Hey, remember my friend Yaara? She’s launched Rasta Pasta, her own cottage industry (literally) and has entered a recipe contest. If what you see in the picture is something you’d like to try, read on and get the recipe.
Come on, people, help a friend help a friend out!
Meet Yaara Di Segni. I have. Yaara is one of my food friends that I actually have met in real life, and she’s become more than a foodie contact on the Internet, she’s become a good friend. We get together for sushi, we meet up for breakfast, and we actually have conversations that have nothing to do with food. With my one-track mind (stay out of this, Ju-Boy, I’m talking about food), that is an amazing feat in and of itself, especially that Yaara and I first met online, almost 20 years ago on a wonderful listserv called Foodwine. Foodwine still exists, and many of the originals are still hanging out in what they call the Cave, but I am long gone, with Yaara as a cherished souvenir.
Meet Richard Rusch. We both grew up in the Bronx, minutes away from each other, but only met years later, in 2002, and where else, on the Internet. Richard is one of the founding members of Recipezaar, and when he heard I was coming to the Bronx to visit my parents he insisted we meet up.
“Are you meshugah, Miraleh?” my Jewish mother shrieked. “You have no idea who this man is, he will kill you.”
“Are you insane, Richard?” his Italian mother shrieked. “You have no idea who this woman is, she will kill you.
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.