Monday, April 03, 2006

An Appetizing April

Rain, rain, go away, come again some other day.

Not in the month of April.

No April showers. It has already rained over 26 days out of the 31 days of March in San Francisco, and I miss the sun.

To welcome April in, and to appease the sun gods to shine their favor upon San Francisco, my sister and I threw a mini party, titled the Sunshine Party. We wanted to take the gray gloom away from our lives for a brief moment, even if the dreariness was hanging ominously in the clouds overhead.

Instead of serving foods that evoked rainy-day emotions (like a steaming bowl of hot noodle soup that fogs up spectacles and makes you sniffle, or a bubbling clay pot of fiery-flavored tofu and stew), we wanted to dine on cooling salads and sip tall drinks with frosted cubes of ice clinking softly against the glass.

In the morning, when we went shopping for our event, we carefully selected vividly-colored summer-season fruits and vegetables. Furthermore, we strove to achieve an international flair to the party menu, so that we could celebrate all sunny-day foods from all cultures.

Nothing epitomizes a sunny day better than a bowlful of sweet, seasonal berries. The sugary sun-ripened berries at the supermarket were visually reminiscent of vibrant colors of summer time, and thus, they were a necessity at our party.

We next wanted to take advantage of the voluptuous and plumped tomatoes, rich in deep tomatoey flavor and bursting from the seams from the copious rainfall. We decided on two tomato dishes that would go perfect with the theme of our party: tabbouleh, a light and airy Mediterranean dish; and caponata, a hearty Italian vegetable dish.

The bulgur wheat in the tabbouleh blended and absorbed the summery elements from each of the ingredients: the cooling and crunchy cucumber, the fruity olive oil, the zesty parsley, the refreshing mint, and the ample tomatoes.

The caponata was equally mesmerizing, with the acidic aftertaste left by the red wine vinegar, the rich huskiness of the eggplant, the "bite" of the crisp celery, and most importantly, the fresh and luscious tomatoes.

We also wanted to celebrate the sun with a sampling of fresh cheeses, and we briefly entertained the idea of presenting a cheese plate with crackers. However, that would be too simple--a four cheese pasta dish would better represent the summer.

Our four cheeses included fontina, pecorino romano, gorgonzola, and parmesano reggiano. Each of them combined to make a creamy, sensual pasta, that was a luxurious reminder of a summer-time dinner with the family or green pastures with feathery grass swaying to and fro in the wind.

Indian samosas were last. We baked mashed Russet potatoes, spherical green peas, and fiery jalapeno peppers inside of crispy, crinkly phyllo dough wrappers. The roasted pockets were seasoned with coriander and cumin, and were a spicy reminder of the "heating" and the "drying" elements embraced and lauded by sun-worshippers.

As the we watched dusk approach that evening and collected the navy blue and maize-colored terra cotta sun faces for storage, we came to the peaceful conclusion that the sun shined brightly on us that day. With the success of the event, we were undoubtedly the objects of its favor.


  1. Oh! Absolute deliciousness!

  2. The pictures alone are mouth watering,PE! I bet you'll win the Next Food Network Star with that kind of food.

  3. by the way, i noticed your choice of seasonal fruits...strawberries and mulberries(?), I used the same fruits for my salad dressing recipes!!!

  4. great idea-this rain is too much-i would never make it in seattle-food does help the mood-your pictures are mouth-watering-good job!!

  5. Wonderful.
    Cranky and I tried to fake ourselves into a sunny, summery state of mind the other day, too. But you appeased the sun gods.
    I hope it works!!

  6. wow... that looks hella good p.e.
    wow... you gotz skillz girl

  7. Wow! Everything looks and sounds so delicious! I wish I had a fraction of the cooking talent you and EDBM have. Thanks for sharing. Those samosas look absolutely mouthwatering!

  8. I recognize those packages and their Berkeley Bowl labels. Party food looks great.

  9. Thank you for your generous compliments Rachel, J Haw, Elle, Cookie Crumb, Diet Chili Cheese Fries, Elmo Monster, and Alfred! Nothing was that hard to make actually, since the only real labor involved was washing and chopping. No fancy flipping movements, decorations, or blow torches needed, but just a regular stovetop range.

    Also, I just wanted to give a shout-out to Elle and Cookie Crumb, two fellow Bay Area natives. Thanks for visiting ladies, and keep dry!

  10. Hi Nosheteria! I am so glad that you visited! I've been an avid reader of your blog for a while now. And you got it right on the money, I did shop at Berkeley Bowl! I braved the "pressing" weekend crowds, and it was worth it. Thanks for visiting and hope to see more of you soon!

  11. okay, about to drool all over my keyboard. showed the pictures to my colleagues & now they are salivating as well. forget work, we are all just waiting for lunch time now..haha.

  12. btw.. p.e.

    that picture of the tomato is like freakin' perfect... no joke..

    your tomato pic has officially taken the number one slot on my all time list of tomato pictures... congratulations!

    frame it!

  13. ok, YUM! next time it rains, i'm inviting myself over. LOL!

  14. Ha ha, thanks Diet Chili Cheese Fries and Daily Gluttony! I do love tomatoes and I hate the rain! (I know, this comment reply doesn't make sense, but I tired.)

  15. Oops, sorry Goldfishy 526, I forgot to reply to your comment! Sorry that we had to miss you guys at the pizza place. We ultimately ended up eating at the "other" location of the pizza place, and it was pretty good! It had a nice-tasting NY-style crust, and I took pictures with the cellphone camera. Thus, you'll be reading about it soon!

  16. Giada's coming to SF! She's doing a book signing at Borders (Union Square). We should go meet her.

  17. Giada Claus is comin' to town!

    Thanks for the "heads up" Goldfishy 526! She will be coming in May 2, 2006!

  18. Whaddup Passionateater. Making my first entry into your blog. I have to say that your website is going to be really helpful: I was sort of stuck the other day at church about where to take the Sparks sg out to eat. But now that you are showcasing certain restaraunts with pictures, I have a good sense of where to take them in the future. I bought a digital camera, so let me know if I can ever have the opportunity to guest blog about a cool restaraunt.

    Keep up the cool work!

  19. Hey Ed the Cho! I was looking for this comment so that I could reply! You said that you would actually consider being a guest blogger next week (the week of August 21, 2006), so I'll make sure to keep the Passionate Eater readers pumped about you. That won't be hard to do!

    See you on Sunday!


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