On May 12, 2007, I had the honor and the privilege of being invited, by none other than culinary diva, Mrs. Anna Nurse, to do a workshop on summer entertaining, “Daisy” style. This was an especially poignant occassion, because I would be cooking at the acclaimed James Beard House with a team that included my younger brother, Chef Pete Martinez.
The menu was not too complicated, with an emphasis on little nibbles that you could put together without missing out the company of your guests. Pete and I prepped the Gazpacho, while the rest of my kitchen ninjas went to work on the White Sangria, the Seafood/Chorizo Packets, the Causa Limena and the prep for the Coconut Panna Cotta.
Gazpacho is perfect summer entertaining food, because it is beautiful, delicious, refreshing, and healthy, too! In addition, I like to make it ahead of time so the flavors have a chance to “marry” in the refigerator.
Next up, Chef Pete and I worked on the Seafood/Chorizo Packets. I tucked sweet plantains, shrimp, sauteed chorizo, and a little neck clam onto a blanched banana leaf, and tied it up in little packets to steam. Delicious!
This is another one of those great dishes that you can assemble shortly before your guests arrive, then steam them stovetop in a pan, or even on the grill. The banana leaf become fragrant and imparts a subtle flavor to the seafood.
Team Daisy decided to switch things up a bit, and we built a Causa Limena, in this case, individual ones. A Causa is a very Peruvian dish of aji amarillo flavored pureed potatoes, stuffed with a crab salad. It is traditional served cold…are we getting the theme here?
Doing the Coconut Panna Cotta Recipe is a cinch because again, you make it ahead of time and give it at least 4 hours to set up. In addition it tastes light and refeshing. I serve it with a raspberry coulis, but you can try diced tropical fruit like, mango, kiwi, and papaya. That makes a pretty picture, dosen’t it?
Of course, once the demo is over, I get to feed my guests, my fave part of the workshop. Everyone who attended had a chance to sit in the pretty Beard courtyard, and share the experience through a tasting menu.
I even had an opportunity to rib my favorite new friend, “The Engineer”, heehee!
I’d say the crew ate pretty well!
Mrs. Nurse said the Zuppa was missing just one thing: PASTA! I’ll have to make sure thats on the menu the next time I visit the Beard House. A great big thanks to Mrs. Nurse for your hospitable invitation, to my lovely guests for their generosity of spirit and good humor, and last but not least to the my kitchen crew, Chef Pete, Chef Tagere, and New York City College of Technology culinary students Kubie, xxxxx, Marcus, and Ozzie, who made the workshop run seamlessly!