Monday, July 31, 2006
One of my fantasies is to become known for throwing legendary dinner parties.
We spent all weekend preparing for last night's soiree. We went to the farmers market at the Ferry Plaza, Rainbow Grocery, Thom's, the huge Asian market (in front of which everyone double-parks) on Clement Street and Cala buying the freshest ingredients possible for our meal. (It's hard to imagine truly fresh ingredients at Cala, but we were driven to desperation in some cases. We couldn't find organic bean sprouts anywhere.)
And yes, we actually went through with the pork plan. I picked up some pork shoulder from Prather Ranch's Ferry building store. (I felt like a complete idiot buying it because I had no idea what I was looking for and couldn't really verbalize what I wanted to do to the pork: "Um, so I need some pork. Something I can put in the oven with some sauce maybe. And big enough for six people.")
But we pulled it off. (Granted, we started cooking at 1 p.m. and the guests didn't arrive until 6. And we didn't serve dessert until 10:30. But still, we did it. And so far, there are no reports of food poisoning.)
Here's the menu with wine pairings:
* Homemade tzaziki and thinly sliced fried baby eggplant dusted with fleur de sel and served with warm pita
(Taltarni Vineyards Brut Taché NV sparkling wine)
* Lumpia filled with bean sprouts, carrots, green onions, and pasilla and Anaheim peppers with a soy-peanut dipping sauce
(Clos Du Val 2002 Ariadne)
* Sweet white corn soup drizzled with heirloom tomato sauce
(Cakebread 2005 Chardonnay)
* Prather Ranch pork shoulder in a Riesling-mushroom reduction with toasted almonds and thinly sliced heirloom tomatoes, served with a side of quinoa and pine nuts
(Mt. Langi Ghiran 2002 Shiraz Billi Billi Creek)
* Cheese plate (at this point, I was tackling the huge mountain of dishes in our sink, so I have no idea what was actually on the cheese plate)
* Peaches baked in brown sugar and served with vanilla gelato and cinnamon-caramel topping
(Royal Tokaji 2000 Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonyos)
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Besides bacon and sausage, I have never cooked anything made from or resembling pork. In fact, aside from the bacon I fried up a few weeks ago, I can't remember the last time I cooked a hunk of meat that didn't come from the ocean.
And yet, I am going to attempt it. This weekend, I and The Man Who Was Vegetarian Until We Started Dating plan to serve up some pork as the main dish for the dinner party we are throwing Sunday. We chose pork because our friend, who happens to be an uber-gourmand, is visiting from Switzerland. We can't imagine him feeling satisfied after the tofu and stir-fried vegetable dishes we usually enjoy. And my attempts at scallops and wasabi-encrusted ahi tuna have been feeble. And I would rather die than touch a raw chicken. And The Man Who Was Vegetarian is sicked out by the texture of beef and lamb.
So we are left with pork.
Naturally, we have been researching pork recipes. Unfortunately, it seems like all of the tastiest-sounding dishes involve a grill. And we don't have a grill -- unless you count the tiny-ass, rusted-out thing that the prior tenants of our apartment abandoned on our back stairs. (I don't think I've even lifted the lid to peer inside; I'm just that scared.)
So ... does anyone out there in the eWorld have any suggestions?
Friday, July 14, 2006
Thursday, July 13, 2006
In the beginning, there were strawberries. Flats and flats of strawberries, bought from the little stand on the corner. That is what he would bring me.
And now, two years later, there is pizza. Topped with anchovies, jalapeños and pineapple. This is what he ordered. This is what arrived.
I ate a slice. Because I wanted to be brave. Because I wanted to try.
and the celebration lasted an entire week. Food highlights included a vegetable tagine at Aziza (home of the best couscous), my first attempt at making a Key lime pie (which was served alongside three magnums of 99 Napa Cab and many, many beers), a crepe bar for brunch and seafood in Seattle (we probably have mercury poisoning now -- we ate fish for almost every meal).