A quick note, I've known Avi for about 9 years. Of the time I've known him, one year was college, 2 years he was away in grad school, and 5 years he was in Israel. This was really the first time I've had the opportunity to experience his cooking skills. Now that I have, we'll be suggesting dinner at his place more often.
Balsamic Blue Cheese Salad
Bread and butter
Sumac Skirt Steak with Pomegranate Reduction
I went to the Natick Farmers Market in the morning to get ingredients for my contribution to the menu. I picked up some baby spinach and some fresh rigatoni from Fior D'Italia. My side dishes:
Sauteed Baby Spinach with garlic and pine nuts
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat
Add garlic and cook for a few minutes, until garlic is fragrant (but not brown)
Reduce heat to low
Add 1 lb. of washed baby spinach leaves (you may need to add in batches)
Cook until spinach is just wilted
Toast pine nuts before serving and sprinkle on top
Fior D'Italia rigatoni with artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomato pesto
I cheated and used store bought ingredients to go with the pasta.
Cook pasta according to the package directions
Drain and return to the pot
Add about 1/4 cup of pesto, tossing well
Add 1 can of rinsed and roughly chopped and toss
Reheat before serving
For dessert I also cheated and used a Trader Joe's vanilla cake mix to whip up some chocolate chip cupcakes for dessert.
I asked Avi to tell me some interesting stories about cooking, and he thought that everything was pretty normal. He stopped by Christina's in Cambridge to pick up sumac for the steak, went to the grocery store to get his ingredients, and set the table before starting to cook.
When we arrived, he was hard at work in the kitchen finishing up the meal. The laptop was out on the counter and he was watching a video on how to properly layer the eggplant in the baking dishes. While we started on the salad course, he put the rest of the food in the oven to warm up for the main course.
I think we polished all the food, except for the giant dish of pasta I brought over. After dinner we tried out a new-to-us game called Pit (turns out it was first sold in 1904!) We traded commodities and laughed off a few of the calories from the cupcakes and icing.
It was a great evening and we're just waiting for the next invitation!