Tuesday, June 1, 2010

That's what friends are for.

When I started this blog it was to be about what I'm eating and I mention in the blog preamble that sometimes it will be about food I cook or food that my friends cook.
I have very few good friends and while this blog could become a point of catharsis for me I'm going to deny myself the self psycho-analysis, remain a relatively screwed up individual and focus on the food. One observance of mine is that, food is usually as good as your company while you eat.

Anyway, periodically a core of friends get together and do an evening of potluck dinner with a healthy amount of alcohol consumption. (Although I find as our group ages we can't imbibe the way we used to.)
These evenings are always a very interesting time and the food supplied by the various attendees is usually of a high quality and tasty in the extreme.

If everyone is in town and of good health, New Years Eve is usually one of those times and hopefully we cram in a spring and an autumn dinner. Usually during the summer everyone is too busy at various locales in the world to gather.
Diane (or Lady Di as I call her) is usually our host because she has a great older house with a large refurbished kitchen open to an inviting and comfortable dinning and living area.
Pet allergies are a problem Lady Di suffers with and everyone else has multiple pets in their households so meeting at her house is the smart way to go.

The group usually consists of myself, Mrs B. and her BFF Brenda who is married to my pal Terry (they are also Godparents to our three children), Lady Di and sometimes her twin sister Dawne and or various friends and progeny but most of the time it's just us the five as it was for this auspicious gathering.

On these occasions we sometimes to do food themes, themes like Greek or fondue, but tonight that was more work than people had time for, so the ladies just decide on a main course and everyone works around that.
Usually the only snag is that Mrs B. has been a vegetarian for about 33 years now but that never turns out to be a problem as there is usually plenty of non-meat goodies on hand and she also makes meat substitutions as you will see later on in this overly verbose blog.


Tonight's main course came to Lady Di from her friend Carolyn which she reportedly stole from page 46 of the book Thai Cooking by Kurt Kahrs (the book is now out of print so if you see one, buy it).
The recipe is Thai Fried Chicken Breasts with Roasted Cashews
Lady Di expertly prepared the main dish and served it on a bed of steamed rice smothered with lightly sauteed peppers. Shown right sans spinach salad.

Mr's B prepared a Spinach salad made with spinach, raspberries, canned mandarin orange sections,pine nuts, flaked almonds topped with Renee's Ravin' Raspberry dressing.
As mentioned earlier because Mrs.B is a vegetarian she fried up some tofu in the same Thai sauce used to fry up the chicken breasts.
Her dish is shown here with her wonderful spinach salad.

Brenda prepared a desert that took me back about 35 years. It was the Covenant Woman's Cheesecake.
The Covenant Woman's Cheesecake recipe comes from a cookbook that was published in house at the Evangelical Covenant Church in Edmonton way back in the 70s. I loved it so much that it was the desert that was served when Mrs B. and I got married back in 76. It's served topped with thawed frozen raspberries (or you can substitute frozen strawberries). It's nummalicious.

Preparing complimentary foods for a meal is an art form that if done right goes completely unnoticed but leaves you strangely satisfied. Such was the case with this meal.
The main course was typical Thai, spicy, tasty and simply wonderful. The peppers and roasted cashews were the perfect compliment to the mouth watering chicken. I found the spiciness just right but Lady Di found it a bit warm.
Hence the spinach salad with it's light dressing that could put out a raging fire in your mouth. Regardless I loved it and I was left wanting more of the main dish. Perhaps that's why I have such fond memories of it.
The desert for me was comfort food with it's accompanying memories and tangy sweet flavor that just makes you smile. Mmmmmmmmmm.
However once I had consumed the desert I was indeed strangely satisfied.

Two Whites. One Canadian, One unknown.
Two Reds. One Canadian, One Australian.
Sorry I don't recall the varieties, vineyards or vintages.

There is nothing better in the entire world than being with people you love and respect, enjoying fine food and drink while you catch up on each others lives in a safe, warm, accepting environment. It is the best of everything that matters.
I cherish those moments when they happen because I don't know when or if there will be another.
I can say no more.

Thanks for reading.
I welcome your comments as usual.