decoration purpose.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Viva España!

The night was marked by amazing people, spectacular wine, and delicious food. And for this very special dinner in lieu of Spain's amazing victory agains Holland in the Final for the World Cup, I give you the Spanish inspired dishes!

I also need to make a very special note to the wines of the night. We started the night with beautiful Cabernet Sauvignon vintage selection (1996) from the Burgess Vinyard in Napa. We then followed that with a delicious aromatic 2004 Chateu Redortier Beaumes-de-Venise. We then returned to the Cabs with an amazing full-bodied Rudd Crossroads. For the great finale we opened a very special bottle of Cabernet that is the creation of the Two Hands vineyard from Barossa Valley (Australia) but from their Napa Valley venture. This last wine was a beautiful complexity and definitely the highlight of the wines of the night.

And now for the recipes with the Spanish flavor:

Gazpacho Shooters
7 Peeled plum tomatos (remove the seeds)
1 tb spoon of red wine vinegar
1/2 cup of diced cucumber
1/4 cup of bread crumbs
1 t spoon of Tabasco sauce
1 t spoon of Worcestershire sauce

Begin by blending the plum tomatos, then begin to add all the ingredients one by one until liquified. Add salt and pepper to taste. To serve place in wide shot glasses and garnish with one or two cucumber slices.

Asparagus & Jamon Serrano
12 Asparagus
12 slices of jamon serrano
3 tb spoons of olive oil

Preheat oven at 350° F. Wrap the asparagus with the Serrano until completely covered. Place asparagus on baking sheet and cover with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Place in oven for no more than 10 minutes, turning the asparagus around half way through. The Serrano should be almost crispy.

Jamon y Melon
12 pieces of cubed cantaloup
12 slices of Jamon Serrano

This is perhaps the most common Spanish dish, but its for a good reason, the combination in taste is spectacular. All you do to serve is take a piece of cantaloup and wrap it with the Serrano and serve. Very simple, very tasty.

Filet Mignon with Cabernet Reduction and Morel mushroom sauce
6 pieces of Filet Mignon (about 1 inch thick)
2 shallots
2 tb spoons of butter
1 750ml bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon (if you won't drink it, don't cook with it, buy a decent bottle of wine)
2 tb spoons of fresh rosemary chopped
3 tb spoons of cream
30 morel mushrooms (medium sized)

For the sauce:
Chop up the shallots into very small pieces. Melt the butter in a saucepan at medium heat and add the chopped shallots and rosemary until soft. Add the bottle of wine and begin to reduce at medium to medium low flame. You want to reduce the bottle until you have about a third of the wine left, about 30 to 45 minutes, stir occasionally. Add the cream and a pinch of salt for consistency and taste. In a separate pan cook the mushrooms with a little bit of butter, salt and pepper. Once cooked (they cook quickly about 3 to 5 minutes) add to sauce.

For meat:
While cooking the sauce, pepper the meat and let sit. When ready to cook add salt to both sides and quickly sear each side of the steaks for no more than a minute to seal the flavors in. Then place into oven to broil. Since the meat is not too thick do not leave in there for long. about 3 to 4 minutes for medium.
Serve to plate and add sauce on top.

Saffron Rice
2 cups of long grain rice
2 cups of water
1 cup of chicken broth
1 t spoon of saffron threads
2 tb spoons of butter
1/4 cup fo chopped onions

Heat butter in medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft. add the saffron and then the rice and stir. Cook rice thoroughly until covered in rice saffron and onions. Add water and broth and cover. Cook for about 20 minutes at low heat then turn off flame and leave semi uncovered for 5 minutes.

Green Beans and Almonds
1/2 lb of green beans
2 tb spoons of butter
1/2 cup of sliced almonds
pinch of salt

Cut the green beans into 2 inch long pieces and steam for about 2 minutes. Toast the almonds with a little bit of butter until golden brown. Add the beans and the additional butter and salt, lightly sauté for about 2 minutes and serve.

The presentation was a great part of this dinner. Please check out the pictures on the right and check it out.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Todo por la madre patria!

Now that Spain has won, and I am writing this on retrospect, it makes it so much more fun! Let me describe a bit of the scenario.

Setting: Wednesday 9:45. I arrive at home, open the door still with my earphones on. I am listening to music loud enough to make me know that when I will get older, and I will be that annoying grandma that can’t hear anything. I look up at Felipe who is seating on the Couch, all concentration is placed on his videogame. We lock eyes and we both know, we have made it through, we can read victory in our eyes! We have made it through the entire day without knowing the outcome of the Spain vs. Germany semifinal game. We had decided to DVR the game and attempt watching it fake LIVE at 10PM that night. It turns out, you can do that here in the States! It was difficult, but not as hard as I though it would be.

So after we saw Spain win, already knowing what the menu for the following night was going to be, we decided to scratch everything and start from the beginning. Felipe, still feeling the glory of the big win, got up from the couch and picked up two thick books on Spanish cuisine. He looked over at me, and we knew, we had some homework to do. We both sat on the bar stools, post-it notes in hand, and began marking “viable” recipes. Hey, could we have done it any differently? After all, Felipe was born there, Spain has never made it to the Finals and the World Cup does happen every four years.

Here is a sneak peek to what ended up being a night full of "Furia Roja!" More to come shortly from Felipe...

Friday, July 9, 2010

Celebrating Independence through food!

One of the unexpected results that we have created through this great experiment of ours is the reevaluation of human connections. We have created a catalyst for communication to happen in person and through the virtual world in which we all live in and where you are reading this right now.

After reading our close friend and last weeks guest’s comments about her experience at Worth Street ( I realized that we are officially trying to bridge the gap of interactivity and personal interconnectivity that the internet has created. Then today my mom sends me a text message with the following message (translated from Spanish to English) “People are in great need of support from others. With great need to connect and further understand ourselves.” This reverberated through my head… are we really that simple creatures that all we need in order to satisfy some of our basic humans needs is to connect with other and find support in them? Well, if our Latina blogger friend is right, then I am very happy to offer a “real” connection to all of you out there. We are all about the connection, the joy that it brings to enjoy a great dinner amongst friends.

Enough ranting and self-promotion… and now for the recipes of our patriotic night:

Corn on the Cob with Chili Butter

6 Sweet corn on the cobs
3 tb spoons of Butter (room temperature)
2 tb spoons of chili powder (I used chile de arbol for additional spiciness)

Boil (or steam) the corn for about 5 – 7 minutes, until nice and tender. Drain them from the pot and quickly pass them through ice cold water. This will stop the corn from continuing to cook. Place a wooden skewer through the bottom and serve.

While the corn is cooking, prepare the butter. Place the soft butter in a bowl and sprinkle the chili powder on top. With a spoon, begin to mix the chili into the butter by pressing into it. After about a minute of mixing and pressing you should end up with a red colored mix.

When serving, the corn, add a piece of butter to the top.

“Pulled Pork” Chicken with arepas

2 chicken breast with bone

For the arepas: (not traditional recipe)
1 ¼ cups of chicken broth
1 cup of water
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 ½
cups masa harina (special flour for arepas purchased at Whole Foods)
½ cup of fresh parmesan cheese
1 t spoon cumin

For the BBQ style sauce:
1 tb spoon of butter
2 tb spoons of chipotle
1 cup of white wine
1 yellow onion
½ cup of whipping cream
½ cup of goat cheese
1 tb spoon of liquid hickory smoke

Boil the chicken in salted water. About 10 minutes. While chicken cooks prepare the sauce and the arepas. Both should take about 10-15 minutes to prepare. Once chicken in ready, drain and keep the broth to use it in the arepa mixture. Pass chicken through cold water and begin pulling the chicken meat from the bones. The result will be like shredded chicken. Keep in a bowl.

For sauce, chop up the onion and place into sauce pan with melting butter. Cook until sof. Add the cup of white wine and let sit for 5-7 minutes as it reduces. Add remainder of ingredients, and mix well. Once prepared, place through food processor or blender until liquid. Return the sauce into the saucepan and mix chicken into it.

For the arepas, bring the broth, water, salt and 1 tb spoon of salt to a boil in a saucepan. Pour the broth mix into a separate bowl and let it cool a bit. Mix in the masa harina and the cheese ands tir until you get the consistency of a batter. Let mix set and cool for some minutes.
Once cooled, begin to form small balls and flatten. My trick was to place ball inside a zip lock bag and flatten with a cutting board. Then cook in hot pan with remaining olive oil. About 1 minute per side.

To serve, place one arepa on plate, serve chicken and add another arepa on top.

Fried Zucchini

2 zucchinis
1 cup of panko bread crumbs
2 eggs
2 cups of cooking oil for frying (canola)

Cut zucchinis julienne style, thickness as preferred but about ½ inch thick. Heat the oil in a frying pan. In two different bowls add the eggs and the bread crumbs. Beat the eggs thoroughly and pass the zucchinis into the eggs and let them soak. Then place on top of the bread crumbs until covered. Place into the hot oil and let fry for about 1 minute. Remove zucchini and let them sit on a paper towel while you cook them all in order to collect and residual oil.

3 Cheese Mac and cheese

2 tb spoons butter
1 leek chopped (only white and pale green portion)
2 shallots, chopped
1 ½ cups dry white wine
½ cup whipping cream
1 cup Taleggio cheese cut into small cubes
1 cup of mascarpone cheese
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon sliced whole black truffles
1 pound small elbow macaroni
¾ cup of sliced prosciutto, chopped

Crumb topping
1 cup fresh panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons butter

This recipe is full of very delicate flavor, and you need to be careful not to overpower one or the other. Begin by cooking the pasta in salted water until ‘al dente’. While pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a saucepan, add chopped shallots, leeks and a pinch of salt. Once soft, add the white wine and let it reduce for 10 minutes. Then add the cheeses into the mix along with the cream. Pasta should be done by now, so drain and sauce to pasta. Remove from heat.
I like to have my prosciutto a bit crunchy, so I toasted it a little on a separate pan then added it to the mac & cheese. For the truffles, slice them thinly and mix into the warm pasta, this allows for the full flavor of the truffle to be released without overpowering anything.
For the breadcrumbs, on the same pan that you toasted the prosciutto, melt the butter then add the breadcrumbs. The crumbs absorb all the butter and then begin to toast until brown.
When serving the mac & cheese, add the bread crumbs to the top.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Best of Both Worlds

Last Thursday’s dinner at Worth Street was what I like to call a “double sided patriotic experience”. Beyond the food being delicious, and the company exquisite, the entire evening was a true testament of how lucky we are to be able to move back and forth between the American and the Latin world.

To pay tribute to 4th of July weekend, which was just around the corner, all elements of the night moved smoothly between these two incredible cultures. A salsa song would promptly be followed by U2, what looked like a pulled pork sandwich was actually chicken “al chipotle” squeezed in the middle of two arepas, and a good beer (we drank Belgian beer, but we’ll pretend it was an “All American classic”) was followed by great Argentinean wine.

And before we knew it, the carefully planned out chaos, the American world and the Latin world began to tango. And the guest, wow, it was really incredible to see how equally excited they would get when the experience leaned towards one culture or the other. The thing is, it is very difficult to live right in the cultural middle, but that Thursday, all of the guests, including Felipe and myself, found the middle to be each other’s middle ground, and a great place to be.

Among the guest invited was a good friend of ours and a great blogger, and her husband, a Phillipino with the moves that are found only amongst native born Colombians. She documents Latinas’ experiences in the US, he behaves and dances like a true Latino at heart. Another guest was a Cuban American girl and good friend and colleague of mine, who has been an ally to me at work. At work, she is “the other” Latina in a sea of “gringos”.

These guests, just as last Thursday at Worth Street, found a way to get just the right Latin and American dosage into their lives. Maybe what happens to people like us, who find themselves in the middle, is that no matter how much of the American experience surrounds us, we really would enjoy it just a tiny bit more if we could spread some chile butter on top.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Learning from your mistakes... (the recipes)

One thing that we both have realized is that without repeating recipes, it will become very difficult to perfect any one. At the end of the day practice does make perfect, and without the continuous repetition of a specific dish, it will be lacking the set of "signature" dishes. Regardless, one thing that I am putting to practice over and over is technique and creativeness, two things that are extremely important in the kitchen. Through making mistakes you can learn more technique and creativeness than imaginable. Be grateful for the mistakes you make, they will make you a better person, in whatever it is you do in life.

And now for the recipes of the night. Overall... delicious.

Seared artichoke hearts
8 artichoke hearts
4 garlic cloves
2 tb spoons of olive oil
1 tb spoons of pepperocini (dried & flaked)
salt & pepper to taste
¼ cup of parmesan cheese

You can purchase artichoke hearts already cooked, the best ones are the ones that are in olive oil. However, you can cook them yourself by boiling the artichokes for about 30 minutes then cleaning the artichoke hearts. (you can do this a day before and then leave the hearts floating in olive oil).
Warm up a pan with the olive oil. Cut the garlic into thin slices and toast in the oil. Add the pepperocini to allow the taste to be released. Add the artichoke hearts cut in half and sear for a few minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
When serving place the cheese on top of the artichokes for added flavor.

Green Pea White Truffle Risotto
2 cups of Arborio rice
3 cups of chicken broth
½ cup of white wine
2 tb spoons of butter
1 cup of parmesan cheese
2 shallots
1 cup of green peas (steamed)
3 tb spoons of white truffle oil
¼ cup of heavy whipping cream

Chop the shallots into small pieces. Heat the butter in a pot at medium high heat. Add the shallots and get them nice and soft. Then add the rice and stir into the butter. Make sure you cover all the rice and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the wine and ½ cup of the broth and a pinch of salt. Stir continuously as the liquid is absorbed into the rice. Continue to add the broth ½ cup at a time. The risotto will become creamy as it continues to cook. Make sure to try it to make sure it is ready. Add the cream, peas and truffle oil; stir in. Add the cheese before serving and make sure it melts into the rice.

New Orleans style Poached Shrimp
12-15 large shrimp (peeled)
½ cup of butter (2 sticks)
2 tb spoons of Old Bay Seasoning (secret ingredient)
2 tb spoons of Paprika
4 cloves of garlic chopped

Melt the butter in a pan and stir in the garlic and the seasonings. Let the butter mix heat up and allow some time for the flavors to fully be released. Add the shrimp to the mix and allow about 5-7 minuts for the shrimp to be fully cooked (poached). Serve with a spoonful of the sauce on top for full flavor.

Mascarpone Chocolate Mousse with Bananas
This recipe was taken directly from the cook book of Harry Sasson, a fantastic Colombian chef.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Dinner #4 - The Pressure of the In-Laws

I write this in retrospect of what was a great Thursday. I have not been able to get to it earlier as we had a very busy weekend, but we had a very special Thursday as it was the first time we host one of our parents to Thursday’s at Worth. Our special guests this week were Tamy’s parents, so of course the dinner had to be amazing. The menu was set on Wednesday night, once again at around 11:30 I finished writing the last item on the grocery list. This time, however, instead of visiting my favorite Whole Foods market in TriBeCa, I made my way to perhaps one of the best blocks of food in New York; Bleeker between Leroy & Morton street. In this one block you have the Lobster Place (Seafood Market), Murray’s Cheese, Faicco’s Italian Specialties & Amy’s Bread. This place is amazing. I headed there straight out of work on Thursday… first stop The Lobster Place.

My menu called for some King Prawns, when I got to the store, the vendors looked at me perplexed. I figured it had been a while since someone came in asking for some King Prawns, something which they obviously did not have. So quick change in menu and they recommended for me to take the Blue Shrimp, which arrived this morning straight from the Australian southern shores. Perfect, they looked amazing and had to be very tasty. My plan… poach them in butter!

Next stop, Murray’s cheese to pick up some artichoke hearts that have been sitting in olive oil, parmesan cheese and white truffle infused olive oil. Then to Faicco’s for the risotto, the mascarpone and the cream. Finish it off a the local grocery market (Bleeker Farm) on the corner to get the peas, bananas and everything else that was missing and I was set.

The evening was starting perfectly. I had plenty of time, the menu in itself was very straight forward. The only complicated plate was the dessert which I got out of the way very early in the night. But any good cook will know, the smallest mistake can make or break your plate, and unfortunately I made one of those. My mistake was that I forgot to peel the shrimp before poaching them. It sounds insignificant, but what happened was that the shell stuck to the shrimp and once cooked, made it very difficult to peel. I served the shrimp with shell and only when the guest began trying hard to peel the shrimp did I realize my horrid mistake. It was a bit of a mess. The saving grace was that the shrimp were delicious, the sauce fantastic and the risotto was perfect.

In all honesty I was upset at myself for not thinking the recipe through all the way, but at the end of the day a great lesson was learned. Its how I will continue to improve my technique in cooking and its will only make me better for the future. In this case I was very lucky to have great parents-in-law that only spoke praises of the dishes and the night. For this reason Thursday June 24th was a great night!