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Sunday, March 16, 2014

A glorious, green, St. Patrick's Day, potluck dinner

It's not too late! Call or message your foodie friends and see if they want to get together for a green dinner tomorrow for St. Patrick's Day!

My foodie friend Carl Mindling has been hosting Green Dinners for years. This was the third I'd attended. In past years he prepared all or most of the food. But a few years ago we decided a potluck might be more fun because Carl has lots of friends who love to cook and bake. . . So here we were celebrating last evening. The appetizers were enough to be a dinner all on their own...

Carl kicked off the evening with a new recipe that I loved: Avocado Hummus with toasted coriander and avocado oil

There were also plenty or ready to serve green options, a time saver if you don't go potluck and prepare everything yourself. Fried green beans with sea salt, shelled pistachios, green olives, and crackers for the hummus and spreads weren't green but were served in a beautiful green bowl.

Carl also tried this new recipe: Avocado Lime Deviled Eggs. He used a piping bag so his were even prettier than the ones in the original recipe he found online.

More ready to serve options: Peperoncini, artichoke tapenade, pickled artichoke hearts, and cornichons with pearl onions.

Dinner guest Andy brought two dishes starting with what he called "Green Cheese." It was buratta cheese with a homemade pesto on top that blended together as you dipped crackers into the mix. It was fantastic!

Carl also made an Avocado Chimichurri Bruschetta. I'd like to share two things about this recipe:

1. Anytime you would make guacamole or use avocado's in Mexican food I'd try this recipe instead. It's lighter, different, and a nice change of pace.

2. This recipe comes from Vegetarian Times. A lot of people dismiss vegetarian recipe sources because they're meat eaters. But not every dish has to have meat in it to be outstanding so maybe take a peek at a vegetarian cookbook, magazine, or cooking website from time to time. You may be pleasantly surprised.

It was so gorgeous I had to give you a close up :)

Andy also made a Sorrel Soup. While not as bright and vivid as the Nettle Soup he made at a previous green dinner, it was delicious with a distinct citrus note that comes from the sorrel itself. I love how Andy is always stretching our taste buds to try things we've never tasted before.

This was my contribution. A Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad via Pizza Antica. It was a lot of work because you have to peel apart the Brussels Sprouts leaf by leaf. I quickly discovered the easiest way to do this was:

1. Cut the end of the stem off to release some of the lower leaves.
2. Place the sprout in a med/large bowl of cold water because the leaves come apart more easily. Peel off as many leaves as possible. They're not going to just fall apart, you have to gently ease them apart without tearing them.
3. Cut the stem again releasing the rest of the leaves and repeat step 2.

The salad also includes caramelized red onions. hard boiled egg, herb bread croutons (I made mine from a loaf of Acme Herb Slab), and a vinaigrette also made from scratch.

Carl reprised the Avocado Pesto Pasta dish I'd made at his 2012 Green Dinner. It's a non dairy creamy pasta sauce made with avocados and fresh basil that tastes bright, fresh, and can be a side dish or main course.

Our new friend Paige brought a Green Mole Chicken dish. It was very good. It complemented the salad and the pasta and kept the green theme intact through each course.

After dinner Carl stepped out of his cooking chef's hat and baked a Key Lime Pie... From scratch! It was a two person endeavor with his wife Kim making a to-die-for, gluten free, graham cracker crust from scratch, and Carl baking the pie not once but twice due to a pietastrophe during his first attempt. If you know him you should ask him about it sometime. LOL it's a good story.

Each slice of pie was topped off with freshly whipped coconut milk whipped cream. It was a perfect ending to another successful Green Dinner. We enjoyed our pie gathered around a campfire Carl had stoked earlier in the evening in his backyard.

So what are you waiting for? There's still time to plan your own green dinner for tomorrow night! If you throw one let me know and send some photos. I'll add them to this post.

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