My sister knows a guy…
Any good story involving a member of my family tends to begin with one of them knowing a guy. In this case, The Sister actually knows a girl…a Texan named Hayley. Hayley is a high-ranking campaign staffer of a New York City mayoral candidate (not Anthony Weiner). The Texan hired The Sister and a mutual friend of theirs to cook for a campaign fundraiser.
At a penthouse on Central Park West.
Where Mr. and Mrs. Alec Baldwin were the guests of honor. And they are vegetarians, gluten free and dairy free. No pressure.
So, when the Alec Baldwin called her “the kitchen help,” she smiled for the photo. When the hosts only had enough place settings for 10 and 11 people showed for dinner, she delegated. Apparently, she did well enough where the hosts thought she was actually a caterer and they still want to hire her and the mutual friend to cook at future dinner parties for them.
During the evening, Alec Baldwin told “the kitchen help” a story about shooting a movie in Miami. Apparently, there was a lot of evening scenes and he would sit up in the bar at the Four Seasons all night waiting for his call. To pass the time, he said that he would eat bowls of the hotel’s hummus. He said it was the best hummus in the world and that there must have been one guy on staff whose only job was to make the hummus.
Then he looked at The Sister and said, “Yours is pretty good too.”
So, she’s got that going for her.
The menu was stuffed mushrooms and hummus with vegetables for hors d’oeuvres, a green salad and cantaloupe gazpacho to start, baked salmon with fresh herb relish with roasted purple potato, carrot and arugula pesto for the entree, and gluten-free strawberry shortcake for dessert.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Destem 1 pack of baby bella mushrooms,chop and set aside. In a deep frying pan, add 4 tablespoons of butter (we used Earth’s Balance butter substitute). Once melted, add 4 cloves of minced garlic and brown. Add to the pan of garlic and butter, chopped stems, 1/2 cup of crab meat (claw meat) and saute for 3 min. Add 1 1/2 cups (or more if needed) of bread crumbs (we used whole Foods brand gluten free). Saute on low until mixture is combined and stuffing-like. Add salt and pepper to your tasting.
Take bella caps and place on a foil lined baking pan. Stuff mushrooms with mixture. Top with chopped fresh rosemary. Drizzle with olive oil and bake for 20-25 min.
Prepare your food processor.
Mince 4 cloves of garlic. Add 4 garlic cloves, 2 cups canned chickpeas drained, 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1/3 cup tahini, 6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons), 2 tablespoons liquid from the chickpeas, 8 dashes hot sauce
Blend well and refrigerate. Serve with red, orange, and yellow peppers, cucumbers, snow peas, radishes, belgium endive and sliced purple heirloom tomatoes.
Cantaloupe Gazpacho (from Bon Appetit)
Purée 1 medium cantaloupe (peeled, seeded, chopped), 1 small cucumber (peeled, chopped), 2 tablespoons chopped red onion, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, and 1/3 cup water in a blender until smooth. With motor running, drizzle in 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil; season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve gazpacho chilled, topped with thinly sliced fresh mint.
Baked Salmon with fresh herb relish with roasted purple potato, carrot and arugula pesto
Line baking sheet with aluminum foil. Preheat oven for 250. Add a deep pan of water to oven (to create moisture). Add Salmon filets to pan ( we used Alaskan sockeye salmon from Whole Foods). Season with kosher salt and pepper.
Chop basil, mint, parsley, and rosemary. Mince 1 large shallot. Mix herbs and shallot mixture/relish and add a thick layer on top of each filet. Also, add a pinch of lemon zest to each filet. Squeeze fresh lemon over the filets and bake for 22 min.
Potatoes and Carrot
Preheat oven to 375. Whole Foods had a hot deal on baby purple and yukon potatoes at $5 per bag (12 oz. each) Since it’s not my money we went for it. Halve potatoes, toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs d’ provence. Peel carrot. leave part of green stem. Lay carrots on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs d’provence. Add potatoes to the pan, and roast for 30 to 45 minutes.
Mince 3 cloves of garlic, add 6 cups of arugula, a small handful of pine nuts 2 to 3 teaspoons of kosher salt. Begin pulsing. While running, add 1/2 cup of olive oil (if interested in a thinner pesto, add more olive oil).
Presentation: with a squeeze bottle, garnish plate with pesto, add salmon filet to the center, arrange potatoes on the plate, lay carrot on top. Serve with fresh lemon wedge.
Gluten free, dairy free strawberry shortcake
I couldnt bring myself to baking a gluten free, dairy free short cake, so I bought from a organic baker here on LI.
Quarter strawberries into a bowl. Add 1 cup of white wine (I used a cheap riesling) 1/2 cup of sugar and the juice from 3 freshly squeezed lemons, mix and refrigerate to cool. Serve the strawberry over shortcake. Add whipped topping ( I used soy. it just wasn’t the same, but it was good).