Dinner with new friends – 18 August 2011

R’s dear friends J&M invited us to J’s parents’ house in Berkeley. Great meal, even better company – what a wonderful evening!

J and her Dad V apparently did most of the cooking. We saw V grilling kefta (lamb with cloves and other sweet spices) on the back patio grill, and J cooking a ton of corn kernels removed from cobs, in herbs and some cream. Amazing. Zucchini with something unexpected and sweet: mint? About the prettiest salad I have ever seen, a cascade of colors, and as tasty as it was beautiful. Stuffed Japanese eggplants. Oh, and foccacia with black seedless grapes, rather than the expected (from appearance) olives, pressed into the top.

For dessert, J made an ice cream that started with almost burnt sugar, R made a cake that looked like angel food, but was denser and with the strong taste of mace, from a Tassajara Bread Book recipe. He also used some of our apples for an apple compote. These made an excellent combination.

Wine. OK, we had a CalStar Pinot for “cooking wine” and moved on to a Two Mile Livermore Valley Petit Syrah during dinner, followed by a Langue d’Oc.

V brought out a Port to go with dessert – extraneous (but welcome nonetheless) given he also made a lovely lemon verbena tea for dessert. The little cups were made their own aesthetic contribution to the dinner.

{Written near the 18th, with minor edits upon posting 9 Sept}

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