28 July 2008

Saturday Night Rappaport: Everything Klicked

Anyone who knows me well knows that I'm a bad Marylander: I've never been a fan of crab. Old Bay, yes. Mr. Boh, yes. our crustacean friends from the bay? Not so much (this is important later).
Saturday evening brought the promise of a sumptuous feast bracketed with competition both physical and strategic. Like mighty Ulysses himself I first had to best winding travels and powerful storms to arrive at my destination (it stormed so hard on my way to Chateau Rappaport that I had to stop on the road and wait for the hail/rain/wind to subside). Ol' Sol had returned by the time I pulled into the long and winding drive way, descending into cellular no-man's-land (this is not important later).
The dozen or so of us now assembled in the house soon migrated out of doors to the volleyball court, where Jason had expertly painted lines. So, we knew if the ball was in or not, but we didn't really bother keeping score, though I know my team won.
After maybe an hour of that fun Brian and Caroline, team Klick, manned the kitchen to put together the promised feast. I helped by remembering the number "3". I have no idea why I was meant to remember it, but I did make sure to remind Brian of "3" repeatedly. When the flurry of activity ceased and the dust cleared, we found ourselves at table with an amazing array of cuisine arrayed before us: marinated tuna steak, crab cakes (wait for it), sweet potato surprise, green bean casserole, mixed greens salad with dressing, and of course, rolls.
The tuna steak was fantastic. Brian's opinion was that it was too marinated, but I often find my taste buds weary of tuna by the time I finish a whole steak. Not so - just enough tuna goodness made it through the marinade to make this a delicious anchor for the plate.
Contrasting the marinade was the sweet potato surprise, a/k/a Sienna Sugar Shock. This would have easily served as the dessert for the evening (a role filled quite expertly by carrot cake), as it was sweet and buttery and delicious. The expected walnuts on top rounded out this dish. I usually prefer sweet for my final course, but again, this contrast was delicious and helpful in framing the other savory flavors offered.
The green bean casserole was standard fare, but that does not mean it was sub-par. Cream of mushroom, onions, cheese, and of course green beans are a tangy taste treat that tantalizes taste buds, truly. Yin to the sweet potato surprise yang, this veggie dish made mouths happy.
Oft given a passing glance when such rich fare is beheld, the mixed greens tossed salad is still worth a sentence or two in this, uhm, review. I couldn't quite nail down the dressing, but to be honest my taste buds were working overtime. It was delicious. The greens were crisp and colorful, and even though I normally prefer some more vegetables mixed in to my salad, this eclectic arrangement was a fine addition to the meal.
The bread was good, too, though in fairness I wisely held it to last to make sure I had room for everything else on my plate. At the end of the meal I was riding a wave a satiety and sugar.
I think that just about covers the meal.
What? I forgot somethi...? Oh, right.
Every few years I make it a point to try crab, at least in cake or dip form. As a lifelong resident of the Old Line State, I consider it my duty. Something about the flavor just never appealed to me. I mean, I could eat some crab dip and enjoy it if I were really hungry, but it was never something I desired. I want more of those crab cakes. They were delicious! Consider this recipe a gateway to full enjoyment of the noble crab, those of you who are like I am (was).
Jason and Nikki, thank you for hosting another fine evening. Brian and Caroline, thank you for preparing a regal feast.
Closing the evening was a rousing match of Texas Hold'em. I found myself grasping the game a bit more firmly than previous occasions, but after midnight I found my critical judgment impaired by the hour and the far side of some earlier captains & coke. There is a certain thrill to running up a pot knowing that your hand is no good. Next time, maybe I'll break even, though given the amount of fun, food, and (hello McDonald's) friends I experienced, I'm fairly certain I came out ahead.

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