Sunday, June 28, 2009

Baked: My Little Man's ALL grown up.

Friday I catered, Saturday I bartended & watched Mitzi on PBS... Sunday my little man turned TWO!!!  He's my friend Edrickcan's son. Edrickcan used to dance for me in Miami when I was the head dancer at Liquid Nightclub... OH the memories of that place.... google it!

She's been living here in LA almost as long as I have & to help me out with my I have no family out here fix & to help her out with saving money on daycare she let's me watch her son Elijah... SERIOUSLY coolest kid on the planet!!! We cruise all day, he's so perfect! ♥ For his second birthday I offered to make cupcakes.

His party was Cars themed. Of course I was the single Auntie  that showed up 2 hours late thinking the party was at 2, but it was at noon, bearing 50 of my Perri's Butter Cream Red Velvets AND they served juice in these organic sippy bags like Capri Sun so I couldn't sneak any booze into anything.... geez! 

Oh well... cupcakes were still a SMASH! 

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