Dinner is complete, our guests have departed with smiles on their faces and I’m ready to give you some of the highlights.
It is going to be hard to give you all the recipes, 1) because there were seven dishes and 2) once we were in the frenzy of cooking we forgot to take final pictures. Many of our dishes had advance prep which was good because by the time the guests arrived we were actually able to talk to them. But that is also why most of the pictures are from the beginning and not so much the end. Things just get crazy once food is about to go into the oven or onto the stove top and then our friends arrive and we are stashing coats, talking, hugging, pouring wine and getting the appetizers out, (I did squeeze in one shot of my half eaten plate).
So what did we eat? Well,foodie fans, the cuisine was Middle Eastern and that meant spices, spices and more spices. Throw in a couple of herbs for balance. Here was the run down for the evening.
Kofta (Middle Eastern meatballs) These are usually served on skewers but we put out picks and accompanied them with a mint yogurt dip. This is the only recipe we did not take from Ottolenghi’s cookbooks. See an earlier post crediting the originator of this recipe, Conor Bofin.
Spices/Herbs: ground sumac berries, caraway, cumin, Aleppo pepper, fresh mint, garlic
Stuffed Portobellos w/ melted Taleggio cheese
Spices/Herbs: basil, tarragon, pepper, garlic
Watercress & Chickpea w/ ras el hanout
Spices: ras el hanot is a North African blend and you just can’t find it in Wisconsin no matter how hard you try. After reading a few variations Curt created his own just like a good North African Jew.
Cardamom, clove, cinnamon, coriander, ground chili, cumin, pepper, paprika, fenugreek, turmeric, ginger, mace, allspice, nutmeg and fennel. (count’em – 15!)
ENTREE and SIDES:
Roasted Chicken w/ clementines and arak
Spices/Herbs: Whole grain mustard, thyme, fennel seeds, salt, black pepper, parsley
Spices/Herbs: Saffron, black pepper, parsley, bay leaves
Herbs: Parsley, dill, chervil, chive, tarragon, marjoram
Sweet Filo Cigars
Not herby or spicy. Lemon zest, honey and sugar
As you can imagine from the above lists of spices, our house smelled amazing, beautiful, lusty, yummy. It was like entering a Moroccan Spice Market (let it be noted, I have never been to Morocco) or an Iranian or Middle Eastern grocery ( nah, haven’t been in those either but I have a good imagination). It was heady. Colorful too. And on top of it all, it tasted wonderful.
Here is my plate after a few minutes into eating. Obviously I was enjoying myself and almost forgot to grab the camera. I suggest you grab the Jerusalem cookbook and start spicing up your life.