Sunday, January 21, 2007

Power of Plating

Last weekend, I brought that three cheese fondue recipe to a dinner party of 20 somethings. Dinner party for 20 somethings usually involve pizza and some brewskis, but in this case, we went a little beyond. Actually, scratch that, I didn't go beyond, I just made some fondue. But our host, who you can see here blocked by part of that hookah pipe in Palo Alto's newish hookah cafe cum florist (Mills the Florist), actually did go beyond.

Brav is blocked, Jack's eyes are rabid and Jack is discussing a brilliant new wireless related service that will conquer the world.

So, Brav's coup de grace was this cauliflower soup. Cauliflower soup, you say?! How can that be a coup de grace? Cauliflower soup is homey, rich and soothing. But I wouldn't ever call it anyone's culinary achievement. Now I have to revise this statement. Brav got this recipe from epicurious. I am too lazy to look it up, but it was basically titled Cauliflower soup with a lot of other stuff. I would have looked at the recipe, substituted whatever ingredients I had handy and then eaten it straight from the pot. However, Brav actually followed all the directions, included all the ingredients, and then plated it beautifully.

BEHOLD! another crap photo!:

This delicious cauliflower soup is essentially sauteed onions, cream and stock and cauliflower. You can't go wrong with simple ingredients like that! But then, on top of that, there were poached leeks (under that scallop), which added a subtle allium flavor and much needed crunchy textural contrast. Then, Brav added perched that perfectly seared scallop. Not overcooked at all. He drizzled some olive oil, sprinkled some caviar (salty little pops!), I tossed some chives around, a little cracked pepper- It was beautiful. I forgot to mention that the 20 somethings who prepared this meal are actually younger than me. At their age, I was microwaving flour tortillas with shredded cheddar and slopping some Old El Paso on it for dinner.

The point of this is, for just a little more effort, you get a beautiful end result that elicited gasps of disbelief from us all. And it was tres tasty to boot.


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