Sunday, March 26, 2006

A Night in Morocco (or Persia, or Israel, or wherever)

Last night was our turn to host the revolving dinner party for our group of old playgroup friends. The group started out as a Moms' support group that Becky joined when Eddie was less than two.

We take turns hosting a pot-luck where each couple brings some dish. We rotate through various themes for the party. Sharon had Italian night last month, before that was Indian at Pam's, Texas barbecue at Tracy's, etc. Becky and I had received a traditional Moroccan tagine from my Mom for Christmas, so it begged us to use it for the theme this month.

Dinner was wonderful, and the Moroccan theme came off pretty well. Becky found some satiny fabric in gold and maroon and she made a tablecloth out of it. I found some Morrocan music on the Internet, and we played that for "ambiance." I put ambiance in quotes, because the ululation of the traditional Morrocan women singers was approaching klaxon qualities in tonality and amplitude.

Becky and I made various appetizers (olives, garlicked chickpeas, lamb sausage, boar sausage). Sharon brought Moroccan shrimp/pineapple skewers. Then, for dinner, we had Lamb Tagine with Apricots and Almonds served with couscous and sautéed vegetables. I ground my own Ras el Hanout, which is a spice rub to marinate the lamb.

Pam brought a Greek-inspired salad. Leslie brought tabouleh. And for dessert, Tracy brought a delicious Persian rosewater cake. The highlighted wine of the night was a Gamla Cabernet I brought back from Israel (the Golan Heights, specifically).

So we were really all over the Mediterranian map, but it was pretty good eating!

It must have been a good night, because I started out with a tweed coat and sweater. But through various shrimp disasters and overheating (the Harissa was nuclear hot!), I was down to just my t-shirt by the end of the night. But these are the types of friends where that's okay.

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