Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Fridays, Sundays, or even Tuesdays at 5

Cocktails at 5: The Whole Shebang

What have we here? Well, the usual suspects when it comes to a lovely traditional event for which we don't have to wait more than several days usually, and that is Cocktails at Five. Any Friday, any Sunday, any Tuesday for that matter, a few phone calls and we gather at five for convivial conversation and really great food! Membership varies, swelling in summer when it's held at our little Elfin beach. Everybody brings their own drinks and, most importantly, a small dish, an appetizer, as we call them. These were offerings from a recent Sunday at 5.

From lower left we have a bowl of baby weenies in BBQ sauce, an assortment of crackers, cheese, and sausage. Then, a seasonal treat -- a bouquet of ramps (wild leeks) that I scrambled up steep ledges to dig out of the muck. To its right, a beautiful assortment of 'leftovers', as David so humbly phrased it, those being asparagus spears wrapped in provolone and prosciutto, some grilled shrimp with a pesto-y kind of sauce, Grilled beef on skewers to be dipped into a Chinese -- meaning HOT -- mustard sauce.

Up on the left hand corner of that silver platter is something that totally blew my mind -- cubes of watermelon tossed with chopped mint! I may have a simple mind, but the sweet solid water of the melon combined so simply with the grassy taste of mint resulted in a phenomenally pleasant treat. Nothing else. I would have ruined it with salt, perhaps a drizzle of lime, but NO. The watermelon is perfect with new mint and nothing else.

Now I can't wait for watermelon season!

Okay, going on, those are three wedges of flatbread left on the cast-iron griddle. My favorite way of eating leeks is raw, with dipping salt, with a hunk of buttered baguette and maybe some Jarlsburg cheese. So to fancy it up I made flatbread and rolled it out almost as thin as I would for a pizza crust, drizzled it with olive oil and sprinkled it with coarse salt, baked it for 10 minutes, then loaded it with shredded Jarlsburg and baked it another 10. To go with the leeks.

Wait a second, now, I wouldn't want to overlook this: in the center of the photo is a kind of a messy looking little bowl, and the reason it's messy is that everyone had been filling up those little corn shovels in the bowl below it with Carol's Chili Dip. My goodness, it is good.

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