Tomorrow is my last chemo. Maybe there is a God! And speaking of which, my neighbor Linda, who is guest-posting today, asks the question: What would you serve if God was your dinner guest? Read on for her menu and a recipe. Feel free to leave a comment on what you would serve, with God defined as whomever/whatever you believe. I’m going to need a bunch of ideas because I’ll have to make a whole buffet if God ever drops by unexpectedly. Thanks, Linda!
Imagine you found out that God was coming to dinner some night soon—what would you make? If you’re like me, you’d probably want to serve something really good, maybe your favorite meal. I mean, this is God, right? You’d want it to be pretty impressive.
Some say that we create God in our own image rather than the other way around. When I think of God, I assume that God is a foodie like me, so clearly, I’d have to serve something gourmet. For example, I might go with Roy’s Blackened Ahi Tuna, served with jasmine rice sprinkled with black sesame seeds, mango and avocado salad with citrus vinaigrette and, of course, a fabulous chocolate dessert because I can’t possibly believe in a God who doesn’t like chocolate.
I thought of this topic because I recently hosted a Sufi Master from Jerusalem. Shaykh Muhammad Safiid al-Jamal ar-Rifafii ash-Shadhdhuliyyah might not be a household name, but he’s the Big Name in this spiritual path. Sidi (as he’s known) isn’t God but he seems to have a pretty good connection with the “powers that be,” so a lot of work goes into having things just right for him.
Luckily, Sidi comes with his own cook, so all I had to do was shop. I tried to get his cook Armany to spill the beans but she wasn’t easy to pin down. Since Sidi is from the Middle East, his food preferences tend to run towards foods they eat there. In fact, he eats lamb stew every night. Sidi likes it with a layer of oil on top, but I can’t quite handle that, so I’ve slightly modified the recipe. I did my best to get exact amounts of ingredients but that’s not really how they cook over there so adjust to your own taste. The recipe takes several hours to make, most of it just simmering. But, hey, since you’re cooking for someone Important, you’re not going to start at the last minute, right?
I didn’t take a picture of it because, to be honest, it’s not all that good looking. But the taste—heaven. Sidi likes it served with Casbah Nutted Pilaf (you can sometimes find that at Whole Foods, though any other rice will do). And for dessert? Sidi goes for the simple: Kozy Shack rice pudding or chocolate Haagen-Dazs ice cream. (See I knew God liked chocolate!)
So, what would you serve?
Sidi’s Lamb Stew
1 lb. lamb, cut into chunks
6-8 cups of water
2 onions, chopped
1-2 Tbsp. allspice
3 Tbsp. olive oil, or more
4-5 ripe, fresh tomatoes
One or more of the following vegetables: 3-4 zucchini, 1 pound of mushrooms, okra,1 head of cauliflower, etc.
Cumin, turmeric, coriander (optional)
Salt to taste
Put water into large pot. Add half the onion, all the allspice, salt to taste, and 1 Tbsp. of the olive oil. Bring to a boil. Add lamb. Bring back to boil, and then turn down to simmer for 3-4 hours.
Meanwhile, core tomatoes and puree in a blender. Cut up your veggies into bite-sized pieces. In a frying pan, cook the remaining chopped onion along with your other veggies in olive oil. (I personally love the zucchini, even though it isn’t normally one of my favorite vegetables.) Add more allspice and salt and any of the optional spices that you like. Cook until the onion is golden and the veggies are soft. Add the tomato puree. Then add everything to the meat in the water. Cook all together for 5 minutes to an hour more depending on what tastes best to you. Serves 3-4.