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21 for 21 in 21 for my 21st


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A clarification about the duck/ceviche thing. I wasn't really very clear on what I meant. I still want to do pan seared, sliced duck breast on some sort of salad and I still want to do a ceviche. It's just that I'm not sure what type of salad and whether avocado and corn for the ceviche is the right choice.

Daniel I love the idea of quesadillas but the logistics of it just doesnt work out. I can only do 4, maybe 6 servings of quesadillas in a pan so I would need to fill my cooktop for a solid hour or so just to get a single course out. With duck breasts, I'm allocating 1/3 of a breast per person so at 4 per pan, I can get them out in 20 minutes.

PS: I am a guy.

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One more suggestion.. I was just at a dinner party wednesday night.. They had radishes cups hollowed out and filled with scallop ceviche being passed around.. You ate the whole thing in one little bite.. It was awesome..

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Your menu plans leave me uncharacteristically speechless, so I've only been lurking here until now.  But I was all set to post "Shalmanese is a girl???"  Whew, I knew you had to be a guy!

I always thought Shalmanese was a girl too!! I don't know why though, I just did.

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Nope, just checked. Definately a boy... I mean man! MAN! So... uhh... Those Seahawks huh? Think they can go all the way this year? Where was that T-bone and tool belt I had lying around? Lets go and get drunk and then senselessly vandalise some public property!

PS: I am a guy.

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Nope, just checked. Definately a boy... I mean man! MAN! So... uhh... Those Seahawks huh? Think they can go all the way this year? Where was that T-bone and tool belt I had lying around? Lets go and get drunk and then senselessly vandalise some public property!

:laugh:

Happy Birthday and best of luck with all of this.

For the cucumber gin sorbet, definitely use Hendrick's gin. You might already know that it is ambrosial, very floral with lots of cool cucumber notes. Even its producers recommend serving martinis made with the stuff with a slice of cucumber instead of olives. Ditto gimlets. It make a great gimlet. Mmm. Gimlets.

I think those went out of style like 21 years ago.

I highly doubt you'll need that much wine. 147 bottles for 21 is 7 bottles per person- Maybe I missed this, but are you serving any other forms of liquor as well?

If so, then, some ideas:

I suggest champagne cocktails with your Breakfast. Kir royales, Bellinis. Mimosas. Bloody Marys or spiked shots of gazpacho with your Second Breakfast.

Dirty martinis and ouzo or arak with Elevenses.

Some kind of dark, robust, unpasteurized Belgian beer with Lunch.

Sake with Tea! Well, why not!

And maybe some blood orange margaritas would be nice while the burgers are cooking.

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happy birthday girl! looking forward to having you in our part of the world.

I'm a dude.

I'm sooo sorry, I guess I always think only women are organized enough to throw this kind of a party! :raz: seriously my apologies!

In an email reply I just got from one of my vegetarian guest:
...My god. If you honestly make those burgers, I will hit you with my puny

muscles and then fuck my morals. Then eat the burgers.

:laugh::laugh::laugh:

That is seriously funny!

Nope, just checked. Definately a boy... I mean man! MAN! So... uhh... Those Seahawks huh? Think they can go all the way this year? Where was that T-bone and tool belt I had lying around? Lets go and get drunk and then senselessly vandalise some public property!

ok, I'm glad I wasn't the only one!

PS: Still need advice about drinks.

I would definately do pitcher type things- margaritas on the rocks, capriahnas (sp), mojitos, stirred martinis.

With the cucumber sorbet it is great with a grind of black pepper on top!

FANTASTIC menu!

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I'm trying to have an "executive chef" model where I'm rarely in the kitchen and everything is delegated out. We'll see on the day how well that theory will work.

I think that's the way forward - reclining in another room, glass in hand, occasionally barking orders to the kitchen and doing random spot checks/taste tests :smile:

Drinks are tricky. For god's sake please do not serve rum & cokes - maybe it's just me, but it seems they're always the non beer or wine drink option. For during the day, what about having a bowl of sangria and then a sort of mix-your-own bar with a variety of juices and a few different kinds of mix-friendly spirits? Allows for a variety of tastes, and takes some of the pressure off of you.

Cutting the lemon/the knife/leaves a little cathedral:/alcoves unguessed by the eye/that open acidulous glass/to the light; topazes/riding the droplets,/altars,/aromatic facades. - Ode to a Lemon, Pablo Neruda

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Shal, I read your shopping list.  What is 'speck'?  And if you keep track, I'd love to see a total at the end of this project.  Don't forget to have fun!!!

Sorry, I just saw this. Speck is a type of german bacon which is probably closer to lardo than bacon. It's smoked unlike most bacon in Australia so it actually tastes of something.

PS: I am a guy.

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I'm trying to have an "executive chef" model where I'm rarely in the kitchen and everything is delegated out. We'll see on the day how well that theory will work.

I think that's the way forward - reclining in another room, glass in hand, occasionally barking orders to the kitchen and doing random spot checks/taste tests :smile:

Drinks are tricky. For god's sake please do not serve rum & cokes - maybe it's just me, but it seems they're always the non beer or wine drink option. For during the day, what about having a bowl of sangria and then a sort of mix-your-own bar with a variety of juices and a few different kinds of mix-friendly spirits? Allows for a variety of tastes, and takes some of the pressure off of you.

Right, so that was the plan in the first place. A pitcher of sangria, pitcher of lemonade and all the other drinks, people make themselves. There will be coke there and rum there so I can't really stop anyone from making rum and cokes but it certainly wont be the only option.

I'm going to put in a seperate drinks table away from the main cooking area and heres what I'm thinking of having on it:

3/4 Bottle of Gin (already have)

Bottle of Vodka

Bottle of Rum

House White/Red

Beer

Pitcher of Lemonade

Pitcher of Sangria

Pitcher of Water

1/2 Bottle of Cointreu (already have)

Orange/Grapefruit/Cranberry/Pineapple/Apple juices

Coke/Sprite/Fanta/Diet Coke

Soda/Tonic water

Simple Syrup in a squeeze bottle

Whole Lemons

Whole Limes

Superfine sugar in a bowl with a spoon

A couple of bunches of mint

Ice with tongs

A mini chopping board

A paring knife

A Lemon juicer

A zester

A mini mortar & pestle

A few shot glasses

A couple of printed recipe sheets with basic cocktail recipes on them.

So my question is, with that stuff, what would be some good, relatively foolproof recipes that I can put down? A mojito, definately (using the mortar and pestle rather than a muddler). Vodka/Gin gimlets using fresh lime juice and sugar. Tom Collins. Sea breeze. Anything else?

Should I provide a cocktail shaker or would that just be asking for trouble?

I'm not much of a cocktail person so I'm flying blind here.

PS: I am a guy.

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Shal, as far as cocktails go, I would just provide the raw ingredients and let 'em rip. In any large group there is always a would-be bartender who loves to mix things up for everyone else - and besides most people know what they want to drink and how they like it made.

Don't forget Vermouth for the martini lovers (plus olives and cocktail onions) and perhaps one dark liquor - scotch, bourbon?? And maybe a nice sherry?

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Shal, as far as cocktails go, I would just provide the raw ingredients and let 'em rip.  In any large group there is always a would-be bartender who loves to mix things up for everyone else - and besides most people know what they want to drink and how they like it made. 

And it's always fun just to mess around with ingredients and make stuff up - especially once you've already had a few :raz:

Cutting the lemon/the knife/leaves a little cathedral:/alcoves unguessed by the eye/that open acidulous glass/to the light; topazes/riding the droplets,/altars,/aromatic facades. - Ode to a Lemon, Pablo Neruda

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For my first cocktail party with about 50 guests, I provided a full bar so that people could mix up their favorite drinks, but I came to the realization that most of my friends were so used to beer and wine at parties that they had no idea what to do when faced with so many choices. In parties that have followed, I simplified things by providing two or three different cocktails in pitchers. But that is for a large cocktail party. What you have going is another story all together and I think wine/beer/sangria/interesting soft drinks would be more than enough in the way of libations for this marathon event. Got to keep your crew on their feet. My recommendation is to enjoy your well deserved cocktails after this incredible meal (and before the orgasmic burgers). Happy Birthday!

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I've created an eG album for this here. I may or may not put pictures up there which I don't include in my posts, I'm not sure yet.

So I thought I would give you guys a look at some of the shopping around my local area. As a bit of a change from all you yanks whining about how hot everything is and how precious you all are, sitting inside, wilting from the heat, this is what it looks like on my porch today:

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First stop was Fratelli Fresh but it didn't open until 10 so I went across the road to Dank Street Depot, a Sydney institution of sorts which I also had been meaning to check out. I had the Poached Eggs with Bacon Hash and Toast:

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I was reading their cookbook which had just been released and I thought it was a bit hypocritical that the chef was advocating only buying perfectly ripe, flavourful tomatos in season and right there on my plate was what was clearly an flavourless, out of season hot house tomato but I guess consumer expectation trumps culinary purity in this case. Still, the hash was wonderfully flavourful and the eggs were deliciously runny. Fortified with breakfast, onto Fratelli Fresh:

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I'd never actually been here before but a friend twigged me to it and I'd been meaning to check it out. It apparently supplies many of the restaurants in Sydney. The produce there that was in season was pretty good and not too grossly overpriced for the quality. The produce out of season was insipid and horrendously expensive but I guess they have to get some credit for having a ridiculously wide range of produce for winter, even though I disagree with that policy. I'm going to do another big shop at Paddys market on Friday so I didn't get any produce. There was a nice range but not much that I couldn't get from other places cheaper so I didn't buy much. Just some Italian canned tomatos which I'd never seen anywhere else in Sydney and some dried herbs which I needed anyway.

Next, was onto the Farmers market at Fox Studio:

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This is the mushroom lady:

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Wild Mushrooms are something Australia seems to do horribly badly and this is the only place I found with a decent range. I snagged some enoki, swiss brown and champagne mushrooms and I'll get some shitake and swiss brown on friday to fill out the range.

This is the citrus guy:

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Lemons, 5 for $1, Limes 8 for $1. Incredibly good and really damn cheap. I picked up 25 lemons and 16 limes for just $7.

This is my cheese pusher... uh... monger.

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I got some aged pecorino, some truffled pecorino for the risotto, some fontina for the burgers, some really good butter and some buffalo mozarella for the pizzas. It wasn't cheap but damn this stuff is good.

This is my Wagyu guy:

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I got the brisket and the mince from him. He also had these insanely marbled blade steaks:

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That is just ridiculously over the top. Luckily, I had a list so I resisted temptation and walked away with just what I came for.

Sadly, I forgot to take a photo of the bread guy but heres a photo of him from the internet:

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He's grown a beard now which is kind of disconcerting. Anyway, I got a huge sack of bread flour, some starter and 2 baguettes from him.

Finally, I decided to show you around my neighbourhood shops as I picked a few things up. Apologies for the blurry photos, the light wasn't too good.

Bakery no 1 - Vina Bakeries, This one isn't actually very good, I never buy my bread here:

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Bakery no 2 - Bakers Delight, This is part of a chain and does halfway decent bread but not spectacular, I go here when I can't be bothered getting some sourdough at the farmers market.

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Butcher no 1 - semi-snooty butchers. They have quite good meat at decent prices and they're willing to do anything you want. I bought some speck here, slicked thick, some italian sausage and ground up 1kg/2lbs of beef ribs to supplement the wagyu mince.

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Butcher no 2 - Asian butcher. Has a lot of the cuts you wouldn't normally find in a western butcher. I don't normally go here as I get most of my asian meats in Chinatown but today, I got my duck breasts here and, in retrospect, I realised I paid way too much for them. I could have got 3 ducks for cheaper than what I paid for 6 duck breasts but I wasn't thinking clearly at the time. Oh well.

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Butcher no 3 - snooty organic butcher. I never shop here, the prices are too high for my blood.

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The chicken shop - only sells chicken and other poultry related products. This seems to be a uniquely Australian thing. They're present in almost every shopping centre but I don't really know how they can support themselves given that every butcher also sells chicken stuff. Still, they have 6 chicken carcasses for $1.50 so they're great for stocks.

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Deli - Oddly, theres only 1 deli here. There was another one a few years back but they shut down due to lack of business. The wait at this one is usually insane so I never bother coming here.

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Fishmonger 1 & supermarket 1 - This is the higher end fishmonger in the area. Again, prices are cheaper in Chinatown so I usually get my seafood there. In the background is the smaller of the 2 supermarkets. IMHO, it has a poorer range so I practically never go there.

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Fishmonger 2 - They do a nice fish & chips but the raw fish never seems really vibrantly fresh.

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Greengrocer 1 - This is a great greengrocer. The range is huge, the quality is great and the prices are quite reasonable. Their specials, however, are outstanding in value. If anybody remembers my last cooking binge over Christmas, this is where I got the entire crate of plums for $5 and went plum crazy (no pun intended).

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Greengrocer 2 - This place used to be rather dingy but they're refurbished it and it's actually quite nice now. Not as big a range as the other place but they have some nice specials.Their eggs are always reliably cheap so I usually stop by and pick up a few things here as well.

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Finally, my main supermarket - I usually just stop in to pick up some butter, yogurt, milk and canned goods. I've made the observation that anybody judging me from my shopping cart would think I have a horrendous diet because they don't see what I've bought at all those other places.

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Keep in mind, these are all within about 200 meters /200 yards walking distance from each other. Man, I'm going to miss that when I move :(.

Anyway, apart from that, theres another asian butcher down the road a bit and another baker. About 5 minutes drive away is another even snootier butcher which I don't think I'll get a chance to visit before I go.

edit: Oh yeah, theres also an ethnic grocer here and another ethnic grocer about 5 minutes drive away.

So thats my neighbourhood.

Edited by Shalmanese (log)

PS: I am a guy.

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I love the eggs that most countries outside of the US have.. Look at what a perfectly rich orange those yolks are.. What we do to our chickens here, g-d help them.. Look at that perfect piece of bacon on the bottom right.. That hash is gorgeous.

Run back and get that steak.. I dont think I have seen anything that pretty in some time.. Wow!

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Edited by Daniel (log)
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I've uploaded an updated shopping list here


Duck Breasts 6 Butcher Meat/Seafood $37.50
Italian Sausage 250 gm Butcher Meat/Seafood $3.00
Mince 1 kg Butcher Meat/Seafood $9.00
Speck 1 piece Butcher Meat/Seafood $10.00
Oregano 1 pack Coles Dried Spices $2.50
Fontina 400gm Fox Dairy/Eggs $110.00
Il Moro Cheese 1 block Fox Dairy/Eggs $0.00
Le Escuer Butter 1 pack Fox Dairy/Eggs $0.00
Mozzarella 3 balls Fox Dairy/Eggs $0.00
Bread Flour 25 kg Fox Flour $30.00
Lemons 25 Fox Fruit $5.00
Limes 20 Fox Fruit $2.00
Wagyu Brisket 1.8kg Fox Meat/Seafood $18.00
Wagyu Mince 1kg Fox Meat/Seafood $19.00
Baguettes 2 Fox Other $10.00
Wild Mushrooms 1kg Fox Vegetable $13.50
Total    $269.50

Total spending so far is $269.50. It looks like I should cruise in pretty comfortably under the budget of $1000. Truffles and chocolate will be about $130 and $50 respectively, bringing the total to $500 or so. The rest of the meat should be less than $100. Seafood is another $100 and the rest is just vegtables and other cheap stuff.

Total man hours spent: about 10 hours planning this thing + 3 hours shopping today.

PS: I am a guy.

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Ok, I've come to the conclusion that when you're living in Seattle, you're probably going to want to shop at Whole Foods. It's expensive, but I think it's going to come close to the quality and variety you're used to, but under one roof. Not that you won't shop other places for specialty items, but save your pennies, cuz I'm pretty sure you're going to become a Whole Foods junkie.

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Ok, I've come to the conclusion that when you're living in Seattle, you're probably going to want to shop at Whole Foods.  It's expensive, but I think it's going to come close to the quality and variety you're used to, but under one roof.  Not that you won't shop other places for specialty items, but save your pennies, cuz I'm pretty sure you're going to become a Whole Foods junkie.

I doubt it. I really, really, don't like stores that prey on ignorant yuppies with inflated prices and I try my best to avoid shopping at places like that unless absolutely neccesary. Dinner parties are different because they're special but for my everyday, I try and avoid those places. Friday's shop will show me at my cheapskate best.

Just out of curiousity, how are you paying for all this food? Friends chipping in? Rich parents? Are you a drug dealer? Or maybe you're just incredibly generous.  :wink:

Parents are paying for it as a sendoff present.

Super pictorial of shopping locations in your neighborhood! When are you moving?

I leave Sydney on August 22nd. Arrive in Seattle on Sept 4th.

PS: I am a guy.

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