Friday, September 23, 2011

Poutine, Pinot and Pandan all in One Party and all in One Bag.

I have always been fascinated by Poutine, the Canadian post drinking greasy spoon delight. I am not super keen on french fries unless they are drenched in something. Cheese curds seemed like something out of a cartoon and gravy always weirded me out a a kid, but I have grown to like it.  I have only had poutine once before and I was disappointed. I imagined the entire dish to be overflowing with gravy and melting cheese curds, which wasn't the case on my first go 'round.  So I decided to make it myself, plus the goal of the dinner party was to use one bag of trash. Poutine is sort of a self contained dish not counting the cheese curds so it seemed right.

The "Pinot" part happened because I picked up a bag (yes, just the bag, sans cardboard box) of Pinot Noir. 

I invited two of my Portland State University MBA classmates who are hardcore into sustainability. I figured they could provide extra advice on waste management during this meal. 

One of them, Matt, showed up with a case of his latest home brew. When he first came I thought he brought some Red Tail Ale from the grocery store. Nope.

He was just re-using the holding case. And those bottles? All re-used.While I was still getting everything together we sampled his beer, which was his take on a Double Mountain India Red Ale. All I can say is delicious!

I had tons of chick peas in the fridge from making hummus for 200 people the previous weekend so I whipped up some lime-jalapeno hummus for pre-party munchies. Plus, it's a not a party at my place without some hummus. I whirled lime zest, avocado oil, garlic, green onion, jarred jalapenos with tahini and chick peas.  I was almost tempted to throw some rum in there to make it a mojito hummus. Just kidding. I would never do that. 

Meanwhile I was attempting to make fries from scratch (for the very first time). I got some healthy looking organic russet potatoes at the farmers market. Apparently organic potatoes are difficult to grow and only grow in the state of Oregon. I par-boiled the potatoes on the first go round and fried them on the last. I didn't have a thermometer but I looked up the boiling point for vegetable oil to give me a gauge. This kind of worked. 

They came out OK, although next time I would try a thicker cut and a different oil, such as soybean oil. With the left over oil, my roommate/best friend, Heather, and I are planning to make stout doughnuts with a bittersweet chocolate glaze.

Before the poutine machine, we had some greens. I put together a salad with local organic butter lettuce, backyard tomatoes and a creamy basil dressing made with whipping cream and backyard basil. Sprinkled some sunflower seeds on for good tidings.

After over an hour, it was time to eat. Group shot of the party.

It was finally time for some poutine! 

Since I was using local ingredients this turned out to be a Pacific Northwest Poutine.  I made a beef broth based crimini mushroom, garlic and rosemary gravy using close to 4 lbs of mushrooms. Pinot noir caramelized walla walla onions were also prepared to go on top of the gravy followed by garlic cheese curds from Rogue Creamery, toasted hazelnuts, and some green onions for flora. 

I broiled the hot mess for a few minutes to ensure the curds were melted.

The casserole dish was too hot and big to bring to the table outside so everyone came in and served themselves. 

The poutine was a filling jumble of earthy mushroom gravy, tangy garlic cheese, sweet onions and a little crunch from the hazelnuts. We cleaned the entire dish.

Definitely a hot mess!

For dessert I made pandan whipped cream served alongside local September fruits. I used the heavy cream from a glass jar and used the glass jar as a vase to hold yellow daises for the table. I also used some of this cream for the salad dressing. My roommate busted out some fruit shell filled sorbets as well, which was a last minute idea and they ended up being perfect. I used pandan to flavor the whipped cream not only because I love it's rich, fragrant nutty taste, but because I wanted the green hue to look like leaves. 

Luckily I had a graphic designer in the house to help me with the leaves. 

I am in this one - still sporting a Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure shirt that you can't really see but it was my french-frying party shirt for the night. It was also an excellent adventure making this meal and wasting as little as possible. My dinner guests were awesome- providing prudent advice of waste management, helping to clean, prep and ready to try some experimental poutine. 

I was chosen as 1 out of 10 bloggers by GLAD in part with Foodbuzz to throw a "One Bag" party in an effort to promote the reduction of waste, specifically landfill waste. I am compensated for these posts, but the opinions are still mine. 


Peter M said...

That last pic probably most resembles poutine and I would certainly tuck into it. I suggest you come up to Cananda (Montreal specifically) to continue your research.

Bring along your buffet slacks.

DrThunder said...

Poutine=Canadian Nachos?
Great use of regional ingredients and Bill and Ted shirt.

Ruth Abatzoglou said...

Hi Anna,
It looks like your party turned out great and you made some good choices on dinner guest with their backgrounds on sustainability. You must have had some good discussions going on.

I have never had Poutine, but now I know what it looks like. I loved the part about the recycled beer bottles and case.

Look forward to hearing more.

tasteofbeirut said...

This is the first time I hear of poutine, I thought at first you were going to talk about Russia; the party looks like a great success and the food was delicious and healthy! Love that beer!

Helen said...

Kudos to you Anna, for making such an effort to re-create poutine using local ingredients! Your version is so interesting (hazelnuts!) and just as equally delicious to the traditional poutine sold around Montreal.

Pandan is something I have never experienced before and had to Google it to find out what exactly it was. I will keep my eyes peeled next time I visit Chinatown.

Banana Wonder said...

Peter - I would be more than glad to. But I'd come to Toronto first and demand a Greek style poutine from you first!

DrThunder - Representing for B and T!

Mom - We will have to rectify that situation.

tasteofbeirut - Hahah I can where you got Russian...Maybe next time it will be a Putin Poutine :-)

Helen - Thanks... I am still itching to try the real deal. I hope you find some pandan. The container I have is in a vile looking container and looks like it should be labeled "Reject from the Science Lab."