Because I'm a fool for this occasion, I can't pass it by so I invited 10 people for dinner and served them all the glory of the land around us at this very moment. Abundance is the fuel of sociability; our need to know there's food so we're going to survive is primal and it determines how we behave. Last night was the golden opportunity to let loose with colorful and tasty bowl after bowl.
Here's what was in them:
for starters while waiting for everyone to gather, a bowl of plump high bush blueberries, a block of local cheese, a bowl of olives and a bowl of nuts.
When we moved to the table it was hors d'oeuvre variee time: a vivid display of farm produce ripe and ready to dig into:
green beans Armenian style with garlic, tomatoes and dill (recipe is in the first How to Fix a Leek edition and now in Veggiyana, the Dharma of Cooking),
French carrot salad which is essentially grated carrots and tons of chopped parsley dressed with oil and lemon juice and the slightest hint of fresh ginger (recipe without ginger in Veggiyana, the Dharma of Cooking);
Corn and Green Pepper Salad with purple new potatoes, cherry tomatoes, tons of fresh cilantro, an avocado, kidney beans and pimento stuffed green olives halved--dressed with fresh lime juice and a blend of corn and olive oil or tomatillo salsa (which I had made fresh). Corn salad recipe in VEggiyana, the Dharma of Cooking; tomatillo salsa in How to Fix a Leek.
Fresh olive bread and a plain baguette.
Plates were piled high. Everyone was now wildly happy and the wine was flowing along with nonstop conversation. Note: food not rich or fancy, just fresh and fine.
Okay,so we finally got to clear away the salad plates and out came the main meal:
cubed local lamb cooked Palestinian style with onions, garlic (two whole heads), chard, chickpeas and fragrant spices (cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, cloves), served with a squirt of fresh lemon juice. And
the juiciest tomatoes chunked on a platter filled with fresh chopped basil and a sprinkle of local goat cheese, a sprinkle of precious sea salt and a dash of fruity olive oil, Plus
fresh cucumbers in yogurt with garlic, mint and dill.
I can't begin to describe how high that raised enthusiasm. And there was more on the way because right now the land keeps on giving. For dessert:
blackberry clafouti (recipe in How to Fix a Leek), clafouti being a cross between cake and pudding
peach crisp with pecan topping (recipe in How to Fix a Leek)
I stopped counting how many wine bottles had been opened. The conversation never stopped. People lingered for two hours, coming at 6 and leaving after 11. The exuberance of the market right now has been in all the emails today. What a high tide time! And it can easily happen to you.