This last weekend, I hosted the first of what I hope will be many monthly supper clubs for other unemployed writers, artists, and musicians. Everyone was kind enough to bring a dish or two that they’d made. The theme was…well, there wasn’t really a theme. Themes are for people who receive remuneration in exchange for performing a service. You know, fancy assholes!
We put on a Louis Armstrong record and lit the DIY candles that I’d copied from a Readymade article on repurposing your dog’s earwax. We greeted our 8 guests—all wonderfully talented and devastatingly interesting friends we’ve met doing art shows and poetry readings—with a plate of cracked lasagne noodles topped with the rest of that jar of lemon curd someone gave me last Christmas. The noodles, being raw, were delightfully al dente (it’s so hard to get properly al dente noodles in this town—we need more Italians, for sure!) and the almost fermented funkiness of the curd really gave them intrigue. My friend Louise remarked that she’d had something at Alinea last year, when the rich guy she was blowing flew her to Chicago for the weekend. Well, blush blush, Louisa! I swear I wasn’t even trying.
Bennie X, a graffiti artist who sleeps in an abandoned food trailer, is SUCH an amazing mixologist. He brought a wonderful cocktail he created out of flat Sprite and the small portion of vanilla extract that he managed to prevent himself from drinking for its 50% alcohol content! Deeeelish! The genius he is, he even improvised with a peppery sprig of spider fern from our neighbor’s porch. He makes his own moonshine, too, with corn he steals from the dumpster behind HEB. Even though it’s not organic, it is totally authentic in that it makes you blind almost instantly.
Steffy made kimchi enchiladas. What a fusiony treat these were, OMG. As the corn tortillas had been in the back of her fridge for several months, they had great chew. And the kimchi was fizzy and om nom nom nom. Nom. (How many of those are you supposed to do?) These went perfectly with Zaira’s mustard tostadas—we all agreed that the most common ingredient in any out-of-work artist’s fridge is a forgotten bag of tortillas in the back of the second shelf, behind the stock you made from that really big carrot you got tired of eating once.
Our friends Dinah and Calvin showed up—what a delightful surprise! Dinah’s lupus usually keeps her in the house and Calvin’s constant crying has had him positively swamped lately, but they managed to throw together an amaaaazing main course of decorative kale they found growing in front of St. David’s, garnished with dog park mushrooms.
Between heaving dry sobs, Calvin confessed he felt the dish was missing something, but I improvised with a box of Kikkoman tempura flakes that I got from a food expo in May, and the bottle of safflower oil that’s been laying on its side in the cabinet above the stove since before we moved in. Yessss! The deep fry gave the fungus just the right texture to bring out its slightly bucolic assets.
Meanwhile, Nat poured from a bottle of 2002 Barbaresco he’d opened for an account earlier that day. Hint to all unemployed artists: marry, date, live near, or befriend anyone in the wine industry. They’ll keep you in good wine no matter what you can or can’t afford!
Granted, the Barbaresco was a bit young, but I personally felt that the thick grape tannins coating my teeth gave me the feeling of being full, which I was grateful for because no one likes a fat AND poor person, except Republican presidential candidates.
For dessert, we had our friend Abacus whip up one of his famous Nutter Butter Brown Bettys! Even though he’s, like, this close to getting funding to open a food trailer based entirely on this one treat, he was kind enough to let me share the recipe with you. (See below.)
All in all, I’d say it was a pretty successful first supper club. Maybe next month we’ll do it at Bennie X’s trailer, or in the parking lot behind the Reid’s Dry Cleaning, which is where Calvin swears there’s a field of dandelion greens growing wild for the taking. Yummers!
Until then, enjoy Abacus’s soon-to-be famous treat:
Nutter Butter Brown Betty
4 packages of Nutter Butters, crushed from being at the bottom of an old backpack, or under a bus seat, or whathaveyou
10 packets of Sugar in the Raw
12 oz. coffee (hint: if you are checking the bus tubs at your neighborhood coffeeshop, look for the leftover mugs of people who used cream. The dairy will create an interesting caramelizing effect.)
Layer ingredients in a…whatever. Put in preheated oven on 350 for 25 minutes. Serve immediately, preferably with a scoop of some food blogger’s homemade ice cream. Just tell them you’ll barter it for a day of nonstop Tweeting about how “amaaaazing” it is.