Thursday, February 4, 2010

Book It - Parshat Yitro Part II

What a messy night in the kitchen! I was hosting my book club and decided to make the salmon and salsa for the occasion (even though it was ahead of Shabbat we talked all about how it was related to the parsha). We had read Run by Ann Patchett and I decided to play up on one of the character's Irish heritage by making a number of Irish dishes - the salmon from my earlier post this week (with the Mexican twist of the salsa), colcanan (a mashed potato and green recipe which I adapted from a recipe I heard last week on The Splendid Table podcast) and for dessert - Irish soda bread (I used this kosher mix I found at the supermarket - it tasted like a big delicious scone) with Irish breakfast tea. When I turned my Kitchenaid mixer on to combine the flour mix and butter the flour sent up a big poof and a thin layer of powdered flour went all over everything on the counter. Argh. And a number of months ago Sam and I swore off paper towels in favor of reusable dishtowels and sponges. Double argh.

The upside was that while the salmon was cooking in the maple syrup liquid smoke marinade it smelled more like I was barbecuing meat that baking fish. When it was done, the fish really tasted like it had been gently smoked - I liked it. And the salsa with the cantaloupe did turn out to be a great idea.

But after the kitchen was put back in order and a fire in the fireplace was lit, our small little book club turn-out enjoyed each other's company, the book and the Irish food. It was so nice to be in Lila and Miriam's company that I completely forgot that I had wanted to snap a picture of the fire crackling for this post. Ah well. We really only spent a small portion of the evening talking about the book (isn't that how most book clubs go, and why men aren't invited?). First there was the matter of catching up, then general gabbing and my guests graciously gave me a few minutes to finish the last 15 pages of the book that I hadn't gotten to. By the end of the evening we had come to the conclusion that the book wasn't as sure a bet as the food.

P.S. Here is the product of a much easier night in the kitchen just one night earlier. I slathered some sauce on 8 wings, slipped them into the broiler, boiled water up for quick cooking couscous and tore up some lettuce for a salad with some cucumber and balsamic vinegar. All clean, all in less than 20 minutes. Yum.

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