Caviar served on moving boxes and Pad Thai noodles at 1:00am…

What a great night. We had a party to say goodbye to a decades worth of great friends in Los Angeles as we prepare to move back to San Francisco next week.

It was not about the atmosphere as we have moving boxes lining the walls and everything but the bare minimum packed. But it is always about the food! I took a recipe idea that I created for the Incredible Egg Facebook and turned it into a crostini appetizer – chunks of thick cut golden bacon roasted with green onions, deglazed with oyster sauce and mixed with soft fried eggs served on small peanut oil crisped toasts. I made a curried pea soup with a bag of frozen peas, the last of my homemade chicken stock, and some Indian spices. As the night progressed the hunger came back. I had still had some crostini left but the crowd needed something new. What shall I put on it? My rock star mother in law brought us a huge tin of caviar from the Caspian Sea when she returned from Iran last week! A little butter and the caviar, heaven! One of the many perks of a lovely Persian mother-in-law!

1:00 AM, down to six of us and still hungry. I had a bag of frozen shrimp shells (I always buy shell on shrimp, clean them and freeze the shells to use in stock and sauces)in the freezer, some thin dried egg noodles, Chinese sausage, the remainder of the egg mixture from the crostini and some more green onions……Pad Thai it is! I sautéed some shallots, added the shrimp shells and made a ten minute intense shrimp stock by boiling it down and reducing 3 cups of water to less than one. Just enough intense broth to absorb into the egg noodles and give the Pad Thai that creamy texture. (You want Pad Thai to be moist and a touch sticky but not saucy)In my new Hong Kong wok that I am still breaking in I blackened some garlic and chile arbol (aka chile flakes) in peanut oil and then tossed them (infuses the oil with a deep flavor of garlic and toasted chile) I added the finely chopped Chinese sausage, and green onions. After just 45 seconds the green onions had softened and the fat in the dried sausage came back to life giving off a nice shine and flavoring the oil and onions with its sweet spice. I added the egg noodles (which I had boiled for just a couple of minutes to soften), the shrimp broth, and the remainder of the oyster egg mixture and a splash of soy sauce. (The key to wok cooking is to first flavor the oil, then sear the meat and veggies in stages to add flavor to the pan and to allow each ingredient to cook correctly, then add your sauce, then your noodles allowing the noodles to absorb the sauce and become flavor sponges!) I let the noodles simmer for just a few moments to take in all the flavor of the broth. A garnish of chopped cilantro and that was it. The refrigerator was practically empty, we were all eating, laughing and enjoying the Pad Thai with the remainder of a great off-dry Sauvignon/Semillon white wine from Washington.

I am grateful for an incredible decade in Los Angeles, the friends we have made and the incredible times my family has had. On to the next chapter to create more great memories, meet more great people and do my best to bring joy to the world one dish at a time! Enjoy

Eat Well, Enjoy life, Be happy