Thursday, March 10, 2011

Chicken with figs, honey, thyme and pearl onions?

Nope. Decided against it. Going to save it for next week when my childhood friend is visiting. It’ll make a nice Friday night dinner.

But what to do about tomorrow night? My husband and I are making dinner for a friend, his wife and daughter ‘cuz it’s his birthday. He’s a foodie, we love him and want to make something special.

So out I hauled my file folders, filled with recipe clippings, culled from every women’s or food magazine I’ve perused in the last umpteen years.

The files are divided into l) salads, soups and appetizers, 2) main courses, and 3) desserts. They tell a lot about me. The dessert file is packed. The app and soup one is also full, but a little less so. There’s hardly a thing in mains.

You can get a pretty good idea of my likes and don’t likes by the recipes I’ve collected, which also says something about the ones I didn’t.

The app/soup file includes recipes like Roasted Feta with Thyme Honey, Eggplant and Orzo Salad, Carmelized Tomato Tarte Tatin (highly recommended, it’s from the New York Times). There’s Smoked Salmon, Feta, Mint and Cilantro Nori Rolls and the ever-solid standby, Hot Artichoke Dip made with cans of artichokes, grated fresh parmesan, lots 'o lemon, fresh garlic and mayonnaise. Choose your own proportions. Serve with pumpernickel.

I do have a main or two, like Pomegranate-marinated lamb with spices and couscous, Orecchiette with Prosciutto and Peas, Asian Chicken Salad with Snap Peas and Bok Choy.

The dessert file is overloaded with bundt cake recipes, streusel topped sour cream coffee cakes and every other kind of coffee cake, including the yeasted kind with marzipan, chocolate or poppyseed fillings. There are lots of Jewish clippings for  mandel bread, rugelach, honey cake, poppy seed cake and a mile-high lemon sponge cake for Passover.

I am mad about sour cherries, so there are recipes for cherry clafoutis, cherry pies, cherry kuchens and cherry almond tarts. I’m even crazier for lemons than I am sour cherries (do we detect a sour note here?), so there’s every version of lemon something, from crackling-topped French tarts, meringue pies, cakes, syrups (to pour over pound cake), pudding, mousse, curd and those wonderful bars that have a gooey buttery lemon topping over equally rich shortbread. Divine.

What you won’t find anywhere in my dessert recipe file are layer cakes, chocolate cakes or frostings. I love them when someone else makes them (yoo hoo, out there), but they’re not part of my personal repetoire.

So what’s for dinner tomorrow night?  Can’t completely give it away since the guests are blog readers. They should come hungry, though not expecting a mile high birthday cake with an icing sugar frosting.

Since our friend is an artist, they should expect something in the Pop Art category of desserts. I happened to find one my file, just waiting for the right artist and the right day. Happy Birthday Frank.

I plan to later post a few recipes from tomorrow's dinner. Stay tuned. In the meantime, try the deliciously sweet and savoury Cherry Tomato Tarte Tatin. It's a winner. Just follow the directions carefully, particularly about making slits in the pie crust top. Have to let the steam escape after baking. Otherwise it gets soggy when you flip the pie over. Let me know how it goes.

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