Monday, April 10, 2006

Look who's coming to dinner...


This past week ushered in my dear friend Avi and his partner Clarence. Since nothing spells love like good food, the weeks prior were an anticipatory flurry of menu planning and food dreams which peaked and then came to a cruel halt in the horrific realization that arteries and things that clog are a bigger deal than previously ignored. My enthusiasm flagged faster than a flattened soufflé in a cool kitchen. Somehow in the pursuit of good food I never considered the calorie, the fat gram or anything low-carb. I always asserted that anything low fat, fat free or no sugar is something to avoid or at least politely decline. I mean I can think of many good reasons to include both fat and sugar and only a few to omit them. However friend that I am, I dutifully altered my recipes with the clipped no nonsense precision of a dietician. Green curry chicken with coconut was pleasant, bright and mild; a slimmed down version of melting fiery lusciousness. In rebellion to the new constraints placed upon my menu and inspired by the thought of dinner guests, the myriad ways to feast and the typical Bon Appetit question asked in their celebrity profile:

"Who would you invite to dinner if you could dine with anyone?"
I began to daydream over what I would serve the King of Kings. Last Supper jokes aside I considered how Jesus could be the ultimate gourmet capable of reveling and relishing every last nook in His Father’s garden o’ bounty, a fresh wide open palate capable of knowing and enjoying heaven on earth . It seemed to reason that every ingredient would be fair game from fiddleheads to frog legs, spam to spumoni. Does Jesus play favorites? If He blesses the proud, the meek and the down trodden, socializes with prostitutes, thieves and tax collectors, includes all and excludes none, would he prefer beef to chicken? With sky’s- the- limit boundlessness I set to work on a menu to please and delight. It should travel the world of food but not include so much breath and depth as to exhaust. Definitely a meal that makes one feel glad to be alive, nourished and rejoice in life’s plenty.

Here is the layout for Jesus Party of Two:

Starter:
Eyes of My Lord aka. Deviled eggs
Salad of endive, hearts of palm, fennel shavings and olive w/ orange mustard vinaigrette
Main Course:
Macau Chicken w/ side of garlicky kale
pillows of fresh baked Naan
Jewel flecked Biryani strewn with pomegranate seeds.
Dessert:
Rose Water Meringues
Pistachio and goat cheese panna cotta
Macau Chicken adapted from a recipe found on egullet:
Marinade:
3 ½ chicken thighs
3/4 tsp cayenne
1 tsp minced garlic
Small bunch of minced scallion
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
2 tsp minced rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste

Sauce:
1 c chopped onion
Several cloves of minced garlic
1 diced red pepper
2 tblsp grapeseed oil
4 tblsp sweet paprika
½ c grated toasted coconut
½ c coconut milk
1/3 c natural peanut butter
1 ½ c chicken stock
2 bay leaves
7 new potatoes

Mix marinade ingredients, rub into chicken and marinate overnight. Sweat onions, garlic and peppers in oil until peppers are softened. Add paprika, coconut, peanut butter, bay leaf, coconut milk and chicken stock. Bring to a boil and simmer stirring occasionally for about ten minutes. Discard the bay leaves. Brown the chicken and cut potatoes well over a medium high skillet. Transfer chicken, potatoes and the sauce to a dutch oven and bake at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes or until done.

2 comments:

marcie said...

count me in, it sounds delightful! make it a meal for 3 please. i can hardly wait for the dinner conversation.

Honeycake said...

o my god. Where was I?
Yum yum. Avi said there were photos - -did you all have big tummies?