I talked about my Ladies Activity Club before, created by the lovely EmilyStyle. It was my month to host, so I invited my friend Tom, who is a chef at the oo la la restaurant Aqua in Downtown SF, to come teach us the art of making cute, tiny food out of unusually expensive ingredients (aka fancy hors d oeuvres).
He was so excited to get to come hang out with a bunch of ameteur chefs! The joy was evident on his face all night long.
Especially ameteur chefs that were almost more excited about getting to decorate (and model) aprons than to actually cook.
Tom had sent me the ingredients for the evening ahead of time, and I was a little embarrassed when I couldn't even pronounce half the ingredients, let alone know where to find them in the supermarket. I had a bet going with my roommate about whether "Mascarpone" was going to be found in the dairy section or the spice section, and practiced my French accent so that I wouldn't embarrass myself when I asked where to find the crème fraiche.
Turns out, fancy names are not the only tricky thing about fancy food. Sometimes the prices are a little surprising too. I was a little taken aback when I found out that lobster costs $50/lb, and even called Tom to make sure that was right. I wanted to dress this cute little expensive dude up in a mini lobster tux and dance with him around the kitchen. When you pay this much for your food, you had better play with it to get your money's worth.
That first phone call to Tom was prematurely made, because later in my shopping day I found out that the caviar that I was supposed to pick up 2 ounces of cost $95/oz. (I went with a slightly cheaper option after a few more frantic phone calls, and I think that no one knew the difference). This is me with just one ounce of the stuff. I could have taken four times that through airport security and no one would have blinked.
Eventually I managed to round up all the elusive ingredients and the night was a rousing success. We had a team that magically turned a watermelon ...
(yes chef, those pieces of watermelon are all cut exactly into 1mm squares)
This ordinary looking cucumber:
got stuffed with crab and became this:
This little lobster:
tastes as good as it looks:
This boring potato (being held by a finnish rockstar):
got all dressed up in caviar and came to dinner:
Please stop by my kitchen if you are ever interested in knowing how to make Tomato Watermelon Tartar, Pomme Maxine and Caviar, Lobster en Croute or Crab and Cucumber Quenelles. You will recognize me because I will be the one eating the famous French delicacy, "le hotdog" because I just blew my entire food budget for the month.