So it’s nearly midnight and I am determined to finish up my Napa Cabbage pickles before I go to bed. So far tonight I’ve done Shitake Soy Sauce Pickles and Fennel Pickles with Coriander Seeds. In total I want to have a pickle plate to greet my guests with 6 different kinds of pickles, North African Olives and some pickled Israeli Hot peppers.
And of course it all has to be home made. Except the hot peppers which I buy – they are imported from Israel and are in cans and I love them.
The reason for this pickling madness is a large dinner we are having on Sunday which is a kind of benefit/informational gathering a friend of Neil’s approached us to host…it’s long and complicated but it’s about the peace process in the Middle East and so of course what else could I do but make Middle Eastern Food. Though the pickle course I am calling: The Far East to the Middle East Pickle Plate.
I’m still not sure about all the desserts, but if I can find Quince at the market I sauce a recipe for roasted ones that are finished off by placing a pat of butter in the hollowed out center then sprinkling sugar over it all and broiling it until the whole mess caramelizes. I thought it would be nice with some Vanilla Ice Cream? It’s been very educational reading up on Middle eastern cuisine. Quince for example isn’t something I associate with that cuisine but in Claudia Roden’s: The New Book of Middle Eastern Food There are several quince recipes including a fish cous cous with Saffron Raisins and yes Quince!
The rest of the day I shopped, went to Sunrise market, Chinatown and the farmers market. And guess what? I’m still not done! Tomorrow back to the market, wine store and Korea town to hunt down some Kochukaru for my kirby cucumber kimchee.
Seems to me that each dinner party gets more and more elaborate. I see them as a challenge. Sometimes I regret that, but mostly I like the opportunity to try new things and experiment. The chalk board painted wall is the best thing I ever did – not only am I able to write menus on it I now use it as an idea board, where like this one, I write down everything I’m thinking about and over the days leading up to a dinner, things get changed or nixed and slowly the menu appears.
I still have 2 days before the party and I sure would love to hear about your favorite Middle Eastern recipes.