It was a strange weekend for us – after last weekend’s three days packed with folk from ten different countries, it seemed the winter doldrums were over. But, just three folk reserved for Thursday, none for Friday, and four for Saturday. We ended up canceling the first two, one of those folk was able to join us on Saturday, and we picked up another two reservations for two each, none of whom showed up (I did hear from one couple who simply went to the wrong address). So, the entire weekend’s preparation settled on five lovely guests on Saturday eve. Such is life sometimes. And, I think, give the menu, a shame – it was a good one!
Given that one day this weekend was International Chocolate Day we could have gone for one of our all chocolate dinners, but those have run their course in times past. Still, there had to be some chocolate, and we saved it up for the finale of the evening.
Fresh artichokes resurfaced in the market this week and looked quite beautiful. Trimmed down to their cores, sauteed in herbed olive oil and tossed with a garlic and sherry vinegar dressing, they make a delicious warm appetizer – alcauciles en escabeche.
A sweet potato, melon, tomato and chipotle soup with a little sour cream decoratively applied.
Baked calamari stuffed with rice studded with red onion, garlic and chilies, served over a garlic, beet and potato puree, some sweet chili sauce, and fresh fava beans.
Freshwater fish is starting to show up in the markets with spring springing. Here, fillets of river trout, quickly sauteed. Topped with an alcaparrada sauce – toasted almonds, garlic, shallots and capers all pureed with parsley and just enough fish stock to make a smooth paste. Served over “mexicali rice” – one of those ’60s gems that we should have kept around – fresh sweet corn, grilled, removed from the cob, and then sauteed with green and red bell peppers, chilies and onions and finished with chopped cilantro.
A four layer chocolate… torte? Dark chocolate cookie type base, semi-sweet chocolate cheesecake layer spiked with mace, sweet cocoa sponge, and a bitter cocoa and avocado mousse. The syrup, a reduction of red wine with dark chocolate and a touch of espresso. Dusted with cocoa. Need we say more?