I may have thrown a wild party or two back in my youth, but tonight was my first wild dinner party. Luba and Alex are my friends and next door neighbors. Both know about my project, and to my surprise, both accepted the invitation without reluctance, or at least they didn’t seem reluctant.
Two nights of digging produced enough food to feed six of us for two or three meals. I knew Luba ate shellfish, but I wasn’t certain about Alex. It didn’t really matter, since I needed to prepare another protein source for Jim.
I started the meal with a soy version of New England clam chowder made from horse clams dug last night. My sons claim to hate soy milk, so I didn’t bother telling them about the substitution. They shoveled the chowder down, and will eat the leftovers tomorrow night.
Cockles the size of tennis balls, sautéed in white wine, butter, and shallots proved a show stopper. The meat inside is large, oddly shaped, and maybe even intimidating at first. It’s my lobster of clams, and Alex described the meat to taste a bit like Dungeness crab. The chewy and then tender texture is a different story. The cockle takes a certain dedication, but it’s worth it.
Other dishes included smoked paprika corn muffins, butter clams, steamers, and roasted venison with demi-glace atop dilled mashed potatoes.
Luba brought her famous very-veggie salad, and outdid herself with a hyper-local cobbler of plums, strawberries, and raspberries picked from her land. A local, dry Riesling from Saint Michelle winery in Woodinville, Washington complemented the meal. Okay, so maybe I'm the only one that drank wine, but it was an excellent match. I still have more than half the bottle for tomorrow night.
The wild food, stimulating conversation, Washington wine, Seabeck cobbler, and next door neighbors made for a thoughtful night. Everything we needed to pull off a successful evening was in one of two pantries. Luba and I could have fed another 6 guests. Perhaps next time we shall. We discussed a block party of sorts for the Super bowl, and tonight finds me already thinking about what I can kill.