I Like To Clean Out My Fridge With Epic Cooking Sessions


I'm fortunate enough to have a bunch of nerds as friends, whose idea of a good time is coming over to my apartment and cooking with whatever ingredients I have available.  "Do you have hoisin sauce?" one guy asked, the first time we did this. "Uh, no...I can run to the market and pick it up though," I said. "No, no, let's just use what you have." And just like that, a tradition began.  The dinner sessions start with an assessment: I'll grab everything from my fridge and pantry and lay it out on the table. (Full disclosure: I work for Out of the Box Collective and get all of my groceries delivered from them. A large box of fruits, veggies, meats, cheese, grain, nuts and other goodies is delivered to my doorstep every Monday.) The boys will scan the items and pluck out what they want. We make it up as we go, cooking one course at a time. Once that dish is done, it's plated, photographed, and then enjoyed, family-style among the group. And then we all get up and start the second course, repeating the process until everything is used up. It becomes a three to four hour soiree and by the end of it, my fridge a lot emptier, we're stuffed, and have a handful of photos to show for the experience.  Here's a play-by-play:  8:42 PM My friends are on their way. They've brought their own knives.  photo   9:00 PM [caption id="attachment_1157" align="aligncenter" width="750"]assessment.jpg The assessment process. Everything is piled onto my kitchen counter and we begin picking out what we want.[/caption]   9:15 PM [caption id="attachment_1159" align="aligncenter" width="750"]IMG_0664.jpg The cooking process begins.  [/caption] 10:00 PM The guys are just as into plating as they are cooking.  [caption id="attachment_1163" align="aligncenter" width="750"]plating.jpg Plating is taken very seriously.[/caption] 10:15 PM The first course is ready. We've used up chicken breasts, green beans, bacon, and potatoes.  [caption id="attachment_1161" align="aligncenter" width="750"]chicken Pan-seared chicken breast with crispy skin & a balsamic reduction. It's served with pan roasted fingerling potatoes with bacon chunks, garlic, and scallions. Finished off with sautéed purple/green/yellow string beans. Everything was basically cooked in Black Pig Bacon fat and/or McClelland butter.[/caption] 10:30 PM [caption id="attachment_1251" align="aligncenter" width="750"]photo I'm snacking on popcorn while they take care of the meats.[/caption] At this point, we're not too sure about what to do for the second course. "Let's use up the ground beef!" I say. "We can make meatballs." "What do we pair it with?" "I don't know." "We'll figure it out." 11:15 PM This was an odd combination, but it worked well. [caption id="attachment_1168" align="aligncenter" width="750"]Meatballs made from grassfed beef served with a tomato sauce made from a variety of heirloom tomatoes. Paired with sweet corn quickly sauteed with bacon and finished with cayenne pepper/scallion/cilantro. Garnished with a variety of herbs: sage/rosemary/mint & mint flowers. The mint was my favorite. Meatballs made from grassfed beef served with a tomato sauce made from a variety of heirloom tomatoes. Paired with sweet corn quickly sauteed with bacon and finished with cayenne pepper/scallion/cilantro. Garnished with a variety of herbs: sage/rosemary/mint.[/caption] 12:00 AM [caption id="attachment_1171" align="aligncenter" width="750"]Nuggets of lamb generously seasoned with cumin and grapefruit zest. Paired with a spring mix salad tossed in a freshly made grapefruit vinaigrette with fresh grapefruit segments, grapes, and crumbled goat cheese. Nuggets of lamb generously seasoned with cumin and grapefruit zest. Paired with a spring mix salad tossed in a freshly made grapefruit vinaigrette with fresh grapefruit segments, grapes, and crumbled goat cheese.[/caption] 1:00 AM It's 1:00 AM in the morning and we're exhausted but thoroughly stuffed. We've made three courses with three different cuts of meat. There are no leftovers -- everything is wiped clean.

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