New York City is a sweaty, raucous hotbed of sweaty, raucous activities on Friday nights. ...So I assumed. My slothful ways prevent me from doing anything more strenuous than staring at my computer most of the time. To make sure I don't fuse to my chair, I've judiciously placed a box of tissues across my bedroom from my desk so that I'm forced to make a roundtrip of eight steps every two minutes if I want to propel the perpetual buildup of snot out of my nasal tubes.
But on the night of October 1, my apartment was a hotbed of activity! Well. Perhaps not all that raucous, but maybe a smidge sweaty...due to the oven and burners being used at full capacity.
If my kitchen were capable of feeling emotion and possessed olfactory senses, its primary feeling of the night would've been of excited confusion. "I'm...cooking stuff! With all the gaseous flames I can muster! And...[sniff sniff]...it actually smells good in here! This can't be the work of Robyn. How could this b—OH MY GOD SOMEONE BROKE INTO THE APARTMENT. AND POSSIBLY GOT RID OF ROBYN. Yeah, I'm okay with that."
Morten was the chef of the night. He, Benhaz, and Kåre graciously spent their last night in New York City preparing a dinner party for me and a few of my friends—Tristan, Claire, Kwan, and Melissa—instead of doing one of a bagillion potentially more exciting things. But I don't think anything else could've been more fun and relaxed.
So what was on the menu? Gobs of butter-infused vegetables. Among other things. Morten kept it simple, just whipping up whatever he found at Whole Foods with salt, pepper, herbs, and butter. Here are the dishes as we remember them (memory has faded a bit over the last month):
- Rack of lamb with beef demi glace
- Spicy pork sausage
- Oil poached cod
- Arugula and goat cheese salad in a honey vinaigrette
- Wax beans topped with parsley
- Sautéed peppers and zucchini
- Carrots poached in butter and orange juice with rosemary
- Onions cooked in butter to a butter-like consistency
- Cherry tomato salad with olive oil, salt, and parsley
- Leeks baked with Parmesan
- Extra herb butter, in case we wanted more butter (yessss)
Morten prepared everything himself. How? MAGIC...I mean, culinary prowess and experience? Yeah. He made it look easy, but having taken cooking classes before, I know it wouldn't be easy for me. If I learned one thing from the meal though, it's that BUTTER IS YOUR FRIEND. YOUR VERY TASTY FRIEND. LET YOUR TASTY FRIEND BEQUEATH ITS TASTINESS ONTO OTHERS.
We dug into those dishes like it was our last meal. Why stop when there's another butter-poached carrot to be eaten? Or a Parmesan-crusted leek? Or chunk-o-tender lamb?
Actually, it was way more food than we needed, and for the next few days I was blessed with the best leftovers that have ever graced my fridge.
BUT WAIT, WHERE IS DESSERT—
Oh, thank goodness. Morten whipped together this marvelously simple figs-n-cream dessert to cap off the meal, and we had no problem polishing it off despite having all entered the initial stages of food coma. Here's Morten's recipe:
1 jar Devon double cream (don't recall the exact size, but looks like mostly 6-ounce jars on the Interwebs); whipped cream also works—if so I'd use about 150 ml of whipping cream
1 container mascarpone (250 grams)
2 tablespoons of sugar
2 vanilla pods, seeds only (put the pods in an airtight glass with sugar to create vanilla scented sugar)
Fruits of your choice (explained below)
1. Clean the pods of the vanilla seeds and mix with cream (whipped cream if that's what you're using). Add sugar and whip until fluffy (or until the cream is stiff). Stir in mascarpone.
2. Mix this with your favorite fruits. You can use more sugar if you use fruits with lots of acidity. The best fruits (in my opinion) are all sorts of berries, figs, plums, apricots, nectarines, peaches, and mangoes. In general I'd just go for whatever's in season. Fruits that give off a lot of liquid (like diced pineapple and citrus supremes) tend to not work so well as they make the cream lose its nice consistency.
3. Serve in a bowl, or on a tart to have a nice cake. If served on a tart I prefer to put the cream in and then sprinkle it with berries and fruit. The cream can be used for a lot of things—it also makes for great ice cream, and you can add other flavors to it, such as rum or brandy (flambé for less alcohol flavor), lemon or orange zest, cinnamon, salt and olive oil, etc.
And then you eat it. And feel very happy.
Aaand here's our happy chef!
- Yeah, I'm wearing manatee pajama pants. What of it. Top row, left to right: Tristan, Melissa, Kåre, Morten, and Behnaz. Bottom row: Claire, Kwan, and meeee.
And here's everyone! You may have noticed a wardrobe change. While trying to think of a way to entertain my guests after "eating more" became a dangerous option, unless we wanted to turn our dinner party into a puking party, I poked around my room and lugged out all the extra Poofy-related t-shirts I could find. Result: "Gimme Pancakes!" and Amdagascar shirts for everyone! (I have no more pancake shirts, but judging from how often people ask me for a shirt, it'd be worth my while to print more. I only did one run of shirts in 2006 and I don't want to use an on-demand printer like Cafepress.)
Aaaand there's this. I think it was Kwan's idea—everyone grab a Poofy and BRANDISH IT LIKE A POKEBALL. (Not his exact directions.)
I suppose I should explain the Poofy thing. ...Poofy is a bunny-like creature in a comic I started writing in high school (and stopped writing a few years ago due to lack of time/imagination), borne forth from boredom and too many study halls. At some point I made a Poofy plush doll, aka a blob with six nubs sticking out of it. It's only mildly more complicated than a circle. I made fugloads of these dolls (around 100, maybe?) by hand (my sewing machine skills are crap), mostly during high school, and gave them to friends or sold them online. For a while I would keep one of each fabric design I used, until I realized I had no use for that many Poofies and if people would pay me for them, I should let them lavish me with their hard earned money. (I didn't charge much for them—my profit probably equated to less than minimum wage. Not that I was trying to make much money. That's why I don't make them anymore, though, except for special occasions.) I'm amazed by how many of those plush dolls I was able to sell, and mildly appalled by how many hours I spent making them.
For some reason I asked everyone to jump around. They complied. And I didn't even threaten them with physical harm or anything. Thus is the power of true friendship.
In conclusion: Morten's cooking is awesome, my friends are awesome, dinner parties are awesome, and life is awesome. Thank you, friends, for bringing the awesomeness to my apartment and sustaining the funness for three hours. :) I'm inspired to throw a lavish dinner party à la Morten, but I'll have to take some baby steps before I can tackle 10+ dishes simultaneously.
The next day I had to take an early flight to North Carolina for work (my All You Can Jet pass from JetBlue was still in effect), so there wasn't any more Weegie-bonding time. D'aw. That was a bit of a sad day. But I'll see them again soon, and next time it'll be on Scandinavian soil.
AND THUS CONCLUDES WEEGIE WEEK 2010! It only took me about one and a half months to recount a week of activities!...oh sweet jesus. Well. Soon, back to our regular scheduled programming of me writing about stuff I ate three months ago.
Let's Go Back...Way Back
Pre-Weegie Week: Seoul Garden, Paulie Gee's, Taim, and L'Arte del Gelato
Weegie Week, Day 1: Dim Sum and Shaved Ice in Flushing, Momofuku Pork Buns, and Otto
Weegie Week, Day 2 and 3: Diner, Shake Shack, and Pho Grand
Weegie Week, Day 4: Hot Pot at Bamboo Pavilion in Bensonhurst
Weegie Week, Day 5: A Night at Per Se
Weegie Week, Day 6: DBGB