I told a few friends to stop by for an early dinner last night.  It was such a beautiful day and Miss A and I were planning on spending most of the day in the garden working.   I will post photos of our little 20×65 plot of land which, passes for an expansive backyard in city living.  So on Saturday, we invited 10 friends over for an early dinner.  However, the backyard never got cleaned Sunday afternoon because, Saturday night happened.

It started with a beer, then on to a glass of wine, then our neighbor came over with a bottle of smuggled Havana Club Rum. That is when the wheels fell off.  It quickly turned from a couple of drinks to a full on situation.   At one point, we broke out the homemade lemoncello, there was bacon being cooked at 2 in the morning, it was pretty serious.

Seeing that we had a appointment with a couple in which we are catering their wedding, it was good we decided to meet at a dim sum restaurant in Queens.. What is better than dim sum for a hangover.Tons of tea, a few dumplings, that sir, will make you whole again.

Initially, I was just going to take the 8.5 pound Boston Butt out of the freezer and cook it in the smoker for 12 hours or so but, I was worried there was not going to be enough food..

So the menu consisted of:

  1. A Baked Quiche with goat cheese and aged goud (brought by neighbor)
  2. A Kale and Fennel Salad with orange (brought by neighbor)
  3. Mussels Marinara
  4. Grilled Branzino
  5. Baked Pasta with mozzarella in a tomato basil sauce
  6. 8.5 LB Smoked Pork Shoulder
  7. Guacamole with chips. we used Serrano Peppers, it was spicy and wonderful
  8. 8 Cheese Plate- Brought by my buddy
  9. A grilled T-Bone Salad
  10.  Cuban Tres Leches Cake

So, we made a simple pasta.  Basic tomato sauce, we added a little butter and onion, then mixed with the macharonni, some basil, and then baked.  Nothing ground breaking but, very tasty.  Serving a baked pasta to a room full of people is a good call. Everything is prepared ahead of time and you are just heating it up and melting the cheese.

I am sorry as I am still getting down the idea of photographing everything. We took a nap after that dim sum meeting.  We slept until about an hour before guests arrived and shockingly, we had only cooked the tres leches the night before and I somehow managed to wake up at 630 and throw the shoulder into the smoker. Everything else needed to be started.  Not to mention the backyard needed to be cleaned up.  At this point the gardening was not going to be accomplished, we just wanted to clean up the dirt and spray the place down so people had a place to sit.

Branzino and Dan, Dan and Branzino.. My good buddy Dan who I have known most of my life standing with some Branzino who I will have gotten to know shortly.

This is the artistic shot my buddy Ceava wanted me to post: He also mentioned something about cropping but, I am not sure I know how to do that.

I think when roasting branzino, or lots of fish, you need to top the fish with olive oil when you are done cooking it. And not some crappy olive oil, a real important thing is to go buy some nice olive oil.  I use this good olive oil only for finishing plates.  I am not going to make a salad dressing with it, or deep fry things, this is my top shelf olive oil and is used sparingly.

Now unfortunate i am still new to blogging so, I have yet to start thinking about it all the time. I may take a photo or two but, once the drinks are poured and it’s time for me to eat, well, I tend to get caught in the moment. I wish I had photographed all the other food.

Here is what one table looked like, briefly.

And a good way to end anything is with dessert.  So I bring you, my wifes amazing Tres Leches.  Firstly, the cake would be amazing on it’s own.  But, she then will stand there with a little tooth pick and make perhaps a thousand little stabs in the cake.  Then, she makes a mixture of Condensed Milk, Evaporated Milk and Half and Half. She then pours it over the cake and allows it to soak up the liquid.   If you think that sounds good, well you would be correct.. But, what takes this cake over the top is the meringue.  Egg whites are beaten until fluffy, she then makes a super sugary water using boiling water and sugar.. This poured into the mixing bowl that has the egg whites.. It is beaten again until the egg whites peak up again.  It’s such a wonderful thing.

Often times a restaurant will have a Tres Leches and it is topped with a whipped cream icing. That is garbage.  The meringue is where it’s at.

This cake is my wife’s grandmothers recipe. It is easily the best Tres Leches I have had. It’s a thing of beauty.

So thanks for staying with me.  I am still working out this blog thing. Should I post recipes, should I take less photos and do more writing.  Who knows, it will come to me I am sure.   But yesterday was a lot of fun.. Considering we started preparing things just about 1 1/2 before people showed up, it was pretty successful. It’s a great thing to be able to get a group of friends together.