Saturday, July 11, 2009

Stop. Collaborate and Listen.

With just two of us able to buck the chains of work, travel, laziness or prior obligations, Boogie and I decided to give a Thursday Club duo a shot. He had a starter and dessert in the works but we decided to pull our culinary resources and think up a main dish with inspiration provided by his local Mexican food market. Passing through the extensive protein aisle filled such intriguing items as pork maws, beef kidneys, and chicken backs (You've got to love these types of markets), we opted for a fairly pedestrian meat choice to base our meal on. A few thin sheets of sirloin would do to start our creative juices. How about we stuff it, roll it up and lacquer it with a rich wine sauce? Meh, this evening had a laid back feel compared to the usual high-octane Club meals - what I could really go for is a sandwich actually. Done. A sandwich for the ages though. A few other items thrown into the basket and we were off. Here's the menu:

- English Onion Soup w/ White Cheddar and Crouton

- Steak Sandwich a la Boogie
Potato and Pea Salad

- Chocolate Mousse with Cherry-Port Compote

The soup was slowly bubbling away for a few hours by the time we returned from shopping. Some last-minute spice tinkering with pepper flakes and balsamic, a quick corn starch addition for texture and we were all set to top them with bread, cheese and bang it under the broiler. The final product was similarly close to it's French counterpart, but the sharp cheddar added a delightful punch to the sweet onion base. It was a hearty start for a meal that featured a sandwich for the main course, but not many things have the raw appeal of soup with a pipping hot and gooey bread and cheese lid.

We scarfed it.

The super steak sandwich took a few components from traditional steakhouse menu. Sauteed spinach with garlic, seared steak, mushrooms in red wine and a creamy Gorgonzola crumble. Really nothing too controversial about those ingredients. Let the stacking begin.

The bread was perfectly crusty and the monstrous concoction stayed glued together surprisingly well. A few pockets of liberally sprinkled Gorgonzola occasionally overpowered the bite, but it was good enough for me to finish my portion in record time. I whipped up a quick cold potato and pea salad to compliment the hoagie as well. A simple mayo and dijon based dressing with some dry herbs and lemon zest were spot on despite the imprecise measurements that went into it.
A nice slow pace allowed us to clean up as we went along and most importantly digest and prepare for one more course.

The dessert started off as a mousse, but was morphed into a gelatin/pudding/ganache due to the off-timed addition of cream. No matter though as the end result, although unidentifyable, was absolutely delicious. I put my ramekin in the freezer in hopes of solidifying it enough to flip it upside-down, but it refused to budge. Shoveling into my face right out of the cup would have to do.

The lemon-juice spiked cherry sauce added a nice bright acidity to the rich chocolate, mous....uh, whatever the hell it was. A great way to end the leisurely evening at any rate.

Regardless of how many people were there, one thing remains a constant; the contented, slightly wobbly walk through the chaos of the Lower East Side to the subway and a nice nap on the F train back to Brooklyn. I wouldn't have it any other way....and rarely do.

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