Friday, June 26, 2009
COOKING WITH FRIENDS
Last Saturday, it was our turn to host our cooking group. I may have mentioned before that 5 of the 6 of us all worked together at that big construction and engineering firm in San Francisco. The one "outsider" is J of WC.
As has been our tradition for about 30 years, the host makes the main course and the others bring a first course and dessert. We rarely have a theme and, so far, we haven't all shown up with spaghetti. The one time I do remember having a theme was at our get together right after Julia Child died...we decided that we'd each prepare a dish from one of Julia's cookbooks.
We cook together about every 3 or 4 months, moving from house to house.
And so, our evening at our house started with drinks, hummus, homemade onion dip, chips, and raw veggies. Oh, the host also provides some little munchies for before dinner. Since Louie is so fond of cocktail hours...the coffee table is just the right height for him to help himself to whatever is on it...he spent the time in his living room pen, safely observing.
A & J of Mendo made the first course: What I think is the BEST Celery Root Remoulade that I have ever tasted. It was garnished with a fresh tomato salad and sliced cucumbers. The Celery Root Remoulade is from a Barefoot Contessa (In Garten) recipe, with a few "secret" variations by A & J. I have found her recipe on the Food Network web site and plan to give it a try, with or without the variations.
The main course was Chili Lime Wild Sockeye Salmon, Caribbean Sweet Potato Salad, and Orzo Salad with Broccoli and Tomatoes. I "cheated" by buying the salmon already cooked at Whole Foods. They introduced the Chili Lime Salmon at the beginning of the Wild Salmon season this year and it is so tasty, I don't think I could ever do better on my own.
The Caribbean Sweet Potato Salad recipe is on the internet; I used all sweet potatoes and no russets (We are limiting simple carbs chez moi these days.).
The Orzo Salad recipe is on Whole Foods' web site; I used whole wheat orzo, to avoid those simple carbs. It is available in bulk at Whole Foods. Since I made the Orzo Salad beforehand, I served it at room temperature, rather than warm.
C & F, the Piedmontese of the group, made Ice Cream Sandwiches using Graham Crackers and Sorbet. They wrapped each sandwich individually...Martha Stewart would be proud of them...making for an impressive presentation.
We had our choice of Lemon Sorbet or Chocolate Sorbet fillings. I chose the chocolate one and there was also a coating of chocolate on the Graham Crackers.
What a yummy ending to what we all decided was a perfect summer dinner, as well as a special visit with longtime friends.