Sister Luncheon

All right, so the date is wrong.  Sue me.

All right, so the date is wrong. Sue me.

Around the end of January, Kenisha and I went over to Boo’s to drink, talk, laugh, drink, cook dinner, drink, and drink.  I cooked a spicy noodle dish and made manhattans for us all until we didn’t know what was what.  The next morning, Boo told me about the Sister Lunch she was planning and asked if I would act as her personal chef.  We decided to host an international, six-course meal, with each course coming from a different country from around the world and served with a different wine.  What follows are pictures and summaries of each dish, the wine they were paired with, and then pics of the beautiful settings and ambiance that Boo created.

Warning: I can get sort of long-winded when talking about food (or anything else) so if you don’t feel like reading, I won’t be insulted if y’all just look at the pictures.

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Starters – Honeydew, Mango & Strawberries – Served with Mimosas

This was just to help clean the palette and prep my aunts for the cuisine journey to come.  Served with mimosas, because what else are you supposed to drink in the morning?  Coffee?  Pffbtptbtpbtttt!  I spit on coffee (you shouldn’t drink my coffee).

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1st Course – Italy – Roasted Asparagus, Prosciutto and Leek Frittata – Served with Chardonnay

Starting our tour off in Italy, I made a frittata (which is a flat omelet) that was light, fluffy and tasty; something that you could gobble down without being filled up too much.  We picked a Chardonnay that was equally as light so as not to overpower the subtle flavors of asparagus, leek and eggs.

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2nd Course – Greece – Greek Salad in a Feta Vinaigrette with Rack of Lamb – Served with Petite Syrah

Moving eastward, this salad (which included kalamata olives, cucumbers, marinated cherry tomatoes and capers) was lightly tossed with a feta vinaigrette, and served with a marinated, seared and roasted rack of lamb.  Despite fears that lamb might be too gamey (although I don’t really know what that means), it turned out to be one of the highlights of the entire meal.  I cooked it medium rare because that’s the only way to eat meat.  If you’re afraid to eat meat that still has a little blood, you need to grow up and join the rest of us who like our food to taste good.  The dish was salty, tangy, and it was the course that showed we weren’t fucking around.  It was served with a Petite Syrah – a red wine to go with the lamb, but still a little sweet to combat the ever-loving saltiness of feta, olives and capers.

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3rd Course – Peru – Sopa Criolla – Served with Pinot Noir

Enough with this Euro-faire; let us move on to more exotic pastures!  We picked a Peruvian soup that had a deep, earthy flavor.  Made with a beef stock base, something called aji panca paste, fried bread, and ground beef, it was surprisingly mild.  The original recipe called for the soup to be made with angel hair pasta and a fried egg to top everything off, which I tried when I first tested the soup.  But because I had already used egg in the first course and the angel hair pasta was far too filling, I opted for quinoa (a South American grain akin to brown rice) instead of pasta, and a mix of chopped tomatoes and roasted zucchini and onions instead of a fried egg.  We served this with a Pinot Noir because . . . I don’t know.  I don’t know much about wine.  I drink it, not study it.  Leave me alone.

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4th Course – Thailand – Drunken Noodles with Shrimp – Served with Riesling

Spicy noodles, lots of shrimp, and made with alcohol, this was a great dish to bring in the Asian cuisine.  Normally an incredibly spicy dish, I tuned down the heat for the lunch so the diners’ noses didn’t start running all over the table (although who knows? It might have improved it somehow . . . I’ll keep doing research on that).  Because I let the wok heat up to the point where it started to turn blue, the shrimp came out a bright red-orange and almost looked like prawns.  We served this with Riesling, a sweeter white wine, to help fight the heat.

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5th Course – American Nouveau – Eggrolos with Vanilla Ice Cream, Cranberry Glaze and Mint – Served with Port

You know Rolos?  Those tiny chocolate and caramel candies that come in a tube?  If you can imagine those wrapped up in an eggroll and deep fried, and when you cut into it warm caramel and chocolate ooze all over your plate (or you), you would have this dish.  Rich milk chocolate ganache, buttery homemade caramel (by far the hardest thing I had to make, ever), a hot crispy wrapper dusted with sugar and salt, cold ice cream, tart cranberry glaze, along with a port that tasted like caramel and chocolate, this was my favorite course.  Not just because it was delicious, mind you, but also because it is a recipe of my own creation and I am an arrogant bastard at heart.  You can read further about this (along with a recipe) at my blog www.theeternalloop.com.

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Ambiance

We hung up drapes to create a canopy over the table (with a lot of binder clips – I took a picture of all the ones we used), ran vines and put plants all over the place, and placed wine bottles on the wall ledge to create an intimate atmosphere akin to a small Tuscan garden.  Boo decorated the table in simple yet elegant black and white design, with a lovely set of dinnerware and pretty pink bracelets that she used as napkin holders.  There are also some pictures of a wreath on the front door (made by Boo), a A/C unit cover (made by me), and chair covers that hid the fact that everyone was sitting on plain-ass folding chairs.  A few other photos are there, mostly of us all after the luncheon was over, of the amount of dishes we used during the party, and of all the wine bottles that were used during that day as well as the testing (there were over 24).

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Needless to say, both Brenda and I were exhausted after the event.  I was so tired, I had a hard time sleeping, and found it difficult to walk for the next two days.  Still, I couldn’t help but keep cooking.  The next day, I made Shrimp and Grits for our breakfast (made with bacon and pepper jack), and another Greek salad (but this time we each got TWO lamb chops).

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It was a fantastic day that could have only been improved by having someone to photograph everything, as we were all too busy cooking/eating/drinking to do it ourselves.  Other than that, it was perfect.  Many thanks to Boo for letting me be a part of her plans, and for having to put up with methods (I refer to my previous ‘arrogant bastard’ statement).  It was a joyous experience that will be difficult to match.

All my love,

NicBoo and Nic

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