For this post, I'm skipping over a disappointing brunch at one of my FORMERLY favorite spots in the Slope, since it basically involved dry eggs and almost an hour of waiting for them. At one point my dad jokingly proposed asking the waiter if they needed any help in the kitchen--he was the breakfast cook at a priory a long, long time ago.
Yeah, so, we're ignoring that blemish on my weekend of eating, and jumping right into Meghan Presents: Dinner for Unpredictably Picky Parents.
My parents are, for the most part, adventurous eaters, but, like me, they both have their random things that they won't eat. Because of this, I submitted my menu ahead of time for approval from both parties.
Here it is:
The I'm Too Lazy to Make Appetizers Before Dinner Cheese Plate
Pork Chops with Sugar Snap Peas and Mint Julep Glaze
Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Corn Bread
Oh Shit I Forgot to Buy Ingredients for Dessert Chocolate Mousse
Initially when I sent my dad the menu he wasn't sure that corn bread would go, so I changed it to my Gruyere Mashed Potatoes with Tons of Garlic. However, he called me back two days later and changed his order back to cornbread.
I'm not super comfortable cooking meat, since I mainly learned to cook during my vegetarian years, and also because I rarely cook meat unless it's for a special occasion of some sort. Because of this, pork is one of my favorites to cook when I need to impress. Pork has a pretty wide range of doneness that you can get away with--from still pretty pink to cooked all the way through but still moist--before people start complaining, unlike beef or fish which can go from underdone to perfect to inedible in almost seconds.
I also thought my parents would appreciate the mint julep glaze since our house is a bourbon house and we also like horses--mint julep, Kentucky Derby, get it?
Anyway, so I started in on the goat cheese corn bread first, since that seemed pretty involved. It was the first recipe I had tried from Smitten Kitchen and I have to say I was impressed. The recipe was pretty specific, and had a few unnecessary or odd steps, but I thought I'd try being faithful for once, and it paid off. (Although I have to say that heating butter in the pan in the oven and then spreading it around with a pasty brush to coat the pan is pointless when you can just coat the thing with cold butter, but what do I know.)
The corn bread came out very nicely and was not dry at all. It does, however, involve a lot of time and a lot of ingredients, so be prepared.
I was also pleased with the pork chops: I'm always a fan of glazes instead of sauces, and you can't really go wrong with something made from bourbon and brown sugar. The snap peas cook right in this mixture (it has some beef broth in it for bulk), and so they soak in a lot of the great flavors. The snap peas, though they were perhaps a bit premature for truly seasonal cooking, were pretty crunchy, green, and flavorful, even when I snagged a few before dousing them in bourbon.
The mousse was not entirely....a mousse. It kind of ended up somewhere between a pudding and a mousse, I think because my chocolate was too cold when I was folding the egg whites in, and so no enough air ended up getting into it. It was however pretty delicious for something I scrounged up from the cupboards--random chocolate bar and left over eggs from something else--and I would totally recommend it for those times when too much day drinking makes you forget to buy the ingredients for an entire course.
All in all, I was happy with the way the meal turned out, and I think my parents were, too. I also think I did a good job of convincing them that staying out of midtown and, especially, eating in Brooklyn, is a non-Applebee's-loving tourist's best friend.
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