Last Night’s Dinner Party

Of course when it was all over I realized I had not documented a damn thing.  In part because I don’t like to get ahead of myself with dishes I have never  made before….two from last night that really stood out for me where Eggplant Jam, a recipe David Lebovitz posted a couple of weeks back.  A rich and flavorful Middle Eastern spread that I served with focaccia and a generous pour of pomegranate Molasses – as per his instructions. It’s the kind of thing you always want to have in your fridge to spread over toast or serve as a snack to friends with some white wine.  My Jam didn’t look anything like his, in part because I think I used too much olive oil and so when I baked the eggplant it didn’t get as crunchy as his looks.  I also peeled mine (he suggests leaving some peel, which for some reason skeeved me out – I like my eggplant naked).  Regardless of how it looked it really tasted great and I like how spreadable it was.

The second dish that I really liked  was a variation I did of Steven Satterfield’s  Scalloped Green Tomato  in the end I called my version a gratin because I added Parmesan to the bread crumbs on top – I made a few other minor changes like skipping the crushed black peppers and adding more onion and Thyme.  I seasoned the cream with salt and pepper before pouring it over the tomatoes.  Yummy.  This dish is going to get made a lot this fall when the market is filled with farmers selling green tomatoes.

In the end what I wanted to say here was just how much time it takes to make a dinner party of this kind for 17 people and that even though I cooked for two full days I still had to require my friends David and Debbie to help at the last-minute and the gratin, which was a sort of  last-minute addition came out a good 15 minutes after everything else.  Of course when make a dinner of many dishes I prefer it when people can graze over time instead of stacking up one big plate and sitting down to it.

Oh and having made two kinds of Ice Cream I had the exact perfect amount of egg whites left over to make Angel Food Cake!  Which was the perfect foil for the Ice Cream.  It also was great to have so many people over because I had made that gargantuan Carrot Cake a few days back and when my guests last night saw it they were more then happy to help me get rid of it!

All this to say that the reason I have been absent the last couple of days is because between house guests and dinner parties I’ve been run ragged (in a good way) things are going to slow down now so I am looking for to posting more!



About urbanfoodguy

I'm a self taught cook with a dedication to buying and eating food that is as humanely and sustainably raised as possible. Which is why in addition to recipes you will see a lot of environmental/political reporting here. I started cooking when I was about 6, it's something I always loved to do. Watching Graham Kerr - aka "The Galloping Gourmet" - was what got me started and I have never really looked back. Over the years I've been a private chef, a caterer, and a food stylist for magazines such as Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Real Simple, Oprah, Martha Stewart's Everyday Food and many more. I've also worked in the prep kitchen for the Food Network on the Bobby Flay and Paula Deen shows. Now I work at home in my kitchen sharing with you here recipes that I create or that other people have created that inspire me and I think you will like. I love my neighborhood (the Lower East Side of Manhattan) and I love to travel. Because NYC is such a big place I tend to focus mostly on my 'hood and the ones that are close by: The East Village, Bowery, Chinatown and Williamsburg. My love of travel has no limits really, I'm always ready to get on a plane. I was lucky enough to have a business for many years that allowed me to spend a lot of time in South East Asia. These days I've been spending time in Mexico, Germany, Canada and the West Coast of the U.S., but check back you never know where I might end up. I do consulting, cooking classes, and freelance lifestyle writing so if you are interested please send me a note:
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6 Responses to Last Night’s Dinner Party

  1. The scalloped green tomatoes sound great, and more delicious on your variation. What do you think of tarragon as the main herb in lieu of thyme? We have heaps in the herb garden and we’re not big fish/chicken eaters so we’re looking for a veggie recipe.

    Also, we have CSA cucumbers aplenty, and I’m tired of making pickles, so please share the agua fresca recipe.

    Love your posts!

    • urbanfoodguy says:

      Tarragon is an important ingredient in the classic French sauce Bernaise which is usually paired with beef- easy to make and a great way to use up all your tarragon! Will post the other recipes ASAP.

      Here is a Bernaise Sauce recipe for you:

  2. Yay! Looking forward to seeing David out here 🙂

  3. Chris & Skip says:

    Perfect combo. Tomato pie has become our entertaining go-to lately–good cold, great for pot lucks. Want to try your scalloped green version.

    So, expand upon the grazing-over-time mode of entertaining. Do you bring food out in groups or singularly or a combo of both? For large gatherings do your guests generally stand throughout–similar to a cocktail party with heavy apps? For sit downs do you plan ahead to bring things out one by one, like an Italian family style meal?

    • urbanfoodguy says:

      I like it when people stand and mingle and think it makes for the best parties, but for some reason in our apartment everyone sits in a circle in the living room with a few strays here and there – on Saturday when there were so many people I had food on the counter that divides the kitchen from the living area, the coffee table and the dinning room table. When people arrived, the north african olive mix, truffle popcorn (and rasins and rosemary) eggplant jam, guacamole and chips and focaccia were all out. Then I brought out the eggs, tomato salad and then finally the buttered corn, fish cakes (tartar sauce) and green tomatoes (my version of the recipe to follow soon). I only gave out “small plates” so people could start eating when they arrived – the food went from finger/snack food to more substantial, but with the idea that most of it could be eaten with fingers and maybe a fork (the corn, salad and gratin all needed forks). Dessert I portioned out and distributed. I find as much as I like the idea of help yourself dessert a lot of people seem to be apprehensive about cutting their own piece of cake. Usually for 17 people I wouldn’t make ice cream, but the honorary guest requested it…and I always love making Angel Food cake it’s the perfect thing for using up all the egg whites you have left over from the ice cream.

      I prefer eating when it is spread over time – I think there are lots of ways of doing this – all your suggestions I have done and do – Italian style usually only for an amount of people who can get around a table – so for more then 10 I do more cocktail party /buffet.

      Hope that’s helpful!

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