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!

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