Sunday, June 28, 2009

Let Me Cater To You: The Dr is IN!

BEFORE: Here's all the stuff I schlepped over myself... I'm like a Gypsy, I swear!

And the stunning after!
I know over 2 weeks later, my catering gig story I promised. Sorry for the delay, I am in the middle of moving. With the support of my family I have decided it would be best to move & focus more on the blog, selling the show & my catering gigs. I found a stun-NING 1930's 1100 sq ft upper of a 4 plex in the Fairfax District with a fantastic potential roommate who runs a pretty neat blog himself you can find right here, here's hoping everything goes through

SO... after I posted up my cupcakes on my Facebook, my friend & former club dancing partner, Lovejoy aka The Dancing Chef , was blown away & I asked if I made them all? I told him yes, impressed he asked what were my immediate goals with pursuing my whole culinary game? I told him I was interested to restart my old intimate catering business. Impressed, literally 3 days later he called me & offered me a gig he couldn't do. A party of 14 for this dynamic young Woman celebrating with family & friends after she's finished her Residency at USC.

I called Dr. Strand & she was so fun & excited to throw this gratitude dinner. She said that she loves roses & they were going to be everywhere. I told her let's incorporate roses in the meals. I have this fabulous bottle of Rose Syrup & I infusing it into drinks I can work on a rose glaze I have been envisioning & DYING to try & I can incorporate it into a dessert. 

I told her I can make a stuffed Saddle of Lamb & Israeli Couscous, she LOVED the couscous idea, her mother was from Morocco! For the non 4 legged diners I offered a Cognac & Pinot Grigio Scallop Gratin. For the starter I offered to make my Shrimp Martini with Crispy Yucca based on the lobster one I made here . For the dessert, rose infused Pots de Creme & as a twist crystallizing rose petals making them edible. Lastly, for the drink Pom & Rose Syrup Martini's I called the Dr Is In!

She was STOKED within our 15 minute conversation the dinner plan was set! Mission begins.

Spinach, Guava & Cheese Stuffed Leg of Lamb

I am INTENT on making Guava a staple in American cuisine, this is my mission. There are SO many uses & it is seriously the perfect fruit. I am catering my brother's rehearsal dinner. His Fiancee is Mexican & we're Haitian so I wanted the menu to reflect the marriage of their cultural cuisines also. 

It was a pretty ballsy decision to try a recipe in my head for a catering gig, but hey how else was I going to learn. I needed to see & hear the feedback by several palates, palates that didn't just know & me but give me unbiased reviews about the food honestly.

I saw my food God Gordon Ramsay make a Saddle of Lamb... I never even heard of it, I was RIVETED on how glorious & easy it looked. Yes he did refer it as the Rolls Royce of Lamb.. but dayum it literally costs as much! 

I charged $25 a head for the party. I budgeted the meal to cost no more than $110. After calling every Butcher in LA, mind you... 80% didn't speak English & 99.5% didn't even know what part the Saddle was... SO frustrating it made me wish I were back in the East Coast... this would NEVER happen in NYC or MIA.

As per Cook's Thesaurus:

lamb loin roast  Notes:   This is a very tender, flavorful, and expensive roast.   If you want more servings, you can get a saddle of lamb = double loin roast, which combines the loin roasts from either side of the lamb.   If boneless, a loin roast is called a loin roll = boneless loin roast = rolled lamb roast, or a double loin roll = rolled double lamb roast if made from the saddle.  Substitutes:  leg of lamb

**NUH DOIFFY!!! Yeesh LA, get on it already isn't it bad enough we don't have turn signals at every light, dating here is non existent & as long as Charlie Sheen is still alive all the bars & clubs have to close at 2 am? Can't believe how bad the Butchers are here**

After 3 hours of calls around town I FINALLY found two credible Butchers at the Farmer's Market in the Grove one that can cut right then & there & one I had to place the order the day before, hell the dinner was the next day! To feed a party of 12, here's what the Butcher deemed fit:

YEAH FREAKIN' RIGHT!!! I still haven't bought all the other ingredients yet, so it was off to the Butcher at Jon's to get a leg & pound that puppy to the ground when I got home to flatten it out. $47.69 for 13 lbs... SA-WEET! ♥♥♥

Here's the prep:

Last minute I canceled on the Mascarpone.
The Star Studded Cast
Sweating the shrooms

Wrapped in Prosciutto ♥
Frying the garlic & sage
Inspired by Gordon I used the sage & garlic as a rack & placed the seared lamb on top of it & finished the cooking process in the oven. I punked out on the rose glaze BUT I did serve on rose plates
Seriously.. one of thee BEST things I have EVER put in my mouth, the party RAVED about it, definitely will be making this for my Brother & Sister in Law's rehearsal dinner. The switch between the sweet, savory, crispy, creamy & all those flavors in between was mind-blowing!


The Star Studded Cast
Couscous, Currants. Cranberries, Cucumbers, Pistachios, Walnuts, Saffron, Rosemary & Parsley


The Star Studded Cast

I grabbed the butter out of my freezer So fast I didn't notice I didn't grab the unsalted one... dang! I had to make this twice. With the Gray salt it was way too salty, luckily this takes about 10 minutes to make so I didn't mind chucking out & starting over. Lesson learned.

For the shrimp martini, I tried to use frozen Yucca. it didn't shred nicely so I ran to WHole Foods to buy a fresh one. Alas, they didn't have any so I settled for a Sweet Potato, it wasn't a total loss. Joshua Jackson was there & he is much cuter in person & that made my day.
Fried up nicely like the Yucca but I prefer the taste of the Yucca better on top of the tangy shrimp.


The Star Studded Cast
I added both chocolate chips & butterscotch chips to add more layers of flavor
Pouring the Amarula for the white cream layer
Prep for crystallizing the roses

♥ These tasted SO good, sweet & crispy ♥
It's remarkable how easy Pots de Creme are to make, just blend & refrigerate!
Rose Syrup 

Adding the strong French Vanilla coffee
A Chorus Line 

Have you EVER?!?!?! *swoon* 


The Star Studded Cast: The Dr Is In!

Nat, her Best friend since 7th grade, colleague & father from Arizona. The reason the theme was roses is because her father used to send her roses to school all the time from her childhood to her Residency... I cried like a baby, how awesome is that?!?!? 
For an added touch as place settings, photos of the party were laid out 

I brought all the plates, silverware, glasses, candles & decorative stones. I really enjoyed dressing this table... take THAT Aunt Sandy!
Shrimp Martini

The BEST part of the night is when Nat, her roommate & I sat outside when the party was over after everything was put away. Nat turned to me & in earnest said it was a shame that we met NOW before she was off to Arizona, everyone there thought I was a friend, not the Caterer & had we have been friends her life would have been a little sweeter...

COULD YOU JUST DIE?!?!?! I LOVE this woman!!! Who says stuff like that? Women really are so amazing. I wish we took the time to have one another's back more. Thanks for indulging me you guys. I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did 

1 comment:

  1. This looks AMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAZIIIIIIIIING!!!!! I can personally vouch for the DELICIOUS cous cous and Pots de Creme because Manouschka always has extra, and feeds her lonely, hungry friends!!! xoxox