February 17, 2010

Dinner with Friends

Posted in Children, Family, Food, Friendships, Good people, Health, Recipes, Serbia tagged , , , at 8:08 am by Liliana

Dinner with friends

Dinner with friends

A few nights ago, we had dinner with old friends. Between the nine of us, three generations were represented. It was one of those magical evenings when no one was  in a hurry or longing to be somewhere else. The fire was burning in the fireplace, Ella was singing on the CD player, appetizers and wine glasses set out. We sampled home-made hummus and pita bread, had a glass of wine or mineral water, and caught up on the news of the past few weeks.

When we sat down to eat, everything about the table made us want to sit and linger for a long time. The dishes made me think of Tuscany. The menu took me to Serbia and the memory of my mother. I haven’t had home-made, stuffed grape leaves since my mother died six years ago, and the pungent flavor brought joy and memories of childhood. There was also chicken with mushroom sauce, grilled vegetables and wild rice. And for dessert, a wonderful orange cake; people kept having seconds, and not a crumb was left over.

After dinner, we sat in a circle in the living room, had coffee and talked. Conversation meandered between the economy, job losses, the state of the world. My niece will be starting college next year and we wondered about the future of education and various options for young people. Our conversation was earnest and serious, but no one was anxious. When we left to go home later that night, the winter seemed to have lost some of its bite.

Dairy-free orange cake

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¾ c. brown sugar
  • 2/3 c. oil (corn, canola, or similar)
  • 2 large oranges (for zest and juice)
  • ½ t baking powder
  • ½ t baking soda
  • 1 ½ cup flour

Preheat oven to 375 and grease a springform pan.

Beat eggs and sugars until light. Add oil. Add zest of the two oranges and then squeeze them (you need 2/3 cup orange juice, so you might need to add a bit) and combine well. Add the dry ingredients and combine well.

Pour into springform pan and bake for about 40-45 minutes, until cake tests dry in the middle.

When cooled, unmold and top with the glaze:

  • ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 T orange juice

Stir together until smooth and dribble over cake with a spoon.