Friday, May 2, 2014

Lunch: Part II (9,000 steps)

I made lunch for a second group of parishioners this morning. I thought I would make it a little easier on myself as the lasagna took a great deal of time to make and this dinner for 20 had its own complexities for timing. It came out great. After saying morning mass, I began my culinary tasks for the morning.

Of course, I started with a fresh garden salad, some of the products from our own hadika (garden) plus some eggs, pickles, and various types of onions. I put a little twist to the roasted sweet bell peppers by adding a Tabasco sauce marinade. It was a big hit.

For other salads, we had a traditional Arab salad with diced cucumbers, pickles, carrots, and cabbage with vinegar dressing. We also had roasted eggplant sweetened by pomegranate juice and topped with tomatoes.  We had three types of rice: two Arab and one brown rice for the healthy eaters.

Another big hit was the Turkish bread onion tart replete with garlic and broiled mushrooms with some Arabic spices. I was surprised that so many people liked it so much.

The sweet and sour beef sausages were a curiosity because no one had seen sausages so thick. It was quite tasty as an appetizer or a side dish.

The main courses were pasta. I baked one deep dish with farfalle (bowtie) pasta smothered in cheeses, steamed broccoli, caramelized onions, and cut carrots. The sauce was a creamy garlic alfredo.

The other was rotini pasta in a red sauce peppered up by red and white wines. It includes a Filipino style sauce in which four-dozen meatballs were simmered.

The white fish was dipped in milk and then rolled in a zesty cheesy breadcrumb garnish. Six large fillets were devoured much quicker than one could imagine.

I was planning to have the gathering on the roof deck, but it was a great deal of work to get the timing organized. However, just like last week, as I finished the last bit of cooking and washed the primary pots and pans just as the guest arrived. I was free just to sit with our guests and not be concerned with last minute details.

When I checked my pedometer at the end of the long day, I walked over 9,000 steps without even leaving the kitchen.

The desserts were served in the garden terrace. The German Chocolate cake’s aroma filled the house as I baked last night and I iced it with homemade chocolate buttercream frosting. Of course, we had chocolate chocolate-chip and strawberry cheesecake ice cream to top the cake. We completed it with Iranian pistachio nougat bars and Filipino butter brickle. 

The nicest part though was just relaxing with the parishioners and letting them talk. I heard some interesting stories today. At one point during dinner, I heard silence (if that is possible) and I asked why no one was talking. They exploded, “We are full. There’s no more room.”

More picture taking in the garden and the lunch broke up just in time for choir rehearsal. Afterwards, we adjourned to the dining table where we shared cake, pasta, and garlic bread. What a combination. All-in-all, I think it was a successful day.

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