Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Dinner Shares

"Potlucks" are beautiful times of sharing and community. Everyone who comes is part-host, part-participant: the perfect combo for an interactive evening. It gives people ownership, it starts conversations, it gets people thinking about the evening before the evening even starts... 

But is that really what you think of when you hear "POTLUCK"?? I don't. 

What in the world does "potluck" mean?! Really. Potluck? It makes me think of someone being lucky enough to get the good pot of food out of all the 1970's Church Lady casseroles (not to knock all of those as a group... there might be some good ones). Or being lucky if there is any food left in the pot once you get through the line. The etymology claims that the first use meant "food provided for an unexpected or uninvited guest, the luck of the pot"... and perhaps faded into a mesh with the term "potlatch" which is a gift-giving ceremony. While potluck food is most definitely a gift, luck doesn't seem to connote the right atmosphere. Not only that but the historical term holds this unfortunate equation with faded jello based Betty Crocker amalgamations. Thus, we have changed the term to "dinner-share." 

The Empty House Studio dinner-shares have been fabulous. Whether we cook it together while sipping wine or bring it all prepared, the time of community and making is treasured by all who come. If you don't have enough money to host a full out menu for guests, perhaps this is a way you can open your home? Invite friends to participate while you host. Share in creating and eating together. 

We'd like to share a little with you all as well! Here are a few recipes (with their personalities attached) from friends at our recent dinner-shares:

GF Dumpling Soup 
(R. Anderson)
Here's a fairly bad scan of the chicken and dumpling soup. I followed the recipe for the most part, though I sub'd all purpose GF flour for the regular in the dumplings, and used "buttermilk" coconut milk instead of milk. Also I used probably double the broth (but I like broth!)--I added the extra at the end to achieve the desired consistency. 

Beef Tongue Stew (A. Clevenger)
(yeh, thats right... whens the last time you ate a tongue?!):

Celeriac Slaw with Apples and Onions (M. Perry) 
Peel a celeriac and cut into matchstick. Boil is salted h2o for 10 min till tender then throw in ice bath. 
Celeriac Slaw/ GF Dumpling Soup

Meanwhile Caramelize the onions. I used a red onion. Add the raisin at the last minute to get them a little softer. 

Toast the almonds in the oven (or buy toasted ones).

Toss everything together with a homemade vinaigrette (2 parts olive oil to one part acid -- sherry vinegar, tarragon vinegar, lemon juice, but balsamic is too strong) and salt and pepper to taste. 

I think that's what I did. I don't gave measurements though. I'm not that kind if cook. 

Kale Apple Salad (E. Lavigna & M. Schultz)
K, here is the "recipe." Don't be mad but I have zero idea about the dressing proportions.

Kale ("massaged" by Meredith, which is BS)
Shredded brussel sprouts (I buy these in a bag from Trader Joes, or you could just roughly chop)
Goat cheese

Orange juice
Olive oil
White wine vinegar
Dried thyme

You honestly just mix it up, more oil than OJ, more honey than salt. 

Guacamole (P. Rabinowitz)
3 avocados, mashed
1 medium-large onion, diced
1 medium tomato, diced
1 lime, squeeze 1/5 sections at a time to taste
cilantro, finely chopped (optional & to taste…I just use a pinch)
salt and pepper to taste
cumin to taste (start with 1 tsp if you’re sensitive to spice)
cayenne pepper to taste

When avocados are exposed to air they brown very quickly, so cover tightly if not eating right away. This is why some recipes say to put the pit(s) in the bowl of guac; the guacamole touching the pit is sealed off from the air.

Cheese and Appletizers
Brie and Appletizers (K. Maria)
Stack the following:
Cracker or crostini bread of choice
1/2 tablespoon of Brie or Soft Goat Cheese
Topped with a thin slice of a crisp/sweet apple like a Fuji. :)

Anna's Hummus (A. Goist)
I always double this recipe and make one big batch at a time (i.e.: 2 cans chick peas, etc. but usually stick to one lemon) - but here's the single version:
One 16oz can chick peas/garbanzo beans
1/4 c. (liquid measure) tahini
1/6 c. olive oil
juice of one lemon
3/4 tsp salt
1-2 cloves garlic
Drain but save water from chick pea can(s). Mix chick peas, tahini, garlic, olive oil & 1/6 cup of the chick pea water in a food processor & blend until slightly chunky. Stop and add the lemon juice. Begin processing again and gradually add saved water until desired consistency.