Thursday, July 29, 2010

Dinner(s) a la Provencal

In the life I led before Principal-ing, we had people over for dinner monthly - thematic affairs based on that month's Cookbook Club selection or a new piece of kitchen equipment (housewarming fondue set!). I also spent a significant amount of time shopping, eating, selecting, tasting, and attending cheese club, dinner club and cookbook club. There was a lot of food, and a lot of community, and I maintained strong opinions about where to buy the best eggplant and the best feta a woman could buy for her Mediterranean feast.

As I pulled the tarte from the oven that we learned at La Pitchoune on Tuesday, and set out Madhur's crisp zucchini fritters, I remembered those days. The busy clanking of 30 minutes before guests and still need to heat the oil, dip the zucchini and give the soft yogurt cheese with feta one more stir.

I love this pace.

In fact, it's the same pace I love at 7:45 am when 100 students have trooped up 4 flights and are settling in for another day with some of the most fantastic teachers in this city, portfolios out, pencils sharpened, silently reading to themselves as they await the day's preparation for college.

I digress.

I miss dinner parties. Entertaining. Talking about markets and why we should have used a more commercial brie for the walnut salad and how did the basil infuse the sugar so well in the lemon basil sherbet. That's why this week was a shift - Cheyenne and Fernando over on Tuesday for dinner a la Provencal and a newly formed Principals book club where we promise not to talk about work and instead approach the same themes (family dysfunction, race relations, income levels, relationships) through recently published books.

Menu was in large part the same both nights - doubled up on the zucchini and sauce, made two tartes, and set aside fixings for two different
salades. Last night I supplemented with kale leftover from Sunday's juice fast that became kale chips, sun gold tomatoes sat with soft pulls of mozzarella and the end of the basil turned into a July salad and the puff pastry that encased the brie Tuesday became cheese straws the next day. Four of us finished sherbet the first night, so it was a fruit bowl on Wednesday.

Without jinxing myself, can I say I'm back in the swing of things?

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