i know it’s shocking, but i don’t actually make any money writing this blog, and there are only so many hours in the day, so i need to find out a way to continue to post things of interest regularly. i’ve decided to add guest bloggers. to no surprise i have many friends who have an interest in food, and because my hope is to expand this blog into other areas than just my experiences, i am going to integrate submissions from other people. i want this blog to be more than just recipes and restaurant reviews, so i hope this is a way to further the scope of wild, fresh + tasty. my first guest blogger is my good friend elia. she has traveled the world, lived in many places (including italy, vietnam and mexico), has a great palete, and is an amazing cook. i look forward to more from her in the future.

dinner party menu by elia (recipes by peter hoffman)

my dearest gretchen (greta to me), author of this blog, has been my friend since college. i’m not going to tell exactly how long it has been, but suffice it to say—a while. we have seen each other through cross-country moves, overseas moves, love and heartache. greta has always inspired me. she is fearless, fun, and as all you readers know a fantastic cook.

our eating days began in college when greta worked at al’s breakfast, where i was the beneficiary of her breakfast griddle skills. i’ve watched with awe as greta has developed into a true gourmand, and while i have always liked cooking, i have poor knife skills and my timing doesn’t always work out. imagine my surprise and honor when greta invited me to be a guest blogger on her site.

at the moment i live in mexico city, but for this blog however, i’ve chosen a sephardic menu, inspired by morocco. the recipes are tried and true favorites of peter hoffman, chef extraordinaire. i made his zucchini and spicy harissa, and for the first time i made the harissa at home, opposed to buying it store-bought. the zucchini was roasted, then once cooled, chopped and warmed again on the stove with the harissa. i will say it was awesome. a word of warning: it wasn’t too spicy for my mexican friends, but i would guess it would be too spicy for my minnesota friends. this is not a pejorative statement, just a statement on who is used to spice and who is not. i also made the wonderful carrot dish, the mushrooms with the walnut herb paste, and of course the most amazing chicken dish. i will say that this chicken dish is something i’m famous for making…thank you peter hoffman.

i am my mother’s daughter and my mom always set the table the night before. i didn’t do it the night before, but i did set it first thing this morning. i have to say this is a great way to get that out of the way and you start to feel like the dinner party is well in hand.

next i headed to mercado medellin. this is one of my favorite local markets, and one of the reasons is that they carry caribbean products.

carribean section

nuts + spices

pile of ancho chiles + other ingredients

squash blossom + other produce

smiling chicken man

the dishes don’t really take that much time, but there is a good amount of prep. i will say that this menu of peter hoffman’s is one my favorites. it was originally part of a food & wine passover recipe collection… and it is awesome for pesach, but i make it all the time, all year round.

roasted carrots and zucchini with spicy harissa

sautéed mushrooms with walnut herb paste

chicken with olives, raisins + onions

the only thing wrong with this meal is that i didn’t get to share it with my darling greta.  i just hope that one of these days we’ll get to cook together again.

buen provecho.