Saturday, March 3, 2007
One of my goals here is to work on my photography skills. I look at some of the food blogs out there and am blown away by the gorgeous photos. Me, I'm just learning so if it looks totally amateur, well, there's a pretty good reason for that. I keep thinking about how my way of seeing food has become so dull over the last few years and I really need to bring the color and the focus back into my kitchen. I'm hoping the photos are one way to enhance the whole process of making and enjoying food.
We had friends over for dinner last night. Friday night is the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath, a time for rest and enjoyment and, ideally, a special meal. My only complaint about Friday night is that it comes on Friday night, after a long and busy week. When Friday afternoon rolls around I'm rarely in the mood for a long stint in the kitchen, especially when it's just us (as if there's anyone more important than my family). So, because I enjoy Beth and Liz immensely, and because I really was ready to do some cooking and hang out for hours around the dining table, I made the invitation and got down to bringing the meal together.
I was working with some dietary restrictions which affected my choices but this is how it shook out:
Challah (photo above, shaped and baked by my son)
Hungarian Sweet Potato Soup
Individual Sharp Cheddar Custards
Roasted Multicolored Potatoes
Fruit Salad (pineapple, blueberries, clementines, and Manila mango)
Green Salad (red leaf lettuce, homegrown arugula, carrot, scallions)
Molten Chocolate Babycakes
It was a good meal, not at all difficult to prepare, a little heavy on the custard cups but who can't use a few more tiny Pyrex bowls, right?
I wanted to share the recipes for the soup and the dessert as they have been enthusiastically received by anyone who's eaten them. The soup comes from Passionate Vegetarian, a giant treasure trove of meatless recipes that a good friend recently gave me. This is a delicious soup, rich with the flavors of sauteed leek, dill, and lots of sweet paprika. I first made it to share with friends on a crisp autumn night in a sukkah where it was happily gobbled down by everyone including the pickiest of my three picky offspring who now regularly asks for it. I've made it a number of times since and have somewhat streamlined the author's original process with no ill effects.
The dessert is really only appropriate for people who really, really love chocolate. As I was making it up last night I realized how much like truffle filling the batter is, so be warned. But with a bit of freshly whipped cream and a piping hot cup of coffee I can't think of a better ending to a meal.