Every year Ju-Boy throws a little party, replete with charred meat and flowing single malts, to thank his tightly-knit group of friends for lending him their support while he made the transition from the smoking remains of Chapter One to the J-Date Twilight Zone. I wasn’t there that first year, still trapped in the throes of Chapter One myself. But I’ve heard the stories… Ju-Boy unkempt, Ju-Boy on his own, Ju-Boy on the loose. Thankfully, he had his friends to be there for him, eat his culinary experiments and drink his whisky. And thus was born the First Annual End-of-Summer Party.
By the time the Second Annual End-of-Summer Party rolled around I was already in the picture. Ju-Boy and I had been dating for about two months and it was time to run the gauntlet of meeting his friends, his pack, what he likes to call his troupe. I already knew some of them. Karen and I were friends back and high school. Miiiiiiiichael used to fall asleep at my Friday night table when he was single and in the army. His wife, the Lovely Linder, was a familiar face from mutual friends’ weddings and Bar Mitzvah celebrations. I had heard about Sweet Caroline from our mutual friend SW, back in the days when we actually wrote letters and didn’t text and chat on Facebook.
It was fun to meet the rest of the bunch. Just to make sure they liked me, I brought some insurance in the form of sushi, Thai-ish pasta salad and profiteroles. That evening was the first time I fed the troupe, but not the last. Just a few weeks ago we served up the Eighth Annual End-of-Summer Party. Over the years the menu has changed, returned to its roots, changed again, but some things remain the same. Ju-Boy grills the meat, the whisky flows, and I go to town on the side dishes and desserts. You could say this was the Ju-Boy/Miriyummy/Troupe version of Thanksgiving.
This year I served up a few new dishes, like the Spicy Carrot Sticks from the new KBD Teens and 20-Somethings cookbook I reviewed — those were a hit. I doubled the recipe to serve 12 people and I think maybe I should have quadrupled it instead, they went THAT fast. Another hit this year was the return of my Thai-ish Pasta Salad. I first came across this recipe back when I lived on a hilltop overlooking Jerusalem. We put together a community cookbook to raise money for our synagogue and this recipe is one of my favorites (thanks Sherri!). I’ve changed it a little over the years, and it never fails to please. I’ve seen dainty eaters inhale the stuff. Do me a favor, when you make this, try to have your friends and family take human bites, it can get ugly…
Thai-ish Pasta Salad
- 1 pound (500 grams) pasta — thinnish noodles work best
- 1/2 cup sesame oil
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil (corn, canola, etc.)
- 6 tablespoons honey
- 6 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon crushed dry red pepper
- 1 shelled peanuts, coarsely ground
- 1/2 cup chopped coriander (cilantro, cusbara)or parsley, optional
- 1/2 cup chopped green onion
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds
- Cook the pasta as per package instructions, breaking long pieces in half before cooking. Drain.
- In a saucepan over medium heat cook the oils, honey, soy sauce and dry pepper and let boil for 2 minutes.
- In a large bowl pour the sauce over the pasta. Cover and refrigerate overnight, letting the flavors seep into the pasta.
- Before serving, add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
- Serve at room temperature.