0829 Family-Style

I am so very disappointed that my photos from tonight’s dinner didn’t turn out.  Janet, among others, has been on me for months to improve my use of our DSLR, and tonight’s photos illustrate her point – I have a great deal to learn and, perhaps more importantly, remember.

Since I have no usable photos, I’ll have to ask you to close your eyes and imagine the scene.  Nine friends around a mid-century teak table with not one but two leaves added.  Serving dishes crowding every inch of the table not covered in mismatched linens, silverware, dinner plates, or half-empty Tom Collinses.  A pizza-like flatbread with slow roasted tomatoes, goat cheese, green onion, and shaved Parmiagiano-Reggiano.  A second flatbread with sauteed leeks, gorgonzola, and more shaved Parmiagiano.  Two grain salads: quinoa with green beans, and wheat berries with corn and green onion in a delicate dressing.  Pesto potato salad with green beans and toasted pine nuts.  Potato-quinoa croquettes with romesco dipping sauce.  A frittata with a bunch of veg.  Eggplant caviar with toasted pita (and secret roasted tomatoes added for extra oomph).

Chairs pushed back from the table.  Bottles of Sah’tea and Shane’s stout passed around for sampling.   Chocolate cake with chocolate ganache and a discussion of Mad Men.  Speculation about whether the inhalation of quick-setting concrete might result in sore lungs.  Stories about stuffed animals and grade school lunches.  A lot of laughter, and perhaps an Elton John song.

Let’s do this again, and soon.

0630 Summer Potluck

I brought my camera tonight because it seemed like it was going to be an evening worth photographing.  It was, but I was so busy eating brie with raspberry-chipotle sauce and chatting with friends that I just didn’t get around to it.  You’ll just have to imagine a living room set up in Susie’s front yard, bottles of wine and plates of summer grain salads, a small bouquet of flowers in the middle of a plaid wool blanket, and the deep intense red of what I’m calling Foragers’ Sorbet, made from back yard berries and mint that keeps creeping into our garden.

Foragers’ Sorbet
Adapted from The Houndstooth Gourmet

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 cup wild raspberries (or regular berries, of course, but wild is what we have on hand)
A handful of wild mint, rinsed and sliced into a chiffonade
Juice of one half lemon

In a medium saucepan, whisk together water and sugar until dissolved.  Add the raspberries, mint, and lemon juice and simmer for about 5 minutes, whisking and crushing the berries as you see fit.  Remove from heat and pour through cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer, then chill for 30 minutes or until cooled completely.  I like to just set the strainer over a large glass measuring cup, pour the mixture through, and then set the whole thing in the fridge to continue to drip and chill.

Process in your ice cream maker for about 25 minutes, or until you can see it getting thick in the center.  Pour into a freezer-safe container and chill for a few hours before serving.  Recipe should yield 2 cups of incredibly flavorful and velvety sorbet.