Moroccan Dinner Party, Potato Soup

Oh winter, when will it end? The other day we were blessed with rare sunshine and warm weather and it was such a terrible teaser for Spring. Along my street, where all the luxury goods and luxury people usually taunt me, the pale peach and taupe cashmere sweaters seemed as harmless as sugar pills, and the rich bitches in fur coats, sunglasses and high heeled boots lowered their noses a bit and smiled at the peasant passersby. But the next day, it was gone, and I went back to glaring at the well-dressed mannequins and people on Avenue Louise. (But really, why wear bare legs and a fur coat when its freezing out? How about sparing an animal and just looking into pants?)

At any rate, to cheer ourselves up from the never-ending winter, a few friends and I have been having Friday night dinner parties lately. In general, our only requirements for a good menu is that it be inexpensive, vegetarian, and easy enough to cook for a group. So far we've had risottos, pasta, etc, but this week we went a little crazy with a theme and had everything Moroccan. We even decorated the table with batik prints and little lanterns.
The menu consisted of the following:
Appetizers: hummus, flatbread, olives, spiced olive oil and cheese cubes
Entree: Eggplant and Mushroom Tagine, Couscous with mint and almonds, red wine
Dessert: Baklava, fresh mint tea

The tagine, sort of a mix between my minimalist one and the more complex version was fantastic, and even though I make it all the time a couple people at the party had never had one before and were surprised at how good it was. The mint tea was also really simple and festive: just put some mint sprigs into glasses and pour green tea over it. It looks so nice too.

I have a weakness for themed dinner parties, and this one turned out so well that I'm already plotting the next one: maybe Russian, with buckwheat blini and mushroom caviar, and a beet salad? (And vodka!) That would go along with my recent Tolstoy obsession, although everyone in his books seem to eat "melt-in-your-mouth-pasties" all the time and I have no idea what they are. (Anybody know?)

At any rate, the dinner party set the tone for the rest of the amazing weekend: I went to Antwerp (above) for the day on Saturday, and spent Sunday roaming around the St. Gilles farmers market (but not buying anything, since Antwerp put me over the weekly budget.) Considering what to eat for dinner, instead of surrendering to the allure of pancakes, I decided to make a soup out of some sprouted potatoes, past-their-prime leeks, and a little leftover soy creamer. Happily, even with sub-par ingredients it turned out fabulously, and with some stale bread to complete the picture, it was fit for a queen.

Song of the Day: Belle and Sebastian- Fought in a War


Sara said...

The table looks beautiful, and the dinner sounds yum! Weekly theme dinner parties sound like a great way to get through a gray winter!

The Ordinary Vegetarian said...

I'm way jealous on your cool dinner parties! Sounds great.

Way to go on the budget friendly soup as well.

Mihl said...

Yay for cheering yourself up with dinner parties. My family was complaing to me about winter today. We're all wayting for spring.

Bianca said...

Fun dinner party! I'm a sucker for a themed party of any kind. Love the Russian idea. Any excuse for borscht and vodka is good for me.

Bliss Doubt said...

The word pasty is related to the word pastry. A pasty is a fried pie, like an empanada or a turnover, but usually a savory dish, like a meat pie. It can also be baked in the oven instead.

That moroccan dinner sounds wonderful. Oh, yum!!!

sophia said...

a russian dinner party! what a great idea!

The Voracious Vegan said...

What a fantastic dinner party you had! The set up looks so magical and gorgeous, wish I could have been there. Yummy food too!

But that potato soup...oh my goodness it is beautiful! So thick and creamy!!!

Des Moines workers comp lawyer said...

This definitely looks like a fun feast!

jessy said...

ooh, i love a themed dinner party as well - and i also love all things moroccan. so awesome, T! my guess on the melt-in-your-mouth-pasties: meringues?

that rocks socks on the tasty soup made with yummies that were a little sadfaced. score!

just when it was starting to get a little warm here we got another cold snap and more damn snow. i'm one for winter, but this season i'm done with it and ready for spring. :)

Hannah said...

That menu alone makes me want to have more dinner parties! Or at least, live closer to you! ;)

Houston employment attorney said...

Oh Moroccan feast! I'm jealous. What an amazing time it looks like you're having.

Liz² said...

oooooh, I wanna dinner party with you! russian theme sounds great... and okay, so it's not just me noticing a lot of bare legs and fur coats all-of-a-sudden?

and stale bread = queenly ^^^ no doubt