Remember last week's newsletter? When I said I was going on a diet and trying to get hot like Rocco DiSpirito before my next book comes out? Well that plan was cruelly foiled by this person & her accomplice:
That's my friend Diana & she and her husband Mark (whoah, that was weird to type) are back from their honeymoon. They invited us over last week partly because they wanted to cook us dinner and partly because they were crazy excited to use all the new cooking equipment they got for their wedding.
Weddings, apparently, are profitable affairs: Diana and Mark now own a KitchenAid mixer, a food processor, a stock pot, a whole new set of plates, wine glasses and silverware. Plus, some of Mark's co-workers bought him this 1988 bottle of Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne:
I don't know much about wine or champagne but this bottle, which Mark popped open with flair, wasn't that chemically sweet champagne you remember from Prom. It had layers, it had complexity, and it paired perfectly with the oysters Mark shucked for us with his new shucking knife, served a top a glass platter they also scored for their wedding:
This, probably, would be an appropriate point to introduce the other element of this newsletter's title: my Kashi Horror story.
The day before this dinner party, I ate a bowl of Kashi Good Friends cereal for breakfast. Then, the next morning--the morning of the dinner party--I had another bowl. You might wonder: "Why is this relevant? Do we really need to know about your breakfast cereal habits?"
It's relevant because this high-fiber cereal absolutely gutted me (gory details omitted). I felt terrible all day. So terrible, in fact, that I had to put on a bright, shiny face at Mark & Diana's even though I was still feeling a bit queasy. And then there were oysters.
Oysters & champagne + an upset stomach = not a pretty picture. At some point between the oysters and the entree (which Mark and Diana were preparing "a la minute" in the kitchen) I suddenly felt a horrible urge to projectile vomit. I bolted for the bathroom, brushing past them as they seasoned the monkfish we would have for dinner, and just before I reached the toilet the feeling went away. It could've been a story for the ages--the story where Adam puked all over Mark & Diana's first dinner party as a married couple--but perhaps the ghost of James Beard was watching over me. I splashed some water on my face, sat back down on the couch and all, for the most part, was well.
And I'm glad I recovered because Mark & Diana really put together a beautiful entree. Here they are cooking:
And here's the finished plate:
That's pan-fried monkfish with Romesco sauce (I think out of "Ad Hoc at Home") with sauteed aspragus and mashed potatoes. It's such an accomplished plate of food, it should make the marriage-averse among you reconsider (look at what you can make with all that wedding swag!)
But the pièce de résistance was the dessert: a Butterscotch Pudding Tart from the Baked Cookbook.
Yowza---where to begin? The filling was buttery and smooth and just sweet enough with the caramel taken right to the edge, smoky but not bitter. The crust had ground-up oatmeal in it which really added something special and then, on top, there was a crunched up Butterfinger (you can see Diana crunching it up in the top picture). This is a dessert you have to try at home; go buy the Baked book now. (If you need more proof it's a great book, try their Easy Homemade Granola.)
Thus ends what might've been a disastrous chapter in the life of your friend Adam. Instead, it was memorable for all the right reasons, punctuated by the gesture I made when I walked through the door later that night: that box of Kashi went straight into the trash.
Until next week,
Adam (The Amateur Gourmet)
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