Thursday, May 17, 2012

May 11, 2012 Neighborhood Cocktail Party

May 11, 2012 Neighborhood Cocktail Party

            This month the party is at our neighbors the Colliers’ home two doors down from our house.  Neighborhood potlucks are potlucks and everyone brings a beverage of choice. We made a pot of cous cous with kale, red onion, and raisins.  The cous cous dried out a bit just like it is when you get it in Morrocco before they pour the vegetable or meat stew on it.  The combination of the stew and the steamed cous couse is the cous cous dish, but in this case we had only ½ of the combination, so it was a little dry.

            As I have mentioned before, the quality of food has gotten significantly better in the last year. I think that improvement corresponds to the fact that new people are moving into the neighborhood and fixing up the older homes.  We have been to several homes in the last few months that have had major renovations.  In fact our neighborhood is looking more like Highland Park in Dallas everyday.   

            Anyway folks are making more creative appetizers.  Gone are the days of chips and salsa and hummus and pita chips.  This month was a smaller gathering but the bottom line appetizer seemed to be he plastic container of large shrimp with cocktail sauce, which are delicious big hunks of white meat.  Among the prepared appetizers this month wee our cous cous, and egg rolls made by Diane Souder, a lovely Middle Eastern sampler plate made by Chrystal Baker with fresh home made dolmas, pickled string beans, fresh peppers stuffed with cream cheese and small mozzarella balls. The dolmas were wonderful.  I spoke to Janice LaFontain and she said the secret to making dolmas is that after the grape leaf is wrapped around the filling the pile of dolmas is then simmered in chicken stock and olive oil bath for a while.  The domas on the appetizer plate must have been cooked all day because they were the softest most tender I had ever tasted.  Ron Baker, Crystal’s husband, is Syrian and he said that the dolmas were made by one of his Middle Eastern clients. 

The best appetizer was a plate of tacos made in small tortillas from Smiths or Albertsons with a red chili dipping sauce made with red chili, oregano and garlic and then cooked until thickened.

As for drinks, we brought a bottle of Wellington Zinfandel that was terrific.  There was an Estancia Pinot Noir and the Bakers brought a wonderful Spanish blend of four grapes that was a very pleasant blend.  There was a Vino Tinto from Spain and several other good bottles.

The Collier’s house a lovely older house built originally in 1936 that had a Beaux Arts feel to it.

The cellar had been renovated about ten years ago and my younger son, Willy, and the Colliers younger son, Drew, who are the same age, grew up together.

Bon Appétit     

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