Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Rosh Hashanah and Tour des Suds Dinner!

9:30am at City Park, Tour des Suds Mountain Bike Race!
We are blessed with amazing friends. Go team!
Let's see how this goes. This, this...blogging thing. 
I am a new hiker. Spectacular morning includes 2 hr speedy hike led by awesome Lady-K. Life talk, food talk, kids talk, back-in-the-day talk, cook talk, what-now talk, omg talk. Fast and furious. So I get physically and emotionally fulfilled by 11:15am! Then to lunch at Takashi with hubby consuming 2 orders of Sablefish nigiri, King Kong, Strawberry Fields, Summit w/Peach and 2 pots of tea. So satisfying!
The mountains are transforming and the days are gorgeous. And the blog talk sounds intriguing.
I want to talk about my kind of food. The stuff I daydream about. Food. Cooking. Grocery shopping. Food in the hood. My love affair with Costco. My 2am cravings of red meat. Lighting my hair on fire at the grill (more than once!). Dinner parties. My weakness for beautiful flowers. Ripe mango. Rice cookers. Cooking with kids all over the place. Doing it all with no time and no help! Throwing fancy-looking dinner parties with a BUDGET. Yes, I even keep to a budget!
The latest fun cooking gig was last Sunday. It was a glorious day that began with the Tour des Suds and closed with a victory dinner and end of Rosh Hashanah celebration.

Sunday night was fantastic here. 45 awesome friends - Catholics, Muslims, Mormons, Protestants, Jews and some nonreligious ones - show up. It was a magical fusion night done kosher-like-asian style with a lot of wine, perfect weather and, most importantly, no little kids around! When we gather everyone inside, hubby gives a warm toast and I light candles and say the prayer, break the bread... and we drink and we eat and we drink the school-night away!

(1) Vegetarian Eggrolls
(2) Dragonfruit

(1) Rice Noodles, bean sprouts, chopped lettuce, shiso leaf, mint, thai basil
(2) Beef Stew in lemon grass, with carrots and daikon
(3) Tofu stuffed with Beef, in tomato and onion
(4) Mushrooms, mixed wild mushrooms in ginger, garlic
(5) Chilean Seabass, seared in peppers, chinese bbq, rice vinegar
(6) Lamb, racks in mustard and herbs
(7) Tofu Stew with empire mushrooms, carrots, sour vegetables, daikon
(8) Vegetarian Steamed Rice Rolls
(9) Salad, Lychee, Strawberries, Cucumber in mustard sesame vinaigrette
(10) Grilled Red Chicken Skewers
(11) Porridge with tilapia, ginger, cilantro, scallion, eggwhites, corn carrot

(1) Mochi in red bean, black sesame, chocolate
(2) Lychee and Strawberries tossed in Shiso
(3) Cassava Mungbean Cake

Many dish disasters that evening, but overall people looked happy and well-fed and everyone left with nice things to say. Sunday is already so far back already. The details aren't too fresh in my head, so I hesitate retelling the details of food preparation for each dish, in risk of misrepresenting. Oh, and I completely forgot to take pictures of the food! Believe me, the above menu was really all out on the buffet.

I started writing this hoping to relive hour by hour to share with you in vivid detail the sort-of HELL I went through to pull off the dinner party. It wasn't really that bad, it's just that I get this ambitious amount of energy to squeeze in another dish and then another dish...and maybe one more dish? Time-management is all!

I hope that my 3 helpers will show up at 2pm and at 3pm. By 3pm, enormous amounts of toys, clutter, art supplies and bags of food are still piled up all over the place. I am steaming rice rolls. Boiling my 4th batch of rice noodles. (I mess up the 3 previous batches and the noodles boil into a solid dense cylinder of rice cake. Gosh!) The tofu, the oil, mint leaves all over the place, where are the lychees? where are they?!... Multi-tasking in excess. We were expecting 45 guests to come at 6pm "sharp," mainly as a courtesty for "the morning after" for those mommies with no nannies (like, moi!) and hubbies with day jobs (like, mine!). As expected, half show up between 30 and 45 minutes late. Still light out, everyone enjoyed wine and stunning views from the deck.

I'm trying to remember the day from start to finish, but all I can think of is the annoying FISH. The hell started from the beginning when I decided to use cod (so out of season, thus frozen fillet portions) and a real solid legit miso marinade recipe from the Nobu cookbook.

Total waste. 3-day miso-marinaded cod bad bad BAD when I test-broiled (something I never do) a piece for breakfast early Sunday. Even the cat didn't eat it. The plan was doomed from the beginning. I never use recipes! I've had this very Nobu miso cod dish at a dear friend's house a million times and loved it every single time and kept meaning to try it. The simpleness was alluring - marinate, broil, bake and serve, voila (vs frantic flash-searing in popping scorching oil). I thought I was getting my act together, doing advance prep, marinating for days for extra yumminess, thinking it would show up on the buffet as the ultimate complex sexy delish fish entree. Not! What a waste of all that cod, the miso, the mirin, the sake. So disappointing. Waste!

So, no cod. With all the fish-loving dinner guests, what do I do? I can't serve salmon, just can't. I immediately crave buttery, something cod-like. Chilean Seabass! You can NEVER go wrong with Chilean Seabass as it is nearly fullproof and will be the perfect buffet fish dish. Never dries out, doesn't overcook. I call around and find it at $11 a pound at a little Vietnamese market in West Valley. I order 7 pounds cut into 2 inch steaks (bone-in). When the sitter arrives at 11am and I go get it.

I don't think I can finish this posting, as I keep getting off topic rambling forever. Evolved into cod-venting post. The task of writing out recipes with measurements, EXACT measurements, sounds too hard! I DREAD DREAD DREAD writing out measurements. I don't know where to start with the recipes. Next time. Ugh. I will end this now. Oh, the lamb I served Sunday night was overcooked. I HATE well-done lamb. Ugh. I am SO annoyed I served overcooked well done lamb. AHH!


  1. omg..lisa you are amazing! you decide to do something and it's done! this is fab. i know what you mean about typing recipes though. it took me months to post a pizza dough recipe on fb, and i still owe these ladies a twix cookie recipe. and i have the need to figure out the amounts. yikes. you will probably need to post some though. i can't believe you didn't take pics sunday night! it was so beautiful.

  2. I didn't taste any disasters, every thing was amazing! You are amazing!

    And, what is this about pregnancy amnesia??? Are you talking past or present? Hmm? Do tell!

  3. okay. pregnancy amnesia resulting from PAST PAST PAST pregnancies! *no current pregnancies happening here*

  4. Lisa! Such an unconventional “chef’s blog” yet very captivating…which is so you! It was long, and I was driving in the car, but I kept reading anyway. Loved it.