Speaking of Greg and his simple dishes that amaze and delight our guests much to my chagrin, he made the most beautiful mussels for our party last weekend. He has several tricks to making perfect mussels: One is to buy the rope grown variety in 2 lb bags. These are a bit more expensive, but they are grit and beard free and taste delicious, or so I've heard. He then takes the cheapest white wine that doesn't come in a box and pours it into the bottom of a large pot to about the depth of 1-2" and adds fresh crushed garlic. Bring that to a boil and then add the mussels, cooking for about 3 minutes or until they just start to open.
He brings them to the table in huge bowls and of course, everyone stops talking and stops feasting on whatever I made, and hovers over the bowls, shoving hot mussels into their mouths with abandon. We have a pretty diverse group of friends and party guests, which make out parties pretty great, and I've noticed how mussel eating levels the playing field. I watch with amusement as doctors and entrepreneurs gleefully suck down mussels with homesteaders and lobstermen, everyone dribbling white wine juice down their fronts, licking their fingers and smacking their lips. Its pretty great to watch, almost as much fun as playing cranium.
Saturday, June 03, 2006
I've learned a great many things from Greg over the years we've been together. He is a wiz at quick and easy things to make in the kitchen, mostly because he doesn't have the patience to wait for flavors to meld, or recipes with too many steps because that means there are that many more pans to clean. So, when we were recently invited to dine at the home of swanky friends / clients two or three hours before dinner time, I stupidly called back and said that that I would make some sort of dessert. What was I, touched in the head? It would take me at least two or three hours just to pick out the right shirt, much less whip up a dessert for a couple who make me nervous all the time. But, after all, it was a very passive invitation: There was a phone message saying that the hostess had gotten a cooking bug and since we were coming over for a fitting, and if we were hungry, there would be lasagne on the counter in the kitchen. What do you make for that? Greg had the answer..."stop worrying and dip some strawberries in milk chocolate and call it done." Here I was wondering if I had enough time to go to the store and get eggs, run to Reny's and get a souffle pan, make a chocolate souffle, AND pick out the right shirt in two or three hours...do souffles travel well anyway and will I have to iron the shirt?
A brilliant idea, that chocolate and strawberry thing. Everyone is impressed when Greg brings out this, one of his signature dishes. Its so easy, and yet most people cringe at the thought and go out to the store and buy one of those bakery cakes that taste like vanilla flavored lard for $20.00. What could be easier than melting chocolate chips in the microwave at 20 second burts between stirrings and then dipping whole strawberrys in? I even had time left over to walk the dogs and make sure my socks matched my shirt. And in case anyone told you that all gay men should be floral arrangers, check out the center of the plate where we dumped a whole bunch of purple lilac blossoms after spending 20 minutes trying to figure out how to make the darn plate "pretty" In a fit of peak, I grabbed the branch of lilacs from Greg and one of the blooms bent, so I got a bit bitchy and just ripped the flowers off the bloom and voila, instant centerpiece!
Posted by MaineCliffDweller at 6/03/2006 07:22:00 AM
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
We've been under construction here at the Foodie House. The covered porch that holds up the second floor bedrooms finally got straightened out, literally...What with new beams and jacking the house up and the tree guys cutting a view to the water through the woods, I've not had time for the ole blog here. Mea culpa once again.
We got most of the porch done in time for our "porch party" last Friday. Too bad that it was foggy and rainy and so gross out that everyone wanted to be inside by the fire! For Greg and me it was a seat of the pants party. Neither of us was in the mood since we'd spent most of that morning hauling 4 foot logs from the woods to the house and were tired and cranky. I'd gone to the store with somewhat of an idea that we would grill, but without know what we would grill...big mistake and 200 bucks later, I came home with squash and pork and lots of licquor. The grocery store had beautiful fresh bunches of sage, so I decided on a sage theme: sage pesto marinated and skewered squash and onions and a sage aioli for the pork, which I skewered with rosemary sticks and rolled around in garlic and sea salt. I put everything out with small rolls for sandwiches and had the sage aioli on the side. Who knew that 20 people could pick a table with six pork tenderloins clean! There was narry a piece of meat in sight after about 10 minutes. Greg and I nearly came to blows for the last scrap of meat after everyone (or so we thought) had been served. Right after that six people showed up (thought not the ones who offered to bring side dishes..the rat bastards!)
Everything we made was pretty easy. The sage pesto was simply fresh sage blendered with olive oil and garlic, sea salt and pepper to taste. It makes a lovely spicy pesto that zings. I made extra and added it to a bowl of mayo to make the aioli. You can easily sfind rosemary skewers in the produce section, they seem to spear very nicely (backwards) into tenderloins. Make sure not to overgrill the tenderlions as you want them juicy if possible!
Posted by MaineCliffDweller at 5/30/2006 09:17:00 AM