Sunday, May 13, 2007

I'm Sorry For the 29 Years of Torture - Mother's Day Dinner

Raising a child is probably life's biggest challenges. From the day your child is born, your eyebrows will start to curve downwards. Your forehead develops creases like a shar pe's fur. And your blood pressure raises everytime you have to send a message to him/her. But you keep going. You keep going every single day until you see that they can function on their own. And even then, worrying never leaves your mind until they day you sleep infinitely. I was never a bad kid. I never got into any fights. Never hung around the wrong crowd - I was a schoolboy/soccer jock. Never got suspended from school - well maybe once for having a Motorola Pager with me during school. And it wasn't even one of those cooler pagers that everyone had – it was the one that held like 4 numbers and when paged, sounded like a semi backing the hell up. Never got anything below a B- (college was a different story). I never got a DUI (crossing fingers). But my mom always found a reason to worry. Then in college, I got into some serious trouble - nearly got me kicked out of school. And it was with utter shame and guilt that I called my mom and informed her of my deviance. I was prepared to have my head ripped off over the phone. But my mom surprised me. Even in time of peril, no matter who was at fault, a mother will stand by your side. Everytime I saw some news report of a juvenile crime, I was always amazed that the parents faced the music and stuck with their kid - even if it was attempted murder. It wasn't until this situation that I knew how important parents are and how down they were. As I sat in the deans office with my mom, I knew she was embarrassed. But she held my hand so tightly that I knew we were going to get through it. And we did thankfully. The dean simply wanted my mom in the conference so that she was aware of the severity of the incident. I dreaded the car ride home because I knew she would let me have it, but she didn't. She simply said "I know you won't do that again" and smiled at me. And ever since then, I made sure that I would never have to bring my mom into a situation like this again. And since then...

...I have not publicly urinated on a college campus.

So for mother's day, instead of taking her to a dim sum restaurant in SGV like every other Asian family, my sister and I cooked her a meal at home. After all, what's a few hours of cooking versus 29 years of nurturing this insanity called Dylan.

Scallop Pear Salad

Seared Scallop & Pear Salad
I love scallops and I'll continue to cook scallops until I stop writing this food blog. Because I love tater tots, and to me, this is the marine version. A simple drizzle of kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, a searing hot pan and you're well on your way to the Olympics. I'm lazy when it comes to making my own dressing so I just call on my good friend Angelo Pietro because he gets the job done. I have to add fruit to all my salads now, it just creates a nice balance of savory, fresh, sour and sweet in every bite. I usually have a problem searing scallops nicely because of the amount of water that leaks out of them. A sign of a chemically-enhanced scallop is its high water content. They basically inject something to 'fill' the scallop up and when cooked, it ruins everything.

Lobster Crostini

Lobster & Garlic Aioli Crostini
A few weeks ago, J and I ate at Hungry Cat in Hollywood. Its run by Suzanne Goin of AOC & Lucques' husband and it's a great place to enjoy oysters and super creative drinks. Their most popular dish is the Lobster Roll Deluxe which consists of chunky lobster, garlic aioli, parsley baked in a greasy roll. It's so rich but so good. If you try it out, I recommend sharing it or you'll get sick. Anyway, this was my attempt at recreating it. I simply boiled some lobster tails and cut the meat free from the exoskeleton. I then added it to a makeshift aioli prescribed by my incredibly talented friend, Yoony of Immaeatchu. I took mayo and added some cayenne pepper, freshly ground pepper, lemon, grated garlic, chives, shallots and lemon juice. It was very light and went well with crunchy texture of the baked crostini. This makes a great summer picnic dish.

Osso Buco Linguini

Veal Osso Buco & Linguini
I've neglected my wonderful Le Creuset pot for quite a while and brought her out of the attic for this special occasion. There's something nice about braising food in a quality porcelain pot - like I live in a French chateau surrounded by sheep and drink wine endlessly under a willow tree with my paperboy beret. Two and a half hours of braising the veal shanks in chianti wine, fresh thyme, bay leaves, chicken broth and mire poix and you're good. The sauce that's produced tastes really good over pasta - like gravy on mashed potatoes.

Hope everyone did something special for mom. My mom might have killed me if I took her to Hometown Buffet instead. Thanks again for everything mom. You're the best. Thanks for reading.


Anonymous said...

If it helps at all, I think the ivory or slightly pinkish colored scallops are not altered to have more water. While the pure white ones have been chemically treated. The unaltered scallops do tend to sear a lot nicer.

Tony said...

That looks really lovely.

And Mothers are always, unfailingly, the best.

mina said...

It looks delicious, what a great meal.

Tokyoastrogirl said...

Your poor mama....having to sit and listen to someone tell her that her son urinated in public! After a scandal like that, the only thing that could possibly erase that gigantic scar in your poor mama's heart is a dinner of seared scallops, lobster crostini and osso buco.

Oh- you made that. Good son, D.

SteamyKitchen said...

Can I come over for dinner?
Is there something that you can do to the chemically enhanced scallops before cooking to leach out the water? Brining adds moisture, so I'm sure there is another method to extract other than squishing the crap out of it.

eatdrinknbmerry said...

Anon, thank you. You brought up a good point. For those interested in real scallops, look for the Pinkish ones. The whites one you see are more likely injected w/ hormones and are usually quite HUGE. Thanks again.

Tony, thank you. I could've given my mom a fruitcake and she still would've been happy.

Hi Mina, thank you.

TAG, i know! poor mama.

Steamykitchen, check out the first commenters posting. He/she is totally right. The best thing to do is to find pinkish colored scallops. What i did when i got home was, set them on a paper towel and put them in the fridge UNCOVERED. So that the fridge would dry out any moisture on the scallops surface. If you are using frozen scallops, i would pull them out as soon as possible and do the papertowel/fridge trick. Unless you're sauteing or steaming the scallops, hollywood-ized scallops would do fine. thanks for stopping by, your blog is killer.

One Food Guy said...

I've allegedly done worse, and my folks stuck by me too. Thanks Mom and Dad, and thanks Dylan for sharing!

eatdrinknbmerry said...

Scott, haha, do share...?

One Food Guy said...

My lawyer advised me not to talk about it ;-)

(Translation: I'll send you an email.)

Jeni said...

Poor poor mama. You drive her crazy. You drive me crazy too.

I love the photos D. Absolutely stunning.

H. C. said...

A mother's wrinkles are definitely well-earned ~ as are liver spots, white hair and any other other signs of aging... erm, I mean, motherhood.

I'm sure your meal gave your mama smile lines, which she'll also blame you for years down the road ;)

jinius said...

omigoodness my ears started to well up and then i got to the part about your deviant act and laughed outloud. well done. we've all had our fair share of wayward behavior. although i've never urinated in a public area (cross fingers)

The Guilty Carnivore said...

You're a sweet son. To contrast: I gave my mom a plane ticket to fly up here to Portland so she can cook for me.

eatdrinknbmerry said...

OFG, if it has to do with alcohol... just say 'good times' and smile and the trauma will be all over.

J, be nice to me or you're getting Red Lobster for your birthday. WITH coupons.

HC, haha thanks.

Jinius, haha thanks for stopping by.

Guilty, that is pimp. Fly her up, cook for you, and fly her back down. End of story haha.

Daily Gluttony said...

waaaaaah! gwai jzai! (it was hard to romanize cantonese for "good boy" LOL!) curious, where do you usually buy your scallops?

elmomonster said...

LOL! So that's why certain parts of UCI smell like piss. HAHA!

A touching story and what a treat for your mom.

I feel the same way about mine (as every good son should!)

eatdrinknbmerry said...

DG, i usually get my scallops from restaurant depot which isn't open to the public. we can split a large paint bucket container of scallops if you want... it's a great price. but these particular scallops, i got at How's Market in San Gabriel.

eatdrinknbmerry said...

Elmo haha. very true. But you know what, what was that smell coming from those trees by the main library? everyone said they smelled like _ _ _ _ .

Deborah Dowd said...

What a wonderful post! It really captures the good, the bad and the ugly of being a mom... but its all worth it for a meal like that... and that you learn from your mistakes!

Chubbypanda said...

Awww.... Poor mom, poor Jeni, lucky Dylan. =b

susan said...

the food looks awesome. i was cooking for my mom too but standard the day before really got me! i was sleeping on and off all day way too hung over but got around to making some rack of lamb w/farro & peppers. then went to sleep right after dinner! :)

nhbilly said...

thanks for posting the address!

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