Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Dinner Party

First dinner party at New House last night. Bittersweet, though, as it's the last dinner party with Lee and Hot Curry before they move to FREAKING UTAH. Homemade black bean dip, Whole Foods-made guacamole and Mediterranean lentil soup, crab quesadillas, a salad from the Polish roommate, wine and beer courtesy Josh, and a freaking incredible cranberry pear crumble from Hot Curry. Great conversations about the biological necessity of nipples on men, Joe Paterno, Justin Bieber, European dialects, Indian phrases, small pox, and a bevy of other titillating subjects. I do so love me a good dinner party. Especially on a Wednesday night.

To say that I will miss Lee and Hot Curry is an understatement. Lee was one of the first friends I made here in Baltimore, he landed me my first freelancing gig, and he helped me navigate that terrible summer when we lost our jobs due to fire and my boyfriend of four years and I called it quits. (Subsequently, Lee's was the shoulder I cried on during the years of terrible break ups, where he had the grace and patience to say soothing things and not, "Good. That guy was a jerk anyway," which would have been well within the realm of fact.)

I brought Lee to a party a couple of years ago with the express purpose of aiding another friend in introducing him to her roommate, Hot Curry, who is now his fiance. And she is one of my favorite gossip girls, and the one who will drink Lee under the table with me.

Thankfully, we have a few weeks left before they depart. During which time we have to hit up the Explorer Bar and Birds of a Feather. More on those later. And then there's the wedding to look forward to, in April.

Still, I can't help but look around me and see how much has changed in the last four years. Friends moving away, getting engaged, getting married, having babies, getting promotions, new careers, new degrees.

It's pretty sweet to be able to watch someone about to head off on the expedition of a lifetime - primarily Salt Lake City, but also, oh you know, MARRIAGE - and say, "I remember when we drank a bottle of Malibu and you ran down the streets of Baltimore barefoot in your pajamas." Because that happened. And it was glorious.

The Last Dinner Party Menu:

Easiest Bean Dip
(This makes a hell of a lot of bean dip. For fewer than 8 people, I'd halve the recipe. Unless you want delicious leftovers - which I have, and am now overjoyed. So maybe be greedy and don't halve it.)

2 cans black beans
4 TBS chopped cilantro
2 cups hot salsa
cumin to taste
salt and pepper to taste
4 TBS lime juice

Throw it all in a blender or food processor. Transfer to bowl. Or don't and just eat it out of the blender. It's delicious either way.

Goodbye Maryland Crab Quesadillas (via Eating Well)
This feeds 4 people. I doubled it for 6, and all that was left at the end were two lonely tiny triangles that Lee and Hot Curry took home.
  • 1 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese (I used regular full-fat, because it melts better)
  • 2 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pickled jalapenos, (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 8 ounces pasteurized crabmeat, drained if necessary
  • 4 8-inch whole-wheat tortillas
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil, divided (I used olive oil)
Combine Cheddar, cream cheese, scallions, bell pepper, cilantro, jalapenos (if using), orange zest and juice in a medium bowl. Gently stir in crab. Lay tortillas out on a work surface. Spread one-fourth of the filling on half of each tortilla. Fold tortillas in half, pressing gently to flatten.

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Place 2 quesadillas in the pan and cook, turning once, until golden on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes total. Transfer to a cutting board and tent with foil to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and quesadillas. Cut each quesadilla into 4 wedges.

When Hot Curry sends me the recipe for her incredible cranberry pear crumble, I shall post.

Apologies for the lack of food pictures - I meant to photograph everything and the night got away with me. It could have been all the wine.

1 comment:

Hot Curry said...

Dude, that dinner party was awesome. Sadly, I did not get any of the leftovers you sent home with us. Not surprising. Here's the recipe for that delicious crumble/crisp thing. As you will see, I made sure to counteract all the healthy food you gave us :)