Saturday night, I hosted a dinner party.
Here’s the menu:
Romesco with Flatbread and Fennel Spears
Marinated Peppers and Eggplant
Ricotta Gnocchi with Chantarelles (except I couldn’t find chantarelles and so used portobellos), Sweet Corn and Sage Brown Butter
Heirloom Tomato Salad with Burrata, Torn Croutons and Opal Basil
Green Cabbage with Sweet Corn and Bacon
Cornmeal Shortcakes with Peaches, Mint, and Soured Cream
(recipes courtesy of Sunday Suppers at Lucques, by Suzanne Goin)
The romesco alone involved soaking, peeling and seeding ten dried ancho chiles, frying a piece of rustic bread in oil, roasting almonds and hazelnuts in the oven, squeezing lemons, and I can’t remember what all else except that by the end of the day I had used almost an entire bottle of olive oil.
I always like to throw in one item that will amp up the angst level as high as it can go, for instance, grilling an expensive cut of meat when I have no idea how to grill, or in this case, making gnocchi from scratch which in case you’ve never tried it takes approximately from 8 pm till 1 am on a Friday night.
Who when they did come brought flowers, baklava, The Science of the Cross by Edith Stein, bambo orchid cuttings, Moroccan slippers, a jar of truffle oil, and two very cool bottles of pomegranate and blood orange limonata. We discussed Scientology, Landmark, Joan Crawford (reminder: every ten years or so you HAVE to re-watch Whatever Happened to Baby Jane).
Lisa G. held forth on a very cruel incident where, on the way to a funeral, she got a $1017 ticket for using her cell phone trying to get directions and not having her insurance card, the upside of which was that she is now an expert on L.A. traffic citations and gave us all a tutorial on ticketassassin.com.
After swapping stories on nightmare travel companions, we decided someone should write a book on stories about how people travel together: the relationships that have kindled, the relationships that ended, the sometimes glorious, sometimes frightening things you learn about people you thought you knew well, including spouses…
I got to introduce different people from different worlds in my life to each other, which is always a thrill.
A good time was had by all. The guests stayed till midnight. And if you can’t cook all day and stay up late once in awhile in summer–what’s summer for?…