Soirée Note:
Compostela
8 June 2018

Our neighbor from upstairs came for dinner this evening, and we had a very nice time. She has been to her native Spain three times this year already, and on her most recent visit, she walked a stretch of the camino de Santiago, in the company of friends and family and a helpful automobile (for luggage transport and return trips &c). One of her brothers, a zealous walker, unable to keep the others’ dawdling pace, would march ahead out of sight for a while and then, eventually, turn round and march back to rejoin them. Helpful pilgrims would tell him that he was walking in the wrong direction. There’s a running gag for a movie there. 

We had met in the lobby on Monday evening and set up the date on the fly. We are always meaning to get together and never managing it — true New Yorkers, double-dyed in that we live in the same building. 

But I had no idea what to serve. The lack of inspiration was total, like a baffle. I went to Agata & Valentina with nothing more than hope for dumb luck. 

Agata & Valentina is a great food store in many, many ways, and its provision for shoppers in need of dumb luck is not the least of them. I realized almost as soon as I stepped up to the butcher’s counter that chicken cutlets were the thing for me. I couldn’t think why I hadn’t thought of them. 

I bought some mushroom tortelloni, which I boiled and then served in a sexed-up (mirepoix-based and then strained) A & V chicken broth. I made a salad of bitter greens with morels — a mistake. I ought to have chopped up some iceberg, especially as I’d decided on a honey-mustard dressing of my own devising. I am really off all other lettuces; I leave them to the ruminants. Iceberg is crunchy and sweet, and easy to spear with a fork. 

For dessert, angel food cake with raspberry coulis. I forgot to sieve the coulis and get rid of the raspberry seeds, but our neighbor said that she was glad that I had, because she could tell that I had used fresh (real) raspberries. 

She also said, ahem, that tortelloni are a New Year’s Even specialty in Bologna. But I still love her. 

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