Monday, March 29, 2010

The Sante Payback, Dog Park Dinner Part 2 ! Plus A New Kind of Cabbage!

I know this sounds like a cross between a sequel to the Bourne Identity and the Ostermann Weekend. Instead it was an all Indian weekend at our house.
 I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that we were treated to a marvelous dinner at Sante,  Sonomas' only restaurant to hold a Michelin Star.
Kelley Cosgrove the general manager of the Sonoma Mission Inn and her husband Rick Rontiris were kind enough to invite us as their guests. They're fellow dog parents (Zeus) from the Sonoma Dog Park 
Play Film Below

The trade off was a full on Indian Dinner at our house.
We also invited other friends from the dog park, Chip and Terri Roberson (Tucker and Tulip)
 Tucker, Tulip, & Patsy
  Tulip & Patsy
and to round it off Paula Wolfert and her husband Bill Beyer. They have a cat, but since there were going to be no animals actually present at this event, we felt it would be safe to include admirers of the Feline Persuasion.
The reason I haven't had a post in a few days is I've been menu planning and cooking. I'd run out of my homemade chutneys of all varieties so I've also been canning. Between canning and cooking and writing (my real work) I haven't been able to post here. But now I'm back.
Kelley and Rick had shown us such a wonderful time, and every meal we've ever had at Paula and Bills' house has been amazing, and after all the times, Chip has bailed my ass out computer wise (the time I removed the frames from my website and accidentally locked myself out) and Terry who is the Cookie Queen of Sonoma, I owed them all...big time. And I was scared...big time. Chip and Terri are frequent guests at our house, but I knew we're not quite up to Michelin Star level, not with a Siberian Husky stealing food off the counter when my back is turned and dragging it under the bed. As for cooking for Paula Wolfert?? Enough said. I've cooked for a lot of people, including some of the Dalai Lamas' monks...this group scared  me.
  So last Saturday I repaid my culinary debt. It was time to drag out the biggest of my clay pots that I'd gotten at Brams' Potapalooza last month.  My  ginormous La Chamba Oval Roaster seemed made for  Saag Gosht for 8 people.
  I started cooking on Thursday, putting up the mangos for chutney. On Friday I started slow cooking the lamb in my big clay pot. It cooked for about 4 or 5 hours on Friday and then another 4 hours or so on Saturday. After a total of 8 hours, the result was tender melting off the bone lamb with the deep earthiness of spinach and spices wound around and through it.
  I also did a Hyderabadi Rice pilaf of Basmati rice and Dal in my big clay Bram,
cauliflower with cilantro and ginger,
prawns in a creamy curry sauce for the vegetarian in our midst,
flame roasted eggplant with tomato and spices,
raita with the ever present boondi, chapattis and a dish I'd never made before involving one of my favorite vegetables of all time,  King Cabbage.
  The week before at my birthday party Paula had given me several cookbooks. One of them was  The Vegetarian Table, India by  Yamuna Devi.
   When planning a big Indian dinner with a lot of courses I always like to have something that I can make a bit ahead of time and then serve at room temperature. This new cookbook had just what I was looking for, Gujarati Wilted Cabbage Salad.
  This is something that can be whipped up literally in 20 minutes. It can be served warm right out of the pan, or taken on a picnic and served at room temperature. It would make a great barbecue side and I'm already imagining it alongside a pulled pork sandwich. In short I just can't say enough about this recipe. Genius. Pure genius and fast and cheap. What's not to like?
   Start off with 1 lb of shredded cabbage. I used two little 8 oz bags that are sold at the market as coleslaw fixings. It saves time grating and I like to keep these on hand in the fridge for an emergency side dish when needed.
   The steps are easy:
1.) Cut a 1 inch piece of peeled ginger into thin strips.
2.) Cut  1 green serrano chili in half, seed it, then slice it into thin strips
3.) Heat 1 1/2 Tbs of vegetable oil in a heavy skillet or kadhai
4.) Toss in 2 tsp of brown mustard seeds
    When the seeds start to pop add in the ginger, chili strips and
5.) 15 fresh or frozen curry leaves
  Stir it all around for about 30 seconds or so then toss in:
6.) Three carrots peeled and thinly sliced in rounds
7.) 1/2 Tbs of sugar
  Stir it around until the cabbage starts to wilt. This should take about 5 minutes.
  Take the pan off the heat and put the salad in a salad bowl.
 Mix in:
8.)  1 cup of lightly toasted peanuts .
I shake them around in a cast iron pan with a bit of oil until they're a light brown color.
9.) the grated zest and juice of 1 lime.
 Sprinkle in
10.) 2 Tbs of chopped fresh cilantro
11.) salt and pepper to taste
Place in your most gorgeous bowl and serve with pride.
 All during the cooking process I was pretty antsy. How could I not be with Paula Wolfert coming to dinner? Alan was hovering around with the camera and he captured a small rainbow arched across the stove for one glimmering moment.
Pay no attention to the mess on the counter, and the stove. I am usually much more controlled. Focus on the rainbow!
 Either way, I flew over the rainbow and managed to get everything on the table more or less on time.
Note to "Santa" I really really really want a 6 burner stove with a warming drawer thankyouverymuch!
     A good time was had by all the dog people (cat people too). Paula brought some chocolate ice cream for dessert, I'd made some vanilla and I went into the larder and broke out a bottle of  brandied cherries that I'd made as topping along with some simple biscuits and tea.
   The dinner party that I'd been terrified to give, went off without a hitch.


  1. It all looks so wonderful! Sounds like a lovely (but exhausting) evening.

    Btw, which dog is yours, the chocolate Lab?

  2. Yum, wish I was invited! Everything looks and sounds wonderful.

  3. Feast! And I love looking at your pots.....and you doggies are lovely too :)

    We all make messes in the kitchen. I am so guilty.

  4. What a beautiful spread Kathy. I can't imagine that the Queen of India cooking would need to be antsy regardless of Ms Wolfert coming to dinner. The rainbow was trying to show you the pots of gold! You know that cabbage dish sounds superb. I may just have to try that dish soon.

  5. What a fun evening! and what a feast, I'm sure everyone was delighted, great romantic atmosphere with the candles!

  6. @Frank,
    our is the Siberian Husky, Patsy! But they're all wonderful dogs!

  7. Hi. Thanks for sharing on A Spicy Perspective. This looks incredible! I've been to Indian several times and love to find authentic Indian recipes!



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