Two days plus change till guests arrive for our turn to cook dinner for the Foodie Group. We’ve been testing recipes, buying cookbooks, debating side dishes and appetizers and now it’s the home stretch. I thought things were pretty settled till my Sweetie, the main chef of this duo, questioned the starch side to the main entrée’. I should have expected this because he inevitably second guesses the menu and then we have to discuss the merits of the chosen dish over the merits of the suggested replacement. Rice dish versus potato dish, ended up with, I think, a compromise of a seasoned rice but he may call an audible on Thursday. In which case I will be panicking, thinking that everything is going to taste and look the same. But I think he’s convinced, for now.
Our overall cuisine choice was settled on when Curt discovered Yotam Ottolenghi and his cookbooks, Jerusalem and Plenty, which he co-authored with Sami Tamimi. (see post from 1/15/2014) “Ottolenghi’s cooking style is rooted in, but not confined to, his Middle Eastern upbringing: ‘a distinctive mix of Middle Eastern flavours – Syrian, Turkish, Lebanese, Iranian, Israeli and Armenian – with a western twist’. His “particular skill is in marrying the food of his native Israel with a wider range of incredible textures and flavours from the Mediterranean, Middle East and Asia.” He now lives in London (he also has British and Italian roots) and we are from the US with roots in Germany so once we combine all that, dinner may resemble this map from 1581.
It’s not a food map but it could be interpreted to read as a confluence of cuisines centered in Jerusalem. Okay, okay, too romantic or esoteric for you? It’s a cool map and we used it on our invitations.
So like I said, cookbooks have been consulted. Lists made.
Shopping will be completed tomorrow.
Tableware, decorations and napkins have been selected. Hey, you thought this was just dinner? Our foodies all try to create not only good food but a special atmosphere. And it gives us a chance to use some dishware and linens that normally would be stashed somewhere till a holiday might require their presence.
I have already done some cleaning but soon the madness will begin and God help you if you get in the way of Chef Curt once his plan of action is in place. I will have to insert myself into the kitchen at some point since I am the dessert woman for the evening and it is one I have never tried. I think I have some emergency gelato in the freezer in case of failure.
So, ready, set……oh crap! The “Chef” is wondering is we have enough appetizers. Excuse me while I go slap him.