You are probably asking yourself, ‘who cooks a 3 course meal on a Friday night?’ This is a valid question, however this is not just any Friday night. This Friday night included a visitor, who also happens to enjoy clam chowder. To me, clam chowder is not a main course but is a dish that I regularly order as an appy when I am out. So I figured if I making an appy I need to make a main course. If I am making a main course I may as well make a desert as well. Thus, a 3 course meal was prepared.
The Friday Night 3 Course actually started around 3:00 in the afternoon. After an exciting day in the office I was home and once again out to Granville Island to pick up fresh clams for the chowder. Canned clams could be used but I figured, if I am doing this right, aka like Jamie Oliver, I should use the real thing. I picked up 2 pounds of clams from the market and was home by 4:00 to begin prepping the chowder. The prep itself is very straightforward. Chop up some vegetables, get some stock going, whack it all into the soup pot and let it go. While the prep is easy, in terms of what needs to be done, it is time consuming. It took me a good 45 minutes to get everything ready. Once everything was ready the rest of the chowder came along very easily. The recipe calls for half of the mixture to be whizzed in the blender, which I did. This definitely added a creaminess to the dish but left few vegetables. I would probably pull back on the amount of stock used so that the ratio of vegetables to liquid is higher. I really enjoyed the taste of this dish and would make it again. I may also add some salmon, or other hearty fish to take it up a notch.
The main course, which was roasted potatoes and a roast, was dead easy. I ended up using 3 rib eye steaks instead of one big roast, as that is what I already had in my fridge. Cooking a full roast would be pretty cool but the same preparation went into using three steaks. The recipe calls for the potatoes to be in the oven for 20-25 minutes at 425, which I did, but they did not get that crisp outer shell on them that I wanted. I could have left them longer but two of my dinner counterparts needed to get heading to a play, so they were served as is. Next time a little extra time will be a good idea. As this dish is super easy to make and my partner loves potatoes, I am sure that she will not mind me experimenting with it in the future. The lemon on the steak was really nice, and is not something I typically do. I left the steaks in the oven for about 10 minutes, which was probably about 3 minutes too long. Parts were tender but you could tell that parts were slightly overcooked. The taste was still nice though.
I said that the main dish was dead easy to prep and cook. I do not know what I can say about the desert. Is dead easier possible? I had never made a meringue but found it to be quite easy, especially when using a mix master. I decided to add cocoa powder to the meringue as I thought it would pair well with the balsamic, vanilla bean, strawberry and raspberry that make up the bulk of the dish. I was not disappointed! If you read my last post you would have seen that I was taken aback by the price of fresh crab meat. Today it was the vanilla bean that took the prize as most expensive ingredient. Technically the clams were more expensive but on price per kilogram the vanilla bean takes the cake. I served the dish in bowls rather than fancy cups, due to the size of my meringues. Next time I will make them smaller. This dish is pretty light and had a nice flavour to it. Everyone agreed that this dish was the best of the bunch. I would definitely make this again.
All in all I think that the Friday Night 3 Course was a success. None of the dishes were overly time consuming, all of them had a nice taste to them and everyone is full! To me that is a good evening.