I May Be out of Project Food Blog, but I Threw a Dinner Party Anyway!

4 Oct

For challenge #3 of Project Food Blog, contestants were to host a luxury dinner party for at least four guests.  Because I would not find out whether I qualified to compete in that round until later, I planned to have an Oktoberfest meets English pub night.  Unfortunately, I had no time in the week between finding out about qualifying and posting my blog entry, so I decided to have a late night dinner.  Ten thirty on a Friday?  Why not?

Sadly, the day of the event brought some sad news: first, I found out that I had been eliminated from the competition.  Adios ten thousand dollars!  Next, I had a rather shitty experience with a Stats test.  But, as my Finance professor says, “it’s in the past, like a dividend paid.”  So after my day of horror, I went home and threw down Shaina style: I had a little fun cooking, and then I served it all up to some friends.

What did I make, you ask?  Well, for irony’s sake, why don’t I upload my menu I had made for the Project Food Blog challenge?

Oktoberfest Meets English Gastropub Menu

Currywurst Sliders

homemade garlic sausage, molasses bun

onion chutney and curried ketchup

Gorges Smoke Ale, Ithaca Brewery

Whole Fried Redskins

malt vinegar and vegemite aioli

Hop Warrior Imperial Stout

Braised Brussels Sprouts

beer, onions, caraway, and brown sugar

Bear Republic Red Rocket Ale

Baked Black Forest Donuts

liquid chocolate, rum soaked cherries

Sticky Toffee Pudding Bites

caramel, beer, chocolate

And, of course, I put out some cheese: here, 5 yr Beemster, La Serena, and Cabbot Clothbound Cheddar.

Now, if this is not making your stomach rumble, you have serious issues and should probably see a doctor.   Although the menu is laid out by “course,” I served it family style all at once so that I could join the party, too.  Did I mention the sub-theme was eat what you can spear?  In a fit of laziness, I flouted using silverware and provided heavy-duty bamboo skewers for guests to obtain their food.  I also offered all beer at once, including another specialty ale deemed superior by my guests…For me, the Smoked Porter was King that night.

OK, so back to the food.  Everything was super-simple but delicious.  Starting with the sliders, I was going for a take on the German dish currywurst–sausage with curried ketchup.  I wanted to stuff homemade sausage, but my friend Celia told me I needed to get a little sleep in my week…answer: meat glue!  I ended up mixing some pork, garlic, caraway seeds, salt, water, and meat glue and then chilling the mixture in two logs.  Afterwards, I sauteed them in brown butter and sliced them into slider-sized cylinders.  I had made homemade buns the day before, so I toasted and split them, slathered them with curried ketcheup (just ketchup with curry powder), and then placed a sausage patty and sauteed onions on each.

Next, some roasted potatoes with vegemite aioli!  How did this dish come into existence, you wonder?  Well, I originally wanted to make whole fried Red Bliss potatoes, and I love fries with malt vinegar.  But I love fries with aioli.  Later, when I was in the store and saw vegemite, I was all, BINGO!  And so I made a vegemite-malt vin aioli–it was lush, tangy, and pure umamification all in one.  And even though I didn’t fry the potatoes, people were all over them: spear, dip, eat, repeat.

For the other side, I made Brussels sprouts braised in beer and molasses.  This one was kind of a gimme, because who doesn’t love roasted Brussels.  Oh, wait–college students?  Well, even though it sounds far fetched, all my friends were lovin’ the Brussels.  All I did was oven-roast them with salt, oil, and molasses and then add beer to the pan towards the end to add steam and cook them through.  Not bad at all!

Desserts were random amalgamations of things, like I often make, that came out very tasty.  I had made a chocolate panna cotta earlier in the week, but I added too much gelatin.  What to do?  For my dinner, I made donut dough, rolled it out, and put a dollop of said panna cotta and some rum-soaked cherries down before topping with another layer of dough and then cutting them out.  I decided to bake them instead of frying them, and they came out well.  Even if they may have needed more time to rise, they were tender and had a great flavor combo with the chocolate/dried cherries soaked in rum.

My other dessert was essentially cake pureed with beer, molasses, ginger, and more sugar and molded into small bite-size cubes.  Each one, adorned with some melted chocolate, tasted like a sticky toffee pudding-gingerbread hybrid.  Even though they were random little things, they were tasty.

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One Response to “I May Be out of Project Food Blog, but I Threw a Dinner Party Anyway!”

  1. Laura October 4, 2010 at 9:53 pm #

    Sounds delicious!!! Wish I could have seen pictures of the desserts!!

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