Friday night we left our apartment carrying red wine and mini cheesecakes, and drove the car one block (do I need to repeat the fact that it rains like Noah’s still on his ark here) to Rosa and Patrik’s apartment. I had heeded her early warning – one I passed on to Jon before his lunch hour that day – not to eat during the day. Now, there are two theories on how one should prepare when one is knowingly about to gorge themselves sick town-fair style. Rosa believes in fasting all day, and drinking copious amounts of water, so to leave all the room possible for the evening’s delights. My father, who from time to time dabbles in the "Eat the 64 ounce steak and get it for free" contests, taught me that I should eat a normal meal, at least once, earlier in the day, so that the stomach does not shrink up, and can in fact, hold more food come game time.
I chose my father’s route, but still went waddling home at the end of the meal in a food coma. A happy, garlic emenating food coma.
I know little to nothing about this type of cuisine. I count Rosa as one of the most knowledgeable food passionate people I have ever met. Purely from dedicated reading, the woman can rattle off extensive differences and ingredients to cuisines around the world, including my own country. She often comes over for coffee, where we swap cookbooks, browse and talk food the whole time, with the greatest American cookbooks that I have never seen before. This is the woman that made American Pumpkin Pie that blew our socks off, even as I was being proposed to, remember? So, I knew I was in good hands to discover this cuisine for the first time.
The first round was the largest, and consisted of Greek Tiropitakia (Cheese Triangles), Moroccan Briwat Bil Kefta (Meat Cigars), Turkish Yogurtlu Patlican Salatasi (Eggplant Purée with Yogurt) and THEBESTDAMNHUMMUSYOUHAVEEVERHAD. All of it, of course, accompanied by homemade bread: Turkish Ekmek bread and Moroccan Batbout bread. Seriously, as I was spooning the hummus into my mouth I began to drift off into some kind of antisocial trance thinking, "How can I send this to my brother tomorrow? Can I FedEx a ziploc bag? How can I put Rosa in my suitcase next March?" and so on. My brother loves hummus; the familiar round plastic tubs are one of the first things I see whenever I open the fridge on my visits back to the US. He has never, ever, had hummus, I know now. Garlic in quantities that signed our chests, but made us come crawling back for more, even as we eyed the menu and knew what else was coming.
The second course was her own recipe for Tagine, and a large bowl of Tabouleh – ever considerate of us pesky non-meat lovers. The tagine had an earthy, sweet flavor, no doubt from the whole cinnamon and ginger she left in the pot while it cooked.
Dessert – her dessert I mean – rivaled the hummus as my favorite dish. I didn’t even bother to unmold an Upside-Down Cheesecake for myself once I had a nibble of Rosa’s homemade Grade A Maple Syrup and Roasted Walnut Ice Cream. The others had both, determined to taste everything, but I ask you, if someone handed you a Filet Mignon, would you bother with the hamburger? Good lord, I had three bowls. Tiny bowls, but I will not kid you, I felt sick by the last bite. Goodly, sickly, sweetly, indulgently sick. I waddled home dizzy, unaware of my surroundings, and the bed still smells of garlic.
Thank you Rosa! Please go have a look at her meticulously detailed (she is Swiss after all) food blog. Many of these recipes can be found on it. However, if you make the GAMS Ice Cream, you have to send me some. it’s like commission on giving you a treasure map, right?
P.S. This is what happens when you don’t pay for a gym, and make bread once a week instead!: