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May 29, 2004

Friday night dinner

What a festive evening! In deference to Jonathan, I lit Sabbath candles, but consistent with our work all year in the Working Group on Jews, Media, and Religion, I used the tiny ones that Habad hands out in Washington Square Park in their effort to convert Jews to Judaism. Max made the most heartfelt and beautiful toast to Jonathan on the occasion of his new distinguished chair. Jonah, a brilliant 18-year old came, which pleased us no end, as did Elissa. Tamar came from the furthest away, so it was a rare treat to have her in New York. Jeremy and Danielle, whom we so enjoyed having here this year, are about to leave. Jeffrey, my partner in crime, regaled us with his stories.
It was pouring sheets of rain when I went out to shop for dinner, so I donned the rubber raincoat I bought in the market in Tepoztlan last August, a head-to-toe black pancho, and braved the downpour looking like the grim reaper. Took my little red shopping cart and headed for Chinatown. Wearing my pedometer, I logged 4 miles yesterday.
Here's what I finally served:
* Edamame "guacamole": Plunge frozen edamame into boiling water, drain, puree in the food processor (with lots of fresh lime juice and salt to taste) until smooth and creamy. Add fresh green chile and cilantro. Pulse a few times just to integrate. Serve with baked tortilla chips. Nice with drinks.
* Edamame in the pod: Plunge into boiling water just to heat through, as they have been boiled before they were frozen. Drain well. Serve in a Chinese steamer basket with coarse salt. Nice with drinks.
* Chinese broccoli: Blanch, drain well, and slice into 3 inch lengths. Fry lots of garlic in a little oil till golden. Add the greens and toss quickly till hot. Do not overcook. The broccoli should be bright emerald green and crunchy. Dress with little sesame oil and light soy. Delicious!
* Lotus root: I could only find washed, not muddy, lotus root, which means it was pinkish, instead of creamy white, inside. Peel, thinly slice, plunge into acidulated boiling water, remove while still crisp, but cooked through, and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking and remove the starch. I had meant to dress the lotus root with fresh lemon grass and tarragon rice vinegar, but ran out of time, so I tossed a few slices into the second batch of salad.
* Water cress and fresh amaranth salad: Add long thin planings of yellow carrot (I ran the whole carrot, in the length, through the mandoline). The colors were glorious. Dress with dark green Greek olive oil and organic apple cider vinegar and sprinkle with fresh dill.
* Thai black glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk. Made earlier and reheated in the rice cooker.
* Long beans, thinly sliced, with besan nuggets (from Julie Sahni's vegetarian Indian cookbook): In my variation, add lots of chopped fresh dill to the besan batter.
* Cauliflower with dried fenugreek leaves (from Juli Sahni's Indian cookbook): This is one of my favorite recipes, with urad dal, black mustard seeds, and turmeric, and lots of thinly sliced scallions (three bunches for a medium cauliflower).
* Sprouted mung bean salad: A cup of mung beans, barely sprouted (they developed their tiny tail in less than 24 hours and continue to grow slowly in the refrigerator), a cup of quartered grape tomatoes, 1/2 cup finely diced celery, chopped flowering chives, chopped fresh mint, a handful of shredded coconut, and lots of fresh lemon juice. Diced English cucumber is very nice too.
* Eggplant with tamarind and jaggery: Long Japanese egglants, quartered in the length, and cut on the diagonal into finger lengths, simmered in a sauteed puree of onion, garlic, turmeric, and paprika, together with tamarind and jaggery, and served with chopped fresh holy basil.
* Dessert was Filipino sticky rice in banana leaves, which I defrosted and steamed in my pressure cooker and served with fresh sliced mango, dressed with fresh peppermint that Elissa brought from her window sill garden. I also served sliced persimmons and a bowl of cherries that Tamar brought. Everyone brought wine and flowers and little food gifts. Spring has arrived.

Posted by BKG at May 29, 2004 10:48 AM

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