Monday, 25 June 2012

Clawin' yer way to the top ... of a martini glass ... the story of a "Delivery Dinner Party"

So after we tidied up the tornado from the Wizard of Oz party on Thursday night of last week, we set about preparing a "delivery dinner party" that was due to "ship" (?!?!?) on Friday afternoon. 

What's a "delivery dinner party"?

Well, we were asked to prepare a 4-course dinner for "the mom" of a lady we met at a recent cocktail party (oh don't you just LOVE word-of-mouth advertising?)  This lovely lady once gathered friends and family around her dining room table quite frequently; WOWING them with dinners they talked about for years to come.  But what with some recent health 'inconveniences', she really was no longer able to spend all day shopping, prepping and cooking.  The thrill of it all had gone, but she still wanted to host her friends in the comfort of her own home, cook "a little bit" and give them a meal to remember. 

What IS a girl to do?  :)  Well, call up the ShortStack Foodie OF COURSE!

With some menu 'requests' from our Client (lobster and lamb, do you not love her already?), we were able to put together a menu that was sure to please.  And the best part?  The food (and martini glasses!) were ALL delivered to her door, (complete with written instructions for cooking and plating), a few hours before her guests arrived. 

With the flick of an oven dial and the clatter-of-crostini, she was able to entertain her friends (with ease!) in the comfort of her home, just as she had done for so many years before.

Home entertaining ... with a little help from some "ShortStacks" (as she so fondly called us!)

Wanna know what we served?  As recommended by her daughter, our (soon to be world famous) green goddess veggie shooters made an appearance, followed by caprese crostini.  After the guests nibbled and sipped some wine, they made their way to the dining room for a summer corn and lobster martini salad (recipe below!).  The main course was an herb crusted rack of lamb served with roasted baby spring vegetables (asparagus, new carrots, fingerling potatoes and radishes ... yes, roasted radishes - DELISH!).  For dessert ... a honey-roasted rhubarb creme caramel with candied ginger. 

If you fancy your hand at a sure-to-wow summer salad, DO TRY our recipe ... two words ... party ... pleaser.  Also pick up an extra lobster to snack on before your guests arrive ... and maybe one for after ... the "ShortStacks" love a good lobbie :)  Or if you'd prefer to have us drop off your very own "delivery dinner party" give us a shout.  We'd love to hear from you!

Summer Corn and Lobster Martini Salad with "Faux-Meyer" Lemon Dressing
You will need:
Cutting board, lobster cracker, 2x sharp knives, cutting board, tin foil, 2x medium/large mixing bowls, whisk, lemon reamer, lemon zester, 6 martini glasses.

6x canning lobsters (steam 'em or have your fish monger steam 'em for you)
3x ears of summer corn (your choice of variety, we used a sweet white corn)
1/4 cup chopped chives

2x large lemons AND 1x clementine OR if meyer lemons are in season, get 3 instead :)
1t champagne or chardonnay vinegar
1t white balsamic vinegar
3x small shallots
1/4 sprig of FRESH rosemary (not dried ... no, never dried)
1T honey or agave syrup (your choice!)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup canola oil
Salt and pepper to taste.

Salad greens (washed) - roughly 1 cup, but if your martini glasses are on the large size, maybe get a bit more ... use your judgement.  We've used organic lambs-lettuce (mache) in the past, and more recently we used radicchio (NOT radicchio treviso, but the lighter green radicchio - try it ... you'll LOVE IT!)  But any leafy-green would be lovely.

What To Do:
First, prep the lobster ...
  1. Grab yer' lobster-cracker and get that GORGEOUS lobster meat out of the shells - we're looking for the claws to both be in-tact (do your best) and for the tail to be in tact (even though we'll chop it up later, we want to start with as large a piece as possible.
  2. KEEP THE SHELLS and the rest of the bits - freeze 'em for lobster stock later on ... you'll thank me later.
  3. Chop the tail into large'ish chunks. 
  4. Set all the lobster meat aside (covered) in the fridge 'til you're ready to plate.
Then, prep the corn ...
  1. Put your oven rack in the middle position and set the temp. to 400.
  2. Without completely removing the husks from the corn, remove the corn silk and then wrap the corn cobs back up inside of the husks.  Then wrap them each in tinfoil and place in oven for about 25-30 minutes.
  3. Remove from oven, and let cool.
While the corn is cooling, let's make the dressing ...
  1. Remove the skins from the shallots and dice finely.  Put in your mixing bowl.
  2. Remove the rosemary from the stalk and chopped finely.  Put in your mixing bowl.
  3. "The citrus" - if you have meyers lemons GREAT, zest 'em and then juice them (you are aiming for about 1/2 cup of liquid).  If meyers are out of season then we've gotta fake it! :)  Zest one regular lemon and zest one clementine.  Juice both and then juice the other lemon to make 1/2 cup of liquid.  Put your zest and citrus juice in the mixing bowl.
  4. Add your vinegars, your honey and your oils.  And do a preliminary whisk, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Set aside at room temperature.
  6. When you're ready to plate (or 'martini glass') the salad - whisk again.
Back to the corn ... should be cool by now ...
  1. Remove husks and with your knife 'shuck' the corn kernels off the cob and into a second mixing bowl.  Add in your chives, toss to combine.
  2. This is optional, but we took some of the dressing we just made (say 1/4 to 1/3 cup) and mixed it into the corn and chive mixture.  Sort of like a little marinade.
When you're ready to plate ...
  1. Divide your greens evenly into each martini glass.
  2. Top the greens (evenly again of course) with the corn and chive mixture.
  3. Top the corn and chive mixture with the lobster meat - if you've managed to get the claws out in-tact make sure to show 'em off and place them sticking out ... and if you didn't get 'em out all-pretty, well ... who cares, you're servin' lobster and people are gonna love you!
  4. Drizzle the dressing over the top of the GORGEOUS salads.
Await the applause.  Sip your wine.  Accept the applause.  Sip more wine.  Repeat as necessary.

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