The supper club Dan & I are part of, known as Memento, started it's second year tonight in a slightly new incarnation. There's been some changes in the "cast" and the rules, but the food is still the star.
Tonight's hosts, Anna & Jason selected a theme of 'Childhood Favorites' to kick things off, and everyone delved deep into their memories to share flavors that brought smiles to their faces as kids - and to our faces tonight.
Anna, Jason & Otis shared with us a trio of mini tacos representing their childhood favorites.
Anna gave us an amuse bouche version of the taco her Mom made her as a kid
Otis' love of mashed potatoes and gravy translated into a mashed potato taco with gravy on top
And Jason's childhood love of cream tuna on toast became a delicous little fish taco with crema
Our second appetizer came from our guest - Shannon. One of the changes to Memento is that the second appetizer will always be a guest of the host, trying their hand at the Memento concept for the first time.
Shannon seriously delivered with a mouthwatering dry-rubbed pork rib, oven roasted due to the cold, wet weather (as opposed to her preferred barbeque technique). It's been a favorite of hers since childhood, and is one of the few meat items her son Soren enjoys, and it was clear why. Spicy, sweet, moist and amazing, with homegrown coriander, cumin, fennel and brown sugar.
Gerald & Liz combined childhood faves into a steak 'Crying Tiger' salad.
Served on her good China (representing her Chinese heritage), butter lettuce wrapped around heirloom tomatoes and perfectly cooked steak, which we dipped in a tamed down (but still hot) sauce of roasted chilies.
The Manta-Kennedy clan treated us to a Shirley Temple (Zoe & Logan's fave) to start off our first entree course...
A Roasted Pork Loin (a staple of David's childhood)...
A side dish of the filling from Carolyn's family Spanikopita recipe (the secret ingredient is... SECRET!)...
And a ramekin of panko topped macaroni & cheese, featuring mushrooms and truffle oil.
James, Marcy & Penelope translated a love of steak into a buffet steak tartare, with every possible topping.
Cream cheese, capers, red onion, green onion, hard boiled egg, anchovies... it was all there to further elevate the raw, shaved steak
And for the dessert, course, Dan & I shared a duo of chocolate decadence, translating Dan's childhood love of Hostess Ding Dongs and my penchant for chocolate chip mint ice cream.
The ladies were served an organic Dagoba chocolate sorbet, while the gentlemen enjoyed a Guittard chocolate ice cream, each homemade and topped with candied mint leaves.
The ding-dong began as a flourless chocolate cupcake, which I filled via a piping bag with homemade marshmallow fluff, then covered with melted bittersweet chocolate to create a hard chocolate coating.
We also shared a bottle of Chocovine that we purchased at The Herbfarm last week - a mixture of red wine, chocolate and milk that's winning awards, despite how dubious it sounds.
3 egg whites
2 cups light corn syrup
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
In large bowl of an electric mixer, add egg whites, corn syrup, and salt. Using your electric mixer on high speed, mix for approximately 5 minutes or until the mixture is thick and volume has almost doubled. On low speed, add powdered sugar and mix until well blended. Add vanilla extract just until well blended. Use immediately, freeze, or refrigerate in a covered container for 1-2 weeks.
Imperfect Paradise by Dan Dembiczak - I'm so proud of Dan Dembiczak, whose first novel - Imperfect Paradise - is available for sale in both eBookor Paperback on Amazon.com! The story follows ...