Saturday, October 28, 2006

good food & good friends

I love having people over for dinner.
Nothing makes me happier than cooking for good friends and sharing good wine and good conversation.
I remember as a kid my parents entertaining quite a bit, so I guess I come by it naturally.
Fridays we would do pizza parties with the neighbours, alternating houses from week to week.
Ahh Mother's (as in the restaurant) pizza and orange pop, those were the days.
All the kids would get to hang out and the adults would too.
I remember it being really fun as we would play lots of board games and it was also a big treat to be allowed to have pop and pizza.
Saturday night my parents would often have dinner parties and we would be ushered upstairs because it was adults only.
I recall my dad making coquille St. Jacques and thinking it was the most delicious thing I ever tasted.
He also used to cook Escargot with garlic butter and I thought that was so exotic.
Hey it was the late seventies early eighties, what can I say?
I used to lurk in the kitchen watching him prepare everything, eager to sample anything with cream or butter.
We didn't have family close by so my parents placed a lot of importance on their friendships.
despite moving frequently to new cities and towns across the country they have maintained those friendships years later.
I really admire that.
Big daddy and I have made some really great friends over the years.
We are thrilled that a few of them are starting to have kids.
Not to say that we don't adore all of our friends without kids,
but it's really nice to be able to share in what we feel is one of the greatest experiences in our life so far.
Lulu is now at an age where she is very content on her own with her toys (and okay I admit DVD's)
so it makes it much easier to sit down to a civilized meal.
Last weekend our good friends L & B & little 6 month old S. came over for the afternoon and for an early dinner.
We went for walk around the neighbourhood, the boy's pushing matching strollers,
myself and L. chatting away and giggling at our urban guys turned proud papas.
Little S. was so happy and content and Lulu was enjoying having her own live doll to try to dress up.
She kept trying to put his hat and mitts on him. I was melting.
Definitely getting the -should we have a second? twinge.
We had some mulled cider, and some english pear cider and a delicious Charcouterie plate.
Smoked duck, quail pistachio pate, venison salami, fois gras, lots of yummy chutneys and pickled beets and some chabichou cheese with baguette and fig crackers.
I love grazing like that.
I also made a roasted onion and garlic soup with pressed blue cheese pannini's.
Unfortunately the soup needed more salt and wasn't as good as the first time I had made it, but it was still tastey,
especially accompanied by the Rodney Strong merlot that we enjoyed with it.
we had individual apple crumbles for dessert which turned out okay.
L & B are the type of friends that we never run out of things to talk about and have so much in common,
we could seriously go on and on for hours, and now that we are all parents we have even more to gab about.
L & B if you are reading (and I know you are ;) you guys are the best and we really have such a great time with you both.
And as you already know, we are all totally smitten by little S.
A great way to spend a chilly saturday afternoon and evening.
Last night we had some other good friends over for dinner.
C & D.
C is due to have a baby today.
she is as calm as a cucumber taking everying in stride.
They live just a few streets away which is great.
They are such a nice couple. Big daddy and I often feel like we need to do more to be better people after spending time with them.
They are both very invoved with various charities and have made career choices that are not necessarily financially based but are about something that actually matters.
They even sing in a choir at church on sundays...
They never have anything bad to say about anything or anybody.
These are the kind of friends everyone should have.
Big daddy and I inevitably feel like materialistic self serving shmucks after they leave but we really love spending time with them.
I cooked up a little Moroccan dinner for them, not sure if the next real meal they would be eating would be bad hospital cafeteria food.
We started with some marinated olives, pistachios and mini briks (filo pastry turnovers that originated in Tunisia, but the ones I prepared originated in the president's choice freezer section)
We opened a bottle of 2003 Chorey-les-Beaune red and I was in love. mmmmm.
For dinner we had Chicken with almond, apricot & raisin Tagine on a bed of whole wheat coucous, served in individual Tagines.
Super easy, super delicious and quite an impressive presentation if I do say so myself.
I had a grilled fig with cinammon scented ricotta dessert in mind,
but no one had figs available, so it was a last minute trip to the local bakery for some mini apple galettes for dessert.
We had some morrocan mint tea with pomegranate as well.
A really great evening.
To me there is no better way to spend a weekend than sharing good food and good wine with really good friends.
well that and the Cote de Beaune villages was pretty kick ass too.


Gabriella said...

Wow. I am now starving. I wished you lived on my street. My husband and I love to cook but honestly still find it hard to make time to do so. You give me hope that at 18mths Lulu can distract herself alone with toys, hopefully Samantha will start doing so too at that age.

metro mama said...

mmmm...sounds so good. You're going to inspire me to move beyond PC.

Sheena said...

Mother's Pizza! Oh, was my fave as a teenager. I think my sister still has some of their Coke glasses.

Pear Cider? Sir Perry?

That sounds so lovely. I get ragged on for being "a foodie" once in a while, but those people miss the point. It's sharing it with people you love and the conversation and atmosphere that goes with it.

I suspect that Dom Perignon and caviar would taste a little bland eaten by yourself.

myredwagon said...

coquille St. Jacques - ha, I remember my parents and grandparents serving this at dinner parties - too funny

kittenpie said...

Wow, you really ARE the petite gourmand! What a lovely weekend. And yeah, I remember the coquille St. Jacues, too, served in scallop shells. Ha! But I was never banished, being an only and a very growup-friendly one at that. Lucky me!

Anonymous said...

sounds perfect. love love good friends and good food! the best! (and when you share a neighborhood - jackpot!)

Anonymous said...

Chareen, Thank YOU for a great nigh! i just sent you an your comments on our film... Just switch the two mexican names around and you'll be all set....
Gael Garcia is the actor, and Innaritu is the director.
: )

Though i dont' doubt that i'd find them both hot.