Friday, November 11, 2005

International Harvest

It's been nearly two months since I invited Phoenix and Mr. Nice Guy, my two most faithful Dinner Club fans, to dinner. Where has the fall gone?

But I made their wait worthwhile by presenting a harvest meal with a slightly Asian flair: butternut-ginger soup laced with organic coconut milk and a hint of hot pepper and topped with fresh cilantro, and stir-fry tofu with basil and green beans.

The butternut squash, onion, and garlic for the soup came from the farmers' market, and the soup transformed this good local and organic produce into something a little more exotic. The green beans for the stir-fry came, of course, from my own garden (via the freezer), and the basil was freshly picked from the pot on the windowsill. (What a treat to have fresh herbs through the winter!)

My charming guests found everything about the meal to be satisfyingly wonderful (as was made plain by the way they cleaned out the pan of tofu and beans). And yes, they saved room for a more traditional autumn dessert, gingerbread. But not just any gingerbread, of course -- this version started with butter, Sucanat, and pears cooked in the pan before the batter was added. Served as an upside-down cake with a richly sweet topping, it was the perfect way to fill our stomachs after a good meal.

(The homemade pear-ginger liqueur I served with it rounded out the whole experience -- and made everyone very content to sit back and enjoy a relaxed conversation afterward.)

I love the warmth and richness of fall flavors, but this year is the first time I've really come to appreciate how these fall vegetables so common to our American plates can taste incredible when worked into other ethnic cuisines. It's a pleasing mixture of local and global tastes.

And to me, it tastes good.


At 11/14/2005 1:15 PM, Blogger Gary Freedman said...

food for thought


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