What we cooked last week:
Friday: Salami, Cheese, Pickles – Stuffed Endive
Poached Salmon (Penn Ave. Fish Company)
Burnt Almond Torte
On Friday we had a party for Julia’s parents and relatives at which the guest of honor was her Gung-gung (Grandfather). You may remember him as the regal gentleman who recited the poem at Andrew and Julia’s wedding. He is 90 years old, blew out all the candles on the burnt-almond torte and is given to professions of admiration for familial love and peace and is, possibly, the most interesting man in the world. (Although he never drinks Dos Equis.)
The food was spectacular – Barbara’s corn salad (a smash hit), a perfectly poached salmon from the Penn Ave Fish Company, ribs by yours truly, etc. But the most interesting food of the evening was an appetizer of Belgian endive with a bit of blue cheese or herbed goat cheese and a parsley leaf. Neither the Chinese from China nor the Chinese from America had ever seen such a vegetable. Michael, Julia’s father, asked to see what plant the leaves had come from. Jason (a new graduate of Lehigh) – American, but with Chinese parents living in China – explained: “the Chinese eat lots of vegetables.” I’m going to serve beet greens the next time they visit.
On Saturday we had another Wang-dang-do at Michael and Suping’s. Grandfather blew out all the candles in a single, mighty breath once again. And we ate a myriad-course dinner for which I would conservatively estimate, two ducks, six chickens, five salmons, one hundred shrimp and a forest of bok choi, scallions, mushrooms and unidentifiable greens (but no Belgian endive – I think I might be able to corner the Chinese market on this one) perished. This was one of the great home-and-home dining weekends of all time. I hope that we can celebrate Grandfather’s birthday for years to come. (I’ll be sending endive to Boston, where he lives – he seemed to like it)