Friday, September 18, 2009

Recipe For a Wedding

This is not a picture of the moons surface, nor is it a bad linoleum pattern. It's Cilantro Dressing and it is a damn fine thing for any salad to wear at a wedding. Last Saturday it topped chopped romaine, along with grilled vegetables, cotija cheese and pepitas at a small perfect backyard event. My first wedding to cater in what seems like eons but really less then two years now.

 Getting back into catering felt like putting on sandals on the first days of summer, familiar, comfortable, just right.  I went to work fussing over the color of yellow, the best angle for the buffet and if the avocados were perfectly ripe. I had nothing to worry about, by the end of the evening, wedding guests full and happy. The cops only came once, no one stepped into the pool or accidentally let the family dogs out.

I can't be sure if it was the choice of the simple Southwest dishes, or just making everything fresh on the spot that seemed to go over best. Mango salsa for the quesadillas the jallepeno cheese spread and fresh made guacamole a good fit on a warm California night. I was comfortable being back in the kitchen with skillets flying.

Take one house, add in eighty wedding guests some music, hugs, laughter and you got it, a recipe for a great evening...

Strange as it sounds, I felt right at home!

Cilantro Dressing- By El Torito
  • 2 each Anaheim chili pepper
  • ⅓ cup pepitas roasted
  • 2 each garlic cloves peeled
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper ground
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 12 ounces salad oil
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons cotija cheese grated
  • 2 bunches cilantro stems removed
  • 1 ½ cups mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup buttermilk
Place all ingredients except cilantro, mayo, water and buttermilk in a food processor for 10 seconds. Add cilantro, little by little until blended smooth.

In seperate bowl place mayonnaise and water and mix with a wire whisk until smooth. Add the buttermilk and blended ingredients and mix completely.

Place in an air tight container and refrigerate

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Top Chef Pasta Helpers

I'm jumping in here. No one asked for my help, but the judges were dissapointed by the two spaced out girlchefs on T C last night, this can't be the end of it.

To catch you up in case you missed it (say your DVR didn't work and you were at a PTA meeting or something). On Top Chef last night Laurine and Preeti spent 4 hours preparing pasta salad. The attempt at a stunning star spangled, flag waving, tears streaming dish fell flat at judgement time. The salad,  9 /11 inspired or not, will forever be a memorial to mediocre attempts to slide by.

I 'd like to make a few suggestions that could have helped, based of course on ingredients most likely found in an airbase kitchen.

Pasta Succotash Primavera Tossed with Fried Lemon Pepper Lima Beans 
Carmalized Spam Pasta Salad with Baked Bean Sauce Americana
Blackend Pasta Salad with Miracle Whip Remoulade and Celery Gremolata
Jello Macerated Pasta and Red Onion Confiture with Fruit Cocktail
Fricassee of Farfalle with Vintage Stewed Tabasco Tomato Coulis
Pasta Salad with Confit of Corned Beef and Vacuum Packed Grilled Corn Mache
Pasta Vichyssoise, Bisquick Crouton and Sea Ration Lagnappe
Ozoni with Farfalle Chilled and served with Sweet Potato Jet Puff Foam
Pasta Salmagundi with Frenches Mustard Maple Syrup Drizzle
Bow Tie Pasta Crudo over Canned Spinach Timbale Pan Seared and brushed with Velveeta Glaze

Any of these would have worked, and could have kept you from pack'n your knifes ladies!