Monday, June 24, 2013

Coronado Concert in the Park with Zoo2 and 2 Many "U"s

It's usually near the end of the evening at Concert in the Park, after too much wine, when we start throwing around ideas for next week's culinary theme. We were all looking forward to Zoo2, a U2 tribute band, and decided that each dish must contain the letter U. After sleeping on it, I felt that was too easy and required each dish to contain at least 2 U's.

The dish I wanted to make fell through when I was unable to locate a critical ingredient in time and I only had a few days to implement Plan B. Most of the cooking magazines feature grilling for the start of summer, so I flipped through Saveur's June/July Grilling Issue and came across Keepers of the Flame - The ancient art of grilling kebabs in Gaziantep, Turkey. It was a fascinating article about the ustas, who work from childhood to master the art of kebab making.

...a true usta is a rare individual whose hard-earned experience, old-fashioned principles, and humble nature render him an elevated culinarian. His role goes beyond kebab preparation; he is the gatekeeper of tradition. Gaziantep's best ustas are local heroes, the pride of the city.

Usta Trapper, Keeper of the Flame

I chose to make one of the kebab recipes included at the end of the article - Simit Kebab (Ground Lamb, Bulgar and Pistachio Kebabs). A thick pistachio puree, made with pistachios, parsley, mint, garlic, onion, scallions, red chiles, chile flakes, and allspice is folded in with ground lamb and bulgar. The mixture is then shaped around skewers, in a particular fashion, and the lamb skewers are chilled well before grilling to help hold them together. The kebabs are grilled until slightly charred, transferred to a platter, drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with sumac, and served with yogurt and hot sauce.

The art of kebab preparation

On Friday, things went ridiculously out of control when Holli texted me bragging her recipe had 4 U's. She had alluded to uni and I was able to guess Uni Shooter with Ponzu Sauce and Quail Egg. She then increased the count to 5 by changing quail egg to ovum of quail. Mom's recipe also contained 4 U's, so I was determined to find something with 6. Holli got a whiff and texted "Game On!" Our text exchange continued throughout the day until I was up to 51 and she claimed to have 79. 

Stretching it to the limit

Simit Kebab

I made the mistake of sharing my dish and description with Holli, which only served to fan the flames. I could tell by the strut in her walk and her well-stocked ice chest that I never should have expected to win this battle. My worst fear became a reality when she proudly displayed an acrylic stand containing a one-page description of her dish - Uni Shooters paired with Sake Shots stretched out ad naseam to contain 200 U's! [201, I've been corrected and I'm not counting to verify]. She even included periodic "U" counts throughout. It may take you an hour to read it, but enjoy! Holli followed this recipe from Steamy Kitchen, but added caviar and chives. I think it may be time for someone to start her own blog.

Every ice chest should contain trays of uni and cartons of quail eggs

"Ms. I Can Top That" - Her plating alone took close to an hour

Uni Shooters

Utterly Unique, Exquisite, Mouth-watering, Yummy, Scrumptious, Piquant, Luscious, Delicious, Flavorful, Scrumptious, Savorous, Under-the-Sea Urchin (Uni) Shooter Utilizing the Commonly Used in Japanese Cuisine, Citrus-based Ponzu Shoyo Sauce Produced from Katsuobushi Flakes (from Tuna), and Seaweed (Kombu) Heat-Bubbled with a Couple of Other Products over a Medium Temperature , Quail Egg AKA Uzura in Japanese Cuisine and are Frequently Used Uncooked or Cooked as Tamago in Sushi and Frequently Found in Bento Lunches , Squid Ink Roe that is Very Nutritious and can be Distinguished by its Blue/Black Color Unlike (50) Octopus that Produce Black Ink and Cuttlefish that Produce an Auburn Ink, Huy Fong Tuong Ot Sriracha Sauce AKA Rooster Sauce or Cock Sauce Due to the Rooster Featured on its Authentication Label and Formulated by Chinese-Vietnamese Founder David Tran and has Achieved Popularity in the United States and is Inclusive of a Handful of Constituents That Includes Sugar, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Bisulfate, and Xanthan Gum, and Ranks in the 1 Thousand - 2 Thousand Five Hundred Heat Units Range on the Scoville Scale which is Used to Measure the Spiciness of a Chili Pepper, and Allium Schoenoprasum AKA Chives, a Regularly Used Herb in Fish, Soups, and Other Various Grub as in Poland where the Allium are Served with Quark Cheese and also Contain Numerous Organosulfur Compounds Such (100) as Allyl Sulfides and Alkyl Sulfoxides and are Reported to Have a Salubrious Effect on the Circulatory System and also have Mild Stimulant, Diuretic, and Antiseptic Properties, but as Chives are Usually Served in Minuscule Amounts and Absolutely Not as the Main Course, Negative Effects are Rarely Encountered, Although Digestive Difficulties May Occur Subsequently Overconsumption, Plated in a Half Round, Nacreous-like, Miniature Donburi-style Bowl with a Round Support on the Underside of the Cup that are Not Suitable for Boiling Hot Liquids and are “Fabrique en Chine” (Made in China), but Distributed from a Business in Quebec and are Enclosed Securely in an Unclouded, Ductile, Succinct Tube with a Purple Papyrus Public Announcement stating the Quantity as Being One Hundred Minus Eighty-Eight or Twelve, Sustained by a Seishu (or ‘Clear Liquer’) - a Synonym Less Commonly Used Colloquially, but Better Known as Sake which is Alcohol Produced by Fermenting Sugar that is Naturally Present in Grapes and Various Fruits bearing the name Eiko Fuji “Glorious Mount Fuji” Ban Ryu “Ten Thousand Ways” Honjozo Sake manufactured in  Tsuruoka-City Yamagata, Japan and Should be Gratuitously Offered in Guinomi (Sake Cup), Masu (Wooden Box Cup), or Ochoko (Small Cylindrical Cup), but Not Sakazuki (a Flat Saucer-like Cup)(179) and is Light and Fruity with Notes of Cherries and Black Currants and has a Soft Mouth Feel, but According to the Surgeon General Women Should Not Drink Alcoholic Beverages During Pregnancy Because of Risks of Birth Defects and Consumption of Alcoholic Beverages Impairs Your Ability to Drive and May Cause Health Problems (190) that has Been Distributed in 1.5 Ounce Shooter Glasses and are Intended for Adult Use Only, Distributed from Quebec, but ‘Fabrique en Chine’ or manufactured in China. (200!)

The final dish was exactly as described: Utterly Unique, Exquisite, Mouth-watering, Yummy, Scrumptious, Piquant, Luscious, Delicious, Flavorful, Scrumptious, and Savorous. I forced myself to stop at three shooters, but Patrick admitted to downing eight ;-)

Under-the-Sea Urchin (Uni) Shooter 

"Here Comes Trouble" Patrick arrived with a bottle of wine autographed by Bono

Kellee & Patrick; Kellee plating her Sesame-Cucumber and Asian Cucumber Salads

The boys digging into Kai's Pulled Poultry Nachos

Creativity flowed to the wine labels

Cucumbers were a popular choice, but we were surprised hummus and couscous were no where to be found!

More Salads incorporating Cucumbers - Cucumber, Tomato and Onion
and Watermelon, Cucumber and Serrano Chile

Mom has been holding her own the past few weeks and everyone was begging for this week's decadent dessert recipe - Momofuku Milk Bar Gooey Butter Cake Squares! Oh. So. Good.

Momofuku Milk Bar Gooey Butter Cake Squares

It was Carmen who introduced us to Momofuku Crack Pie a few years back, another dessert that should be illegal.  For this concert, Carmen took a break from her voice over studio to whip up a marvelous Rhubarb and Blueberry Mascarpone Trifle!

Carmen's Rhubarb and Blueberry Mascarpone Trifle

We had many more U dishes, including Olivia's Blueberry Muffins, Alec & Nina's Burrata, Prosciutto and Grilled Asparagus Platter, Pammy's Brussels Sprouts Salad, and Sandra's Turkey & Gruyere on Ciabata.

Francesco and Lorenzo made a first-time appearance at Concert in the Park and Francesco gifted me with a new hat. I think they had a pretty fun time and we'll certainly hope for something amazing out of the master pastry chef's kitchen next round.

We welcomed Nina's dad and mom to town for a visit, but had to say goodbye to Sebastian and Katrin, who return to Germany until they can figure out a plan to move to Coronado.

Coronado Forever Cake

And finally, Zoo2 - another first-time band to Concert in the Park, delivered a great performance. I can't resist photographing all the cuteness out dancing while I'm up there taking a few photos of the band.

Zoo 2: U2 Tribute Show

"Adam Clayton" - Paul Battillo; "Bono" - Andy McCloud

"The Edge" - Brian Lawson with "Bono" - Andy McCloud;
"Daniel Lanois" - Paul Wilcox; "The Edge" - Brian Lawson

"Bono" - Andy McCloud

We didn't get around to choosing a theme for next week, and I know many in our group will be traveling on and off for the rest of the summer. Also, with all of the Fourth of July festivities coming up, we may need to take a little break from our normal concert cooking themes. There will still be plenty of parties and reasons to cook and I'm looking forward to the annual Bloody Mary Pre-Parade Breakfast and Mary & Dad's Parade Party.

Enjoy your week,

Denise & Usta Trapper


HolliDe said...

ummm... it's 201...

Denise said...

Then why does your own word count say 200? Are we including the real title, which only has ONE U?

AdriBarr said...

What a wonderful post!