May 22, 2010

First Taste

We had a great time last night at our first gig! As a late wedding present, we cooked a three-course meal for Paul's co-worker, Jeanine, and her new husband, Josh. We packed what seemed like our entire kitchen, all of our ingredients, some beer and champagne for Jeanine and Josh, and a big wine glass for whatever shiraz we didn't use in the food (a happy chef makes for a great meal).

I'll admit, I went nerdy and wore my chef get-up that I bought a while back when Paul and I were still dreaming up this business. I refuse to wear the chef's hat, though. Makes my head look shapeless. A UT cap works perfectly fine. I even put my meat thermometer in my sleeve pocket. Might as well go for it if you're gonna look the part, right?

We really wanted to do it up, so our menu included:


Of course, when we unloaded all our bags, we were nowhere near organized, so it was slow going at first, but once we got going, everything went smoothly. Paul was lead chef because the recipes on the night's menu were mostly his. I tried to be the best sous chef I could and fight my tiny urge to be in charge.

First came the...

ACAPULCO NACHOS (a Paul original)

2 avacados, cubed
1/2 lb. cocktail shrimp
small container crab meat
1/4 lb. pico de gallo (or less or more, depending on your taste)
juice of 2 lemons
grated cotija cheese
small scoop tortilla chips

Combine avacado cubes, shrimp, crab meat, and pico de gallo in a large bowl. Add lemon juice and stir to coat ingredients. Spoon the mixture into the scoop chips and top with the cotija cheese.

It's a simple recipe and DELICIOUS! If you have the time and patience, you could bake wonton wraps in muffin tins to make small cups and serve the nachos in these. I'm tempted to find some way to fry the mixture in small balls. I'll get back to you on that. I'm also wondering what a little fresh basil or cilantro would do for the flavor. Definitely an easy recipe to make your own.

The vinaigrette was rather simple...

Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
a handful of fresh raspberries
1 tsp. sugar

Vigorously whisk together vinegar, olive oil, and garlic or shake in a cruet. Season with salt and pepper. Lightly crush raspberries, add to dressing, and add sugar. Whisk or shake again to combine all ingredients.

The sugar is what made the dressing. It was tasting a bit oily, but the sweetness gave it more body.

By this time, I had opened the wine. I'm notorious for breaking corks, and this one was no exception. We ended up having to push half the cork into the bottle, but a few cork flecks never killed anybody...

I had been saving this bottle for a while. I got it free from my apartment's office when I filled out their annual survey. And doesn't free make everything taste better? Smelled a bit heavy, but tasted great. Full-bodied without coating my tongue with that barrel taste some red wines have. A couple of glasses, and I was one happy cook. (This is as sophisticated as my wine reviews get, guys.)

We were moving at a good pace. It was time for our big show-off piece, the spicy pepperoni chicken, another Paul original. It. Is. Delicious! I was wowed the first time I had it and requested it for my birthday last year.

Who doesn't love melted cheese oozing over big slices of pepperoni?

We finished it off with molten chocolate cakes and homemade whipped cream. Come on! It doesn't get better than that.

Our first job was over. We left behind two full, happy friends, and took our tired selves home to celebrate. We got a little too loud with the music, but that's another story...

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