Saturday, August 24, 2013

Progressive Dinner II

Our second attempt at doing a progressive dinner may not have been as numerically successful as the first, but we made up for it with some great food. Just three of us this time; everyone else in the vicinity with culinary skill seemed to be moving house, traveling, or down with the flu.

Kathryn took on both the soup and salad courses, and spared no effort. She went exotic this time, making a delicious Jamaican pepperpot soup of okra, sweet potato and shrimp, with delicious home-baked bread on the side. It had a delightfully savory-hot taste, and the sweet bread was excellent in complement.

Her salad was a pleasant surprise, combining cucumber, mango, avocado and cilantro with a sweet-salty dressing. A perfect salad for the summer.

We also got to play with her adorable kittens, who were slightly less shy this time around.

Earlier that day, I had begun preparing my main course, themed Portuguese. For the Portuguese tomato rice on the side, I sauteed a cup of chopped onion and stirred in 2 cloves of chopped garlic, a teaspoon of salt, half a teaspoon of red chili pepper flakes, and two bay leaves. I then added a cup and a half of chopped fresh tomatoes for a little more time cooking, finally bringing to a boil after adding two cups of water and two tablespoons each of chopped parsley and cilantro.

After we got to my place, I added the cup of long-grain rice I had been soaking, and let that cook for about 20 minutes until the water disappeared. This turned out really well, if I may say so myself.

For the main course dish of Portuguese baked fish, I also kept the sauce ready in advance. I started with a chopped onion, a sliced leek and four minced cloves of garlic, sauteed in olive oil. I then added two cans of peeled tomato in tomato juice, two tablespoons of tomato paste, half a teaspoon each of cumin, rosemary and oregano, and salt and pepper.

When we arrived at my place, I poured some of the simmering sauce in to a baking dish, placed the grouper fillets on it, and laid out strips of a sliced green pepper over the fish. Finally, I poured a cup of white wine over everything, laid out some slices of lemon over the peppers, poured on the rest of the sauce and sprinkled on a chopped bunch of parsley.

I baked this for about half an hour at 180C. The fish took in the flavor of the sauce, as well as the lemon slices and the wine. It made for a lovely and fairly healthy main course.

Phil's dessert of home-baked carrot cake was dense and hearty, frosted with his own preparation of sweetened butter and cream cheese. Despite having been refrigerated for two days, it tasted great.

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