At the previous Couscous Sunday dinner, we acquired a large bottle of sake. It looked so sad and alone, all not drunk and everything, that I resolved to build the next dinner around it.
On this particular night, the Couscous Collective had several special guests. Jeff Wells, my collaborator on Skin Horse, was visiting for the Alternative Press Expo and the Skin Horse Volume 2 release party, so I put him to work grating ginger.
My plan was to make a couple of dishes incorporating the sake. First I got started on a batch of steamed dumplings, making the filling from leek, cabbage, carrot, ginger, and sake.
In goes the sake!
Meanwhile, Pancha and Elena made fizzy sake Lemon Drops. Here’s Elena coating the rims of the glasses with sugar.
Another special guest for this evening was mycologist Paul Nagami, who taught us about edible fungi and prepared portabello mushrooms in a sauce made from completely different mushrooms. Everything in the last sentence is 100% true.
Below, Elena’s friend Richmond observes the mushroom gravy with skepticism. Skepticism that will soon dissolve when he tastes creamy portabello on quinoa.
Once the dumpling filling cooled, everybody got to work stuffing the wonton wrappers. From left to right: Elena, Pancha, Liz.
While the dumplings were being assembled, I started on the next sake-based dish: a shiitake mushroom soup with carrots, chard, and soba noodles. I’d made the vegetable stock in advance out of scraps from previous dinners, mostly beets. See? Couscous Sunday dinner means beets.
Time to steam the dumplings!
And here’s the finished meal, ready to eat: portabello mushrooms over quinoa, vegetarian dumplings, shittake and soba soup, and booze. Jeff made the dipping sauce on the side out of soy sauce, miso, brown sugar, and garlic.
There were no leftovers from this meal. Andrew personally sucked down about a dozen dumplings. From now on he demands that all his meals be served in dumpling form. We also managed to put away almost all of that enormous bottle of sake, and in my mind that’s a successful Couscous dinner. Thanks to everyone who came over and helped cook!
Next up: the Diaz sisters have ideas. International fusion ideas.