Monday, February 14, 2011
COOKING WITH FRIENDS: VALENTINE'S WEEKEND 2011
This past weekend it was That Time again...that special time when we get together with Arlene & Jim and Colesie & Frank to cook a meal together. As you regular readers know, we have been doing this for about 30 years...every few months, we get together at one of our homes and prepare a dinner.
The host makes the main course and the others bring first course and dessert. We eat, we drink, and we catch up...it keeps the friendship going...a special thing, for sure.
What I love about our group is that we have fun. The meal is not planned jointly ahead; each one just makes the course they are responsible for. So far, we've never all brought spaghetti, so, this plan does work.
Interestingly, this dinner took on an International theme, inspired by recent travels to Vietnam by Colesie and to South Africa by Arlene & Jim.
Before dinner, we enjoyed hors d'oeuvres and drinks and looked at the photo book Colesie had created to remember her Vietnam trip.
Arlene decorated the dining table with a huge bouquet of plum blossoms, fresh from her local Farmer's Market.
Colesie & Frank's first course was a refreshing Vietnamese salad with a delicious peanut dressing. To accompany the salad, we had seasoned fried WonTon skins.
Arlene & Jim's main course was a traditional South African dish: Bobotie, a "pie" of chopped beef and lamb mixed with raisins, almonds, apple, and South African spices, and topped with a custard. They served it with Jasmine Rice and Chutney for garnish.
For dessert, we made a Coeur a la Creme. It's a French dessert and Jim & I love France, even though we haven't been there in a few years. And, the Coeur is my favorite Valentine's Day dessert and this was Valentine's weekend. It's made with cream cheese, cottage cheese, heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla, and molded in a heart shaped ceramic dish, specially designed for this dessert. We served it with a fresh raspberry sauce and some fresh raspberries.
We ate well, discussed the problems of the world, both present and future (will there be a day when we don't use money but pay with our smart phones?), and enjoyed the company of one another.
Looking forward to the next time...