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Dinner Party Post-Mortem: Salt-Crusted Salmon Edition

Salt Crusted Salmon After

Salt Crusted Salmon After

Oh. My. Fucking. God.

There really are no non-sweary words to describe the delectability of the salmon recipe from yesterday which I used tonight; nor are there words to describe its ease of preparation, provided you do, as I did not, remember the eggs, the tarragon, the lemon, and the capers. I remembered the salmon and the Champagne, in this case a brut Cava which is also my favorite tipple other than gin, so it was win/win/win/win I forget how many wins it is because I had two glasses of the Cava and I forget how many Daiquiris (not the blender variety, please!).

Still, what can you do when someone shows up early for a dinner party other than send him back out to get the shopping you forgot? So it all worked out well, and the recipe from Sevilla Tapas turned out better than I could have imagined, garnering genuine kudos from seriously accomplished cooks. Why did I, a novice cook, invite seriously accomplished cooks to my dinner party? See the aforementioned note on how much I drink.

But. Honestly. This recipe is dead easy, incredibly tasty, keeps your salmon moist (it was a coho, and you would have sworn it was a more expensive salmon) and makes a stunning presentation besides. I had a tray of sushi from up the street to start, $36 and I’d say a quarter is left over. Thought about doing a bunch of steamed pork buns or something instead, but opted for the fish theme. As a friend of mine from London says, the worst sushi in Vancouver is better than the best sushi in London, and this was quite good, even if it was a little large. I prefer my sushi bite size. Chewing nori is just not attractive.

Still, given I forgot to cook the rice, it’s just as well they were big rolls.

So the main course was the salted salmon and parboiled asparagus. Can’t go wrong with that veg except by overcooking it. And there was enough rice to provide ballast to everyone before the main course. Hmm, this is a useful piece of information.

Everyone brought wine, Shane brought the eggs I forgot for the main course, Ken brought a Mario Cake from DQ for dessert and in fact ain’t nobody don’t like DQ. FACT. It had that Buster Bar chocolate fudge in the cookie layer. *orgasm* And Gena brought an aerator and Bitch wine. No, really, Bitch wine.

All told, a great evening. It was a short cooking time on the fish and asparagus, naturally, and I had to be in the kitchen making the sauce so for once I appreciated an open plan layout. Normally I’m all about closed doors and cubbies, but this did make me think about the fact that I don’t have servants off toiling in the kitchen and also don’t want to serve my guests tepid food, so an open plan works as a compromise.

All in all, a powerhouse dinner party (at least at Level 1).

Mario Cake approves

Mario Cake approves

Wine Not?

This pose takes years of practice. For your liver.

This pose takes years of practice. For your liver.

Say what you will about the French in wartime, they have the BEST helicopters. In related news, CnH2n+1OH Yoga is how I’m working off all the cheese and alcohol I’ve been consuming since getting my liver refreshed.

In tangentially-related news, The Brooklyn Kitchen and The Meat Hook have the most awesome roundup of cooking workshops on the interwebs. Don’t delay: sign up today!

April Classes!

Midwestern Molded Salads

April 7   $65

Knife 202: Knife Throwing

April 8   $100

Methamphetamines: Home Production

April 11   $250 and 25%

Molotov Cocktails

April 12   $75

Party like it’s 2004: Naked Lady Sushi!

April 12   $80

Pigeon a La Plancha

April 13   $75

DIY MRE’s: Using Modernist Techniques for End of Days

April 14   $75

Glass Blowing: Making your own Canning Jars

April 18   $40

Neanderthal Diet with the Meat Hook: All Raw, Half Rotten

April 19   $75

Brooklyn Business Plan: It’s ALL in the Name

April 20   $150

How to Serve Man

April 21   $40

Home Alloys: from Bronze to Steel

April 21   $50

Manifold: Make the Most of your Commute
April 25   $150

Rat Trapping, Slaughter and Butchering

April 26   $80 (rat included)

Only in New York, kids. Only in New York! (via NegevRockCity)

Happy Valentine’s Day from ManoloFood!

Cheers!

Cheers!

I like their spirit(s)!

Will It Saber? with your host, Matt Stache

Successful First-Time Saberer at the Sumac Ridge Sabering at Vancouver Police Museum by Tris Hussey

Successful First-Time Saberer at the Sumac Ridge Sabering at Vancouver Police Museum by Tris Hussey


Oh, I’m in love. Sure, every girl thrills to the sight of a dapper gent in close proximity to a bottle of Champagne (with which he will presumably require assistance) but when you add a soupçon of danger in the form of bladed weapons, well, a girl could truly lose her head, particularly after the second bottle, and most particularly if she stands too close.

Allow me to present the very dapper Mister Matt Stache, your genteel host of the un-missable YouTube series “Will It Saber?” Despite slight imperfections in technique (I’m sorry, but the muselet must go avant de sabrage) his sheer audacity carries the day. Let’s take a look at Will It Saber #1: the Saber for an example, shall we?

Highly inspiring. Sabering, in fact, can be done with virtually any implement that has a narrow edge and can be moved with rapidity down the neck of a Champagne bottle. I once attended a sabering workshop in an old morgue which used quite a variety of sabering instruments: it’s the combination of momentum and narrow pressure point that does the trick. Presumably, you could saber Champagne with the front of a snow plough, if you could move it fast enough.

Vancouver Police Museum morgue by John Biehler

Vancouver Police Museum morgue by John Biehler

Yes, that really sets the mood. Trust me, you need a drink if you’re in there after dark.

From TinyBites.ca:

Hold the sword with your dominant hand with the edge at a ~20 degree angle to the curve of the bottle neck.
Hold the bottle with your other hand, arm straight out and as far away from your body as possible, with the cork end pointed towards the part of the room that can handle the landing of such a projectile.
Slide the blade along the bottle starting from the middle until you reach the cork, applying the same smooth pressure and velocity throughout the motion. Practice the movement a few times until you get the feel of it, if that helps.
Once the bottle is opened, do not touch the top of the bottle, where the glass is razor sharp from the act of sabering.
If you do not have a sword available, most heavy objects with a similar edge will do. He mentioned a machete…I don’t know about you, but I have neither machete nor sword lying around at home. Someone mentioned that you could do it with a butter knife but McWatters was vigorously shaking his head at us upon hearing that suggestion.

Here, in #3 in the series, Matt Stach sabers a bottle of Champagne with a brake rotor from a 2002 Mazda Protege 5.

Yes, really.

via Cityrag

Anyone got this man’s phone number? He’s JUST the fellow for me.

Dingle jingle

In the Irish village of Dingle,
the Henrys decided to mingle.
When three pints of Guinness
had settled within us
we sang out the following jingle:

mollymalone.jpg

In Dublin fair city
where streets are so bitty
we side-swiped a girl named sweet Molly Malone.
She whirled her Pierce Arrow,
through the streets broad and narrow,
crying “Jaysus, you eejits are a menace on the roads!”

In Ireland while driving
your hopes of surviving
depend on how close you can drive past the hedge
When a big bus comes at ya’
and threatens to splat ya’
you’d better stay left or you’ll never go home.
dingle.jpg
Road signs in Kerry
make locals quite merry
for they’re written in Irish and Irish alone.
When befuddled tourists
confront language purists
the tourists stay lost on these windy small roads.

signdingle.jpg
Windy small roads, windy small roads,
the tourists stay lost on these windy small roads.

Binging and whingeing in Barcelona

cuines.santa.caterina.jpg

As usual the task of pointing out the obvious fell to Little Henry. “This food is salty,” the young one said. Not until then did Aunt Bev notice that since arrival not once had she reached for the table salt. Considering tapas bars here don’t place salt shakers on the table, however, this is not so surprising.

For more than a week it seems Mr. Henry and family have been living chiefly on salt, delicious flaked sea salt conveyed by little fishy vehicles remarkably fresh and completely addicting. Most of these little fishes arrive fried in the lightest of batters. A few come from the grill.

The only way Mr. Henry’s delicate digestion succeeds in vanquishing the fried skins of crunchy baby squid or the dark oils of fresh anchovies is to wash them down with glasses and glasses of cava, local sparkling chardonnay available at Cuines Santa Caterina (smoke free) for a mere three bucks per glass.

Since the Henrys arrived in Catalunya the Euro has risen 9% against the dollar. Extending fiscal principles established by Wall Street and Congress, when discussing money the Henry party prefers to call Euros “bucks” and wait until their VISA bill arrives next month before grappling with subtleties of foreign exchange. Why ruin the vacation spirit?

Tapas are what you eat in Barcelona, by the way. Here one is best advised to forego the sit-down dinner which does not begin until after eight at the earliest, far too late for proper digestion before bed no matter how much cava you may swill. Regardless of the hour, the sit-down dinner is simply not prepared to the same high standards as tapas. Barcelona’s best cooks work behind the bar, not in the kitchen.

Top in the hierarchy stands the fry chef. Exactly how these marvelous little fried tapas – paper thin artichoke slices, tiny bait fish each individually breaded, squid of every size and description – emerge without tasting greasy, heavy or bitter remains an enduring mystery. cerveseriacatalana.jpg

At Cerveseria Catalan yesterday the fried artichokes tasted of olive oil, but how can olive oil sustain the high heat of frying without breaking down?

Late Friday night when Mr. Henry left the rental apartment in the old city to seek out an internet cafe that wasn’t too smoky, and by the way such a place does not exist, all at once he was surrounded by hundreds of running college students.

With a rueful smile at the boundless energy of youth, Mr. Henry tried to maintain his footsore equilibrium. Not until a long-haired youth sprinted past with blood running down his face did Mr. Henry appreciate the unsettling fact that he was in the middle of a riot. When police vans turned the corner, sirens wailing, and helmeted police swinging clubs came running down narrow, walled Carrer Montcald, Mr. Henry felt like a player in history, namely, a peasant about to be crushed.

Careful to avoid getting trampled, Mr. Henry ducked into the nearest opening to discover TextilCafe, a lovely snack bar in a beautiful Renaissance palace courtyard directly across from the Picasso Museum. (Cava there is only two bucks ninety….and be sure to order the babaganoush.)

Once the street cleared of riot police, students, and cigarette smoke (every young Catalan without exception smokes cigarettes), Mr. Henry achieved his initial goal of hooking up to the internet only to discover that the Manolosphere in all its glorious components was down, that is, crashed, kaput, off the airwaves, a temporary case of server overload that not even cava could rectify.

Indeed the day had not begun well. Once again Little Henry had pegged it. “This town is sketchy,” the young sage remarked fatefully. Later that morning exiting a crowded subway car Little Henry announced, “Mom, your backpack is open.”

Moments before Mrs. Henry had felt a little tug at her back and had turned to get a look at the likely perpetrator. There were three thieves. When the train lurched the first stumbled forward creating a diversion. At that moment the second opened Mrs. Henry’s backpack and picked the wallet, immediately passing it to the third.

With all the vigor of her 101 lb. frame she sprinted down the platform, reached out and clamped her hand on the thief’s greasy collar. Startled at having been caught, he turned and handed back her wallet with money and I.D. intact.

Shaken but gratified, the Henry party retreated to eat more salty fishes and discuss where in future to secrete family belongings. As cava calmed his nerves Mr. Henry imagined where, had he only witnessed the deed in time, he would have placed the toe of his shoe on the foul miscreant’s hind quarters. Without doubt it would have gotten ugly.

Perhaps not advancing age, jet lag, or that extra glass of cava explain why Mr. Henry’s reflexes are not what they ought to be. Since arrival more than a week ago, he hasn’t gotten one good night’s sleep. Streets in the old city howl all night long. The only quiet hours are in the morning from six till nine.

No, in sum it must be said that Barcelona’s lifestyle is not conducive to good health. But at twelve midnight the Passeig del Born is rollicking.