Tonight was my first dinner with foodies. And it was fantastic. For this month's theme I thought something in honor of fall would be appropriate. Something warm and cuddly, zesty and full of life. Something.....Orange. I left it open to interpretation, be it color or flavor or inspiration or..... other than a few messages back and forth to figure out who was doing which course there was complete creative freedom with the food.
Things were snug as we managed to squeeze everyone into my kitchen...everyone had been asked to wear something orange and the decor helped to set the mood. Our apero started with paprika chips and mimosas made with fresh squeezed oj. Then we moved on to the baked Cajun Sweet Potato fries I made with a creme fraiche and chive dip (sorry, no photos of that one, it went pretty quickly). Sadly, they didn't crisp up the way the recipe I was following said they would. They were tasty nonetheless (I loves squishy fries!) but I will have to play around with the recipe a bit more next time. The cajun seasoning recipe I found (thank you Emeril!) was truly delicious and mixed up a huge batch which will be put to good use in the future. Cajun omlettes, cajun chicken, cajun matzah ball soup, cajun frozen pizza...the possibilites are endless. ;)
Next we moved on to Kiriel's Thai Pumpkin soup with coriander, lime, chili, and coconut milk. Not only was it pleasantly pastel orange but smooth, subtle, and full of flashes of flavor. All of the ingredients were coexisting in some sort of zen like harmony and just begged you to take another spoonful...Oh, come on, just one more. A very fresh take on a fall favorite.
After our soup we had a small bowl of roquette greens....with Oriental Orange Chicken and Seared Oranges sprinkled with sesame seeds and served with Carrot Miso dressing. A unique salad, I think perhaps next time I would toss in some bean sprouts and cabbage. The roquette seemed a little over powering as did the dressing. The dressing was very nice but upstaged the rest of the dish and might go better with a heartier dish. This salad might have done well with a light vinegarette. It might also make a nice cold pasta salad if done right.
Madame Claudia impressed us all with her Duck A L'Orange arriving shrouded in mystery and tin foil. What a pretty package to behold...what lovely oranges you have...and what tender juicy meat...THE BETTER TO EAT YOU WITH! Mike did a professional job on the carving of the duck and the rest of us polished off his handywork rather quickly.
Mark travelled the farthest to be here tonight, almost 3 hours from Zurich. Not only that but he dragged all of the ingredients along with him (as did Yolly, coming from Lausanne). Mark's Pad Thai seemed to appear from nowhere. There was a simple pile of raw materials on the table and less than 20 minutes later, voila! Pad Thai. Sweet, tangy and full of tofu goodness. Mike wowed us with a Malaysian curry. Quite different from the Indian one I made earlier this week. Full of flavor and spice, saucy and a good companion to the pad thai.
Last but CERTAINLY not least was our show stopper. Kiriel, she who owns a fantastic machine that the greeneyed IceCreamMonster lusts after, provided our dessert. A beautiful melange of champagne, mandarines, and candied mandarine peel sorbet. A feast for the eyes and the palette. And the perfect light end to a delicious convivial evening.
And then we all rolled home....with parting gift (chocolate covered orange peel photo to be placed later) in hand....
Orange you glad you read til the end of this post???