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Zack Boatman
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I often get random users sending me geekmails asking random questions
Here are some examples (I have chosen the best since the New Year)
Keep 'm coming and
Go ahead...ask
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1. Board Game: Betrayal at House on the Hill [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:422]
Zack Boatman
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Dear Geek,
It broke my heart when Brad left Jen for Angelina. Why did he do it?
 
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2. Board Game: Busen Memo [Average Rating:4.80 Overall Rank:15106]
Zack Boatman
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'Nuff said
 
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3. Board Game: Foggle [Average Rating:5.29 Unranked]
Zack Boatman
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Dear Geek,
What is Avogadro's number?
 
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4. Board Game: Number Mastermind [Average Rating:4.64 Unranked]
Zack Boatman
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6.0221415 x 10 to the 23rd power
 
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5. Board Game: Monster Dinner [Average Rating:5.50 Unranked]
Zack Boatman
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Dear Geek,
I am having a dinner party and don't know what to serve. I need help!
 
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6. Board Game: Das Perfekte Dinner [Average Rating:3.67 Unranked]
Zack Boatman
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Start with a sampling of cheeses, but no more than three selections if expecting less than 10 for the party. As a non-drinker, I rely on the savvy help of a sommelier (wine stewart) when selecting an appropriate wine (do not stray from a mild red however). The cheeses should be presented having already started the slicing process, two or three slices per selection (remember cutting etiquette when serving as each cheese has a prescribed method). The cheese should be accompanied by a soft or hard bread, yet the bread should not distract the palette from the bouquet of the cheese itself.
Follow this with a light introduction to your main course. This should never be a salad (as that should come at the end of the meal). I would recommend a mushroom raggout.

3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
4 large shallots, thinly sliced
1 cup chanterelle, hedgehog, or lobster mushrooms
1 cup small fresh shiitake caps
1 cups quartered button or cremini mushrooms
1/3 cup Chinese dried black mushrooms, soaked in a small bowl of warm water to soften, about 20 minutes, stemmed and quartered
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup Chicken Stock or low-sodium canned broth
1/2 cup veal demi-glace, or 1/2 cup Chicken Stock mixed with 1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, or 1/2 tablespoon dried

Directions
1. Heat a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the garlic and shallots and sauté, stirring, until soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Add all the mushrooms and sauté until soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

2. Add the wine, stir, and cook until the wine is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the stock, demi-glace, dark soy sauce, and thyme, and simmer until reduced by half, about 25 to 30 minutes. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and correct the seasonings. Serve with a variation on the bread used during the cheese course. If the bread was served soft with the cheese, toast it for the mushrooms.

The main course should follow. I suggest a roast duck with either baked asparagus or roasted brussel sprouts.

1 onion
1 stalk of celery
1 apple
1 fresh duck
1 small jar of honey
1 bunch asparagus
or
20 similar sized brussel sprouts
salt and pepper


Roast the duck for 2 to 2.5 hours at 375 degrees. The skin will be dark and crispy as you have patted it dry before roasting. I favor coating the skin with honey before putting it into the oven, but many will prefer salt and pepper instead. The duck should be stuffed with a chopped mix of the onion, celery and apple. The entire cavity should be filled.

20 minutes before the duck comes out of the oven, have your asparagus or brussel sprout prepared for the oven.
In a shallow cake pan, coat them with olive oil and salt/pepper to taste. Place them on the rack directly below the duck and let them roast to perfection in 15-20 minutes.

For a fresh approach to a sugary treat at the end of the meal try infusing cream cheese with rum and sugar. Let the cream cheese soak in the rum and sugar for at least two days, constantly stirring the mixture. Serve cold in small bowls at the earliest 20 minutes after the main course.
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