What a month! I’ll get right into it. I told you I was busy!
- Oct 5: Mongolian Hot Pot for a friend’s birthday. I’d been meaning to try this place for years, and it did not disappoint. As soon as I entered, the smell of the steam from dozens of tableside broth pots smacked me right in the face. Our group had three different hot pots, and we ordered, and ordered, and ordered, and had our broth pots repeatedly refilled. We dunked bok choy, dumplings, raw beef, raw lamb, tofu, octopus, wood-ear mushrooms, sprouts, egg noodles, and about 10 other things into the broth, cooking them quickly and devouring them. It was awesome.
- Oct 10: Thanksgiving. Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green salad, potato salad, charcuterie, gravy, green beans and cauliflower, squash risotto, cranberry sauce, broccoli cheez-it casserole, spicy roasted pumpkin and squash, creamed corn, mulled wine, 2 pumpkin pies, 1 lemon meringue pie, 1 chocolate tart, and butter tart pan squares. Our group of 25 people played a very silly pictionary/broken telephone-style game between dinner and dessert, and I rolled home happy.
- Oct 12-13: Baked Ziti a la Aaron. Rigatoni with a spicy sausage-filled tomato sauce, swirls of bechamel, and tons of melted mozzarella cheese, baked in a casserole until it bubbles and browns and becomes 1000% irresistible. I made it for the first time last year after watching a ton of The Sopranos (and subsequently talking like Carmela for weeks). It’s called Baked Ziti a la Aaron because it’s his birthday meal, and I make it with bechamel instead of ricotta because he’s not a big fan of “rigot” but loves bechamel (or in Italian, besciamella, but this dish is about as authentically Italian as I am- which is to say not at all but it wants to be).
- Oct 13: The Carbiest Potluck Ever for Aaron’s birthday, featuring super spicy Dan Dan noodles, amazing homemade mac and cheese, penne with tomato sauce, pesto pasta, several baguettes, braised beef, and charcuterie. Montreal Friends are often excellent at bringing a wide variety of dishes to potlucks, but this time we all went in the exact same direction- and it was perfect.
- Oct 15: Russian Breakfast in Marlborough, MA. Bread with butter and caviar, thin blinchiki with sweetened condensed milk, coffee, homemade applesauce, raw milk, and more coffee.
- Oct 20: Birthday Raviolis. Fancy sunflower-shaped raviolis filled with buffalo mozzarella that melts and oozes out when you cut into them. I made a super-simple garlic-butter-salt-pepper sauce to go with it and it was a dream.
- Oct 20: Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake that Grace and Zoë made for me. It had an Oreo cookie crust and a thick layer of sweet, chocolate ganache and was just perfect. I was very sad when I finally demolished the last piece last week.
- Oct 25: Chand Palace for John’s birthday. The Montreal Friends go to Chand Palace a few times a year, wine bottles in tow, and order half the menu and share everything. This time, we made sure to order triple the naan that we usually do, because it always goes so quickly. Bhunna lamb, bright red spicy mushrooms, butter chicken, saag paneer, bhaigan bharta eggplant, channa masala, and garlic naan times 1000.
- Oct 19, 21, 30: Dumplings three times in the month: twice at Mai Xiang Yuan and once at Qing Hua, both in Chinatown. Every time I got the same thing: boiled pork coriander and shrimp dumplings with black vinegar, soy sauce, and chilli oil for dipping. When you know, you know, ya know?
- Oct 27: Steak. After watching dozens of tattooed and/or French chefs do this on YouTube, Aaron decided to try out basting a steak with herbs, butter, and garlic. If you want to take a grocery-store steak and make it taste like a restaurant steak, this is exactly how to do it.
Safe to say I’m still full. November has also already been a pretty great food month so far, and I’m excited to share it with you all.