Guess Who's Coming To Dinner

What could be better after an eight hour day listening to gripping presentations such as "Subclinical Hypothyroidism in Pregnancy" and "Obstetrical Anesthesia" followed by a 2 hour drive in Friday night traffic than arriving home to a posse of college students in your kitchen whipping up dinner.  Maddy, Rob and Hawk provided an outstanding vegetarian feast.  All I had to do was the dishes.

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This is the eggplant from the cover of "Plenty", sans pomegranate seeds.  I have been wanting to this recipe since Maddy bought me this cookbook.  It was quite delicious, but I am glad we decided to turn the oven up to 350F.  Ottolenghi calls for roasting them at 200F until "nicely browned."  Browning at 200F?  Not happening after more than 30 minutes in my oven.  You can find the recipe here and it calls for roasting at 350F....maybe a typo in the cookbook?  I felt superior.  Maddy wisely substituted rosemary since my thyme plant died long ago.  We also had a tremendously delicious, crunchy radish salad from Food 52.  The recipe is here, and I am sure Maddy would want you to know that she substituted "Kickin Onion Blossom" Miracle Whip for the mayonnaise.  It is an especially hardy dish, thawing beautifully after an inadvertent freeze in a too cold refrigerator.

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I finally got around to using my shishito peppers--tossed with olive oil and salt and blistered in a pan on the stovetop.  We ate most of them before dinner waiting for Ian and Sophie to return from her middle school's production of "Cinderella."  The braised leeks with panko never made it to the dinner table; we ate them directly out of the serving dish.  Maddy lamented their shrinkage, cooking down into a mere, but delicious mouthful.  I think everybody's favorite dish was the caramelized fennel with goat cheese (see final picture in this post).  Also from "Plenty."  A perfect spring dish.  The recipe is here.  Despite an initial caramel burning incident, Hawk recovered nicely and did not immolate the $12 worth of fennel.

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Champagne cocktails to toast a fantastic dinner and Maddy's graduate school offer.  We felt positively European with our late dinner and fancy beverages.  The rest of the weekend was very meat-centric with a trip to Moa for many delicious Korean dishes and a St. Patrick's day brunch with a Korean twist: galbi and gamja jorim and kimchi standing in for corned beef and cabbage.

Kickin Radish salad. 

Kickin Radish salad. 

The Sunday blahs were greatly magnified by their departure.  We consoled ourselves with the rest of the Guinness Gingerbread cupcakes and "Call the Midwife."  Now we are looking forward to the NYC trip next week and hoping that the weather cooperates even though Sophie would walk uphill both ways in a blizzard to visit Milk Bar.

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