The Last Supper
There will be no more last-minute ingredient hunts all over town.
No more recipes that, “I have to make tonight.”
I can go back to spending 20 minutes writing a grocery list instead of 3 days.
If you own any percentage of a local dairy company you should sell now because my decrease in butter and cream consumption is going to bring down the household average considerably.
Two days ago I made my last Damn Good Recipe, Bruce’s Rib Roast of Bear. I’ve never met Bruce, but I can tell you that Mitch put together a pretty damn good recipe for cooking his bear. After the last 156 recipes this really shouldn’t have come as a surprise. The recipe is not too involved, but it does require a great deal of attention. The directions are to baste every ten minutes and I cooked mine for several hours. My cut of meat was not a roast and more of a rib steak so I turned the temp way down. After marinating for several hours the marinade is kept simmering on the stove to used for basting. To keep the rich and buttery sauce thin enough over the hours of long roasting I kept adding wine a bit at a time. The original recipe calls for 1/2 a cup of wine. I ended up using an entire bottle. The best part was that it was a bottle of Chardonnay given to me by Mitch and Cynthia. Adding all the wine was probably a reaction to my concerns about the bear meat being too dry. I was hoping that in the end it would just fall off the bone, but in the end the consistency was more like a well done steak. It had texture, but was not tough. I carved all the meat off of the rib bones before we could take a picture, but here it is.
I had some trouble procuring the bear ribs and my first vendor canceled on me three days after confirming the order. I tweeted my woes to the fine folks on the Internets. My friend Tim out in California stopped everything he was doing and started searching the far corners of the Googles. Before I could go into full panic mode he found a place in Chicago that purported to carry such things as bear meat, Czimer’s Game & Seafood. You can’t order from their website, but I called and placed an order over the phone. The man I spoke to was super friendly and the frozen bear meat arrived on the front porch the day he said it would. Also it was about half the price of the first company. Basically, it was full of win.
Of course for the last recipe in the book I couldn’t just cook it up and serve it to Kira and the kids. One day while absent-mindedly whisking Hollandaise, I came up with a plan to finish the project in style. I would invite all the guest bloggers and my friends who’ve been helping me eat this damn good food for the last twelve months. I’d cook a bunch of damn good recipes for people to eat and we’d drink some wine and maybe there would be cake. Huzzah!
My first step was to
trick convince my good friend Tim and his partner to come out for the party. He is cautious in the social media realm so most people haven’t seen all the great comments he’s emailed me about the blog. I knew he had to be there.
Then I had another idea. What if I could get Mitch to make an appearance at my party? I had traded a few emails with both Mitch and his wife Cynthia once they found my April Fool’s post. After some internal hemming and hawing I finally worked up the courage to shoot off an email to Cynthia asking if they would be available and/or interested. She loved the idea and immediately decided it would be fun to keep it a surprise for Mitch. He wouldn’t know that he was coming over for the party or that I was finishing the last of his damn great recipes.
Invitations were sent, bear was ordered and reordered, bread was baked and the day of the Final party was upon us. Tim and Steve arrived the night before and we all went to Hell’s Kitchen for dinner along with Kira’s dad , Ed. The next morning I got up at a decent hour and I was at the grocery store by 9:30 getting some of the last ingredients I would need. The oven was going to be at a premium because we had to bake a cake, roast a bear and toast brioche toast points. The cake could be refrigerated so we started on that first. Kira helped me make the same Vanilla Buttermilk cake that she blogged about back in August. Then I started on the key lime curd while she went in search of just a couple more things. I needed peppadew peppers for the Salsa con Misho and last time I only found those at Trader Joe’s. Of course they didn’t carry them any more, but she only had to try two places before finding them. Once the lime curd was in the fridge I started on the bear. While the bear cooked Tim helped me make the salsa and the bean dip. He also sliced all the bread for the toast points. Tim’s partner, Steve, helped Kira (a non-beer drinker) on the beer run and was then in the kitchen for anything we needed done like painting butter on to the toast points. Thinking back I am trying to remember what I did other than baste the bear every ten minutes and angst over my cookbook looking at what we needed to do next. I recall a couple of Top Chef moments and I remember snapping at Tim about “kicking him out of the kitchen” if he kept guessing on measurements. Grace under pressure, that’s me.
The guests started to arrive not too much after that and there is much more to tell, but I’m going to stop here for now. More Tomorrow. Good night.