A Palette of Colorful Fare

I need to use my actual cookbooks more often. The internet is addicting given it provides access to millions of recipes (with photos, a big plus for me!), but I have SO many real cookbooks that it’s a shame I don’t use them more often. I was hosting a dinner for my new neighbors Albert Oppenheimer and Mike Dahlberg, and wanted to finally start utilizing these wonderful resources. So I started to peruse the beautiful book by David Tanis, A Platter of Figs (great title), and flipped to the “summer” menus. That’s when I saw it: a gorgeous dish that uses everything I love about cooking, and so I made this beautiful rendition: Grilled Cod with Indian Spices and Yellow Tomatoes.
The ONLY thing I changed here was using cod instead of hailbut. I prefer the latter, but the cod at the market looked so much fresher that I couldn’t resist. I followed the rest of the recipe to a T. What’s fantastic about this dish is how everything on the plate works perfectly together. The serranos and spices give it just the right kick, making you instantly reach for a second bite rather than your glass of water (a spiciness which Albert enjoyed immensely). The cool raita provides an amazing depth of flavor, and all of it is framed by gorgeous yellow tomatoes.  There’s not much else to say about this dish other than MAKE IT! Click HERE to learn how. 
Have you ever bought something from the market just becaus it looked cool? That was the case with these Chinese eggplants. These amethyst beauties looked liked something from outer space, so naturally I wanted to know how to cook them (that is natural, right?) Anywho, this cultivar, when compared to the familiar American eggplant, is far more delicate in flavor, has thinner skin, and less seeds (the cause of the bitter taste many affiliate with eggplant). I sort of “made-up” this recipe for Indian Spiced Eggplant, using the knowledge I know from previous attempts combined with my preferences for preferring eggplant (see my previous post to learn more about preparing eggplant). Click HERE to learn how to make this spicy, flavorful dish today! 
The pairing for this dinner was inspired by a live performance I saw the other night which just so happened to include one of my dinner guests, Mike Dahlberg (cellist). His string quartet was playing for a function, and it was a piece I had never heard: Brahms’ String Quartet No. 3 in B flat Major. They performed the third movement: Agitato (Allegretto non troppo). This movement features a killer viola part (played beautifully by their violist, Jason Amos) and so I have included a recording of that movement (by the Jerusalem Quartet). The overall depth and flavor of this movement helped to inspire my pairing. The viola, in my opinion, is a very “colorful” instrument that I felt paired beautifully with these two dishes. Please listen to the entire work if you have the time, it’s worth it – I hope you enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNrkUmZsMTU 

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