Suggestions for steaming supper, anyone?
I have this idea for a steam powered summer dinner party for four -- one person per burner on my stove.
Inspired by Martha Stewart's Steamed Seafood Medley (watch the video on this page too, I think it's interesting how she puts it all together, it looks fun) recipe, I would build four identical stacks of bamboo steamers, one for each guest. After a few minutes of steaming, I'd take the top layer off the steamer and serve the appetizer, then a few minutes more and the next course, on and on down the steamer. Martha reminds me that the things that take the longest to cook should go on the bottom of the steamer and those that cook the fastest should go on top.
I went to Chinatown yesterday, looking for soup bowls and steamers. I didn't find soup bowls I liked and I realized I wanted to think more about a steamer before I bought one.
In keeping with the steam theme, I'd make a steamed pudding dessert. While standing in line at the grocery store check out earlier in the week, I found a recipe in Rachel Ray's magazine for a pudding that is cooked in apple cider steam. I'm not ready for fall-ish cooking ideas like that just yet, but it might be great for September.
One problem with this dinner idea is that I don't have four bamboo steamers. I don't even have one! They seem cumbersome to store in my small kitchen, so I'm wondering if I should invest. As an alternative, I could try cooking it all in one big steamer, or doing it in batches, but that seems to take a lot of the ease and excitement out of the process.
Also, is it just me, or does food that is steamed get cold very fast? I don't know how it's possible that food heated in different ways gets colder faster, but last night I steamed some broccoli for dinner. I sware that from the time I took it out of the pot, put it on my plate and brought it to the table, it was cold already.
I have more questions: freshness, fish and flavor. Good fresh fish, I find, is very expensive in New York City. If I would buy three different kinds of fish for four people -- it would get to be on the expensive side. In my experiments I've found I really have to concentrate on flavor when I steam. When you cook with butter or oil, you can count on those flavors. When you brown things, you get carmelization. Here it's ingredients in their most pure form.
Mr. S posted a comment on here encouraging me to steam summer sqaush. It was an elegant, simple take on one of my favorite vegetables.
Any more steam advice?