My roommate and I have two friends who LOVE to cook. We have made dinner for each other twice before, and although we discussed a third extravaganza months ago, we were not schedule a get together until last night. When I asked them what they were cooking, they told me it was, “Swiss and Italian”, but would not reveal the details of the meal beyond that. One of our friends is from Switzerland and grew up watching his mom cook authentic dishes. The first time he and his friend made dinner for us he made Spaetzle and Chocolate Mousse (using Lindt Chocolate of course!). It was absolutely to die for. I love experiencing other cultures through food.
Our friends arrived around 7pm, and established themselves in our kitchen. Yes, we had two boys cooking us a fantastic meal. Aren’t we lucky? We started off with one of my contributions, a Middle Ages ImPaled Ale (IPA), while they cooked and we watched. I loved watching them cook. They are so diligent and precise. This beer is also amazing. It is so flavorful and mildly bitter. I really like Middle Ages Wailing Wench, however; my roommate isn’t particularly fond of extremely hoppy beers. I wanted her to give this one a try, and guess what, SHE LIKED IT!
So what do you get when Switzerland meets Italy? Pasta Carbonara and Orange Cream. The pasta was cooked according to directions, and drained reserving about a cup of pasta water. The sauce was a combination of Asaigo Cheese, Nutmeg, Cracked Black Pepper and Pasta Water. After the cheese mix was added, he added 3 raw eggs and bacon with sautéed onions. Cheese and bacon…what could be bad? Dinner was served with a slice of Twisted Root (Dark German Bread) and a simple side salad. Our Swiss friend even made the dressing from scratch using olive oil, balsamic vinegar and Dijon mustard. He states, “This is the only way to make it.” I also contributed a wine that I have been “saving for a rainy day”, a 2007 Hermann J. Wiemer Merlot. I fell in love with this wine last summer when I visited the Wiemer Vineyard. The Finger Lakes Region Rieslings are near and dear to my heart, but have never found a red wine as luscious as this Merlot from the area. It is a wine that makes you feel good with each sip; perfect for sharing with good company.
Dinner and conversation lasted for nearly two hours. I couldn’t believe how quickly time went, we were having so much fun. I nominated myself to do a quick kitchen clean up while the boys served dessert: Orange Cream. This was essentially whipped heavy cream with an orange sauce (orange juice, lemon, corn starch on the stove) folded in. It was so light and delicious. Our friend told us that he thought it would be a perfect dessert after our pasta/bacon/cheese dinner. It was something that his mother would make when he was a child in Switzerland. This is what I like to call food from the heart! Every dish has a story behind it, and I was happy we were able to share this with him.
We continued catching up late into the night and I didn’t get to bed until 1:30am. Good Food+Good Company= Lasting Memories. I’m probably going to be exhausted tomorrow, but I live for these moments!
What is your favorite meal to prepare for company? (My roommate and I have to make them dinner next time so I need advice!! I’m thinking Mediterranean style, since this is one of my favorites!)