This past Sunday was Father’s Day. Since my schedule was open that weekend from events and whatnot, I thought of preparing, cooking, grilling, and/or baking that entire time off just because, it is Father’s Day and I do love my dad. Anyway, since that weekend was gorgeous I thought of eating outside in my backyard. See the photo above.
My parents were coming in during the late morning, I thought of whipping up brunch first. Brunch was a simple menu of bacon, rocket arugula, ricotta quiche, rugelach filled with strawberry jam with ground pistachios or peach jam with ground pistachios (my family loves pistachios, as you can tell), and an edible fruit bowl consisting of a ripened halved papaya filled with organic strawberries, and “orbs” of dragonfruit (more info here, in case you never encountered one; the orbs were created by a melon baller). The quiche recipe is an adaptation to Martha Stewart’s Ricotta, Lemon & Arugula quiche except I switched out the lemon for bacon (used 6 slices; sliced into 1/2-inch strips, pan fried and used 2 tablespoons of rendered fat into the custard) and a more bitter arugula to stand up to the smoky bacon. If you ever need to know anything about my dad, he loves his meat. If there is a dish that is not touched or mixed with meat, it won’t be considered a meal.
After happily eating what was brunch, I cooked dinner while the rest of the family was vegging out on the couch watching television or napping. This was intentional, as I tend not to ask for assistance in the kitchen unless I really need it. Even my mom poked her head in every occasion and I had to shoo her out.
The dinner menu was the following:
- Pea soup shots
- Chicken and Shrimp Spring Rolls
- Mixed green salad
- Cherrystone clam ceviche
- Roast pork belly (aka Siew yuk (烧肉))
- Salt-grilled head-on shrimp
- Soy garlic marinade strip shell steak
- Vanilla yogurt panna cotta, mango gelee, passion fruit-mango mousse verrines
- Iced cold brew coffee
As daunting and lengthy as this menu was, most of it can be prepared or marinated ahead of time. The ones that can be done a day or two ahead is the dessert portion. Cold brew coffee is ridiculously simple (see The New York Times’ recipe published back in 2007. The pea soup can be made the night before and reheated again. The meats were marinated overnight to infuse flavor and everything else was made/cooked about two hours before dinner or less.
Last Thursday, I went to Japan Society’s grilling demonstration/discussion featuring Chef Tadashi Ono and writer Harris Salat, both are co-authors of The Japanese Grill: From Classic Yakatori to Steak, Seafood, and Vegetables. Inspired from that evening’s talk, I thought I might as well cook a few things from their book and grilled the last two items of the main course portion of my menu.
The recipes are straightforward and simple. Japanese cooking always like to keep it simple and let the ingredients speak for themselves rather than muddling the flavors of the main ingredient. The salt-grilled head-on shrimp was deceptively simple (you purchase fresh shrimp with its heads on and coat it lightly in olive oil and sprinkle on sea salt of your choice). The soy garlic steak took very little effort (grating garlic cloves, measuring and mixing were pretty much the “effort” in the recipe) but it was worth making that marinade/sauce. The flavors surpass anything I ever tried from a bottle. My dad was very content with both dishes, especially the steak.
The vanilla yogurt panna cotta, mango gelee, passion fruit-mango mousse verrines, while time consuming to let the gelatin set, is easier to deal with than cake (the recipe is heavily adapted from Evan’s Kitchen Ramblings.) My changes from Evan’s recipe was mixing mango and passion fruit purees for the mousse just to combine my parents’ favorite tropical fruits and used half-and-half in lieu of the heavy cream for the panna cotta layer. I skipped the mango coulis because my glasses don’t have any more room and it’s perfectly fine without it. I adore this dessert because it’s not sweet and it’s not heavy that it capped off the meal well.
Garlic-Soy Sauce Marinade
from The Japanese Grill: From Classic Yakatori to Steak, Seafood, and Vegetables by Tadashi Ono and writer Harris Salat. (For the grilled shell steak.)
1/2 cup soy sauce
8 cloves garlic, grated
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
Whisk together the soy sauce, garlic, olive oil, and black pepper in a small bowl.
The marinade can keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Mix before using it again.
The list and links of the recipes used for this dinner (my adaptations were stated earlier, if applicable):
Ricotta lemon and arugula quiche
Roast pork belly (Siew yuk)
Mango panna cotta verrines
Cold brew coffee
For the rest of my photos of this dinner, please scroll through my slideshow below: