Mah Jongg is not just a game. It has become a part of my life that allows me to entertain my Mah Jongg-playing friends, cook great meals to serve to them and test my mental skills during our game play (which, hopefully, is often).
I hosted Mah Jongg Wednesday yesterday – the first time since before I had surgery back in March. It was so great to have everyone here and we really had a great time.
Lunch was perfect for this horrible heat wave we are experiencing right now in NYC. The humidity is absolutely unbearable. We started out with a bottle of Cava, thanks to G – so nice to begin our lunch with a bit of bubbly, as she said. The first course was a chunky, spicy gazpacho with a dollop of sour cream (all recipes will be posted tomorrow) and cheese and different artisanal crackers. S1 brought some really fantastic crackers from a shop in Sag Harbor; they had a kick of spice in them – a perfect pairing with the spicy gazpacho and the cheese.
Spicy food seemed to be on today’s menu – the main course was Chicken Caprese Salad with a bit of a kick from the spicy bocconcini in it.And then it was time to get serious and sit down at the Mah Jongg table. There were five of us so I sat out the first few games and cleaned up the lunch dishes. Look how serious everyone is…you’d never know from these photos how much laughing went on today. I was thrilled to have a Jokerless hand today of 22 44444 666 8888 – it really doesn’t happen that often to any of us and everyone was excited for me. Then it was time for dessert and, as usual, I forgot to take photos. But it was the perfect dessert for this hot and humid day – a scoop of vanilla and a scoop of chocolate Talenti Gelato, a big drizzle of Sanders Hot Fudge (the BEST hot fudge ever and it is from Detroit!!!), and a big sprinkling of chopped salted peanuts – YUM!
And then the craziest thing happened…S1 exposed 7 Bam, Joker, Joker, 7 Bam. My turn came around and I had two 7 Bams in my hand that I exchanged for her two Jokers. Everyone oohed and aahed – how lucky to get two Jokers at the same time! A few moments later I exposed 4 Dot, Joker, Joker, 4 Dot – S1’s turn came and she exchanged her two 4 Dots for my two Jokers. Really? It’s rare enough that you can exchange two tiles for two Jokers in one turn, but two people doing it in the same game? Wow! But wait! Then S1 exposed 5 Bam, Joker, Joker, 5 Bam and when it was K’s turn, she exchanged two 5 Bams for the two Jokers. OMG – three times in one game!!! We really couldn’t get over it.
In spite of the heat and humidity (what ever was wrong with my A/C – or was it simply too hot and humid to get any relief?), we had a great day of Mah Jongg!
Since yesterday was my turn to host our weekly Mah Jong game and the weather is going “polar vortex” (a fancy way to say that it is really, really cold!), I decided to serve a true cold weather lunch. Using recipes from the Barefoot Contessa, I made her body-warming Tomato Soup. So easy and so delicious.
I needed something to serve with the soup and then I remembered an episode of Barefoot Contessa on The Food Network in which she had tried many different ways to make grilled cheese sandwiches but had finally come up with what she called “The Ultimate Grilled Cheese.” I thought that would be a perfect complement to the tomato soup so I brought out the panini maker (why I own this I really don’t know – I think I have used it all of once before) and made those sandwiches. Continue reading →
S hosted one of our wonderful “mahjathons” in the fall of 2012 – we drove out to Sag Harbor and cooked and played Mah Jongg and cooked and played Mah Jongg, etc., and barely slept for three days. We did venture out at one point and went for a sight-seeing tour of Sag Harbor and a little bit of shopping at the fabulous store, Bloom.
Every three or four months our Mahj group – made up of six very good friends (alternatively known as “The OMs” for original Mahjettes…or “Mahj Chicks” by Jim) – take off for parts unknown. Well, not really unknown…we have gone to S’s home in Sag Harbor, K’s home in Buck Hill, a home in Old Chatham and most recently, a home belonging to X’s relative in upstate New York.We spend three days and two nights really never leaving the host’s home, just playing Mahj from early, early morning to late, late night and cooking up a storm.