Autumn Forth: Moroccan-Inspired Savories / by Julie Schumacher

Before the Autumn event, we met at my house to plan.http://instagram.com/p/eKvuoZQi3-/

Lisa was bringing the ever-so-new baby Lina while my daughter Lo loomed as a potential toddler Krakatoa, her high energy blur visible in Kelly's Instagram.

I wanted it to feel special since we three Forths don't get much time together outside the events and work. And we needed to show Lo & Lina, the next generation of Forths (along with Kelly's lovely Willa) how it was done. The challenge is that I didn't have time to overhost like I usually do. So, I went to two recipes that have saved my rump on numerous occasion.

As we sipped and supped and chatted, we decided to use those two dishes as a delicately spicy jumping off place for the salon's food, which led naturally to decor. The spices of the middle east and North African meant jewel tones and peacocks and floor seating became the orders of the day.

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The wonderful thing about working with Kelly & Lisa is that they make things more. More beautiful, more interesting.

Kelly took a soup I just serve in bowls and suddenly we had single serving shooters with lemon wedges. The chickpea dish was extra-smushed so it would sit on the gluten free crackers she found and served out of a mason jar.

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Chilled Moroccan Tomato Soup, adapted from Epicurious

    • 1 small onion, chopped
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon paprika
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
    • Scant 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1 (14- to 16-ounce) can whole tomatoes in juice, drained and juices reserved
    • 1 3/4 cups chicken broth (14 fluid ounces)

*I use vegetable broth

  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
  • Garnish: lemon slices
Cook onion in oil with spices in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened and begins to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Coarsely chop tomatoes and add to onion mixture with reserved juices, broth, honey, 1 tablespoon parsley, and 1 tablespoon cilantro, then bring to a boil. Transfer soup to a metal bowl set in a larger bowl of ice and cold water. Cool soup, stirring occasionally, until cold, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste, then stir in remaining parsley and cilantro.
Now, to make this extra awesome, I puree the living hell out of it and encouraged Kel to do the same.

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Pomegranate, Chickpea, and Mint Crostini, adapted from Real Simple

  • 1 15.5-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds, from 1 small pomegranate or Trader Joe's serves de-seeded.
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 small baguette, thinly sliced and toasted (this is how I've traditionally served it)

In a medium bowl, combine the chickpeas, pomegranate seeds, mint, scallions, oil, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Serve with the bread.

The rest of the flavors, and even the conversation that followed started, like so many good ideas, from taking time and space to be together.

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