Saturday, November 8, 2008


Oh, what a long and lovely day. It was the perfect day to gather both sets of parents for a fun, colorful tapas party-- gray, rainy, Novemberish. Tapas are something I'd wanted to cook for a long time: an assortment of simple little dishes, Spain-inspired, served with plenty of good wine.

The menu tonight was--
Focaccia with dipping oils (chili, rosemary, and basil)
Escabeche (that's a spicy pickled vegetable mix, with cauliflower, carrots, and jalapenos)
Broccoli Raab with White Beans and Garlic
Potato Chip Tortilla
Spanish Chickpeas
Citrus Salad with Dates
Mushrooms with Garlic and Parsley
Almond Cake with Peaches

On the side we had little dishes of pistachios, roasted red peppers, and olives, as well as the Sundried Tomato Mozzarella I made yesterday.

If it sounds like I'm bragging, it's because I am. A tiny bit. I love to entertain, but I have a hard time pulling off the illusion-- making it all seem effortless, as though I conjured a feast--POOF!-- out of thin air. My dinner parties are the kind where guests loiter anxiously in the kitchen, asking if there's anything they can do, trying to relieve me, the overwhelmed host.

Well. This time, I vowed it would be different. This time, I told myself that the tinkling of the doorbell would not reduce me to a deer in the headlights gaze. I've hosted dinner parties enough times, I should be able to get it right. I should be able to greet my guests at the door, take their coats, pour them drinks (or at least order my husband to pour them drinks), before ushering them to a beautiful table where hot food is waiting to be eaten.

Despite the tortilla that rocketed potato-eggy slime onto my stovetop when I tried to flip it, and the Almond Cake with Peaches that turned out more an Almond Crumbs with Peaches, the night was a success. Everything tasted good.

See, POOF! Magic. It was great spending time with both sets of parents, trading old family stories, telling jokes, and in general sharing the easy company of people who agree on the important things in life: politics, the arts, and good wine. Dinner was at 4pm; no one left until after 10.


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