It was a casual dinner, and some of us were even dressed in shorts… But the table was gussied up just a bit and the food was certainly not everyday fare. My plate of salads and seafood to start.
A really colorful and utterly delicious heirloom tomato salad with a sprinkling of sea salt, drizzle of good extra-virgin olive oil and simply garnished with basil.
A beet salad made of roasted whole beets, peeled, then passed through a mandoline into thin slices that I laid on the bottom of the platter. I drizzled a bit of sherry vinegar and salt on the beets and covered that with plastic wrap and let it chill for an hour or two. I then peeled some oranges, sliced them into disks and laid that on top of the beets. Topped that with some julienned pear spritzed with lemon to help avoid oxidation (that didn’t work too well) and micro arugula.
A simple green salad with very fresh and crisp french beans (all this and herbs from Gejo’s Malipayon Farms) was dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette.
A platter of steamed large cross crab were the hit of the evening. I hadn’t planned on serving them, and wanted to get 2 large lobsters instead, but there weren’t any live lobsters at the Seaside market that morning and the cross crabs just looked so appealing so I bought those instead. Steamed them as soon as I got home and chilled them in the fridge before serving that evening with a mayonnaise, lemon, roasted garlic and dill sauce. Anyone who wanted good wine vinegar with raw garlic and salt got that as well. The crab were succulent, sweet and briny at the same time. Really delicious.
Some black tiger prawns, slathered in sweet butter, roasted garlic, salt, pepper and grilled over coals then garnished with chopped Italian parsley.
Another photo of the seafood choices.
Two of the four tomahawk steaks we grilled up for dinner that evening. Weighing in at well over a kilo each, these flintstone-like steaks either elicit amused smiles or feigned horror. I have only cooked this cut once before, for Father’s Day, and we enjoyed them so much we got them again (purchased at S&L Fine Foods). The steaks were from Australian Angus cows and were absolutely amazing, tender and tasty and perfect rare to medium-rare. We just seasoned them with salt 3 hours before cooking ( I like this whole salting in advance move of recent years) and added cracked black pepper, chopped fresh rosemary and olive oil and a bit more salt before putting them on the grill. As an added flavoring tactic, I cut a large white onion in half and wipe it across the grills to get just a hint of onion flavor on the meat.
We also served some baked potatoes, with some sides of butter, thick sour cream, chives and that dark stuff in the last container is actually lumpfish caviar or cheap fish roe. Yes, the caviar and sour cream and potato are a great mixture of textures and flavors.
Another shot to give you some idea just how darned large the tomahawk steaks were.
We never popped open the Veuve Clicquot because our guests brought along a couple of bottles of Dom Perignon and several bottles of Chateau de Gravillon. There was also a bottle of Louis Roederer Cristal which we are saving for another dinner with our generous guests.
The Teen was in charge of the dessert and she picked 9 cupcakes by Sonja with a few candles to blow out. :)
She also got a mango/chocolate/meringue cake that must have been 10 inches tall! Coffee and tea, chocolate, conversation, more wine and laughter ended a wonderful birthday dinner with friends.