valentine’s dinner

In a effort to “pull out all the stops” for visiting friends from New Zealand, well come on they did just fly half way around the world to get here!, I have spent today and yesterday preparing for my impress-the hell-outa-everyone dinner. Since we all know what an utter cheese-fest (and I don’t mean the yellow stuff I’m obsessed with) it is to dine out in NYC on good ole valentines day I offered a home cooked meal.

The inspiration for this dinner came from 2 sources, my friend Maggie, a food editor/stylist at Gourmet Magazine, pinched from her Japanese menu which ran in the May 2008 issue, of course with a few extra bits and bobs exchanged here and there, remember my recipe following problem….. AND a soy cured salmon recipe, from Jean-George’s book of Asian Flavors. I asked Nate to get me this for my birthday (well he is going to be on the culinary receiving end now isn’t he.


soy cured salmon with asian pear and cilantro creme fraiche

pickled wasabi and rice vinegar cucumbers

spicy glazed eggplant

broccoli rabe with garlic (special request from the NZ’ers, they don’t get the rabe down under)

tatsoi, mache, red mustard, pea shoots and micro green salad (with maggie’s special dressing)

black cod (ahem) with mushrooms and sansho pepper

individual meyer lemon pudding cakes (I’ve made these before and they’re a crowd fav)

A couple of snags along the way.. let me present to you..

Exhibit A. Light Soy Sauce


This sucker is not easy to find,  and searching for it… what a pain in my arse, I found 9 bajillion other types of soy but not LIGHT, it finally came into existence in the culinary wet dream for ingredients store, Kalustyan’s on Lexington, if you do not know this store i suggest a trip TOOT SUITE! Look it up, its fabulous!!

cockup #2 I bought the wrong fish. I was supposed to buy black cod, but inexplicably due to my own fault. I have a package of black sea bass in the fridge…. hmmmm did I just see the word black and zone out?? how is it that I am so meticulous in my work cooking life, but when it comes to something that I might actually eat, all bets are off.

#3 the fish sits in a delicious home made mushroom broth, which I made yesterday and halfway through, thought, crikey it’s not gonna be enough, panicked and started doubling it as it was cooking… lets just say I think I may have altered its delicate sense of food chemistry.. but I’m sure it’ll be fine – right?

Dinner – T minus 3 hours….

PS yes we all know valentines is cheesy… I say embrace the CHEESE!



One Comment

  1. Jesika
    Posted February 16, 2009 at 4:43 am | Permalink

    Oh My God!

    This is fabulous!

    Andrew and I need to fly half way round the world for a feast too!!!

    I’m checking for tickets!

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