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Saturday, September 19, 2009
Tonight we hosted the 4th installment of Memento Meal - a dinner party idea that grew into a dinner club, and has now even inspired a second group.
For our theme, we went with the obvious: tropical. But to mix it up a bit and create a challenge, we added a rainbow theme - with each course representing a color of the rainbow, starting with red for the first appetizer, and ending with a purple inspired dessert. Since we're 5th in the rotation this time around, that put us as the blue course, which we thought would be the toughest, so only polite that we take it.
The evening began with a RED appetizer by Kristin, representing the double rainbows of Hawai`i. It included pickled ginger, a delicious ahi poke, bbq pork, and a red cocktail in an ice shot glass, along with some nori strips.
Next up was the ORANGE second appetizer courtesy of James & Marcy: Orange Gazpacho served in an Orange Bell Pepper, with homemade citrus-honey mayo, sweet potato chips, and a herb-crusted chanterelle mushroom. Here's the info from James & Marcy about their dish:
"The gazpacho was made with a few pounds of orange tomatoes, two large lemon cukes, a handful of garlic cloves, green basil, about a half cup of a mix of red onion and shallot, two ounces or so of good evoo, about an ounce of champagne vinegar. The chopped veggies are mixed together and chilled before it all goes into the processor. It was garnished with a purple basil leaf, an orange cherry tomato, chopped orange bell pepper, a spray of balsamic vinegar and a drizzle of evoo. Marcy made a mayo and then flavored it with orange rind, orange juice, and honey. Pan-fried sweet potato waffle slices. An mixed-herb-rolled chantrelle."
The YELLOW salad course was created by David & Carolyn: Saffron quinoa salad with starfruit, golden raisins, and cucumber
Next was the GREEN first entree courtesy of Gerald & Jacqui: Ultra-authentic green curry with chicken and thai eggplant, paired with a honey/kombucha iced tea garnished with kaffir lime leaf. The dish was inspired by a Thai friend from Canada, who shared his family recipe. They went to long lengths to acquire all the ingredients and work them into a paste using a mortar & pestle - and the extra work definitely showed in the delicious dish.
The BLUE second entree was ours, and evolved during the planning to become a Black & Blue Plate Lunch: Blue corn crab cake served over black 'forbidden' rice, topped with a pineapple and blueberry salsa (using blueberries from my Mom's garden), a blue potato chip with lightly seared bluefin tuna and a sprinkling of Hawaiian black lava salt over some homemade mayo & Sriracha sauce, and a scoop of blue potato-mac salad with black truffle salt (using All Blue potatoes from Olsen Farms). And it wouldn't be a proper blue tropical meal without a proper Blue Hawaiian, so Dan headed up the mixology for us and made some reportedly strong but delicious cocktails.
We rounded out the evening with a PURPLE dessert courtesy of Jason & Anna: Purple Mangosteen clafouti topped with a candied violet and beet-dyed cane sugar, with homemade coconut vanilla ice cream served in the mangosteen shell, and garnished with star fruit, kiwi, and banana on a hosta leaf.
Jason referred to the clafouti as a 'not-quite-clafouti' because of the ommission of flour, sugar and salt. Otherwise, it contained egg, vanilla, milk and lemon zest.
(Mangosteen is known by some as the queen of tropical fruit. The king is durian.)
Everything was, as always, incredible, and Dan & I had a wonderful time hosting. Even Caesar got into the theme by wearing a rainbow lei all night (though he spent most of the evening in the back room on his perch.)