Monday, April 5, 2010

"A Convention for All You Unconventional Conventionalists" (Or, An Unconventional Easter Lunch)

Full disclosure: This is my second attempt at writing this post, as I just deleted the first half. Motherf***er!

Almost simultaneously, when I thought of the title for this post "An Unconventional Easter Lunch", I thought of a phrase from one of my favourite films of all time and strongest and sexiest hero-villains in all of artistic creation (if I might say so myself), with the former being The Rocky Horror Picture Show and the latter being Dr. Frank'n'Furter himself. The phrase was "unconventional conventionalists". I love that kind of simple, but thoroughly excellent wordplay, so naturally with my pop culture addicted brain and immortal crush on Tim Currie as Dr. Frank'n'Furter I incorporated it into my title.

Moving on from the tangent of all tangents, which I obviously had to get out of my system, I cooked my first Easter lunch today. I don't celebrate Easter in the religious sense or any sense; it is merely a four-day weekend for me and always has been. Well, except for the childhood easter egg hunts.

Anyways, the last few years my mum, Anthony, and I have been having a special meal in honour of it. And this year, we even had one with my Dad. I don't relish cooking for other people most of the time, too much fretting and approval sought. But, it is excellent practice and when it goes right, it's self-affirming and even fun. Thus, yours truly cooking Chinese Crabmeat Soup at 11:30am this morning.

Chinese Crabmeat Soup, you may ask? Well. It is an unconventional Easter lunch after all. Bringing me to the menu. To Drink: Ginger Ale. To Eat: Prawns, Garlic, and Tomatoes with Brown Rice. Chinese Crabmeat Soup. Store-Bought (who do you think I am? Julia Child?) Caramel Apple Cake with Tin Roof Ice Cream.

To get it over with, the meal turned out great, except for one part of the prawn dish that proved inconsequential after some quick thinking on my bunion-ed (seriously I am already getting bunions) feet.

The Chinese Crabmeat Soup was remarkably easy and completely delicious and different. The cilantro gave it that special, unexpected kick with the sweetcorn lending a cozy sweetness (not sugary, but cozy) to it and of course the crab contributing a bit of glam and luxury. (I will be posting the recipes for these in a following post). I made it beforehand (we did not eat until 1:30pm), as it would have been literally impossible to have been making both savoury dishes at the same time, even if I had a big kitchen. Planning is key, even with the simplest and easiest of recipes.

Next was the Prawns, Garlic, and Tomatoes dish. I added the brown rice to make the meal more substantial, but keeping it healthy as well. I served it in a separate bowl so we could add however much we wanted to our plates. This dish basically consists of halved tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and a bit of salt and pepper baked in the oven (cut side up) with sauteed prawns. The part that went wrong involved high heat, garlic, sherry vinegar, and de-glazing of a pan. It didn't work, so I just put some Asian-style crushed garlic on top of the hot ready dish with a drizzle of sherry vinegar. Worked perfectly. Oh, I also forgot to put the chopped parsley on it with a dash of cayenne pepper. Balls. But, in the spirit of waste not and want not and the burgeoning chef in me, I added the parsley to the soup, which worked quite loverly, thank you!

Success! Everything was hot and delicious and fairly easy, not to mention healthy and nourishing, and offered some new spins on old tricks for me. I would make both recipes again (which were very well-received by Anthony and my mum), especially the soup as it took such a short time to make and was unlike any kind of soup I have ever tasted. There is such great diversity in cuisines around the world and I really enjoyed bringing a bit of that into this meal. So, what am I going to make next? Amped-Up Mac'n' Cheese. Just to get you salivating until the weekend-I won't be making it until Friday-it involves fontina cheese, mascarpone, cream, basil, tomatoes, and mozzarella. Foodgasm-ing yet? I know I am. Happy Easter!

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