A few months ago, several friends from college, Garbanzo and I vowed to get together once a month for dinner. We are all very busy professionals with families and found we weren’t seeing each other nearly as frequently as we had hoped. With one friend, it isn’t surprising. She is one of the leading lung cancer specialists in the country. Between patient loads, on-call rotations, writing papers, and conferences, she barely has time to sleep and see her own family, let alone see friends. Our other friend from college is a busy high school English teacher who also has been roped into yearbook, so we usually don’t see him emerge until June at the earliest.
So, in January, we made the vow. In February, we rescheduled three times, then looked to March for an opening. After March was a bust, we agreed upon tonight. So much for our monthly gathering.
Despite everyone’s busy schedules, everyone loves to cook. Like try something new out of a Gourmet magazine. We had agreed that French cooking should be our theme. Oh, and I should also mention that we all like good wine. All of us. Every single one us.
So, today, in addition to trying to get the house presentable again, we cooked. I chose a Tomato-Tarragon Soup that was amazing but proved to be a poor decision on my part. It was a tomato soup – from scratch. Using fresh tomatoes. That you had to peel. While the end soup was simple, yet amazing. The process of peeling tomatoes was about a 45 minute process…..that I cursed the whole time. Why not used canned? I considered it, but decided not to given the fact I had never cooked the recipe before. In the future, I will use both.
Garbanzo contributed by making French bread. He loves to bake bread and had found a very inexpensive baquette pan last summer at a thrift store. While I was fighting tomatoes, he was fighting dough. In the end, the bread was not pretty – but it was tasty.
Our two friend and their spouses produced equally impressive meals. Our friend the teacher produced an amazing chicken bouillabaisse with a saffron sauce. Our friend the doctor made a vegetarian cassoulet and a lemon cake with lavender-honey whipped cream.
Their respective spouses provided wine – lots of wine. The evening was as entertaining as usual. Our friend the doctor can be a bit uptight, so stories combined with wine brought out the person in college we all know and love. And between Garbanzo and our other friend, they could tell a LOT of stories. The kids all played together without incident. A fun night was had by all. We are going to try to get together in early May. We’ll see if it happens. It could be dangerous though – because the theme would be Mexican food in honor of Cinco de Mayo. And, wine will be replaced by tequila for the evening. Very, very dangerous with this crew.
My picture of the day is the soup in progress. Once the tomatoes were ready and chopped, it was pretty easy to throw together. Literally tomatoes, tarragon, shallots and some white wine. It was incredible.
Definitely something we will make again – this summer, maybe, when we are hopefully being overrun with tomatoes from the garden.
Oh, and my totally random occurrence for the night. Turns out a student of my teacher friend is interested in going to the small college we all graduated from. She has a lot of questions that he has not been able to answer because she keeps missing their meetings due to softball practice. Turns out she is a catcher for the high school team. He is going to refer to her me since she has expressed interest in continuing to play in college which is one of the reasons this school interests her. Since I played catcher on the college softball team for 4 years, he thought I might be a better alumni resource for her. This is where you can cue the music to “it’s a small world”. 🙂