We had a mini University of Puget Sound reunion a few weeks ago, and to be honest it was so nice to have something to look forward to during one of my least favorite times of the year. It had been close to 30 years since this group had been in the same room, but despite the addition of some lbs. and the subtraction of some hair, these guys picked up where they left off.
I have a new crowd pleasing dinner that can be done largely ahead of time compliments of Pok Pok. The pork reheats well, and if you use a rice cooker (and why wouldn't you) the rice can be held at the "keep warm" setting for hours. The papaya salad needs to be assembled fairly last minute, but I had everything ready to go. Assembling last minute also allows you to adjust the spice level by batch. It was risky making a Thai meal for a group that decades later fondly remembers dinners at Tup Tim Thai. Rest assured, this dinner has almost universal appeal. I served the same menu to a couple of preschoolers the next week.
Dessert was halo halo--a Filipino concoction of shave ice, ube (purple yam) ice cream, and various accoutrement (beans, coconut gel, mango, macapuno (aka gelatinous mutant coconut) all topped with sweetened condensed milk. Despite more than a few raised eyebrows, it was also a hit. You can buy all the mix ins on Amazon, but at a hefty markup. I recommend your local Asian grocery--you may have to buy them separately if they don't have the jarred halo halo mix. I am proud to say we were among the earliest halo halo adopters--it's been a must eat every time we visit family in Hawaii. Ube ice cream is traditional. I made mine, but you can often find it in Asian groceries as well. When Cyrus and Maddy visit I just make his with soy or coconut ice cream and omit the condensed milk.
Today I am looking forward to the last workout of the Crossfit Open despite the fact it will surely contain thrusters, the arrival of two new cookbooks, Handi-hour at the Renwick and our trip to Puerto Rico in one short week. Please let it be spring when we get back.