Monday, May 11, 2009

Happy Mother's Day Dinner - Mom, the Eternal Ass Kicker

ED&BM Mother's Day Dinner

Ever since I started walking, my mom was there to make sure I didn't get into trouble. She passed on mannerisms that her mom had pass, as well as providing the natural love, care and attention a mother burdens herself with. But we as children don't usually respond the way they want. That's why there is something called 'ass kicking'. It comes in many forms. Sometimes it makes you cry, sometimes it makes you angry and sometimes, it outright HURTS. My mom's method of shaping me into a proper gentleman... a feather duster. Not just any kind, but one made in Hong Kong. It looks soft, fluffy and purely for cleaning right? WRONG. You switch the ends of it and you've got the Chinese Ass-Kicker. Two things for the price of one – now that's a deal in any Chinese person's eyes.

I remember one time when I was 5. My sister and I were out in the front having productive fun, like throwing rocks over at the neighbor's yard. You kids nowadays have cooler things to play with like all-too-real video games and internet. Back then, we only had rocks and Garbage Pail Kids - take your pick. An hour later, after my sister and I had grown tired of chucking rocks into the neighbor's pool. I hear the most ear-deafening scream of my name.


The second I heard that, I knew very well where my ass was destined. My sister and I quickly scoured the living room of our tiny house and took refuge in a nightstand behind the couch. I looked over at my sister, who looked liked a deer in headlights. The door opened and it slammed. I could hear her footsteps in the living room and could hear her running around the house. Every time the footsteps got louder, my sister and I ducked our heads into our knees, shaking. FUCK. We were so fucked. And all of a sudden, I see my mom's face at the end of the nightstand. NO GOOD. She told us to get out and we sat there like still wildlife. MAN, we were so fucked. I eventually walked out and I can still remember the look on her face. NOT HAPPY. I admitted to throwing the rocks at the neighbor's yard because I was bored and didn't have those all-too-real video games and internet. Next thing I know, she's equipped with Mr. Feather Duster. And I looked over at my little sister who was really feeling bad for me. She looked so sad. I slowly turned around and closed my eyes. THE END.

ED&BM Mother's Day Dinner

Before you call any social workers, you'd be glad to know that after this one incident, I didn't get into any trouble until I was off on my own. No more visits to Mr. Feather Duster. My sister and I got our ass whooped as little kids, but we now understand the importance of it as adults. She meant well, as did my dad, who instead of using the feather duster, preferred his right foot. And we thank them both for keeping us in line.

So here we are on Mother's Day 20-plus years later. I'm married now to a woman I love dearly and on the path to starting my own family. Mom will become a grandma one day and will be there to see our children. But one thing is still on her agenda... kicking my ass. Not the feather duster way... but with health, work, saving money, buying a house, blah blah blah. It never ends. But its what a mother does. I have to say that my mom and dad are the biggest influences in my interest for cooking and nothing makes them happier than providing them with soul food. This year was different though... it was our first time doing a dual Mother's Day dinner for my mom and Jeni's mom.

We decided to do seafood as the dinner theme. Making me eat seafood as a kid was the bane of my mother's existence. I was food poisoned at an early age by some Chinese-style black clams and it traumatized for nearly 20 years. TWENTY YEARS without SEAFOOD. My sister used to shake her head and say, "you don't know what you're missing," while devouring something delicious like Chiu-Chow style garlic fried crab. Jeni and I got up early and headed to our favorite farmer's market in Hollywood. We had been so busy during the week that we didn't have time to plan the menu. But that's where farmer's markets come in handy. With some spontaneity and creativity, you can make a fine meal with the purveyed goods. Not to mention the freshness of the food.

ED&BM Mother's Day Dinner White Shitake Mushrooms

Some young shitake mushrooms. An earthiness that goes well with seafood.

ED&BM Mother's Day Dinner English Peas

Sweet, crunchy English peas - good enough to be eaten raw with a little salt and spice.

ED&BM Mother's Day Dinner Fruit Bowl

Jeni made a delicious fruit bowl with the farmer's market fruit with wine and simple syrup.

ED&BM Mother's Day Dinner Manila Clams

Manila clams from 99 Ranch Market. Not so Farmer's Marketish, but hey we're not rich.

ED&BM Mother's Day Dinner Filleting Turbot

One of the hardest things for me is thinking of a fish to cook with. There are just way TOO MANY. Check out 99 Ranch and the filipino market, Seafood City, and you'll know what I mean. I wanted something light and remembered a delicious fish I had at Wylie Dufresne's WD-50 in New York. Olive-Oil Poached Turbot with Smoked Bulgur and Coffee-Saffron sauce. The turbot is a goofy-looking flat fish found mainly in the North Atlantic.

ED&BM Mother's Day Dinner Carlsbad Blonde Oysters

I always pay a visit to Rob of the Carlsbad Aquafarm. He's a super nice guy that really enjoys watching people eat oysters. Not in a creepy way. He's just passionate about his seafood. I picked some Carlsbad Blondes because of their delicate cucumber finish. You can find him at the Santa Monica Farmer's Market on Saturdays and at the Hollywood Farmer's Market on Sundays. $10/dozen oysters.

ED&BM Mother's Day Dinner Alaskan King Crab & Haricot Vertes

Alaskan King Crab, Poached Egg & Haricot Vertes Frisee Salad
I mixed the king crab with my favorite, smoked paprika, and the haricot vertes in some creme fraiche, lemon juice and S&P. Served it on top of some frisee with Jeni's citronette vinaigrette with a poached egg. The idea here was to crack the poached egg over the frisee and bring in the crab and green beans. It was very light and fresh.

ED&BM Mother's Day Dinner Poached Egg

ED&B Mother's Day Dinner Manila Clams and Chorizo Sausage & Leeks

Manila Clams with Spanish Chorizo, Leeks & White Wine
You can't go wrong with clams + butter + wine. I saut├ęd some shallots, spanish chorizo, garlic and leeks and added the clams. Then I poured about a 1/4 bottle of white wine with some chicken stock and dropped in some butter. Cover the pot for a few minutes until you see the clams open up and stir them around, making sure all that delicious juice gets inside the clam shells. Note: I used to do this with Mexican chorizo and I think it tastes better with Spanish chorizo because it's more firm and spicy. Serve this with some toasted bread slices so your guests can sop up all that goodness.

ED&BM Mother's Day Dinner Pan Fried Turbot & Shitake Mushroom, English Pea Spatzle

Pan-Seared Turbot with Shitake Mushrooms, English Peas & Spatzle
I originally wanted to poach this in olive oil and thyme but I didn't have enough olive oil. Instead we pan-fried the fish in a skillet. I had marinated the fish about an hour before in some olive oil, thyme, pimenton (Spanish chili powder) and S&P. The fish took about 5 minutes on one side over medium heat, just long enough for the skin to crisp up. I have to say, I have never had a more milky/moist fish like turbot. It is fabulous and highly used for its delicate flavor/texture and similarity to halibut. In fact, it's BETTER than halibut. Our moms were flipping out on this fish because they had never heard of it. The combination of the delicate fish, earthy shitakes, crunchy peas and buttery spatzle was perfect.

ED&BM Mother's Day Dinner Sauternes Cake & Fruits

Farmer's Market Fruit & Cake with Frozen Balsamic Vinegar Cream & Sauternes Syrup
We found this cake for $1 at 99 Ranch and just topped it off with fresh fruit and cold balsamic vinegar cream. This was an excellent way to finish off the seafood dinner.

ED&BM Mother's Day Dinner

To my mom, thank you for everything - love you.
And to my Mom #2, I'm glad we're one family now.


WeezerMonkey said...

Beautiful post for a multitude of reasons. :)

Susan C said...

The food looks amazing.

My Japanese mother had a fondness for the metal spatula. All it took to get my brothers in line was the sound of the kitchen drawer opening.

boody said...

SO FUNNY, DYLAN! hahaha. Love this post. Nice pics, too! I'm sure we can all sit around a campfire and share horror stories of getting disciplined. My siblings and I used to wear 5-6 pairs of underwear to absorb some of the shock...didn't work, but we thought it was genius! hahah

Anonymous said...


Marilyn said...

WOW.. looks amazing! and yeah haha.. feather duster, chopsticks.. keep us in check. But yes.. your food pictures are beautiful! It looks professionally made and professionally photographed :)

Daily Gluttony said...

OMG what is it with Chinese and the "Gai Mow Sow"??? LMAO!! SO funny, whenever we heard a shrilling "Ai Yaaaaaaaaaaaah" we knew we had to hide--we were BUSTED!!! I wonder if I'm gonna have to get one to keep Chachob in check when he gets older. haha

So true that a mom's job never ends. I'm getting close to 40 and my mom still makes sure I wear a jacket & asks if I had a proper dinner every night. Your Mom's Day dinner & this post is such a sweet way to show your appreciation! Gorgeous food & photos as always!

Anjali said...

You guys are totally inspiring -- you walk into the farmers' market with just your little basket on wheels and end up with this incredible meal!

In my family, the Thai ass-kicker of choice was a wooden spoon. But it was my younger sister who was always the one in trouble. And I was the one always getting her in trouble....

Rasa Malaysia said...

Dylan, you should get on Top Chef, seriously!

eatdrinknbmerry said...

Weezer, thank you. You should specify the Korean weapon of choice haha.

Susan C, I know the sound of the kitchen drawer opening very quickly. it's frightening. Thanks for stopping by.

Boodyville! How are you in NYC. Haha love the idea of extra padding. My sister and I once knew we were going to get an ass-kicking and put on triple pajamas. I think my mom found out and added more power to her swings haha.

aMOMymous, my pleasure.

Marilyn, chopsticks? how did those feel haha? Thank you for stopping by.

DG & Chachob, boy I feel bad for the Little Sosa - he's going to get the wrath of the Chinese gaiwmowsow. There were a few times my sister and I HID the actual feather duster so that we wouldn't get punished – but we eventually had to find it and hand it to her for some classic ass kicking. Thank you, I love how we have relative stories.

Anjali, so waat dii! Great seeing you at the Farmer's Market. Try the oysters there. Haha the thai wooden spoon? I can see your parents cooking delicious thai curry and using that same spoon to serve justice.

Bee, that would be a serious fail. My mom AND jeni would bring out the feather duster when I get booted out first round.

Oishii Eats said...

My mom was pretty organic with her disciplining. Palm of hand right on my poor lil booty. We weren't really scared of mom...not as much as dad. Dad was quicker than lightening. One minute he's in front of you, next minute it was Jeni's whoopin' time.

Great dinner Dylan. You forgot to mention that the moms left a $30 tip!

Sophia said...

I once mentioned to my Caucasian husband about how funny it is that us Asians can laugh now about being "disciplined" when we were younger. Of course I went into detail about how different nationalities use different "tools of judgement". The joking about it continues to be a bonding experience for us, no? I loved his response- he was absolutely horrified!

EatTravelEat said...

WOW. To both the stories and to your photos. The food looks so professionally made and so beautifully photographed. It looks better than many restaurant's stock photos on their menus! Ingenious idea of using the 99 Ranch market cake as dessert. You made it look like a ultra expensive, expertly made dessert :).

Gastronomer said...

This post had a circle of life-esque quality to it. Thanks for sharing, it was a pleasure reading. You guys cook like champs.

Tricerapops said...

good stuff as always. i'm eternally grateful to you for your tip on carlsbad aquafarm - i try and go there regularly now, but i like the smaller ones (i believe they're the catalina oysters?). as for instruments of justice, my mother too was fond of the feather duster.

Anonymous said...

hi - you crack me up! as a fellow ABC, i think my mom's weapon of choice was a flyswatter - ouch!

eatdrinknbmerry said...

ETE, thank you. it's amazing what a camera can do for canned food and 99 ranch produce haha. weapon of choice?

Gastronomer, thank you. If i had more time i would get more into ass-kicking stories. but my mom would be arrested. wouldn't want that to happen to good ol' mom. weapon of choice? you're vietnamese, it couldn't have been easy for you hahaha.

Tricerapops, the smaller ones are Lunas. i like them all. how do you like Rob?

Anon, I've had the flyswatter action. Leaves cool waffle-like prints on your arms and legs.

Pandalicious said...

I love this post! Totally relate to getting my ass kicked as a kid too.

btw, you are an awesome cook!

One Food Guy said...

The topics and the approach will change, but moms will be moms. What once was fear has turned to guilt.

Great Mother's Day spread!

Passionate Eater said...

For you, it was a feather duster. For me, it was a yardstick or bare knuckles. Ahh, Chinese moms. Gotta love em'.

BTW, we had no other use in our house for that yardstick, other than for ass-whuppins.

Julie said...

haha... gai mo so! Oh that sucker would leave welts. I would try to stuff magazines down the back of my pants to buffer the spankings. :) Meal looks fabulous!

"Tramie" said...

OMG!!!! HAHAHAHHAHAHA!!!! I got the old-school feather duster too as a kid for everytime I made troubles!!!! Except, my mom would let me negociate, and owe her some for next time, usually half of the amount, like a bad savings account lol!!!!

And like you, I also thank my mom for disciplining me that way. Children nowadays are way too spoiled!

I love your blog, amazind photos!!!

amitace said...

found that in the Gourmet mag. in case You'd have appettite for waffes there :-)

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