Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Mother's Day entertaining; I eat nieh ban at last

There was little time to rest after MH and I returned to our apartment from the diner. The place was a wreck, and we only had a few hours to clean, cook, and make ourselves presentable for our parents, who were coming over for dinner.

My parents and MH's parents have long been friends, and when MH and I were younger they saw each other frequently because we would always be at each other's houses. But as we've grown less dependent on our folks and also stopped living at home, they've had fewer chances to spend time with each other…and with me headed to Colorado, there would be even less. So when MH decided to move in for the summer, we pegged Mother's Day as a good opportunity to get them together.

Thankfully, my brother had agreed to handle the bulk of the meal, so aside from wiping away the sticky remains of spilled alcohol from every surface, I only had to prep some vegetables and slice some potatoes.
IMG_4578.JPG IMG_4581.JPG
Big bro had prepared several dishes in his own apartment beforehand, so once he arrived things were pretty easy. Above is a roasted black bean, red onion, and sweet potato salad that we put on top of greens my parents brought over from their garden, and a pile of cumin-roasted cauliflower. He had also made a puree from the roasted cauliflower which ended up being almost like a pâté, so we served that with wedges of toasted bread.
IMG_4568 IMG_4565
For the main entree, we laid down a bed of thinly sliced potatoes and fresh tomatoes, roasted this for an hour until the potatoes were done and the tomatoes were a bit caramelized, topped it with tilapia that had been marinating in a lemony, garlicky, herb-filled chermoula sauce, and then popped the whole thing back into the oven for another twelve minutes or so.
When the fish was done, we served the dish over couscous that we had prepared with tomatoes and flat-leaf parsley. Altogether it was a light and fresh-tasting main, and the bright chermoula sauce went well with practically everything.
IMG_4593.JPG IMG_4601.JPG
On top of all this, Monica's folks had brought over a pile of nieh ban, chewy, sticky rice-dough dumplings filled with a savory dried turnip and pork filling. The above is the kind I thought I was getting when I bought this one, and ended up all disappointed by the completely different filling inside. When MH heard me lamenting that I couldn't find nieh ban anywhere, she let me in on a bit of titillating information: her parents know a woman. A nieh ban dealer, if you will.

I don't know the details, but apparently this woman makes batches of these inside her Flushing apartment, and all MH's parents had to do was pick up the phone and tell her how many they wanted. Imagine! Practically unlimited access to nieh ban! And they are utterly delicious. I only had one, as they are pretty heavy, but all throughout the meal I was eyeing the rest of them, trying to decide if I had room for another.

This joint Mother's Day was lovely, I think, for everyone. And after sending off our mothers with the beautiful flower bouquets that our friend EK had prepared for us, MH and I finally found time to rest, an intense weekend of entertaining behind us.

No comments:

Post a Comment