September Chefettes’ Night
It’s been too long! I haven’t seen my chefettes in awhile. Who are the chefettes? Only the most amazing group of ladies ever! Actually, it’s three amazing friends and I from culinary school. Every couple of months we get together and have dinner. With that being said, you know we have good food. It’s an Asian inspired theme night.
This Chefette’s night was held in Satellite Beach. I was glad to see my friends since it had been probably at least a few months. As we get older and have more responsibility, it gets a bit harder to meet with everyone. Especially with my schedule, that blasted night schedule! But we made it happen! And that’s what counts. I had a fun drive of over an hour and some change to Satellite Beach. The drive was straightforward and it didn’t seem like it took long at all. Just the traffic alone in Orlando can be pretty ridiculous. 20 miles in 45 minutes?! Argh. I finally find my friend’s place and sat down. There’s water behind this house? Nice warm weather, palm trees in the back, hookah out. I foresee an amazing night.
I attempt to help my friend, the host of the dinner party. Of course she pushes me out of the kitchen and makes me socialize. It’s always great catching up with people. We all have our own separate lives but to be able to come together is just a great thing. We even had some more people this time around, a total of eight people tonight. Tonight we have a five course menu. The host gives us the cue, dinner is served!
First, we started off with an egg drop soup with seared scallops and fried leeks as a garnish. How can anyone not like scallops!? I love the sweetness. You know what’s a horrible offense? Overcooked scallops. Yes, I said overcooked scallops. It’s obviously not the worst thing in the world, but still, it should be high on the list. Kidding, maybe. Firm, rubbery scallops add nothing to a dish except maybe be used as a dieting tool. The extra time spent chewing overcooked scallops could result in additional calories being burnt. Luckily. my soup was great and the scallops were tender. The great thing about egg drop soup is that you can add just about anything and it’d taste great.
So, what’s next? A yummy vegetarian meal. Second course, the grilled tofu with a granny smith apple and orange glaze served with fried rice and enoki mushrooms. That was a mouthful to say. I added some sesame oil to the fried rice. It’s a nice little addition. If you’ve had Peruvian fried rice, it’s sort of like how that tasted. This dish was tasty with it’s light delicate flavor. The tofu was marinated overnight then grilled. So far, we’re off to a great start. Three more dishes to go!
As we cleared the table, it was time for an intermission. One of the fellows brought out some beer. If you know me, you know I’m not the biggest fan of beer. *GASP* Yes, it’s true. It’s just not my thing. I have been working on it, mind you. So far, I can tolerate the light beers fairly ok but when I heard the words “bacon maple beer”, I raised my eyebrows. Bacon, you say? and maple?? Hmmm… I like both, but in beer form? I don’t know about that. Well for starters, this is an intense beer! It had a intriguing sickening smell for me. It was slightly off-putting yet I kept smelling the beer. What’s wrong with me? I kept wondering to myself and I’m sniffing the beer. Yes, an odd one I am. I’m sure any beer aficionado wants to know how it tastes. Let me not give you my opinion. I’m merely kidding, since I’m not a big beer drinker I can’t comment much on it. The flavors were bitter and strong but the maple was prevalent. As far as the bacon, eh? Perhaps this would be better as a beer float. Yes, I did say beer float. I’ve come across beer floats in the past. Typically made with Guinness or a Framboise. Most people haven’t heard of Framboise. It’s a sweet Belgian beer that is typically too sweet for most common beer drinkers. Perhaps next time I come across this beer, I shall have it with some ice cream. Not only would I consume something with so many calories, then I would intentionally fatten it up. How horrible of me, how horrible indeed.
If you haven’t noticed yet, I love seafood. I’ve debated about becoming a vegetarian at times. Could I give up seafood though? I probably could but do I want to? Not really. :p I love it too much. The shrimp we’ll be eating are huge! I call them prawns. When you bite into it, you can taste each flavorful lobe. Speaking of prawns, is there a difference between shrimps and prawns? Technically, yes. After some thorough reading there are some physical differences but in general most people interchange the two. As a general guideline, prawns tend to be larger in side. Of course there are more to it than that, but I’m not running a biology course here. So, for the third course on the menu we have tiger prawns in a coconut almond curry sauce with rice noodles, topped with toasted cayenne cashews. I added my “sauce shrimp” in the dish as well. I like to have fun and be creative. Perhaps subconsciously I made my sauce look like a shrimp. (This so called shrimp is consists of Sriracha and the curry sauce.) Ahhhh, Sriracha! If you haven’t had Sriracha, then you’re missing out.
Can you tell we eat good? I really am good about my diet but I have to let it go when I see my gals. We get the plates cleared away and get ready for the next course. I open the oven door and see the nice pork belly braising. It smells and looks delish.
Out back to the patio area, the bok choy is on the grill. Can I even eat any more food? Of course. Will my stomach be mad at me for stuffing it? Undoubtedly yes, but it’s worth it. The main course! Let’s see what we have here. Grilled bok choy with molasses and ginger braised pork belly, garnished with a slaw. Being Chinese, I am accustomed to having bok choy in soups and stir fries. The grilled bok choy was an interesting. A charred crispness was a nice contrast with the fatty pork. I like to eat healthy, so when I bet into this pork belly I was a bit overwhelmed with the fatty flavor. Texture-wise, it was soft and mushy. I’m sure most people would love this, but I found it too fatty for my liking. If you’ve ever had lechon, there’s the skin, the subcutaneous fat and the meat. I love the skin and the meat but often times I discard the subcutaneous fat. I know, I know, how could I ever get rid of the best part? Well, if I have any fatty pieces of meat then you are more than welcome to have it. The pork belly had a sweet glaze, the slaw was acidic and gave it a nice contrast.
I simply can’t eat anymore at this point. I’m just stuffed. We decided to take a break. THANK GOODNESS! So, I brought out my muscadine wine that I had purchased in North Carolina. Yes, I said wine from North Carolina. It’s called Sweet Serenity. Try it out, especially if you enjoy sweet wines. The after notes are amazing. It makes you go “MMMMMM”. These days, I’m not into such sweet stuff but I still enjoy this one. We decided to make Thai Tea. I love the deep orange color. The thai tea we made was sweetened with condensed milk. Being the culinary people that we are, we took it up a notch. Not only did we make Thai Ice Tea, but we turned it into a Thai Ice Tea Russian! Has this ever been made before? I don’t know but I’ll tell you what, this is amazing! I am going to have to hunt down the Thai Ice Tea Russian master to give me his recipe. You can’t even taste the alcohol which to some it may not be a good thing. HA.
I think I’m ready for dessert now. Let’s give you a timeline of our chefette’s night. I got to Satellite Beach at 6:30pm. It’s now 1 in the morning. Pretty crazy, huh? So for dessert, I’ve got the tapioca in the oven. Broiler on! Look at that beautiful color! I can talk about food all day long. Isn’t it obvious? So this a tapioca brulee. After the sugar caramelized, I placed the pudding in the freezer. It’s already getting pretty late and three of us had to return to the Orlando area. This tapioca pudding brulee was intended to be eat cold but I enjoyed it warm. Honestly, I think it was better warm than if it were to be cold. I went ahead and took the ramekins out and topped the dessert with toasted coconut and pomegranate. I think I’m going to have a food coma soon.