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