It’s not that I’m wearing the same exact clothes that I was wearing in 1985, it’s that I may as well be. I have a pair of gouchos on at the moment that I bought at the very classy clothier Barney’s in NYC, and the truth is they are no different from the gouchos I had even before 1985 that I bought with my babysitting money at the Youth Centre in Hartford, CT.
I’m going to give you something to do with at least one of those favorite outfits. Have a party from a cookbook from the same year, The Silver Palate Good Times. (If you have the cookbook, take a look at Julee Rosso on the cover and tell me that isn’t a classic “what was I thinking putting a satin rose that looks like it’s a runaway float from a punch bowl, on my head for a photo shoot.” )
1. Curried chicken skewers
Bring 1 1/2 cups of half and half to a simmer. Drop in a whole chicken breast. Cover with the lid ajar and cook until done, about 25 minutes. Cool and cut into 1 inch cubes. In a food processor, buzz 3/4 cup of Hellman’s mayo with 2 tablespoons of mango chutney, 1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice, 1 tablespoon of curry powder, and 1 teaspoon of turmeric (they use a tablespoon of sherry vinegar and sherry instead of the lime juice). Taste. It may need a little lemon juice or salt. Dip the chicken pieces in the mayo and then roll them in chopped salted, roasted peanuts. Skewer them and serve with little dishes of dates and dried apricots.
2. String beans with ginger and garlic
Blanch 2 pounds of string beans in salted boiling water. Heat up a 2 inch minced and peeled piece of fresh ginger in oil and a few cloves of garlic. (when you aren’t serving skewers of chicken rolled in peanuts, add a cup of cashews and stir around to toast them; if you are serving the skewers, skip the cashews on the beans). Add the beans, a few drops of sesame oil to taste, and a tablespoon or so of soy sauce. Taste for salt.
Buy green plantains. Slice off the peels with a knife, and then cut the plantains into 1/4 inch slices. Fry in 1/2 inch of hot oil and drain on paper towels. Press each plantain with a folded up paper bag to flatten. Fry again until lightly brown, and season with salt.
4. Carrot Ginger Soup
Cook one diced onion in a few tablespoons of butter until softened. Add 1/4 cup of fresh peeled and finely chopped ginger and 3 cloves of minced garlic. Continue cooking for a few minutes. Add 7 cups of stock and 1 cup of white wine. Bring to a simmer. Add 1 1/2 pounds of peeled and chopped carrots. Continue to simmer uncovered until carrots are completely softened. Puree in a food processor or with a boat motor until smooth. Add a few tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, a pinch of curry powder, a pinch of cayenne powder, and salt and pepper to taste.