Wednesday, July 26, 2017

first meal prep for a much larger department

We're having a goodbye party this coming Thursday for a staffer who's leaving the R&D Department. I'll be providing the main meal; in the meantime, we've got people working on appetizers (I think), drinks, dessert, and flatware (plates, utensils, etc.). Prep for this is enormous, not to mention expensive, as I'm cooking for ten instead of just for three. I had asked the departing staffer what sort of food he liked. He said Korean food (his Korean wife is a professional chef!); I mentally cringed, as I have only a limited range when it comes to Korean dishes. I asked whether he'd be into budae-jjigae, which I do well, but he grimaced and said that that was the one stew he wasn't a fan of. Dammit.

So here's the plan: I'm going to go with what I know and do two preps: (1) my "Middle Eastern" chicken with couscous and sauce, and (2) some galbi (Korean-style beef short ribs) with my oi-kimchi (more like oi-muchim, really) and sticky white rice. There will be enough galbi for the staffer to eat, but probably not enough for everyone to enjoy large portions, so everyone will have to concentrate on the truckload of "Middle Eastern" chicken and couscous.

I still haven't bought all the ingredients. High Street Market no longer sells fresh vegetables, as I discovered tonight, so I have to hit Haddon Supermarket or some other place to get the cilantro and parsley that are crucial components of this dish. It's going to be a hectic morning tomorrow... and I'm trying to remember whether the guy who runs Haddon said that his store is closed on Wednesdays. If that's the case, then I'll have wasted time on a fruitless pursuit, and I'll need to find—right away—another store that sells what I need.

The items I could buy at High Street proved not to be the most convenient, either: I had looked for canned chickpeas, but all the store had was dried chickpeas, which I'm currently soaking overnight to reconstitute. As before, I also had no choice but to buy High Street's dried figs, which I prepped by boiling for a few minutes. I also spent over an hour shelling hundreds upon hundreds of pistachios—all for a measly yield that's not even two cups' worth. Well, at least I had the chance to get some of the more time-consuming prep work done. There's still a lot to do, but I've given myself some breathing room.

I'm going to be exhausted come Thursday afternoon. Organizing all this has been a major effort, but it's time to show off my cooking skills to a larger audience. We'll see how it goes.

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