early prep


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My evening yesterday was mostly characterized by cooking -- or being the cook's assistant, basically, which is the default case whenever Shobhit and I host a big dinner. Scott and Noah and respective spouses (and, I believe, Noah's two kids) are coming over for dinner tomorrow. True to form, Shobhit started early produce chopping on Tuesday evening. Last night, had had several actual dishes well underway by the time I even got home after walking from work. He had a huge mix of potatoes and vegetables and spices for samosa filling, which we also had last night for dinner with fried up frozen paneer parathas which were surprisingly tasty.

I did more chopping for him, as he did more cooking and mixing. He's got the requisite samosas on the menu, plus five main course dishes going on: shahi paneer; eggplant squash; garbanzo beans; deep fried shredded calabash (Shobhit calls it "opo," which I believe is the Hindi word for it); okra. By the time we were headed to bed, only the okra had not already been started. There is much left to do, though: thorough blending of the shahi paneer base; frying up of parathas; deep frying of both the balls of shredded calabash and the samosas. Shobhit said Sachin may come over tonight, which actually works fine as he can be the tester on the initial samosas, which Shobhit likes to do a few of early just to get into the groove. The initial ones often don't turn out quite perfect. (They are universally delicious, though, don't you worry.) Presumably we will cook up rice tomorrow.

Scott likes spicy food, so I told Shobhit to make a couple of the dishes as spicy as he wants. He's doing this to the okra dish (which I would generally avoid anyway) and, if I remember right, the calabash. When I was telling Scott this morning that we were thinking of having the dinner start at 5:00 tomorrow, he did express some slight concern that it may turn out to be too hot even for him, knowing what reputation Shobhit has for insanely intense spiciness. I said to him, "Well, he still knows he's cooking for white people." Given how much hot sauce Scott is constantly putting on his lunches, and my expectation that Shobhit's dishes will still be within reason even when he makes some of them spicier, I really think Scott will be fine.

This will be the sixth, and maybe final, dinner we've hosted this year -- after Claudia, Dylan and Jasper in March; Shobhit's cousin Abhishek and Vinaya in April; Karen, Anita, Danielle, Morgan and Rylee as part of my Birth Week in early May; Lynn, Zephyr and Nick in July; and then Danielle, Morgan, Jordan and a couple of Morgan's friends, also in July, for Morgan's birthday. It's now been three months since the last one, though. We've been trying to invite a couple we long knew from Trikone-NW and have yet to manage coordinating with them; when we last discussed who we should next invite, it was Shobhit who suggested inviting my boss. I didn't like the idea of inviting him and not Noah, given Noah's regular enthusiasm for Shobhit's samosas, so I opted to invite them both. Although this won't be the first time I've invited a boss to a social event (Stephanie came to a couple of my Birth Week parties, and to our housewarming party), this will be the first time I have ever had a boss over for dinner. I'm actually looking forward to it.

I even asked Noah yesterday for his cell number, both because it may be needed as he looks for our place tomorrow, and because I wanted to text both of them a picture of the food already being made last night. The shot showed no fewer than five meals on the stove: four of the main dishes, plus the wok full of the potatoes. There's a lot left to do, not least of which is the vacuuming and a bit of cleaning in the bathrooms.

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What else, then? Not much! I originally had watching Mad Men with Laney at her place tonight, but we have officially abandoned that plan; I would totally go for it, but she kept having to cancel or reschedule over the months and she doesn't have the interest she once did. It's best for me to be home to help Shobhit with more prep this evening anyway. That said, it's still convenient that we have both the second Friday (for Happy Hour) and the fourth Friday still marked for each other on our respective calendars. It makes it easier for us to schedule seeing movies we would otherwise like to see together. We already have Friday, November 23 earmarked for the movie Widows. I should look up what will be playing that we might like to see together on December 21.

The next week is pretty slim pickin's as far as movies are concerned. I found a documentary I'd like to see, but other than that there's just the new remake of Suspiria, which I'll be seeing with Ivan on Friday next week, after dinner at The Marrakesh. We'll be returning to Neko Cat Café on Thursday next week; Ivan arrives for that visit on Wednesday, Halloween Day. I suspect that, after taking my costume to work that day, we'll all just hang out at home that evening. I'm thinking maybe I can get Shobhit just to go for a walk up Broadway and back that night, though, maybe get some extra Halloween pictures, this being the first year with no official Halloween evening event for me to go to since 2002 -- and even that year I went out to dinner with friends in costume.

I suppose Shobhit and I will have to figure out something to do on Tuesday as well. That's his 45th birthday. Ah! I just had an idea: we have a 2-scoops-for-1 coupon that will barely still not have expired by then. We can go out for ice cream, if nothing else! And Shobhit can get himself one of their god-awful peppery flavors. We'll certainly want to skip any of the flavors with bugs or pig's blood. (My vote for the other scoop would probably be "Pumpkin Spiced Potion," which sounds yummy, even if it is vegan -- coconut milk based frozen desserts work better than all other non-dairy ice cream options, in my opinion.)

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[posted 12:30 pm]