Sunday, March 6, 2016


As you may be aware, last Sunday was the Oscars, and as in years past, +Michelle and I made delicious food for a little dinner party kinda thing. Teagan was our acting sous chef this year. Here's the menu:

  • Mad Max: Fury Road: "Green place" salad
  • Brooklyn: Italian wedding soup with Irish soda bread
  • The Martian: Spice-boiled potatoes 
  • The Big Short: Popovers
  • The Revenant: Bison roast
  • Bridge of Spies: German chocolate cake
  • Room: Vanilla bean ice cream
  • Spotlight: Irish coffee with whipped cream

Dinner prep actually started on Saturday. Michelle mixed up the ice cream batter, which involved a bunch of egg yolks; the ice cream was very custardy in texture, y'see.

Michelle, have successfully egged.
The dogs were really the winners, here, by the way, because they wound up with egg whites poured over their food that night. Anyway, eggs yolks get added to milk and sugar and so on, and then looks like this:

You have no idea how delicious this is. 
And then, into the fridge! That left me to start the bison roast.

I'm gonna tell you right now: This roast was among the best things I've ever cooked. It turned out so tender and amazing. It's not hard, especially, just time consuming because it's six hours of cook time and then it's in the fridge overnight, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

First, the chopping.

Kind of an ominous tableau, if you're a carrot. 
And then the meat.

Had to buy two roasts, because the bison-monger didn't have one big enough.
Veggies are rendered into chunks:

Meat gets cooked in the huge dutch oven, then removed, then veggies get cooked down. Oh, meat gets tied up, too, which is probably easier with one larger roast than two medium sized ones, but we do our best.

Not nearly done. 
 And then all the veggies, herbs, meat, and a bottle o' beer go into the dutch over and cooks for four hours. And then they sit on on the counter for another two to cool, and then the dutch over goes into the fridge to sit overnight so the meat can think about what it's done.

The cooling step. 
That was it for Saturday. Sunday, then, we got up and got to work, and at some point received Teagan for assistant purposes. We poured the ice cream batter into the ice cream maker at some point in the morning and Michelle made another batch, but I didn't get a picture of that.

First thing: Clear the dog-nose smudges off the door. 
Michelle got to work on the cakes for the German chocolate cake, putting her baking wizardry to work.

Dusting the pans with cocoa...
Adjusting the...cake...alyzing machine...
Meantime, Teagan and I focused on cleaning, so as to give her the kitchen to work. When the cakes were out of the way, it was time to get our hands dirty!

And look good doing it!
We figured we could make the tiny meatballs for the Italian wedding soup and get that out of the way, so I donned my chef hat and got to work chopping parsley.

You thought I was kidding?
Meatballs are simple: pork, beef, eggs, bread crumbs, parsley, grated Parmesan, rolling into tiny meat-pellets.

She's not giving a thumb's up, that's the "my hands are covered in meat" gesture. 
The tiny, meaty fruits of our labor. 
Meatballs into the fridge and workstation cleaned up, because if you don't clean as you go you're doomed. Cakes came out of the over to cool at this point.

Michelle's like, "Yeah, I made cakes. WHAT."
At this point we realized that I had forgotten to buy soda bread. There's a lovely little Irish-food place at that market, and we figured we'd buy that component rather than making it, but I forgot entirely. So Michelle just made some! Turns out it's not terribly hard.

Like, I didn't even have time to take a picture of the process. Just, boom. Bread.
Michelle mixed up the icing for the cake, iced it, and added some chocolate drizzle because this thing wasn't already rich enough.

Drizzle, drizzle. 
And then it was time to get the bison going ahead. Oh, lordy. First step was to pull it out and scrape the excess fat off the top.

All that orange stuff is fat, and I kinda wish I'd saved it.
And then the meat gets pulled out, and the sauce gets cooked down to a "saucy glaze."

"Is it saucy yet?" "It keeps telling off-color jokes, yeah." 
The meat gets broken down into pieces, which is easy since it cooked for four hours the day before, and then arranged in a gigantic skillet.

I love my cast iron.
No point getting the bison ready to eat quite yet, though. Had to make the soup. Soup is pretty easy on one level; you boil a bunch of broth (mostly chicken, some turkey stock I made after Thanksgiving) and then add in the endive and the meatballs. Teagan was fascinated by the idea that you add the meatballs in raw and they cook in the soup.

For this particular recipe, we mixed up some Parmesan cheese and egg, and did basically and egg drop:
Egg-drop soup is comfort food for Michelle, so I've done this part plenty of times.
By this point, the table was clear, the tablecloth was on, and the special mugs brought up from the basement and washed. The cake was done!

No lie!
Michelle got to work making the placards for the dishes.

If it involves handwriting, you don't want me to do it. 
I had a few more dishes to make. I boiled some water and mixed in a bunch of Old Bay seasoning, then dumped in the taters to boil (probably the simplest damn thing we've ever made for this dinner). Teagan and I trimmed and cleaned some spinach, and then we mixed it pomegranate and sunflower seeds, and made a dressing with lemon juice and olive oil.

Note the skillet on the stove in the background, we'll get to that. 

A (mostly) green place.
Michelle mixed up the batter for the popovers, which you pretty much have to eat right out of the oven.
I have no idea what I'm doing, but I'm sure it's important. 
Through all of this, our dogs were pretty chill. I only mention this because Sarah, who was acting as photographer by this point, snapped a picture of Si snoozing on the floor.

"Perhaps if I am good, they will share the bison."
And at that point, it was time to start eating! The coffee we didn't make until later, of course; it was just nice dark coffee with brown sugar and whiskey, and then I used my awesome new canister I got for Xmas to make a quick whipped cream. Here's the spread:


Correction: Dir. Lenny Abrahamson

Correction: Dir. Tom McCarthy