cucinanicolina

A Dinner Party, Long Overdue

4 August 2007

[Whole-wheat walnut loaf, from Acme Bread.]

Item: I have an article in the Chronicle today about gardening inside. Yes, it’s possible! I must admit I don’t engage in much indoor gardening myself, but after some of these interviews, I realize it’s quite do-able, and would be great fun.

Tonight I am throwing a dinner party for the first time in awhile — and I am ready. Yesterday afternoon I bought a pinkly pretty piece of fresh, wild-caught Pacific salmon from the Ferry Building market, and this morning traipsed down to the Fillmore Farmers’ Market for vegetables (I did not skip there blithely, carrying a basket over one arm, which seems to me the only thing to do when going to the market; however, I did bring a large bag in which to stuff all the produce).

I am terribly overdue for a dinner. I think it’s been months, which is far, far too long to go. At the moment, I do not feel like indulging in fancy preparations involving exotic ingredients — no, I am paring down and simplifying my menu as much as I can. I want us to taste all the rich flavors of summer, which, despite the 65-degree temperatures, is here — all too fleeting and lovely.

From simplicity, after all, comes deliciousness.

Early August Dinner Party, for eight old friends

Hummus and olives; Acme whole-wheat walnut bread

Roasted heirloom tomato soup

Salmon, baked with white wine, lemons, and basil (a portabello mushroom for me)
Roasted fingerling potatoes with olive oil and garlic

Saute of green beans and summer squash with garlic and lemon zest
Sliced heirloom tomatoes with salt and pepper
Organic green salad

Italian plum cake with salted butter caramel ice cream

[Heirloom tomatoes, August 2007]

The countdown to Greece now stands at eight days, and I’ve just learned that a great pal of mine will be able to pop over from Israel to drink Greek coffee and retsine with me while I’m there! I’ve been requested to take lots of pictures and pick up some recipes — all of which have been duly noted. I hope to post a few dispatches from my perch along the Mediterranean, too.

Next weekend, before I depart for the tourquoise sea and the much warmer climes of the isles, I am making pies to enter in my hometown’s apple pie contest because, well, why not? There is a tree full of organic (by default) Gravenstein apples that need to be put to use, and I make a olive-oil crust that is rather to die for, despite its lack of butter.

Wish me luck.

  • TrojanGuy 6 August 2007 at 4:06 pm

    Oh btw, great article! Those aero garden things sound kinda interesting.

    Also, I blogged a bit about Barry’s 755. ;)

  • cbox 6 August 2007 at 3:18 am

    i am sure your pies will win a ribbon if they are anything close to that plum cake. oh my goodness…to die for. xo

  • Box Family 6 August 2007 at 3:16 am

    seriously one of the best desserts ever….i just can’t believe you made the ICE CREAM!!! i’m sure your pies will win. i would vote for them. xo

  • TrojanGuy 5 August 2007 at 7:46 pm

    It was a great dinner, and despite your modest claims of simplicity, we were all impressed by how much thought and work you put into it!