Sunday, November 16, 2008

Dinner party at Ahmad's

on Saturday night, we made our way up to Washington Heights for a dinner party at Ahmad's. while the company was the best part, the food was damn good, too.

Priya brought butternet squash roasted with grapes & pinenuts. it had cooked for so long the red grapes had become almost like white raisins, and the onions had virtually disappeared into the dish. it was very sweet, pretty mushy, and quite delicious. the toasted pinenuts on top added a necessary crunch/saltiness to balance the dish out.

I made Brussels sprouts in bacon fat and garlic. I'd disliked Brussels sprouts for years because of my experiences with them as a kid, but a few years ago saw a tasty-looking, super-easy recipe and decided to try them out. I liked it enough that I've made it a bunch. basically, you cut the sprouts in half and then brown the flat sides in bacon fat (I cut up a piece of salt pork into little cubes and cooked them in a little water until I had a nice pool of fat in my Dutch oven for this purpose). also brown some big pieces of garlic. then, put plenty of black pepper on the whole thing and add some chicken broth and let it simmer until the sprouts are done and most of the liquid is gone.

Ahmad made pork chops with a dark cherry & fig sauce, baked in individual foil packets with spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. really good stuff, marinated overnight before he cooked them, nice chew...every dish complemented the other dishes, with the sweet spices of the pork working really well with the squash flavors and the sprouts forming a counterpoint to all the sweetness.

(not to leave out Sirin and Jonathan--they brought wine)

I think I would like to make this exact meal again for myself sometime.

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