For years I hated brussel sprouts. You could ask me why and still have would have no solid answer for you. The only thing I can come up with is that If there was one vegetable we think were supposed to hate, it may be the brussel sprout. All this changed for me a few years back when I heard this phrase…”if you roast them correctly, they taste like delicious french fries”. I love french fries and I haven’t met a person who hasn’t. So the next time I went to the grocery store (now is the perfect time for brussel sprouts by the way) I picked up a bunch and went home to roast them. Oven on at 375, trimmed and cut the sprouts in half, tossed in olive oil and salt and pepper and about 30-40 minutes later I had the most delicious french fries. Okay, so the french fry comparison is not really valid. Nothing tastes like french fries. But regardless of that fact, they tasted amazing. Just a little bitter and a great texture of creaminess and crunchiness (I believe this is why the french fry reference was made). Further proof that often the best tasting dish comes from the simplest of preparation. Unfortunately I do not have a picture to share but last night I made an amazingly earthy pasta dish. It was perfect for a chilly night. Penne with Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Shitake Mushrooms and Bacon in a sage infused reduction is definitely a new favorite.
Its now only a few days from Thanksgiving and I have mixed emotions. I’ve previously mentioned my disdain for the boring old Thanksgiving Dinner but I’ve put a lot of thought into it (my attempt to explain why I haven’t blogged in a while). Sure, I still think there is a ton of room for improvement when it comes to menu creation for Thanksgiving Dinners and sure I think that there are many ways to increase the flavor and severely decrease that food coma that takes place immediately after but who am I to say thats the most important part of this holiday. I think back to when I was a kid when I spent the majority of my Thanksgivings at my Bubba’s house. Now my Bubba Fay was the greatest possible grandmother in the world. She spent the majority of her time treating my brothers and I like we were Kings. Unfortunately for the rest of the family, she spent so much time making us happy throughout the year, she had to make Thanksgiving Dinner months in advance and freeze it. Okay, so this last part isn’t completely accurate but it certainly has become the joke around this time of the year. I could explain in detail why our Thanksgiving Feast tasted more like a Top Chef canned good challenge gone terribly wrong, but its not important. What is important is that every Thanksgiving we spent our afternoons laughing and telling stories and taking a break from the grind (not that there is much of a grind when your 8 years old). The point of this post is that as seriously that I take food and the preparation of meals, ultimately the greatest parts of eating are the moments we share with others. At this time of the year, for those of us who are lucky enough to live to eat as opposed to eat to live, lets enjoy our Holiday regardless of the food we eat. I know I’ll be thinking of my Bubba when I bite into that turkey, regardless of how dry it is…
The question I get the most is, “how did you get started with this catering company?”.
I’ve always felt like when you cook for others, you are inviting them in to know a little bit more about you; a little bit more than most others know. My cooking style related to the use of ingredients, simplicity, and presentation have evolved over the last few years (compare this dish posted with “awesome dinner…awesome night” post) but the one thing that has remained consistent is the obvious passion that goes into it. Coming from a family that loved to cook, the desire to entertain was instilled in me. It was only when I moved in with two of my closest friends (Sam Mapp and Dave Brown) that this desire truly surfaced. First out of necessity, and soon thereafter out of enjoyment I started cooking the three of us dinner. For the next two years we ate 95% of our dinners together, at the kitchen table. I cooked, they critiqued and then we all cleaned. One day, we decided that we should invite a number of our friends over for a dinner party to let them in on one of our dinners. This was the main course I served to the 11 people crammed in at our kitchen table. As we ate, you couldn’t help but get swept over by the excitement and comfort; nothing better than close friends sitting around a table eating a homecooked meal, and drinking some great wine. So there it is, the answer to that ever repeating question….thats how I got started.
This dish is named after the street that we lived on, Doten Ave. Chicken Dotena is a pan roasted chicken breast topped with sauteed spinach and red pepper covered in Fontina Cheese. It was served with roasted string beans and wild mushroom couscous. As you can see, my portion control and presentation have come along way…but hey you have to start somewhere.
Last night Silver Catering helped put on an event in Midtown for a small group, and the food looked great. We paired the wine selection with a beautiful cheese plate and four hors devours. The wine selection contained medium bodied reds and crisp whites. As always, the food was great and the presentation was really impressive.
Cheese Plate accompanied by red California grapes and assorted crackers
(Danish Blue, Cantalet, Cacio, Brie)
Tuna Tartare served over Sesame Wonton Crisps
Tomato Basil Bruschetta / White Bean Puree and Walnut Bruschetta
Miniature Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes with Roasted Red Pepper Aioli
Tuscan Style Stuffed Mushrooms
On my way to work today I I realized that I hadn’t seen the sun in close to 48 hours. I think most of us could agree that when this time of the year comes around, there is nothing better than a comforting homecooked meal. However, the idea of comfort food is often equated with rich, food-coma inducing meals that we had when we were children. Comfort food doesn’t have to be just that. With the evolution of our local markets, we now have access to so many fresh ingredients (ingredients of the seasons). We should now be able to make meals we weren’t so used to eating at home when we were kids. Meals that we often associate with expensive nights outs, can now be new homecooked memories that years from now pop into our heads on those first few dreary days of November… This butternut squash risotto is a perfect example of that.
Last night we came home with some bruised egos and some extremely full stomachs but overall the Casserole Crazy cookoff was a ton of fun. There were a lot of great ideas and a ton of casseroles to try (28 entries). Although neither of our casseroles made it into the top three there was praise to go all around. I want to thank Emily Farris for putting the event on for now the fourth year. We can’t wait for next year….we’ve got some interesting ideas already. Check out some of the pictures from last night…