Plans for Friendsgiving 2020

~ This is Day 258 ~

Thanksgiving Thursday has officially passed for 2020 but my Friendsgiving has not yet! This year, unfortunately, I couldn’t have it on Thursday because of scheduling issues. Not having it on Thanksgiving Thursday seems so weird to me and it’s happening tomorrow, the Sunday of Thanksgiving. I only just realized that I haven’t posted the menu yet. There was a sixth course but my seafood delivery was out of fresh sea urchin from Maine so I axed that dish.

Diver Scallop
Pickled Golden Beets • Apple Sorrel Gel
Micro Red Vein Sorrel
(1st course)

Duck Leg Confit
Celeriac • Hazelnuts
Montegrato Pedro Ximénez
(2nd course)

Quail
Chanterelles • Shiitake • Market Carrots
Pearl Onions • Barley Risotto
(3rd course)

Dry Aged Duck Breast
Pommes Dauphinoise • Caramelized Endive
Red Wine Jus
(4th course)

Grapefruit Sorbet
Kabocha • Contratto • Candied Pepitas
(5th course)

As much as I can’t wait for tomorrow to come, this “Thanksgiving” is dragging and I just want it over with already. Never doing this a Sunday again… keeping it to Thursday next year and all future years.

I know we’re all still in a pandemic and that a lot of people have been alone this holiday weekend but my friends coming are all the same friends that I’ve been seeing since the lockdown and we’ve all been careful, getting tested regularly, and also practicing safe social guidelines.

Recipe: New England Clam Chowder

~ This is Day 236 ~

Doom and gloom winter days? This clam chowder will cheer you up! Best is when you use your own clam stock! The flavor is better than the expensive stuff you buy in the stores!

Watch the how to:

  • 4 slices thick cut bacon, cut into thin pieces
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 Idaho potatoes, diced into half-inch cubes
  • ½ cup thyme sprigs
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 sleeve soda/saltine crackers, unsalted
  • Clam jus/stock/juice
  • 1 quart chopped clams
  • ½ – 1 cup heavy cream
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper

If you liked any of my tools and stuff from the video, you can get it yourself with these links:

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Recipe: Paella de Mariscos

~ This is Day 182 ~

I’ve posted a couple paellas (1 & 2) in the past but here is the instructive video on how to do it yourself at home! I thought I posted more than 2 on this current website but the other ones were probably from my previous website. Anyhow, watch below:

If you want what I have:

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. If you click on one and buy something, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. All opinions are my own.

Makes one 13-inch paella pan. Feeds 3-4 people.

For the Salsa Verde

  • 1 cup parsley leaves, packed
  • 1 cup EVOO
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Salt

For the Rice

  • 2 onions, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, microplaned
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika/pimentón
  • 1 TBS tomato paste
  • 1.5 cups Matiz rice
  • 1100 mL chicken/clam/shrimp/lobster stock
  • Pinch of saffron
  • One 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • Assorted seafood
    • 1 monkfish fillet – cut into 1-inch pieces
    • 12 headless shrimp – deveined, tail left intact
    • 1 chorizo link (forgot to put in the chorizo in my video! But sear this with your pre-partially-cooking process.
    • A few squid tubes and tentacles – cut into thin strips
    • Mussels, de-bearded
    • Littleneck clams – soaked in salted cold water 20 minutes before cooking
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Lemon wedges

Click here for the recipe to making your garlic aïoli!

Homemade Dumplings: Wonton Edition

If you ever wanted to make your own Chinese dumplings at home, here is an instructional video on the how-to:

However, I don’t make my own wrappers. I know the theory… but I just can’t with my hand coordination. It’s very difficult rolling a perfect circle from a knob of dough. Props to my mom for doing everything by scratch.

Here is my ratio of my filling:

  • 1.5 lbs pork tenderloin
  • 1.5 lbs shrimp
  • 4 lbs Chinese flowering garlic chives
  • 3-inch knob ginger
  • 3-4 dumpling wrapper packages

The seasonings I use:

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. If you click on one and buy something, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. All opinions are my own.

Romescada with Homemade Ciabatta

~ This is Day 116 ~

This was such a good choice for the main course of my birthday dinner. I’m delighted that my friends had an amazing time yesterday. There were barely any leftovers, in terms of seafood. I still have leftover sauce, which I’ll eat today for dinner too! I’ll add more seafood in, enough for one!

If you’re interested, this was our first course.

In this photo here, it’s Romescada with Monkfish, Shrimp, Squid, and Manila Clams! Served with homemade ciabatta too!

Recipe: Scallop Crudo with Blueberries & Lavender

~ This is Day 116 ~

I bought a bouquet of dried lavender flowers back in 2018 at the farmer’s market for $13 and I still have a third of it. I mainly use it to make cocktail ingredients but it occurred to me that I could use it for these blueberries.

NYC has slowly reopened but the idea of sitting outside on the patio or sectioned off road is not appealing to me, especially in the heat of the summertime. So I had a few friends over for my birthday dinner. Just a very small gathering, since we’re indoors. I didn’t want to go crazy with the cooking because it was my actual birthday on the date but I also wanted good tasting food so I did two courses: this scallop crudo and a seafood stew. I know the stew doesn’t seem summery but it’s my birthday and IDGAF. I baked my own ciabatta bread and made a little veggie-pasta side as well.

Serves 4-5.

For the Pickled Blueberries

  • 150 g blueberries
  • 175 g white wine vinegar (I’m using chardonnay Forvm)
  • 75 g water
  • 20 g sugar
  • A few buds of dried lavender flowers

This makes about a pint of pickled blueberries. Bring the vinegar, water, sugar, and lavender up to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes to allow the lavender to infuse then pour everything into a container with the blueberries.

You can strain out the lavender if you would like but I kept it in there for more flavor. I put 5 buds into the pickling liquid. Lavender is quite pungent; you don’t want to overpower the sweetness of the scallops.

Allow to cool to room temperature then place into fridge and pickle for at least 24 hours.

For the Scallops & Garnish

When ready to serve, slice the scallops thinly and arrange on plates. Pour a little of the pickling liquid over to season the scallops. Cut the blueberries in half and garnish the scallops. Season the scallops with the Maldon salt, picked purslane, Espelette pepper, and a dash of EVOO before serving.

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. If you click on one and buy something, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. All opinions are my own.

Recipe: Mussels with White Wine & Tomato

~ This is Day 75 ~

I get asked how to make this quite often from friends and family so I’m just going to write this really quickly. This is my favorite way to make mussels and clams. The best part after the mussels/clams? The bread dunking into the rich broth and into your mouth part.

  • 2 lbs mussels
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 tomatoes (or substitute one 14 oz. can diced tomatoes)
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 1 TBS tomato paste
  • ¼ cup butter (optional)
  • ½ cup parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ lemon

Finely chop the onion and thinly slice the garlic cloves. Dice your tomatoes if using fresh ones. Finely chop your parsley, reserve some for garnish.

Scrub the mussels and toss out the dead/damaged ones. If they’re open and don’t close when you poke them, they’re bad. Remove the beards if they have them. Set aside.

In a large pot with lid, heat up enough olive oil to almost cover base of pot. Sweat onions and garlic until aromatic and tender. Add in diced tomatoes and thyme. Season a little with salt, turn heat to medium. Cook for 2 minutes, then add in the tomato paste and cook that out, 3-5 minutes. Add the butter if adding and let the butter emulsify with everything. Once butter has melted, add in the mussels. Turn heat to high, season with salt and black pepper, and add the white wine. Cover with lid, mussels are ready once they open completely, 5-7 minutes. Before you take them out and off the heat, add in most of your chopped parsley and the juice of half a lemon, stir to combine well. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.

Once in a bowl, add the remaining parsley on top as garnish. Serve with toasted bread. I always eat it with ciabatta. Any bread will suffice, pick your favorite!

*For clams, I like to add bacon and hot paprika to this.

Quarantine Paella

~ This is Day 15 ~

It’s almost April!!! The month of March seemed like it took forever to get by. Oh my gosh… What will I do for the entirety of next month???

I’m calling this “quarantine paella” because ingredients are difficult to come by. I try to only go outside to grocery shop when I absolutely need to, i.e. when the fridge is empty. Grocery stores such as Whole Foods Market has all the basic stuff but sometimes the things that I want are out of stock. There are also limits on certain things that you’re allowed to buy. I had hoped to buy 15 lbs of AP flour today but I was only allowed to buy 1 unit, which was 5 lbs. There is no “2-day” prime delivery on Amazon anymore. Everything takes the old regular amount of time (5 business days) or now, even longer to arrive! Jeff Bezos should reimburse us with some Prime membership fees! Totally not going to happen though.

Anyway, with my limited resources and ingredients, I made this paella last night and I’m so glad that I can cook! Thinking about my friends who cannot cook as well as I do… what are they eating? All I want to do is share!! I usually make soffritto ahead of time and just keep a quart in my fridge – it’s good with everything, especially rice! But again, don’t have the excess of ingredients to do things ahead of time. I only put head-on shrimp and bay scallops in this paella, the least variety of sea creatures that I have done in my paella history.

Egg on Egg on Egg

*Biology Class 101: I know sea urchin tongues aren’t really the “roe” but they are the gonads of the creature; for the sake of this post, I am calling them “eggs”. The gonads/sex organs (sometimes also referred to as coral) produce the roe.

Originally, the first course was going to be tuna crudo but I scrapped that idea because I didn’t think it would be a show-stopper!

So here you have Soft Scrambled Eggs folded with Sea Urchin Cream on the bottom, topped with airy Potato Foam, garnished with Sea Urchin Tongues, Trout Roe, Chives, and Pumpernickel Soil.

Plans for Friendsgiving 2019

I’m very early this year for my Friendsgiving menu plans! Inspiration started and I decided to just go with it. I’ve been usually doing dinner for four for the past couple of years because that means less glassware to clean but I want to do six people total this year… Here is what I have so far; I expect menu changes…

Egg on Egg on Egg
Sea Urchin • Soft Scramble • Trout Roe
Potato Foam • Pumpernickel Soil
(1st course)

Quail with Autumn Mushrooms
Chanterelles • King Trumpet • Cremini Purée
Rosemary • Montegrato Pedro Ximénez
(2nd course)

5 Spiced Duck Leg Cappellacci
Celery • Brown Butter • Cured Egg Yolk • Fennel
(3rd course)

Dry Aged Duck Breast
Homemade Hoisin • Pickled Cucumber • Chive Oil
(4th course)

Pear Tart
Ginger Snap • Ginger Ice Cream
(5th course)