I use the term foraging very loosely here. A few weeks ago I cooked a lovely dinner party in Mission Bay for a ladies getaway weekend. I had taken my kids up to Mount Helix that morning to play around and as we were exploring, we came across a lush patch of mustard flowers. As discovered on one of our nature hikes on Dictionary Hill, mustard flowers have a taste more like cabbage/broccoli then mustard. That instantly became the impetus for a dish. What dish? Me no know…but I new I’d use them to accentuate (some?) brassica based dish. So…while at the market later in the day, I came across illegally cute, smurf size brussels sprouts. I went with a variation of a salad I did a year or two ago that is a marinated brussels sprouts and grilled mushroom salad with truffle vinaigrette, herbs and other points of interest.
Avocado mashed potatoes are coming to a fish dish near you…if I’m cooking. Avocado mashed potatoes are a healthy and perfectly balanced little side that I’ve been enjoying at my diner parties of late. The recipe forces itself into stupid simplicity. Cooked potatoes mashed with kosher salt and a scant 1/3 the amount of avocado…preferably Fuerte. That’s it. Anything more other then a few chives takes away the purpose of the mixture; which is an avocado tasting mashed potato. Also note the room temperature potatoes. Hot avocado isn’t something I love and it would loose it’s vibrancy if over heated. Avocado can easily become something very expected/normal/specific, once you start adding ingredients. Using it as the mashed potato fat with no other flavors allows the avocado to come through the perfectly textured mashed potato. Any more avocado and you get close to guacamole…as is the addition of lemon or garlic.
This is achiote halibut/avocado mash/baby lotus chimichurri
As you probably know, I do mostly small parties. Occasionally a big party rolls by and I need some help. For that, I go to my long time friend and cohort, Gina Bishop. She brought me in on a party recently that was an 80 person luau themed buffet with hors d’oeurves. We had a blast and worked our tookus’ off, which is always a great combination for good food. Our styles and skill sets are almost opposite, but we are on the same page with flavor. Here is the menu we did for that party. Everything was perfect.
Dinner Buffet of supreme Hawaiian Deliciousness: Kalua Pig
Plank Grilled pineapple teriyaki salmon
Dati Puti vinaigrette coleslaw
Green Salad/ Chili Guava Dressing
Traditional Island Macaroni Salad
Desserts: Traditional haupia with banana
Pina Colada Bread Pudding/ Rum Salted Caramel
Assorted Cookie Bar
I realized a sad truth during the party. In all these years, I had never referred to her as G. That’s not like me and I’m disappointed in myself. That is all.