had a very s satisfying homecooked dinner last evening on 3.10.2014. 🙂
while i really enjoy cooking for my family & friends even if there is considerable effort (& a close friend said exactly what it felt like – he really enjoyed it so he did not see it as effort), the point is how to plan the dishes & keep improving to manage the dinner smoothly & achieve best results with least effort. this is also part of the fun. 🙂
i decided to follow a friend’s lead to serve all dishes pre-cooked or served at the start buffet style instead of course by course (i enjoyed the delicious food at 4 of his makan sessions, most recently at a scrumptious homechef mooncake dinner on 8.9.2014).
it is quite important actually not to be disrupted from dinner conversation even though going into the kitchen to cook every course does have its own satisfaction. 🙂 i may even try that for my monterosso seafood risotto, lobster pasta. for king prawn ramen in golden sauce etc which are best served in individual portions, it seems best still to serve them course by course. so i do those for smaller sit down dinners. 🙂
#1 poached chicken – i brined in sugar & salt for 48hrs which made it tasty & moist & then 10mins simmered & 20-25mins poached, then cold water. this a crowd favourite with many supporters. 🙂
#2 braised pig trotters & #3 braised belly pork – i did them together using the cold crockpot method & set meat thermometer to 82degC. this would take about 5hrs, gentle slow & low temperature braising. i did this 1 day before. both were tender, gelatinous but still firm. i prefer this firmer texture.
#4 盐水鸭 – i applied a dry brine seasoning rub & put in chiller for for 48hrs (main condiment is sichuan spicy chilli sauce). cooking method same as poached chicken, but 15mins simmered & 30mins poached. duck was tender & tasty but i felt the 风味 taste was not pronouced enough like last time.
＃5 蒜泥白肉 – i got the pork a day before dinner so only brined 24hrs. used the same cold crockpot method to produce a very gentle braise using chicken stock from the poached chicken. this one again many supporters.
#6 6hr “sous vide” miso lamb shoulder – more or less perfected this dish. the miso tempered the strong gamey taste & 90degC was apparently the optimum temperature to break down collagen (tough connective tissues) to tasty gelatine, so a very tasty, tender dish. 🙂
1 friend said she especially liked the dish. another mentioned it was a bit sweet. i would probably reduce the sweetness in the miso marinade a bit.
#7 peanut carrots pig trotter soup – peanut porkrib soup is a common nice lie tong 例汤. i preferred to do my pig trotters w/o bones & the toe ends so i used those leftovers for the soup, which worked perfectly & added a gelatine texture to the soup. i added some carrots & also as the amount of soup was not enough for 15pax & i did not want to dilute the soup (better not enough soup than enough diluted soup), the chicken stock came to rescue. this i added & the soup tasted quite perfect for me. 🙂
so it was kind of a planned & orderly execution. braised pig trotters & belly pork i did 1 day before, and the leftover pig trotter bones & tips I made soup 1 day before. this freed up the crockpot for the 蒜泥白肉 on the day. chicken & duck were brined 48hrs before & an easy 10mins+20mins for chicken & 15mins+30mins for 1/2duck simmered + poached. miso lamb was marinated 3days before & just gone into oven for 6hrs on dinner day.
easy eh? 🙂
i cooked the rice in rice cooker in the morning (forgot to do day before), & i fried the rice with the sichuan spicy chilli early.
about 1 hr (530pm) before dinner at 630pm, i fried in butter the small prawns & squid. when 90% guests arrived, i heat the fried rice & seafood in the wok together, & i did the dry wok king prawns with ginger, garlic, chilli padi & fish sauce. so every dish was ready to serve together. 🙂
aunty bes did the #10 sambal seabass & #11 poached hk kailan with shitake. everyone loved the fish. 1 friend commented the kailan was so vibrant in colour. kailan was poached & usually looked greener.
1 friend would be celebrating her birthday few days later, so i asked another to bring a candle (i did not have one) & used the tofu cheese cake as the birthday cake. 🙂