June 26, 2015
At Home with Friends

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Game Night

Lots of people have game nights on a regular basis but this was a first for me. Lots of people play Cards Against Humanity but this was also a first for me. A first, but definitely not the last.

I wanted the food to be fun food, kind of like bar food but my style. Thinking about bar food, I knew we needed something deep fried but not heavy or greasy. Voila, the giant Deep Fried Ravioli.

Sliders are another favorite bar food everywhere, but to me they are usually rather tasteless and boring. An overcooked burger or a morsel of greasy fried chicken is not my idea of tempting and scrumptious. I created the Mexican Fish Sliders combining perfectly seasoned fish on a Hawaiian sweet roll, with spicy guacamole and sour cream laced with fresh jalapenos. Yum, yum, yum!

Next, I was intrigued with the idea of doing a Pulled Lamb Sandwich, which had just appeared on the New York Times cooking app. The problem was I couldn’t find the lamb shoulder and I didn’t have a smoker which the recipe called for. Don’t you hate reading a recipe that sounds great but you can’t find the ingredients and it requires special equipment? No worries! I made up my own recipe and cooked it in the oven. Surprise, surprise! This is so flavorful and melt-in-your-mouth divine, you will be nibbling on it in the kitchen.

Since the lamb had an exotic flavor, I decided it needed to be served on a really fresh whole wheat pita loaded with Tzatziki, Israeli Salad and Tahini.

I also wanted something fresh and cool so I made the Thai Lettuce Wraps. The Peanut Dipping Sauce and the Chili Garlic Sauce wake up the shrimp. And using tiny gem lettuce, these are one bite wonders.

You know how much I love veggies. So, I knew I needed salads. I wanted a slaw but not the ordinary coleslaw. I was inspired by an old Turkish cookbook to make a slaw with apples, zucchini, hazelnuts, and yoghurt dressing. Very simple, very crunchy and a great accompaniment to everything else!

I wanted another salad that was a bit more hearty, so I created the Spicy Walnut, Beet and Carrot Salad. This one has fresh garlic, pomegranate molasses and cooked root vegetables, all on a bed of baby arugula.

For an appetizer, I put out a wheel of ripe brie topped with rhubarb ginger jam. To get my guests in the gaming mood, I offered a prize if anyone could guess the topping on the brie. No one got it right except my friend Dano who went into the kitchen and found the jar of jam in the fridge. He was disqualified for cheating. Nice try, Dano.

I also put out a plate piled high with tissue paper thin sliced prosciutto and luscious fresh figs.

For dessert, there was a Ginger Mascarpone Cheesecake, David Lebovitz’s Chocolate Prune Cake with Salted Caramel Sauce and an assortment of cookies and berries.

The winning prize was two dozen of any of the homemade cookies that have appeared on the blog. Mei won and requested Pignoli Cookies.

I have to stop writing now and head to the kitchen to make the prize.

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