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.