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January 16, 2005

Rangi's winter dinner

Rangi and family arrive January 10 and we'll make a dinner in their honor. Here is what I have in mind:
* To drink: New Zealand wines, mulled cider, and seltzer
* To nibble: Edamame and Malaysian peanuts (they are tiny, hard, tasty)
* Collard, kale, and chard with quinces: I can't find quinces. In desperation I tried Dean and Deluca, but no luck. (While I was there I checked the chestnuts for the cabbage dish. They were mouldy and at top price, mind you. The man in charge of produce shrugged my observation off with "Well, some of them are mouldy."). So, change of plan. Bosch pears instead of quinces. They are nice and firm and will do the trick. I will adapt Robert Wemischner's recipe for Sweet and sour greens with quince and pomegranate and will poach the pears, using quince syrup left over from my last batch of quinces. Turns out Bosch pairs are perfect--select firm ones (not rock hard and not ripe). They hold their texture and provide a wonderful flavor.
* Red cabbage and beets with maple-glazed chestnuts: I tasted the most wonderful red cabbage and beets at Blue Hill and want to replicate it, not as a foil for meat but the main event. I'll saute onion til nice and brown and braise the cabbage (2-3 pounds, finely sliced) with 2 c red wine and 1/2 red wine vinegar and whole spices (cinnamon stick, whole cloves, peppercorns, bay leaf, grated nutmeg). The beets will be roasted in foil in the oven, peeled, and cut into a small dice. Cabbage and beets will be mixed together and, depending on what I think it needs, I'll add some red currant jelly. If I were not using pomegranate molasses for the greens, I would definitely use it here. The chestnuts maple-glazed chestnuts will be a very nice touch (I managed to drop a few down the elevator shaft when the bag broke.) They were great! They just made the dish. I piled them on top of the heap of cabbage.
* Red cooked daikon
* Green salad: water cress, thinly sliced Napa cabbage, red leaf lettuce, parsley, dill, scallions. I was hoping for carambola, but I could not find a nice one. So, perhaps sliced lotus root. Actually, as it turned out, I never got to the salad. We'll look forward to salad all this coming week.
* Greek roasted potatoes with olive oil, lemon, and oregano.
* Roasted red onions with dried cranberries and balsamic, and powdered palm sugar (or brown sugar).
* Roasted cauliflower with olive oil and shredded lemon peel--made it without the peel. Just plain, the cauliflower has the most marvelous flavor and texture.
* Black and green soybeans : dried black soybeans soaked, gently simmered, liquid reduced to almost nothing, a little shoyu added--the beans become shiny and delicious--served in its own mound on the same platter as a mixture of bright green edamame, my own barely sprouted mung beans, finely diced purple onions, sliced kumquats (watch out you don't get ones that are all dried out inside), and flowering chives, dressed with lime and cilantro
* Black rice, prepared in the rice cooker--came out with each grain perfectly separate, like little ants.
* Dessert: Chinese preserved plums, dried persimmons, blonde and black sesame wafers, preserved apricots, preserved ginger, and haw flakes.
And, if I get to it, glazed walnuts inspired by the absolutely perfect ones that were served with a seaweed and beet salad at Gobo. Never got to the walnuts. I need to buy perfect ones and try out the two main approaches--fried vs baked. I am after a perfectly shiny, very crisp surface. Very nice with a composed salad of some kind.

Posted by BKG at January 16, 2005 09:00 PM