Friday, January 16, 2009

Menu thoughts

With a little helpful push from a friend, I've started focusing once again on my menu for this upcoming tea party. Why not start with selecting the dessert? She shared with me a recipe for Rose Water Panna Cotta. I had no idea what to expect, but when I saw the recipe picture, I was wowed. It is like custard, and can be molded and turned out onto a plate. And then when I read the list of ingredients, I realized I had some more Googling to do. Lychees? Huh? What's that? I didn't even know how to pronounce that word... which meant I just had to locate and master this exotic sounding fruit. Yes, I verified that it was a fruit, with a taste/texture similar to a grape/pear.

Google educated me that it is a Chinese fruit, but also grown in India and other places. I decided to tap into some of my resources here to get the low down. My husband has Indian coworkers and they directed me to a local market that might have lychees, as well as the rose water that the recipe names. In doing another Google search, I found someone else trying to locate lychees in my area. I took copious notes and now feel prepared to obtain all the ingredients I should need.

So, dessert is settled. Now I can go on to the other areas of the meal...

Some tips I've gleaned when trying out a new recipe:
1) Always search the Internet for the recipe online. Recipe sites or blogs often have comments posted by people who have already tried the recipe and can suggest tweaks that you might find beneficial. Also, seeing different pictures of the recipe helps give you an idea of what yours should look like.

2) Make sure you allow yourself enough time to get all the steps done. That means reading the recipe all the way through first. You will save yourself some stress if you can do as much as possible before hand.

3) When trying to find ingredients that you aren't used to, again, search the Internet. Sites like Yelp can shed brilliant light on services and shops in your local area.

4) And finally, it is probably the responsible thing to suggest you try the recipe out ahead of time before 'going live' and serving it to guests... but... I can't say I've ever done it that way. Sink or swim for me, ya know?

Those are just a few tips. Leave a comment if you have any other tips to share!

1 comment:

Toni said...

This sounds wonderful! Keep us posted on your luck with the "exotic" ingredients.

I, too, enjoy recipes with added "notes" on them. Seems like whenever you feel a bit stuck or unsure with it, the notes are always there to relieve you.