Sunday, October 30, 2011

Saturday Dinner

I modified plans for yesterday's dinner so I would not be on my feet so much and did manage to have a couple of lie downs as well as sit with my foot propped up during the happy hour, enjoying the company and conversation of friends.

All hot food but the peas was cooked and in crock pots when the guests arrived; the work was basically all done.

I bought bread instead of baking it. Sergio brought some delicious cheeses. On a whim I added dates stuffed with walnuts and parmigiano reggiano. Since Sergio is from the Mendoza area, Bill brought a couple bottles of Malbec, of which I drank the lion's share. Well, I wasn't driving anywhere afterwards.

Next was a butternut squash soup, at Kathy's request, served with a fresh grating of nutmeg, a dollop of sour cream, and some pomegranate arils.

The main course was pollo con le cipolle, chicken with onions, from a recipe in Marcella's Italian Kitchen, pp 192f. The link was done searching through Mad Priest's Amazon link and if you are thinking of purchasing the book, do try to do it there. Support your friends.

I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs from Costco, initially held together with toothpicks until they had fricasseed enough to hold their shape. The onions sweat for at least an hour before they are browned. This is not a quick recipe, though I did all the other dishes while the onions were doing their slow cook.

It was served with beets (another shortcut; I did not roast and peel them - bought them boiled and peeled at Trader Joe's) - glazed with honey, balsamic vinegar, and thyme. Also peas, as Kathy wondered why I never served them. Actually, I love peas but usually do more labor-intensive vegetables for company.

Skipped the crostata di mermellata that I had planned. Another day. Simple spicy pumpkin bread from a mix served with cinnamon gelato from Italian Classics from Cook's Illustrated, p 437. It seemed appropriately autumnal.

I then debuted my new demitasse cups (thanks again, Randy and Troy) and risked making espresso. It worked. (I know, I should not be surprised if something works when one follows instructions, but I was anxious nonetheless.) I used Whole Foods Espresso Roast beans, ground in my new Krups coffee grinder and steamed through a Bialetti Moka stovetop espresso maker. Not too difficult a process.

Sergio had a second cup so I guess it's truly drinkable. I, of course, would never taste the stuff because of my intense dislike of coffee flavor. I also heated and frothed milk so Kathy could have a lattè. Chef and barista in one evening.

Everybody chipped in to do dishes afterward and I could go to bed and prop and ice my leg with nothing left to worry about.

I am so blessed to enjoy the company of friends.

--the BB


Grandmère Mimi said...

Pablito, the dinner looks lovely. The soup, especially, sounds very appealing to me. How kind of your friends to take over the kitchen chores after the meal was over.

Take care of yourself and your leg. We want you well.

Paul said...

Thanks, Mimi. The soup is too easy. Some butter and olive oil, one chopped onion. When onion is tender add peeled, seeded, and chopped butternut squash and chicken stock (I use organic chicken stock from Costco). When the squash is tender, puree the hell out of it in small batches in the food processor. Season to taste with salt, pepper (white pepper is good in this), and freshly grated nutmeg. If added richness is desired, add some heavy cream ten minutes before serving. Taste and adjust seasoning again.

I don't even bother with a recipe for this.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Thanks for the recipe, Paul. I may ask Tom to try it out. You see, I gave up cooking for Lent, Easter, Pentecost, Ordinary Time, Advent, and Christmas, which rules out cooking pretty much altogether.

Who knows? I may even try it myself. ;-)

TheCunningRunt said...

This all sounds incredibly wonderful! I've nearly given up cooking recently, living as I do in a house with no central heating and devoting the lion's share of my time to splitting wood and trying to keep my interior world from freezing solid.

Thanks for this much needed look at the Land of the Living (and eating and drinking and being merry!)

Paul said...

May you be safe and warm all winter, Ralph. And if you visit New Mexico, I will feed you!

it's margaret said...

If you can do all that on one leg.... I mean, wow!

TheCunningRunt said...

You're on my bucket list. ;)