consumed on 9/9/05

It was finally my rotation to host the Cooking Club and pick a theme. I kept vacillating between Asian and French—two of my favorite cuisines, until it hit me… why not do both? I know purists hate the term “fusion”, but how can blending the best qualities of two cuisines ever be a bad thing? For my theme I wanted to focus on French preparations with Asian flavors.

We started out the evening with R’s incredible and usual cucumber-ginger sake drinks. The most accurate word I can use to describe this bright and tasty drink is “refreshing”. Accompanying the drinks were light and savory crab tartlets with lemongrass, recipe courtesy of Ming Tsai.

For the main course I made my favorite fish recipe: Grilled Halibut with Cilantro-Lime Butter. The fish is marinated in soy sauce and sesame oil and then it’s sauced with a beurre blanc spiked with ginger and cilantro. Common sense tells me I should be proper and modest about my own cooking, but this fish was SOOO good. I would actually choose this fish over bacon. Seriously. It’s that good. Although, I can’t take all the credit—the halibut I bought from Mutual Fish was incredible and impeccably fresh. (I heart Mutual Fish in a big way.)

The sides dishes consisted of K’s Arugula Salad with Lemongrass Vinaigrette & Goat Cheese and M’s Crazy Coconut Noodle Toss. The noodles were a little crazy—and by crazy I mean rich. They were delicious but appeared to be soaked in coconut milk; I could only handle a few bites. The arugula salad was surprisingly flavorful considering the simplicity of the ingredients. I absolutely loved the sweet and lemony vinaigrette. It was a perfect paring with the peppery arugula and tangy goat cheese. I’m not even a goat cheese fan, but this recipe is definitely going into my collection.

For dessert, B brought a Ginger Cake with Cardamom Cream (another Ming Tsai recipe). First of all, I’d like to say that gingerbread should absolutely be a year-round food; why has it been relegated to just the holidays? This cake was fantastic—tender, rich and studded with chunks of candied ginger. The paired topping of cardamom whipped cream elevated it to heavenly status.

Check out the whole menu with recipes at Culinary Fool’s site: cns!1pYNGy2haD1h_titL1O7uNXQ!1206.entry