The big thing this past weekend (gads, I’m slow. big project launching this week, though, so I have a semi-excuse) was that Sunday Jeff & I had a few friends over to his house* for sushi-rolling goodness and Iron Chef!
Saturday morning, I crafted (more on this later) and that afternoon we went to the little Asian market in Chapel Hill for supplies …Silver Wok Gourmet, I believe it’s called — it’s right near where Mariakakis restaurant was (gads, I miss that place.. the huge cheesy white pizza with the “ziki-ziki” sauce. Yes, I know it’s tzatziki sauce, but I called it “ziki-ziki” sauce). Anyway, the SWG is run by a little Japanese woman who reminded us of Jeff’s mom and who was very sweet in making recommendations to us about which sort of miso to buy, etc. (Though she reminded me of Jeff’s mom immediately, I didn’t say anything to Jeff while we were in the store because I was afraid that it would come off as some sort of “all older Japanese ladies look alike” thing, and it wasn’t. But then in the car on the way to Wellspring (sorry, Whole Foods) Jeff said she’s reminded him of his mom, so I fessed up too.).
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Anyway, post-shopping we had dinner at Rockfish (I do <3 Rockfish), followed by more craftiness for me… I made a pocketbook and chopsticks for the party (more on those later).
I took those cheap snap-apart chopsticks (I had to snap about 20 pairs of them to get 10 even-enough pairs to pass muster — good thing I’m a packrat!), sanded them with 00 and 000 grade sandpaper, wrapped masking tape about an inch down from the top and painted each one with two different colors of paint. Finally, I sealed them with clear nail polish (which is almost like lacquer, right?) and set them to dry.
Sunday afternoon we did all the prep work for the sushi…made rice, made it sushi rice, slivered cukes and carrots, boiled shrimp, tried to slice the cream cheese but gave that up as hopeless, and considered slicing the tuna, but decided to wait until the last possible moment for that. We also made the miso soup (ok, Jeff did), and cut up all the bits for the tempura (sweet potatoes, broccoli, onions, shrimp, and green beans) and cleaned up.
Then I got a little obsessive-compulsive (me? no way!) and decided that I needed to add beads to one chopstick from each pair (the Japanese aesthetic values asymmetry, right?). Here’s the result
I also made voting sheets for everyone so that they could rate each chef. On the real program, each chef is judged on:
- expression of the theme ingredient,
- presentation, and
however, given that we couldn’t taste (sadly), we judged on:
- chef’s “style”,
- appearance, and
- would I eat it?
We favored Morimoto over Flay (heck, we would’ve favored Bob Saget over Flay, I think!), and were quite disappointed when he was *robbed*! It was a blast, and not nearly as stressful as I feared (I know I’ve mentioned my hostess-stress before — doesn’t that look like it should be hostessstress? — mostly because it was a very small group of people *and* people were kind enough to bring goodies (like sake! mmmmm).
* a double-whammy of a shocker! As may have been mentioned before, Jeff’s (a) Introverted (notice capital “I”) and (b) doesn’t much care for parties (that was an understatement, actually, as he pretty much doesn’t like them except under some very specific circumstances), so it amazed me that he agreed to it and agreed to have it at his house. I think the biggest thing that helped make this OK was the fact that he got to (for the first part of the party) be involved in cooking (which meant not a whole lot of having to interact with people) and then (for the second half of the party) be involved in the watching (ditto). In addition, this was “comfortable” territory… he is at home with making tempura, etc. Plus he had all the cool little bits like pretty soy sauce dishes and sake warmers!
Oh, while I’m thinking of it, don’t buy the little Japanese “jelly” candies that look like jello in those little creamer cups (only clear). They are, I have determined, NOT food.