Fourteen Hills Goes Culinary: Gourmet Menu for Wednesday's Release Party

Not only do we at Fourteen Hills love showing off our contributors’ work and beautiful new issues, but we are also know a thing or two about food! In honor of issue 16.1, which we will be launching into the atmosphere tomorrow, December 16, our fabulous party at the San Francisco Motorcycle Club will feature a full gourmet menu prepared by our very own copy editor—me!

You’re in for a treat. Nothing canned, frozen or packaged is used—I make everything from scratch, and will even use ingredients from my organic garden.

The menu will be Middle East meets North Africa. I’ll be preparing classic Middle Eastern fare such as hummous, muhammara, tzatsiki and baba ghanoush, fresh falafel, pita bread and vegetables. From Turkey, I will be making Cerkes Tavugu, or Circassian braised chicken in a walnut sauce. From Afghanistan comes a pumpkin, ground beef and yogurt dish called kaddo bowrani. From North Africa, I will be making a Moroccan vegetable tagine with harissa,* and couscous.

My falafel isn’t made from a boxed mix, or even pre-made garbanzo flour. I make it starting from whole dried garbanzo beans, which I soak overnight and blend with fresh spices and herbs, then fry in trans-fat-free rice bran oil. For the tzatsiki sauce, I make the yogurt myself.

Hummus? If you’ve only ever had store-bought hummus—pasty, gritty and tasting mostly of garlic—you haven’t had hummus. I make mine starting with dry beans, soak them overnight and simmer them, then pop the tough hulls off by hand. Then I put them through a food mill and blend them until silky smooth with fresh tahini, French sea salt, a balanced amount of roasted garlic, good olive oil, fresh ground cumin seeds and lemon juice from my Meyer lemon tree out back.

I will be making tabbouli with home-grown, late-season heirloom tomatoes and fresh parsley just picked from my garden.

Kaddo bowrani is an Afghani dish made with browned and roasted pumpkin drizzled in a (homemade) yogurt sauce, then topped with ground beef cooked with fresh turmeric root, coriander, tomato paste and garlic. I will be using one of my homegrown Musquée de Provence pumpkins for this dish.

Muhammara is a dip originally from Syria, made of roasted red peppers, walnuts, bread crumbs, oil and pomegranate molasses. It has gentle sweetness from the red peppers cut with a touch of heat from red pepper flakes, earthiness from the ground walnuts, and a pleasing texture.  I make my own pomegranate molasses by simmering a bottle of POM pomegranate juice down until it is thick and syrupy, no more than 5 or 6 tablespoons. I will be using some of my homegrown peppers for this dish.

If I don’t give out from making all this fresh food, I will try to make a fabulous cake. If not, there will definitely be sweets there to complete the meal. I look forward to serving you my food at the party, so please come hungry. The party starts at 7pm.

-Janna K. Denig, Fourteen Hills Staff

*Vegan dishes include the Moroccan tagine, hummus, baba ghanoush, and tabbouli. No peanuts or peanut products will be used.

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