Dinner for the Gentlemen

English doesn’t ‘borrow’ from other languages. It follows them into dark alleys, mugs them, grabs the vocabulary it wants, and then rummages through their pockets for loose grammar. – modified from James Nicoll

 

Last month i cooked a dinner for the ladies, so to balance that, i cooked yesterday a dinner for the gentlemen.

I put out for appetizers bowls of tortilla chips and guacamole.  Also plates of AkMak crackers and the Fabrique Délices Truffle Paté from Lucca Deli.  Guacamole normally gets gobbled up fast, but that paté went first.

The Rocket, Gorgonzola, and Blackberry Salad went over so well with the ladies that i decided to serve it again.  The guys liked it, too.

Cold Poached Salmon with Caper Mayonnaise.  I went out Friday morning to Sun Fat on Mission Street for the salmon because i’d recently been reading high praise for this fishmonger and wanted to see for myself.  Very nice place with lots of good-looking fish.  What i really wanted was wild, line-caught King Salmon, but i’d priced ’em at $29.99/lb. at Whole Foods the day before, and that’s just out of my price range.  Sun Fat had nice Atlantic farmed salmon for $11/lb. and i settled for that.  Poached it that afternoon in court bouillon and stuck it in the refrigerator.

I don’t like overcooked salmon, but this time i sure did err on the side of caution because the thick parts were just plain rare.  But hey, we eat it dead raw in sushi, and nobody left his serving on his plate.

Braised Green Garlic.  The ladies got this, too, but when fresh green garlic is in season, i eat as much of it as possible.  As with the ladies, this was a new dish for most of the gentlemen, and one they liked.

Sauteed Sunchokes.  OK, i nearly choked over calling these things “sunchokes” since it’s blatant marketing language for Jerusalem artichokes, but this is a battle i’m willing to give up.  I was planning to serve that old Julia Child recipe for sauteed potatoes, but on Wednesday at the Heart of the City Farmers’ Market i spotted the best-looking sunchokes i’d ever seen.  Best looking by a long shot since they were nearly completely spherical, barely larger than a ping pong ball, and scrubbed squeaky clean.  Couldn’t resist, came back here, Googled for recipes, and found one that called for cutting them in quarter inch slices and sauteing them in olive oil and butter.  Got a bit too much oil in there but i used a slotted spoon to serve them, and folks seemed to like them.

Grandmother’s Cornbread.  This was the first time in recent memory that i’d served cornbread when nobody raved about it.  And that must have been that in the excitement of the arrival of the guests, i lost track of the time and ended up cooking this batch a tad too much.  I love it very crusty like this, but apparently most people don’t.  Lesson learned.

The Pie.  Keen observers will have noticed that every time i serve fish with caper mayonnaise, the dessert is The Pie.  Well, you don’t have to be Mr. Holmes to figure out that the mayonnaise calls for egg yolks and the meringue crust for the pie needs egg whites.  The synchronicity becomes even finer when you realize that since the fish and the pie are to be served cold, they need to be cooked the day before and that the mayonnaise can be made while the crust is cooking and cooling. Ta da.  As usual, The Pie drew requests for the recipe.

Some guests brought wine to drink with the meal, and i pulled out a chilled Dr. Loosen 2013 Riesling Beerenauslese for the dessert course.  It was a most enjoyable evening.

Meanwhile, i can’t do gorgeous light and shadow landscapes like my friend David, so i have to stick with pieces of buildings.

 

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