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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Another Fantastic St. Patrick's Day Green Dinner

Carl Mindling did it again. He hosted another Green Dinner on St. Patrick's Day and it was a smashing success! This year he made the entire meal a potluck (based on the success of last year's Funky Food Potluck) so we each put on something green to wear and made something green to eat.

We had so much fun! I really can't recommend enough that if you love to eat and have friends who love to cook this is a great tradition to start. This year's guest list was Carl and Kim as our host and hostess and Carl's wedding industry colleagues wedding photographer Joe Homsy, wedding photographer Mike Danen and wedding DJ Robert Kusters along with their wives. I went solo because the menu was simply too fancy and weird for hubby to want to come along. He went to Mojo Burger instead. LOL

Carl and his wife Kim decked their house in festive colors and decor.

Even the appetizers had their own green napkins to kick off the celebration.

Carl had another mind blowing appetizer buffet set up for us when we arrived. From bright green olives to artichokes, baked kale, cornichons, olive tapenade, and pistachios we had so many green bites to sample!

One of my favorites is always his white bean hummus, turned a lovely shade of green served with crackers speckled with green herbs. This year there was a second cream cheese spread with bright green chives peeking out.

A new favorite were these pesto and goat cheese baguettes.

And so simple yet so delicious. Slices of avocado with a dollop of sour cream dusted with spices.

The bed of red onion rings gave the avocado just a hint more flavor. I ate three of them.

Guests Joe and Diane brought this beautiful Kale and Cauliflower Soup.

We also had a loaf of the Garlic Herbed Artichoke Bread from Norm's Bakery in Pescadero.

Mike and Sally brought a Kale Salad with sunflower sprouts and sliced red onions in a citrus vinaigrette.

Carl also made his Asparagus Vinaigrette garnished with hard boiled egg yolk.

How to make my new favorite creamy pesto pasta dish.

And I made the Avocado Pesto Pasta I posted about yesterday. It was SO EASY! The cool thing is that the pesto is creamy but it doesn't have any dairy in it. You add avocado to the pesto ingredients then blend them together in a food processor. I found the recipe on the Chef Chloe website via Pinterest but am going to give it here because of two modifications I made to Chef Chloe's recipe:


1 pound linguine
1 bunch fresh basil, remove and use the leaves (dispose of the stems)
   (Reserve 2 leaves to garnish a large bowl, or as many as you need for individual plates)
1/2 cup raw cashew nuts
2 ripe avocados, pitted and peeled
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

To Prepare

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add linguine and cook according to package directions. (Save 1 cup of the hot water in case you need to loosen the pasta a bit by adding more liquids) Drain in a colander and set aside.

While the water boils, make the pesto by combining basil, cashews, avocados, lemon juice, garlic, and oil in a food processor. Process until nice and smooth. The nuts will pop out a bit as you sample it but mixed in with the pasta their texture disappears. Season generously with salt and pepper. It should taste just a bit more strong than you want it to be so that when it mixes with the pasta the flavor doesn't become too diluted.

In a large mixing bowl, and while the pasta is warm, not hot, toss the pasta with the pesto. Carl showed me how using tongs works best to achieve this task. Taste test a bite to make sure you don't need to add more salt or pepper.

No Dairy Vegan Pesto Avocado Pasta

Move to a serving bowl and serve hot. This pasta was amazing! It tasted like fresh pesto but the both the flavors of the basil and garlic and texture were softened by the avocado so the overall takeaway was one of pesto but oh so creamy.

It was so good I'm making it again tonight! As Chef Guy Fieri would say: Winner winner pasta dinner!

We definitely ate healthy last night! We also talked about other fun pot luck dinners we could plan in the future like a red dinner for Valentine's Day or a "Your favorite food as a kid but now you realize it wasn't really that great" pot luck dinner.

For dessert Robert and Susan brought a Key Lime Pie and made fresh whipped cream. It was the first time Robert had used this particular recipe. It was the bomb. Seriously. Joe even applauded when he finished his slice. It was that good. LOL

I hope this post and last year's dinner inspires you to arrange a green dinner of your own next St. Patrick's Day! If it does be sure to let me know and send me pictures! I'd love to see them.

And check out 2014's A glorious, green, St. Patrick's Day, potluck dinner. The post includes links to many of the recipes.

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