Last night, Akemi and I played host to my old Stargate pal, Lisa.  Wow, it feels like just yesterday I was strolling down the hall of the Production Offices to chat with the gals from accounting (and put off writing that script).  Our evening in pictures…

Lisa arrives, looking sassy.
Her earrings = less sassy and more, well, hooty?

We were expecting five for dinner – Akemi, Lisa, Lisa’s husband, my buddy Cas, and myself.  Alas, her hubby canceled so we ended up with a fair amount of leftovers.  I ended up sending Lisa home with an extra steak. For her husband.  I assume.

P.E.I. rib-eyes – I heavily salted them and let them sit for an hour, then rinsed them off, patted them dry, and seasoned them with thyme.  I then vacuum sealed them with a little olive oil and crushed garlic and cooked them in a  sous-vide bath at 56 degrees celsius for 3 hours.  I finished off by pan-searing them over medium-high heat for 30 seconds on each side, then let them rest for five minutes before serving.  
I seasoned the salmon with salt, garlic powder, pepper, and a little yuzu powder.  I placed a baking tray filled with an inch of water on the bottom rack, set the oven to 200 degrees, and then put the salmon in on the top rack.  After 20 minutes, I turned off the oven and let it sit for another twenty minutes.  I finished with a little chopped chive from the garden.
I used Scott Conant’s Scarpetta spaghetti recipe for this one.  Some of the highlights include using a potato masher on the stewing tomatoes and using an olive oil infused with basil, garlic, and chili. 

Veggiest (not pictured): purple cabbage with maple balsamic, and (unintentionally) crispy stir-fried broccoli (which I forgot to take off the heat).

In addition to the dessert Lisa brought…

A cream puff assortment from Beta 5.  Flavors included chocolate, vanilla, the ever-popular salted caramel, creamsicle, pistachio and sour cherry (one of my faves), strawberry-matcha, and raspeberry- Earl Grey.

And, finally, we capped things off with booze.  We tried a little chartreuse, had some of that terrific root liquor with ginger beer, and, of course…

A scotch and whisky assortment.

As I mentioned in a previous entry, I’ve never been a big scotch drinker – but have had my interest piqued by the Prohibition-ear gangsters running all that tasty-looking whisky on Boardwalk Empire. So, I picked up a few bottles for a tasting.  Five out of the six are scotches – so-called because they were produced and aged for at least three years in Scotland.  The lone dissenter, Nikka, is a Japanese whisky.  The five scotches were surprisingly different.  The 10 year old Laphroaig is the boldest, smokiest of the lot.  The 14 year old Oban was, in my opinion, the easiest-drinking scotch.  I couldn’t really pick out the almond and vanilla notes supposedly present in the Sauterne cask-aged 12 year old Glenmorangie Nectar D’or.  The 12 year old Cardhu was a treat.  Apparently, it’s so popular in Japan that it is purchased in bulk, directly from the distillery, making it a hard “get”.

Everyone else had their scotch on the rocks but I find the ice dilutes the flavor.  I opted for a drop or two of room temperature water instead.

The results?  If I had to rate them in order of preference:

1. Nikka, 2. Oban, 3. Lophraig, 4. Cardhu, 5. Glenlivet, 6. Glenmorangie.

But, really, they were all very good.  And, by night’s end, I was feeling a lot like Bubba here…


17 thoughts on “May 12, 2013: Dinner and drinks with Lisa!

  1. Wow! You’ve got some serious cooking skills. The food looked so good! I was happy with my Mexican Rice Casserole, Tequila Lime Chicken and my Black Beans. All together they made some good burritos! You are definitely a more proficient cook than I am.

    I loved Lisa’s hooty ear rings. There would be some fear for me to wear those in my house. I could just picture one of our cats making some kind of grab toward those enticing feather bits.

    Loved the sleepy Bubba picture!

  2. The food looks amazing as usual. Is that “P.E.I.” as in Prince Edward Island? I’ve never really thought they were known for their beef (although I’m sure it’s excellent.) The salmon in particular sounds really good – I’ll have to try it prepared that way.

    I HATE chartreuse. Well, the colour anyway – not sure about the booze.

    Poor Bubba! I hope you know when to cut him off so he doesn’t get too rowdy! 😉

  3. Your food looks excellent Chef Joe. I’m sure you had lots of great help from your Sous Chef Akemi along with your Sous Chef Vide. After all that, I’d look like Bubba too. It would be serious sleep time and lots of Sunday naps. Are you trying to recruit Lisa for a job when your projects start?

  4. I love Lisa’s earrings. I spent mother’s day on couch with my two furbabies watching a Stargate SG1 movie double feature on the Syfy channel. Realized two things

    1. I really miss Stargate SG1 including Col. Mitchell and Vala.
    2. I REALLY miss Don S. Davis. I actually cried when Gen. Hammond appeared on screen for the first time in Continumim.

    Sounds like you, Akemi and your guest had a great time.

  5. You know, every time I read one of these posts where you talk about cooking, ingredients, flavours… I find that I’m slowly getting inspired to drag myself back to the kitchen, get my ass in gear and do some “real” cooking. I so wanted to try the recipes submitted a few weeks ago and have not been able to because of life getting in the way. But I am inspired and the spirit is willing – one of these days I hope to surprise you. I really enjoy your foody posts.

  6. Hello Joe
    When you cook the PEI rib eyes, do you put them all in one bag or individually?


  7. I’ve never had sous vide steak, but I would think it would cook more evenly throughout, more like a brisket, no? I don’t know, sous vide is all the thing right now (even one of our more upscale(ish) Cuban places hired a chef from Spain that does EVERYTHING sous vide), and I’ve enjoyed many things cooked this way, but steak? What’s your take on this, Joe? Grill or sous vide? I would think the grill would win every time. That said, your dinner looks tasty!

  8. The steak and salmon look especially awesome. Did you put the salmon in a baking dish above the water, or just on foil? I’ll be cooking a meat/fish dinner for friends next month, and given my usual dinner is a protein shake, I’m happy for any help!

  9. Well done, you drank your whisky the right way! No ice, and no mixers except tap water. Having said that I’m not partial to my own national drink. I’m a brandy girl myself. That or a Gordon’s with slimline tonic or, a nice glass of pino.

    Damn, now I’ve put myself in the mood and its still early . Never mind, the sun is over the yard arm somewhere!

  10. Poor Bubba! Is it too much food or not enough sleep that’s got him so worn out?

    You can sign up at Johnny Walker’s website to get on their mailing list for tastings; they fly in their best tasters from Scotland and give a great lesson with free flowing Scotch about…well it was about how it’s made and they give samples of the different malts for you to taste but I just remember the awesome food and drink, lovely people.

  11. I love Scotch and a friend of mine conducts whiskey tours throughout Scotland during the summer. My favorites are Glenmorangie and Glenbara and I’m surprised that Glenmorangie was last but I do have to say that you picked the wrong age. You should try either the 25- or 27- year old stuff. 12 or 15 year old Highland Park is okay, but think mid to late twenties and you’ve got it made. If all else fails, call Joe Flanigan, he’s got some good taste there. He and I talked about our Scotch preferences at the last Chicago Stargate Convention.

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