Our friends M&N and their daughter S and SIL M were in town, or nearby, anyway – about an hour away – and invited D, R, and me, and also their/our friends H&K, to a shared dinner, with each making a contribution so no one was especially burdened. It was not so much “pot luck” as a semi-planned selection of great foods, exceeded only by the most excellent company.
We were delighted to hear that S would make the main dish, as she is such an excellent and perceptive cook. She chose a lovely summer pasta she found on food52, called Pasta with corn, slow cooked-tomatoes, and garlic confit. The topping was rich and luxurious. S also had bought fresh pasta, to which D tended. It was al dente when he stopped it at 3 minutes, he reports, but turned out a bit flabby, unfortunately. The only answer we could come up with was that the large vat of water may not have had enough salt. Tasted good, anyway!
I’m tagging this “vegetarian” and “meatless” b/c so many of the dishes are indeed that, and worth veggies knowing about. However, this one dish had meat: H made empanadas, with hard boiled egg, Argentinian beef, olives, and I think tomatoes. He bought the dough wrappers at Mi Tierra in Berkeley, which I expect might bring these into the range of something I’d be willing to try making. The filling parts have to be cooked and assembled, then wrapped up in dough, and the dough is brushed with an egg wash before baking. Delicious, though, and with someone else making the wrappers, I think I may try this out. What fun to put together different fillings!
D and I thought that bruschettae would be a nice addition. D assembled everything since I was constrained by work. He brought a large bag of Dirty Girl Produce dry-farmed early girls, and some basil from our island bunch. He also bought cranberry beans at the Bowl the other day, and we shelled them after dinner that night, and then he cooked them with garlic and rosemary before bringing to dinner. He mashed up a bunch of them (including the garlic) and left others whole. D & I finely diced the tomatoes, and he cut up the basil. I believe it was N, or maybe S, who sliced the bread, and this was toasted in the oven. Not sure how hot or how long, but obviously, till done. D coated some breads with mashed beans and topped with whole ones, and topped other breads with the mixture of finely diced tomatoes and finely-cut basil, salt and pepper. He then spooned over each bruschetta a bit of my lime-infused olive oil, which he didn’t notice was lime-infused. I noticed a particularly unusual and interesting flavor, but was more interested in the people than in tracking down the mysterious flavor, so didn’t notice till I saw the little half-empty (though brand new) bottle of my oil on the island at home later. The oil is from the Calistoga Olive Oil Company. I think this is the one, but I sure didn’t buy that big a bottle when I saw their booth at a recent craft show! It’s really interesting, though, and if we find we really use it, I would consider buying more. D also bought some of the Bowl’s marinated olives, which I don’t find particularly entrancing. Look nice, though!
D picked out two wines, a CalStar Sauvignon Blanc, which we had with the abundant appetizers, and a Villa Antinori red for the pasta. We ate on the deck, since it was a 90 degree day, and still very comfortably warm by early evening. I’ll have to add wine descriptions when I see the pictures, as the bottles were left down south.
R made two ice creams, both cardamom based. I forgot to take a picture at first, I was so intrigued by the dates and chocolate coated nuts in this one. Got a tiny extra scoop, not entirely just to get a photo of it for the record…
It was a good day for bare feet and being outdoors.