Inger invited me to join her dinner club as a guest this weekend, filling in for an absent member. I had been waiting for this invitation forever, it is a bit like being called up to the majors. And the group did not disappoint!
This Dinner Club has been running continuously for about the last 15 years. Each month, a different member is the host and provides the main course. The other 5 members take on a different part of the meal (cocktail, starter, soup/salad, dessert and wine). The members challenge each other to move beyond their traditional cooking comfort zone, and tackle recipes that are difficult, complicated or unusual. And this is a member only dinner, no spouses allowed!
The menu was very seasonally oriented, as well as local – Inger used apricots from her backyard tree, Lisa’s ceviche included fish she caught herself in San Francisco, and Michelle’s dessert included locally grown, organic strawberries. Michelle and Marty brought a local wine for dinner. And, most of the ingredients for my soup came from my Two Small Farms veggie box (summer squash, potatoes, onions) along with mint from my backyard. Saturday’s dinner menu included:
Celebration Fizz – a lively cocktail with mandarin vodka, white grape juice and champagne
Mixed seafood Ceviche with avocado
Lamb Burgers with Pistachio-Apricot Relish (although Inger doctored the burgers a little differently, adding cilantro, white onion, chopped mint, shallot, lemon juice, cumin, allspice, and cayenne, along with a little olive oil)
It was a complete fluke that 4 out of the 5 recipes came from Epicurious!
We had three lovely bottles of wine, including a delightful Rioja and a Foxglove Zin. Coffee was served with dessert, and the whole party was over by 10:30 p.m. And the best part of the evening? Getting to sit with 5 other women who are as interested in cooking and talking about food as I am!
Are you in a dinner club? If so, how is yours organized? How did you get started and what are your “rules”?