My dear friend Cathy Opie donated the amount of money it took to get a catered dinner for 10. I was so happy to be able to cook for her and on top of it all it was her birthday. I remember making mayonnaise with Cathy one of the first times we met at her house. She went out back and collected fresh eggs and we got to it. We both really like to eat.
For the birthday dinner we decided on: goose fat on dark rye with onion, körözött (sheep cheese spread) on sourdough, pea soup with semolina dumplings, rockfish smothered in sauerkraut, pork three ways (smoked, ground, and paprika sausage), layered with sauerkraut and rice. The same ingredients used for most stuffed cabbage recipes but layered in a big casserole, deconstructed, if you will. Salad was lettuces, radish, dill, cucumber with a simple vinegar sugar dressing á la Grandma Batki. Dessert was a buckwheat crepe cake, layered with no less than thirty individual crepes, with plum jam and farmers cheese in between each layer, and covered with apple cider syrup and pecan butter, thanks to the Bar Tartine cookbook, where I got the recipe. Couldn’t omit the chestnut puree with whipped cream for the full effect.
I made too much food. It’s very hard for me to cook for less than twenty on any given day. If you ask me to cook for 5, I will cook for 20. If you ask me to cook for ten I will cook for thirty. Everyone was full and happy. I was mostly pleased with the meal, though I would change a few things. I guess this is what making a cookbook is all about. Trying, tasting, testing, experiencing.