May 01, 2005

gratitude & celebration

Last night I was finally able to thank J & M in person for letting me stay in their empty apartment for 3 weeks (egad!). It was such an unbelievable godsend -- I had no idea it would take so long to nail down a roommate situation, and I would never have been able to impose on H & J for such a long time without expiring from the guilt. How to thank people for such a favor, you ask? Well, duh: cook for them!

That covers the gratitude; we also had much to celebrate, since H just received confirmation that she's got the job she wants and has worked so hard for these last months, I've finally gotten an apartment lined up so that I can leave the lovely-but-distant apartment of J & M for a place of my own, and on top of that, it's finally May, finally spring, finally warm.

Having had the presence of mind to bring my kebab kubideh recipe with me, a wonderful spring recipe if ever there was one, I settled on that as the main dish, thinking to complement it with some sort of salad, and do fallen chocolate souffle cake for dessert, since it is idiot-proof and i am an idiot when it comes to baking. But as H & I went along in the kitchen, we got a little excited and ended up with two additional courses. I love cooking with friends -- it is such a joy. Here is what we ended up with:

amuse-bouche of blanched favas roughly mashed with goat's milk feta, with a bit of salad, oil-cured black olives, and peppadew peppers (thanks to the delightful cook sister! for the tip on these little red balls of sweet-spicy deliciousness), drizzled with a bit of olive oil, lemon & salt. This dish was H's brainwave, and a mighty success in my opinion.

cool soup of carrots and a bit of potato steamed in the onion juice leftover from the kebabs, pureed with hot hungarian paprika, lemon, sherry vinegar, yogurt, cream, salt & pepper. And dill, let us not forget the fresh dill. Best to let this sit a little while (at least 30 min) to let it cool down and blend flavors, but easy as can be.

buttered basmati rice, the always-lovely kebabs kubideh with their saffron butter coating, grilled tomatoes, and sumac to sprinkle over. Also a yogurt salad/sauce of greek yogurt, salted diced cucumber, dried mint & ground black pepper.

true salad course of green leaf lettuce, arugula, thin sliced radishes, thin sliced fennel, dill & cilantro, and a mustard-lemon not-vinaigrette with a bit of the peppadew juice in it. There is a word for a salad dressing made with lemon in place of the vinegar, but it is escaping me at the moment.

and of course, the chocolate cake, but we could not just stop there, so we cut up some fresh strawberries and mixed them with port and sugar to serve alongside with the sweetened vanilla whipped cream. (I have yet to discover a situation in which berries and various fruits are not made insanely more delicious by the addition of a sweet dessert wine. Yow!)

We also had some port and some of J's pisco with grapes with our dessert, so we were well and truly sedated by the time we were done. I adore evenings like this, with friends old and new, with delicious ingredients, and with a menu that allows relaxed confidence enough to take a bit more time to provide the little flourishes that make a meal special, but also allows ample space for creative improvisation at the spur of the moment. I am very happy this morning.

Posted by foodnerd at May 1, 2005 12:04 PM

Have you found yet? I think you and it would be a good fit. Give it a shot.

Posted by: JimInLoganSquare at May 2, 2005 08:44 PM

Hiya! Just catching up with your glad to be a part of it, too (though, a warning: that carrot soup wasn't as tasty a few days later...) the kebabs made for excellent leftovers, however. And, we've still a frozen batch in the waiting!

Posted by: hungry hippo at May 7, 2005 01:05 AM
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