hey, let’s play a game!


So my friend, Lisa, and I played a new game together today. Let’s call it, “What should I bring to Ladies’ Night?”, or if that’s too long, we could just call it, “What’s for dinner?”

Tonight was Ladies’ Night, wherein a bunch of us lay-dees get together and eat and drink and gab sans significant others and CHILDREN! Each of us brings something; a bottle of wine, some kind of food, and sometimes someone’s too busy or tired and so the rule is, you just bring yourself.

We NEVER plan out who’s going to bring what, and yet somehow, we always end up with a complete meal: appetizers, entree, side dish, salad and dessert. EVERY SINGLE TIME. It’s an amazing testament to our awesomeness!

Anyway, tonight, I got a call from Lisa, who said that she didn’t know what to bring. She wanted to cook, but Fred took the car and she biked Gracie to preschool and back and never got out to the store and she didn’t have anything at home and didn’t know what the heck to do! (She’s from Wisconsin. She says things like “heck” a lot. Seriously. A lot.)

So I said, “you know, that’s funny because Jeanette just called and she didn’t know what to bring either and she got out of work really late. And I told her, ‘why not just go to the store and get something ready made?'” I said, “you know, you could do that too.” And I suggested that she see if New Seasons has grilled veggies, like eggplant and peppers and squash (although it might be late in the season). I told her she could marinate them in a little balsamic vinegar with chopped parsley and serve it as an appetizer.

Then she said, “yeah I could do that. I don’t know what else to do. I don’t have anything here except some cilantro and cans of beans.”

Then I said and she replied:

  • Do you have garlic?                                  yes.
  • Do you have onion?                                  yes.
  • Do you have a can of tomatoes?             yes.
“O.K. Great. Then here’s what you do:  chop a quarter of an onion and three cloves of garlic and put ’em in a pot. You can saute them, but you don’t have to. Add two cans of black beans, the can of tomatoes, a quarter of the bunch of chopped cilantro, a teaspoon of cumin and salt to taste. Cover with water. Add cayenne if you want it to be spicy. Boil it for a while. At the end, add about half a cup of chopped cilantro, and bring it over.”
She didn’t have two cans of  black beans. But she did have one can of black beans, one can of pinto beans, one can of lentils and one can of garbanzo beans. So I told her to use the can of black beans and the can of pinto beans. And she did and it was delicious!

And this is what we had for dinner:

  • spinach and artichoke dip a la Lesley, which wasn’t super cheesy and gooey. It was light and delicious!
  • black bean and pinto bean soup brought by you-know-who.
  • focaccia I made.
  • pasta with collards and tomatoes made by Jeanette (who got out of work late, remember).
  • totally yummy roasted winter squash cooked with salt and olive oil – thank you Yana.
  • Greek salad, also by Yana.
  • buraghol (I made this at the last minute before I knew Jeanette was bringing pasta).
  • chocolate chip cookies, warm from the oven – Julia made them when she got here.
  • And apple cake I made yesterday with apples from my garden.
  • We also had Lillet cocktails and  wine.

Remind me later and I’ll tell you how to make buraghol. It’s Syrian comfort food and just like the black bean soup, you throw five ingredients into a pot and boil them for a while.

Anybody else wanna play? Just tell me what you have and I’ll tell you what to make!

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About Leila

I am a wife and mother. I am an Orthodox Christian. I am a Syrian American with family living in Syria. I am a also a yoga teacher and freelance writer. I recently described myself in a job pitch as "a person who's lived in Portland, Oregon for over 20 years with a passion for writing and a passion for all things Portland. I'm a foodie, knitter, wine and beer lover, bee-keeper (yep, I said it), mead and fruit-liqueur maker, organic gardener, home-canner, hiker, biker, runner, and occasional skinny-dipper. I’ve camped all over the state, I sail a sailboat that’s moored on the Columbia (o.k., I'm the first mate), and I spend a large percentage of my time at our beach house in Seaside." That about sums it up.
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