A Birthday/Anniversary Dinner

I’ve been writing all day. All week. All month, if truth be told, which should explain the silence. In between, I had a birthday. A week-long vacation away from my kitchen and laptop, spent digging my toes into the soft white sand at the shore of a vibrant sea. The opportunity to meet vibrant new people, whose quivering creative energy reminds me of my own neglected pool. A chance to meditate on what should be kept and cherished and used and reused, or discarded.

It all comes down to finding some cluster of meaning.

So, today, in defiance of the fatigue and blankness, I will show you how important food has become around here. It’s the story of how Ships spent my birthday (and his sister Bintu’s anniversary).

Not that I know, really. I was at my desk all day, wondering what he kept blending up in that Vitamix, and why he made multiple trips to the grocery store as the day seemed to crawl to its end.

Here’s what he served: a cold peach soup, both sweet and spicy. No links or recipes, sorry. It’s a keeper for the simple reason that it was unexpected, and unexpectedly delicious.

He’s become a bit of a stone fruit–aficionado, capable of picking out the sweetest, juiciest fruit from grocery store stacks. But this is a departure, even for him. When I first met him, I remember how blasphemous it sounded to him to serve any kind of fruit as part of an entree or appetizer. If meat wasn’t on the menu, life was a disaster. Nothing tasted right to him without the extra-helping of capsaicin. (I lived).

Peach soup

I got a glimpse at the second course, just as it was about to go into the oven to slowly roast  until it was tender: Thai pork ribs. This is a recipe that we chanced on a decade ago. The marinade is sweet and sour and scorching—rife with tamarind and brown sugar and red thai chilies. After the slow bake—shallow braise may be more accurate—the ribs are lifted onto a searing grill and charred to caramelize the sugars. It’s a keeper in the best respect.


But Ships was on a roll. The other thing that he’s mastered (and I have no patience for) is the art of the risotto. His comes out effortlessly al dente, yet creamy and satisfying. Mine ends up looking like fufu. On this day, he embarked on a vegetable risotto.

If you are a vegetarian, let’s talk and perhaps we can get this on the menu again.

Birthday Dinner 2016



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