How It All Started

Bob Phillips

The title of this blog was inspired by one of my Spanish professor's at Miami University of Ohio, Dr. Robert Phillips, who died in the e...

Friday, May 18, 2012

Celebrating Silver

Bloggers on May 9, 1987 in Baltimore, Maryland
We have spent the last month or so celebrating our first 25 years of marriage. The celebration started online, with Pam posting a series of 25 duet photographs (Advent-style) that reflect just a little of the variety of experiences we have been fortunate enough to have together. The memories and online comments from friends all over the world were quite fun.

We then had small culinary celebrations on the actual date -- May 9 -- as mentioned previously, and the celebrating culminated with a local party a few days later. For this, we sought recipes -- old and new -- that we could make in quantity and that we hoped would please a crowd.

It being the end of the semester (as our anniversary always is), James contributed old favorites to the cause, but Pam researched -- and prepared -- a lot of great new recipes that were indeed crowd-pleasers. These included an English Pale Ale prepared over the past six weeks or so and reaching optimal flavor just in time for the event and of course James' famous queso dip. James also prepared a chili whose secret ingredients were a jalapeno-chicken sausage (a substitution for the usual Italian sweet turkey sausage, after a futile search for the latter) and time. That is to say, the secret to chili is starting more than 24 hours ahead and letting it cook beyond what most people would consider reasonable.

Pam remembered one crowd-pleasing recipe from our church auction in years past - charoset - an Iranian dip recipe made with fruits and nuts. The recipe came by way of our friends Frank and Eileen, who love to prepare and serve gourmet meals made from scratch. This recipe was made entirely in our trusty blender and started with grinding unsalted pistachios, walnuts and almonds into a paste. This was then removed from the carafe, into which raisins, dates, a sliced apple, a pear and pomegranate juice were blended. The nut paste was put back in and everything was mixed together. The result is a sweet and nutty, richly textured paste that  tastes delicious on crackers, carrot and celery sticks, and breads.

Knowing that many of our friends are vegetarians we wanted to find an easy, meatless dish that could feed a lot of people. Pam selected "Curried Chick Peas and Tofu" from the Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home to try out on our guests. Starting by sauteing onions and garlic, and then adding cumin, dried cilantro, turmeric, and black pepper, we added 2 packages of cubed tofu, and then three cans of chick peas (a bit of the liquid went in as well). Finally chopped tomatoes were added. While all of this cooked, we also prepared rice, which went onto the bottom of a casserole dish, to which the chickpeas and tofu were added. It turned out to be one of the more popular dishes at the party. One vegetarian family told us that our party had the most "funky vegetarian food outside of their own house" they'd ever seen. High praise from our hippie friends.

There were a lot of other dishes including one of our favorite appetizers - ham and pineapple on a toothpick. And the crowd-pleasing-deviled-eggs disappeared within the first 90 minutes.We also made one of our favorite cakes - Mocha Swirl Pound Cake from the original Moosewood Cookbook. All of this was supplemented by delicious casseroles, sandwiches, and pastries, homemade by some of our foodie guests.

We are truly blessed with good friends, good food, and a good marriage

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