Sunday, November 05, 2006

An Evening of Excessive Estrogen

As a birthday treat for my friend HL, I offered to cook her dinner at her own place in WeHo. The last time I had dinner with her was nearly a year ago and felt it was time to wine & dine as we used to. Last week we discussed what kind of food would make her belly full. She proudly stated that she is not a picky eater. I proposed a few dishes and heard this in return...

"No squashes."
"No peppers."
"No mushrooms."
"No scallops."

Great, those are only four of my favorite things to cook and eat haha. After democratic discussions, we settled on a menu. Saturday, J and I spent the afternoon foraging for our culinary ingredients. As soon as we got home, we quickly prepped as much as we could. Although I'm used to bringing my whole kitchen to a client's place for catering, I really wanted to travel with the least amount of things. Cooking is never the hard part, it's the loading, unloading and cleaning that make it a strenuous task. We loaded up my plates, knives and food and drove down to WeHo.

HL's place is seriously a great place to have a dinner party. It really looks like a showroom from one of those West Elm catalogs. The kitchen was wide open and made moving around easy... and the guests were within sniffing distance. It's always a good thing to cook food near guests and stimulate their senses.

And just when I thought her place couldn't be more feminine, HL started to light candles. Like, more than you really needed haha. I counted... 1, 2, 3, 4... and a few more in the living room. Whoa. I felt like any minute, a seance would commence. It was me versus three girls.

As soon as we unloaded the groceries, HL and her friend M started pouring the wine. With nearly 6 bottles set on the table, there was going to be some serious drinking tonight. J had never met HL & M before but as most girls do, immediately started chatting away. While I cooked to the sound of sizzling hot oil and overhead fan whirring, I was slowly tuned out of their conversations. I could hear bits of pieces....

"Where'd you get those earrings?"
"I like your hair!"
"Forever 21."
"Sample sales."
"Romantic comedies."
"Oh boys."
"Oh my god."
"I love white wine!"

No offense HL, but I was so outnumbered. I could feel my b*lls slowly shriveling haha. I should've cooked in a football jersey and taken beer bongs every 15 minutes. After about an hour of prepping/cooking and many glasses of wine... we were all buzzed and ready to eat.

Seared Ahi Tuna with Yuzu & Miso Vinaigrette Salad
The first dish was a lightly-seared Ahi Tuna salad with miso vinaigrette. I started by seasoning the fresh block of tuna with salt, freshly ground pepper and coated it with black roasted sesame seeds.

Seared Ahi Tuna with Yuzu & Miso Vinaigrette Salad
Before serving the Ahi Tuna salad, I added a few drops of yuzu juice to the tuna for the final kick to the groin. This was a simple, yet tasty dish that even salad-haters would enjoy. The tuna was nicely seared... warm on the outside, cold and soft in the middle. Also, the addition of thinly-sliced scallions brings out the greens.

Sauteed Shrimp with Thai Coconut Curry
I really enjoy indian food, but cannot eat much of it because I can't eat too much spicy food. I decided to use a Thai-style curry instead, which tastes milder and sweeter. The sauce was made with coconut milk, curry powder, ginger powder, finely chopped cilantro, fish sauce and sugar. The shrimp was marinated in olive oil, garlic, cilantro, lemon juice and S&P and quickly sauteed. The garnish is japanese red ginger and chopped cilantro. This was tasty. Next time, I'd like to grill the shrimp instead of sautéing it to get the nice charred taste.

New Zealand Lamb Ribs with Mango & Mint Relish and Saffron Cous Cous
I love lamb, but never get the opportunity to cook it often because my family and friends aren't big fans. Such a pity because lamb fat has such a refined, unique taste. Mmmm. Back at my apartment, I spent a good 30 minutes removing the lining on the lamb bones... a long and arduous task that my catering boss once told me, meant the difference between a good and bad cook. I thought hard about a sauce that would work well with the lamb in case it was 'too gamey' for the guests and read that lamb & mint go together like peanut butter & jelly. To make the dish sweet, I added mangos and jalapenos for another kick to the groin. I salted and peppered the lamb and added a spice rub I had made consisting of coriander seeds, ginger powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne and cinnamon. The aroma hit me as soon as I seared the lamb rack. Even the drunken chatterbugs stopped in their tracks to say so... and quickly resumed into more chattering. "Ok, so what were we talking about just now...?" I served the lamb medium over sauteed asparagus and saffron cous cous. Saffron rocks! The cous cous was light and fluffy and reminded me of cornbread. I liked this dish so much I helped myself to another 5 lamb ribs.

After 4-5 bottles of wine, we were still going. To top the night of estrogen with even more estrogen, HL served champage with blackberries. I had a sip and jumped back to my red wine. (I want to have children, someday.) Overall, I had a great time doing this dinner party and can't wait to do another one. Since then, I've regained my normal level of testosterone. Happy Birthday to HL and thanks for letting me do this! Thank you also to J for her knack for stellar food photography. I can always count on you to shoot.

Thanks for reading.


Mallika said...

Your photos are so beautiful... you've made me really hungry now.

I couldn't help noticing your comment about spicy food. Not all Indian food is spicy you know? I busted my gut (quite literally) a few years ago and can't do spicy food.

There is a really nice chicken dish with coconut milk on my blog if you're interesting. For your next estrogen party...

Chubbypanda said...

Hmm... So, did the fellas come out of hiding yet? =b

- Chubbypanda

One Food Guy said...

Delicious. I'm wondering, would you ever be willing to share your recipes? I'd like to learn to make some of your go-to's that you've featured in your catering posts. Either way, I admire your cooking, and your writing. Well done!

Oishii Eats said...

Another amazing dinner D! Everything was suuuuuuper oishii! Wish we got to listen to some of your Amy Grant cd's.

Anonymous said...

drunket chatterbugs.. hm!?!?! is that what you think of us!? :)

seriously, GREAT dinner! i knew you could cook, but was very impressed w/ all the dishes!! YUMMY!!

kudos to you and J for all your hard work!!! we all had a great night! :)

oh - everyone loves your blog!!!

elmomonster said...

My my are one friend those girls are lucky to have! A freakin' gourmet chef and a soon-to-be television celebrity cooking a meal just for them! Dang!

e d b m said...

Mallika, thank you. Not all Indian food is spicy, but definitely abundant in spices. I should've been more clear about it. Regardles, I like Indian food a lot. I like your blog... it's completely devoted to indian food! I'll definitely be reading your site for recipes. Thanks for dropping by Mallika.

CP, hey man. I'm not sure what you mean haha.

Scott, I can share the recipes but I typically don't for a few reasons.

(1) I am the most impatient person in the world. The thought of me hunched over a cookbook, measuring spoon/cup in a hot kitchen kills me. I've always been taught to eyeball things, therefore I never go by the book.

(2) Everyone has his own likes/dislikes. Many times, you'll see a posted recipe whether it be on a food site or blog. And there will be one jerk that says it's the worst recipe in the world and that you're a lousy cook. It's better to just list the ingredients out and let people adjust the taste. Feel free to email me.

Thank you for stopping by.

J, it's always a pleasure cooking for you. Shh, you weren't supposed to tell people about my Amy Grant: Live in Church cd's or C+C Music Factory. Shhhhh....

HL, yes you girls are chatterbugs that can speak at 267 WPM. We had fun on Saturday!

Elmo, I am neither of those... just a guy who likes to write and cook food haha. I'm one in a million out there.

H. C. said...

As always, everything looks and sounds delish and so tempting . . . I personally wouldn't have gotten over the fact both that scallops & mushrooms were both on the "no" list.

What happened with dessert? (or was that in the drinks...) as much as everything look/sound/taste good, for me, everything's an appetizer till you get to the sweets!

Blue Plate said...

Your food looks great!

Thanks for bring us to the party virtually with the post.

Bon Vivant said...

Though I prefer lots of testosterone at my dinner parties I would have gladly put up with gobs of estrogen to eat this meal; besides, after drinking a lot can you really tell the difference between the two hormones?

Anonymous said...

Gosh, EDBM, everything looks so tasty!

What's the deal with asparagus still being in season? Isn't it nominally a summer vegetable? The ones I made for myself today looked and tasted great -- maybe it's slow and late Santa Anas.

e d b m said...

HC, i know! I love scallops because it goes well with many kinds of sauce. It even tastes good grilled. I am a dessert-hater... but I do agree that it would be the period to a sentence. I need to work on that. For great desserts, check out Kuiadore @

Blue Plate, thanks for stopping by.

BV, I don't mind the estrogen at parties, but not when you're the only guy. The shriveling will begin... I basically kept drinking and smoking outside... by myself.

Sneakypete, thanks. I had no idea asparagus was seasonal. For some reason, it's always there at asian markets haha. how do you like to eat asparagus?

Wandering Chopsticks said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I have to admit, I'm a sucker for asparagus slowly sauteed in good butter (blanched first). I find the tips take a bit longer to cook than the stalks. I like them served with a fried (sunny side up) or soft-boiled egg with a dash of white pepper.

Asparagus soup with white truffle oil (though I wish I had the real stuff) is also a favorite. I have a friend, though who swears by the stuff straight from the ground; in his words, "it's a different vegetable" :)

Daily Gluttony said...

as always, everything looks delish!

and dude, talking about forever 21 and hair and earrings is SOOOOO much more fun than talking about sports, videogames and cars.

Brian Gage Los Angeles said...

Remind me of this post the next time you offer to cook me & R dinner and I'm trying to finish a book...

joanh said...

the pictures are making me drool.. mm. lamb and couscous! i think i'm going to make some couscous for lunch..

ps i love scallops and mushrooms too!

Anonymous said...

Nice blog~

hanny said...

awww, i'm walking down memory lane. re-reading a few blogs. i loved this bday dinner! you've been blogging for years dy!

loved the food, wine, and chatter!

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