A huge component of accomplishing my wander-list is money. For those who are curious, I am not a wealthy person. I work as a hostess at a nice restaurant in Columbus, and I write business copy for some online companies. Occasionally, however, I get paid to cook multi-course private dinner parties. I get to make my own menus, and execute the items however I wish in the client's home. This is one of my favorite ways to make money, because it allows me to have SO much fun with food and be my own boss.
For this last dinner party, I drove up to Delaware, Ohio, to a beautiful home. Stepping inside was like taking a big breath of fresh air. It was the perfect calm setting for my menu, which was a little poem-- each line was a course, and each of these was inspired by my home country of Syria.
1. Desert that quenches: Scallop Crudo with lemon, EVOO, caviar, aleppo pepper dust
2. Oasis that awakens: Deconstructed Babaghanoush (Pomegranate molasses, roasted eggplant slices, roasted garlic puree, tomato-parsley-onion tartare)
3. City that mellows: Sumac Shallot and Sunflower Sprout Salad over roasted marrow bones with honey toast
4. Countryside that echoes: Fresh Tomato Consommé with edible flowers and Parsley Oil. Peppered Pita Crisps topped with truffled labneh and olives
5. Courtyards that sing: Charred Quail with Pea Puree, Grape Leaf, Saffron Risotto
6. Waters that overwhelm: Braised Octopus with Fresh Watercress, Angel Hair with Herbed Breadcrumbs and Walnuts, and Sea Urchin
7. Mountains that keep watch: Lamb Chop with Apricot-Oregano Coulis, Bay Leaf-Smoked and Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Asparagus, Cumin Foam
8. And sunshine saturating all: Napoleon of Pistachio Brittle, Phyllo Dough, Cardamom Clotted Cream, Halaweh, and Candied Tangerine Peel
I'll be posting quite a bit about Syria within the next couple of months because I am about to take a trip there with my family for three weeks! This is the beginning of accomplishing #11 on my list: write a book about the Syrian people.