We went to my friend Amanda’s house to celebrate summer and enjoy food together. I’d suggested a food and dessert gathering since I write a food blog and she writes a dessert blog. Unfortunately the day of the potluck I was feeling rather crappy due to a migraine and I didn’t get around to making a tapenade and tomato and basil salad, but luckily we had plenty of food. Two other families joined us, my migraine medication eventually worked, and it turned out to be a perfect evening. It looked like the setting in a magazine. They’d even set up an inflatable water slide for the kids. And it was really pretty smooth sailing with all 10 of them (ages 3 to 13) for 6 hours!
Our gracious and talented host made more than she should have— watermelon, feta and mint salad, a delicious, soft, yet chewy sourdough no-knead bread with huge sea salt crystals on top, and divine profiteroles for dessert that she blogged about here. Our friend Holly made prosciutto, melon and mint skewers and potato and green bean salad. Our other friend Kymm made grilled asparagus, asparagus with prosciutto and a pasta with beans, spinach, tomatoes and garlic. All yummy. Don’t remember who provided the corn- oven roasted, (steamed) in their husks, then shucked and finished on the grill but I do remember how delicious it was and how much the children loved it!
My husband prepared Moroccan style lamb kebabs the day before and I made a cocktail for the grownups! Yes, this is a blog about kids food but, who makes the food? Parents. Who needs a cocktail every now and then? Parents. So, this is the summer drink I adapted from a recipe I saw in Food Arts by Jeff Hollinger of Absinthe in San Francisco. I made a “simple” syrup of ginger, pink peppercorns, lime zest, sugar and water. I let it sit for at least 8 hours. Then I poured about 2 oz of syrup over ice (straining the big chunks), splash of cranberry-raspberry juice, 2-3 oz of citrus vodka, and filled rest with San Pellegrino Limonata. We dubbed it the Blogger’s Lemonade. It was zesty, spicy, lemony but subtle. A mint leaf or two is great added as well, which a few of us did too!
The lamb was a leg cut into approximately 2 inch pieces. He made a paste that he covered the pieces with for at least 24 hours before grilling. The paste: toasted whole cumin then ground, ground coriander seed, ground allspice, and ground cinnamon. Mixed them together with chopped shallots, garlic, lemon juice, cilantro, fresh grated ginger, olive oil. Soak skewers in water so they don’t burn badly when grilling. He made about 18 skewers with 6 pieces each on them. Served with yogurt sauce. Yogurt, garlic, cilantro, mint, lemon juice. (If you want recipes with actual measurements, please contact me and we’ll figure it out for you!)
When it was time to eat there was much chatter about hotdogs. Some of the kids were expecting them and some of the parents were considering serving them. I said that my kids would eat the lamb and we’d been at a birthday party earlier where they had hotdogs, so I’d reather we didn’t have any. Often when things like hotdogs are given as a choice, kids tend to choose them. I got into a discussion with my friend H about a restaurant she loves to take her kids to because there is no children’s menu, no substitutions and the kids actually eat what they’re given. I said, take that philosophy home with you.
Well, I must have made enough noise (yea, I tend to do that) and no hotdogs were cooked. The kids had what we had. And they sat on a couple of large quilts in the grass, eating away happily while the parents sat under the new pergola, eating, drinking wine, talking, and laughing— and sometimes just glancing over at 10 kids enjoying a summer night. They had fun with it too—the skewers were sometimes used as spears for the lamb and other foods. And the kids really ate it.
Later there were s’mores with homemade marshmallows (I have a lot to live up to next time I host) and the profiteroles. It was late by the time we all left— happy, full and ready to do it again.
Thanks to Amanda and Jonathan for the photos- damn migraine! Left my camera at home!