Wednesday, September 19, 2012

food with friends

One of the most enjoyable parts of my vacation was food - but specifically, sharing it with other people. I live with my boyfriend in Toronto, and I love cooking with and for him, but it's nice to have a new, larger audience - and I certainly had that, whether it was dinner for a handful of friends, or a wedding of over a hundred (I helped cook some of the food at my friend's gorgeous country wedding).

I'm not a storyteller, I'm not a great performer, and I don't make new friends very easily. But I've discovered my favourite way of communicating with people is through food. I'll turn to one of my favourite culinary authors, Julia Child, to put it more eloquently: "Dining with one's friends and beloved family is certainly one of life's primal and most innocent delights, one that is both soul-satisfying and eternal." There's nothing better than seeing the satisfaction in someone's eyes as they eat something you put time and effort into - something you carefully chopped, mixed together, roasted, stirred, tasted and seasoned.

(clockwise, from top left) I took a break from writing down recipes on my vacation, but here's some of the most delicious, from memory.

Tofu dip (tofu, tahini, herbs, nutritional yeast) and peach bellini (peach puree, champagne).
Rosemary lemonade with cherries from Not Without Salt.
Summer corn at a lovely farm house.
Pizza party at camp with this pizza dough.
Vegan waffles with Martha Stewart's Bourbon Poached Peaches.
My favourite hangover breakfast - oatmeal with caramelized bananas.

Here's another recipe I made on vacation, with some eggplants from my boyfriend's mom's garden. Serve it with raw vegetables, or this delicious flatbread recipe I found over on Smitten Kitchen. You already have the oven on - why not roast some eggplant and make some flatbread? Both recipes are super easy and fast.

Roasted eggplant and garlic dip
This dip would also make an awesome sandwich spread. Makes about 1 cup.

1 large eggplant, sliced in half, stabbed a few times with a fork
1 head of garlic, top 1/2 inch cut off
salt and pepper
olive oil
1 tbsp tomato paste (try buying paste in a tube, Italian style - it keeps for months in the fridge, much  
        better than those annoying tiny cans when you need a small amount)
squeeze of lemon

Preheat oven to 425. Arrange eggplant and garlic in a roasting tray. Rub with a few tablespoons of olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 30-45 minutes, until eggplant and garlic is soft. Scoop out eggplant flesh into a food processor. Add garlic, by squeezing the cloves out of the papery skin. Add another splash of olive oil, tomato paste and lemon juice. Puree, taste, and adjust seasoning. Serve warm or cold.

Rosemary Flatbread
From this recipe on Smitten Kitchen.

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp chopped rosemary
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup olive oil
more salt, oil for brushing

Preheat the oven to 425. Combine flour, rosemary, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Make a well in the centre, and add water and oil. Stir together until dough forms. Knead 4 or 5 times in bowl, and divide dough into three pieces. Take out one piece, and leave others in the bowl, covered with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel.

Working on a large piece of parchment paper, roll out the dough with a floured rolling pin. You want a very thin, 10-12 inch circle. And you really don't need a perfect circle - you're probably going to break up the flatbread to serve it, anyway. Transfer the parchment paper to a large baking sheet, and brush the dough with oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden and crisp, but not too browned. Remove from oven, set aside to cool, and continue with the other two balls of dough.

Keeps for a few days at room temperature, in a sealed container.

No comments:

Post a Comment