Current Progress

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Scarlem Weekly Meetup

So starting in December a few of my Canadian friends get together to cook dinner on Wednesdays and rotate houses and chefs every week. Today was my turn and what a turn out it was :) I even have a special guest hanging out here for the week whom I hadn't seen for 6 years!

I've never been on time for the dinners but since I'm the chef cook this time, I planned to head home an hour before everyone came over. No such luck, I was only home 10 min before people arrived. So I recruited everyone to pitch in to clean, cut, boil, peel and mix. An hour later...dinner is served :)

Two items were on the menu tonight:
1. Polynesian crab salad
In a large bowl,
- dice 1 avocado, 1/2 onion, 4 roma tomatoes, 1 mango, 1 cucumber, 1 red pepper
- mix in: green onion, basil, cilantro
- and crab. So in my search for crab (I didn't want imitation crap or to boil and break open an actual crab) - I found this frozen wild korean crab meat at Ranch 99. I defrosted it all day and just stuck it in the microwave for a few minutes to cook. It was cheaper than the imitation stuff and tasted pretty decent.
- add dressing for the salad: Apple Cider Vinagrette, Lime juice, Garlic salt, pepper, hot pepper, ginger and some water. I really made this one up on the spot combining random spices in my spice rack.

I think the salad was well received. It was a decent helping for 7 people. I really liked the freshness of the mango, avocado, onion and lime. There was a lot of different textures and flavours. I'd definitely make this again.

2. Spring Rolls
This is my trusty backup plan when I don't want to experiment with new food. It's been a crowd pleaser at previous gatherings and I've got the recipe down to an art so I decided to go with it. I really like this meal because you don't have to do that much work and everyone gets to pitch in to make their own meal. I guess this is the Vietnamese version of a burrito or taco.
This time we boiled shrimp and fish balls and rice noodles. Also cut/wash carrots, cucumber, head lettuce, basil, cilantro. I put each of these items into a plate for everyone to make their own rolls.

The peanut sauce is the only other thing to prepare: heat up hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, hot sauce, minced onions. Add in some crushed peanuts and stir.

Just boil some water and dip in the rice paper. That's it, the rest is up to each person to come up with their own creation.

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