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I cooked my first Friday night dinner

I have lived on my own since I was 18, so naturally I can cook, sort of. My girlfriend of the summer before last introduced me to wonderful world of eggs, until then I thought I didn’t like eggs. My roommate throughout my college years taught me how to whip together great tasting meals in under 10 minutes, mostly consisting of a pasta, rice or quinoa base with tofu, chicken, steak or some other protein – tossed with some mighty fine sauce, like the San-J Peanut sauce.

Then one year I decided to self inherit my fathers cast iron wok and I was able to whip together some great looking and tasting stir fry’s. After that I figured out the art of overnight marinades, but until recently I never really appreciated the amazing art of cooking and the joy of cooking for others.

The girl (who I am sure is reading this) who was my most recent girlfriend, who is still one of BFF’s was an amazing chef who taught me some pretty cool stuff. First of all, she loved to cook for me and others, she also loved simplicity, some greens cooked with lemon and salt – who woulda thunk it? Only recently have I learned some more advanced knife skills (you would be shocked at the knife skills that could be learned) and have begun to get into real food. Local food, great produce and the awesomeness of experimentation.

But don’t let my fascination with the art and joy of cooking fool you, I am nothing special, my food is simple and until this past Friday night, I had never cooked a shabbos meal for anyone. My friend’s asked me to feed them and my mind went into the “oh shit, my friends are kind of foodies, what the hell am I supposed to do?” Good thing they keep a vegetarian home, because I find cooking meat to be much less exciting the vveggie centric meals, call me a hippie, but I love the colors that produce gives off.

I hopped over to Whole Foods in San Mateo on the way up to my friends in San Francisco, with some ideas in mind and spent about 20 minutes debating if I wanted to make some kale and collards or some sort of bok choy – as my veg dish. Then I spent another bunch of time debating what type of rice I wanted, jasmine, basmati or long grain brown rice. It was all a glorious debate, whole foods is a glorious place filled with amazing stuff – of course – I then went to Trader Joes and although the quality is much lower, realized I should have held out on basic items like garlic and lemons.

So, nu what did you make?

I seasoned some salmon with shallots, lemon zest, whole lemon slices, sprigs of fresh thyme, kosher salt and ground pepper – I threw in some thinly sliced yellow pepper as well. Then I sauteed some garlic and ginger in toasted sesame oil and then tossed in some snap peas, red and yellow peppers and musrooms. Then I threw in some sliced bok choy at the end because it cooks down quicker. I had decided on Jasmine rice and had really wanted to blanch some ginger and shred it in there with some chunks of mango, but my friend ended up with the idea of lime zest (I am addicted to citrus zest in you can’t tell) and mango slices.For the salad course, I went a little out of whack with the general Cal-Asian Fusion of the meal and fried up some small diced musrooms, yellow onions, garlic, fresh basil and sundried tomato tofurkey – which we then ate with fresh homemade pita garlic oil, fresh basil and fresh red vine tomatoes.

It felt really good to make something for someone else, especially because they have fed me numerous times and I come to stay by their house quite often. It felt good to make food that looked especially pleasing and actually tasted good. They told me I should have invited some people over, so next time I do this, I am wondering if any of my random SF friends would want to hop on over to The Sunset for a shabbos meal.

Next time I am going to do Italian…

{ 16 comments… add one }
  • Risa July 18, 2010, 2:39 PM

    Sure sounds like you are in love with California.
    Guess your will be in the west and your heart in the east. (or not even)

    • Heshy Fried July 18, 2010, 2:47 PM

      Actually I hate the east, I miss my friends, but not much else.

  • ben July 18, 2010, 3:10 PM

    hot stuff man
    its really liked how well you described the whole meal perfectly. the only thing you left out is the wine you drank with it.

    • Heshy Fried July 19, 2010, 2:14 AM

      We drank a 2006 Segals special reserve Cabernet Sauvignon which was good, but not as good as the Segals CS that is non-mevushal, now that is a kick butt Cabernet. I think we drank red instead of white because of the heavy salad and bread course we had with loads of garlic

  • b July 18, 2010, 4:02 PM

    sounds awesome–i think i have my inspiration for my next shabbos dinner….kol hakavod!

  • JT July 18, 2010, 4:06 PM

    Sounds like a great meal! Likhvod Shabbat Pirate (doesn’t Eli Tziyyon sound like a sea shanty???) I made mango lime chicken for lunch, and I agree those flavors are a great match. Sauce would work well on fish too–mangos, lime juice and zest, a red onion diced fine, and some allspice and cayenne.

  • lalala July 18, 2010, 11:43 PM

    sounds great! yum 🙂

  • Anonymous July 19, 2010, 6:47 AM

    Are they vegetarian?

    If they eat meat, there is nothing easier than chicken poulkes in an oven bag (for 4-6 persons: take a whole chicken).

    The possible variations are endless:

    smear the chicken with mustard, add some fresh rosmary, small potatoes, 1 apple, 1 tomato, 2 carrots, zuccini, red peppers, what you want,

    and you have a whole meal, with meat, potatoes and vegetables and you did not need to dirty any pots.

    You can also dunk your poulkes in plum jam with cornflakes, or in honey with oranges. You might want just to add ginger: no limits to your fantasy, sweet, salty, whatever you like.

    For the same thing, I use a clay pot called Rmertopf that looks like this:
    http://www.tischundtrend24.de/bilder/produkte/gross/360_1.jpg

    It allows me to make fancy shabbos meals with almost no work (you need an oven, though)

  • the other shim July 19, 2010, 9:07 AM

    Why can’t my husband cook like this?:) Here’s a Shabbos tip from me: if you aren’t into cooking meat and you want to save some $ you can always have a fancy dairy meal. Sometimes I make lasagna for Friday night and everyone loves it.

  • A. Nuran July 19, 2010, 11:01 AM

    Sounds like an excellent meal!

  • Frumsatire Fan July 19, 2010, 11:12 AM

    My favorite Shabbos lunch is escabeche, the zesty Spanish/ Portuguese delicacy: cover fish (fillets, or even better small whole fish that are enough for one) in beaten egg, cover with flour, fry on high flame till golden outside and still undone inside. Make a mixture of lemon or lime juice and zest, ginger, chilli, pepper, nutmeg (spices can vary), parsley, and oil. Put the fish in a bowl and pour in the marinade, making sure all the fish is covered, and leave overnight in the refrigerator. Best fish for this is Whiting (small hake) but veggie option with tofu is also good.

  • FrumGer July 19, 2010, 11:56 AM

    I have found that so much is not kosher I have learned to make things from scratch or close to it… I love to make home made monza sticks home made fetuccini alfredo , how about fried pickles, boiled peanuts for a snack…. man I sound like a fat ass but im not…

  • Esther July 19, 2010, 3:44 PM

    Not to sound condescending, but good for you! And its got nothing to do with the fact that you’ve been on your own since 18. I know plenty of single guys living on their own for years and still unable to do anything except order takeout.

    Share some recipes, dude. I’d love to know what you do with quinoa, for instance.

    Your future wife will have to thank all your former girlfriends for helping you learn how to cook 🙂 From what you described, sounds like you’re pretty great at it.

  • oy vey July 19, 2010, 4:11 PM

    I love foodies! And your salmon dish sounds so incredibly tasty…I’ll probably daydream about it during the fast.

  • Shira Salamone July 19, 2010, 5:01 PM

    First, you said that your friends were vegetarians, then, you said that the main course was salmon. Nu, since when is a fish a kind of plant? If you have to kill it to eat it, you’re not a vegetarian!

    That said, my expertise in the kitchen is largely limited to boiling water, and my husband’s cooking skills consist almost entirely of what he learned from me. (It was a classic case of the teacher being one lesson ahead of the student.) You’re way ahead of both of us. That dinner sounds delicious! So if you’re ever on the east coast and feel like feeding a sister blogger and her spouse . . .

  • Debbie Far Rockaway July 20, 2010, 10:48 PM

    Sounds delicious. Next time you’re here you do the cooking! And THAT’s where your Dad’s wok went. He was wondering…

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