Thursday, May 17, 2012

I Just Want To Celebrate

Our friend J finished his new record and even though I've learned there are various levels to that statement, he had a burned copy in hand and we were able to throw him a little shin-dig to celebrate, eat and give a full concentrated listen to each of the songs in their entirety.

That was one thing I really enjoyed about the retail music industry is their honor of a new recording from artists. They gave that work the respect it deserved and even made a party out of it for the people who were going to try to make it fly, the buyers, the store managers, the marketers who all were really just poorly paid fans in the end.

So now sober, for me secondary to the music it becomes about the food. J had talked about chile relleno just about every time we got together for the last year. I always thought that I really needed to attempt to make them for him at some point. However, that is one dish I've only tried once way long ago in SF and one that seemed time consuming and detailed, so it scared me. But that was my anchor dish and therefore created the theme. Surprise, surprise a Mexican food theme. Who would have guessed? Well, hey.

Like everytime, I attempt too many dishes. I get excited.

Fresh tomatillo salsa, bright and so essence of green tasting. I perk up just thinking about it. I usually roast the tomatillos and add many more roasted jalapenos but this time I kept it lighter with less heat. The fresh jalapenos by the way also have a sharper taste that makes this salsa past amazing.

I did keep the roasted roma salsa flavored with chipotle. Always fun.

Newcomers were the Edamame hummus. That will be back!

White bean dip, which was really a hummus too because it had added Tahini paste.

Korean shortribs made with deboned flaken cut meat recipe courtesy of the Paupered Chef. ... The marinade was slammin'. Do the kids say slammin' anymore?

Chicken satay with built-in peanut sauce. This was from the Steamy Kitchen website. What a timesaver to build in the sauce with the marinade! Genius idea, not mine but I was able to execute correctly and these were money. Do the kids still say money?

Mini Chile Relleno made with jalapeno peppers. Keeping with the snack, finger-food idea for party-ease, I wanted to make all items small. However, time, age and skill all played a factor in my decision to downsize this project to not include the important batter element. After making the delicate sauce, deseeding and par-boiling the peppers, chopping and frying the hard chorizo, grating the cheese, I realized I was unable to finalize the recipe without loosing my mind. And have you ever tried to seal a 3/4" stuffed jalapeno with toothpicks? Let alone 40 of them?? It's a sucker's game. But you know that sauce was whack! Made me want to slap your mother. It not only saved the dish but took it to eleven.

So before I die let it be known that I am the true inventor of whacky cones. This idea was brewing for years and years but as with everything I dragged my heels and now there are countless 'cups' and whatnot that everyday cooks make using tortillas baked in formed containers. In this case I used cupcake tins and flour tortilla triangles. Baked until crisped and then stuffed with my whacky guacky-mole made with chorizo, corn and sometimes black beans. These were really fun to eat.

To end the snack-fest I made my tried and true raspberry cream cheese swirl brownies.

The record sounded magical. The room took on a warm glow and P positioned the speakers to envelope the space. After the first note we all sort of slunk into our chairs and got lost in the sound. J tends to make songs that take you way out of the earth's atmosphere somehow and you end up places in your mind that you forgot existed. In other words, we all really liked the record and came out the other end looking like we just stepped off the new roller coaster ride.

Much tequila was consumed in shots.
There were sub-stories going on this night, like the fact that I haven't seen our friend M in way too long and who is moving and who I am trying to talk into writing a movie review blog because he does a yearly list and sees more movies that anyone could imagine. J was also debuting his new girlfriend to us. She, S, was a vegetarian who unfortunately had food allergies to peppers, one of the main ingredients in about every dish so of course I felt like a heel each time I brought something out that she couldn't eat. I knew this a couple of days beforehand but had already bought all the food, so I added the hummus dishes and some cheese nachos to the mix the night of in the hopes of at least providing a few fun nibbles for her.

But as everyone got settled in, talked a bit, ate a bit, drank a bit and laughed I just felt so happy to be there and nothing was important other than celebrating, honoring and respecting each other.

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