When I lived in LA a friend organized “Sundays at Seven.” A weekly ad hoc gathering of friends meant to extend the weekend and divert attention from returning to our challenging work environment the following day. We would enjoy margaritas, food and conversation.
I’ve continued this tradition in Boston where some of my neighbors are also good friends. Last night was our first Sunday at Seven in 2009. The menu as is custom was by theme not assignment. Bring whatever you want, but think Latin. The tables were filled with mojitos, spicy lemonade, salsas, and fried plantains. A former chef my friend James brought maiz asado (grilled corn with allioli, garlic, and Manchego cheese).
Following is my recipe for homemade corn, bean salsa.
Corn & Black Bean Salsa
1c cooked black beans (I follow the ingredients on the bag or in Mark Bittman’s instructions and let sit overnight)
1 11 oz. can whole kernel corn, drained
3 or 4 medium tomatoes, chopped (depends on the consistency you want)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/3 c. chopped fresh cilantro
3/4 c. diced red onion
1 clove garlic
1/4 c. fresh lime juice (about 2 limes, squeezed)
1 t. salt
Combine all ingredients. Cover and chill for at least one hour. Serve with chips.
Apprehensive about an upcoming dinner party? A little too familiar with the delivery guy? Maybe you just want to learn some basic cooking techniques that will help you impress your friends and not break the budget.
A hands-on cooking class can be an exciting and fun way to hone your culinary skills.
I love to eat and have a lot to learn about cooking. Luckily I have a few friends who are chefs who over the past couple years have taught me a lot about what to do and not do (trust me I could probably write a blog on my mishaps) in the kitchen.
One of the first cooking classes I took was with Michael Salmon, Chef/Owner of the Hartstone Inn and its Camden, Maine restaurant. We learned to make pasta! Everything from making the dough, coloring and flavoring different pastas, rolling out and cutting various shapes of pasta, filling pastas such as raviolis and tortellini and cooking pasta. A few weeks later I purchased a pasta maker.
May 16 and 17 Michael will celebrate his commitment to sourcing locally grown and/or produced ingredients with the class “From the Spring Garden.” Students will work off a menu that reflects the season’s bounty including Seared Sea Scallops with Spring Pea Cream and Smoked Salmon, Grilled Salmon Niçoise with Fiddlehead Ferns and Spring Asparagus, and Spring Rhubarb Crème Brûlée with a Lemon Madeleine.
Afterwards sit your friends around a table to share a meal with what you learned!