We had visitors last weekend -- two of J.'s cousins and their wives. As is often the case when Middle Eastern families get together, food played a central role in the weekend. On Thursday night we cooked for the travel-weary, arriving guests: two kinds of skewers (beef, and shrimp) with grilled peppers, onions, tomatoes; a green bean and tomato stew with Syrian spices; pilaf; salad; strawberries and brownies.
But the next day we took them all to the Jean-Talon market, and shopped for our dinner ourselves, then came home and cooked. It was simple but really delicious.
Chopped squash blossoms
Sautéing the squash blossoms in olive oil with onions, asparagus, and king oyster mushrooms.
Fresh baby artichoke hearts with grated parmesan. When we'd stripped off all the outer leaves, we felt like we had discarded so much of the artichokes themselves, but the resulting sauté was nutty and very delicious, totally unlike the frozen or canned version.
Tossed salad with small tomatoes, Lebanese cucumbers, and mint
And the sauce, finished with a little wine and cream, over pasta.
The tablecloth is a typical Syrian piece with chain-stitch embroidery (originally hand-worked but now done by machine) brought back from Damascus by my husband when he visited the city with his father and brother in 2000. No one talked much about current politics; it's too depressing and sad. But the men all expressed deep gratitude that their parents - three siblings - had been able to come to America. How grateful I am, too!