The Dining Dish blog is Dara Bunjon's take on anything food, both national and in her hometown of Baltimore. Warning: this food blog can be harmful to your waistline.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Stimulate your cooking desires!

Do you love to cook but there are few people around you that share your passion, who understand why you sit by the TV waiting for the next Top Chef episode and they can’t comprehend why reading a cookbook to you is like reading a great novel? If you answered yes, then maybe it is time you start a culinary dinner club.

Shrimp Ball Soup - Photo by Brian Carmen

How to start a culinary dinner club

Starting a culinary dining group is simple, it is fun and a great reason to show off recipes you know and ones you want to try. Start small, reach out to friends and co-workers who like to cook, maybe 3 other people – if you know more, then invite them as well.

- Rotate hosting the gatherings at different homes
- The host gets to choose the theme (i.e. ethnic, regional, seafood, cookbook or celeb chefs recipes, spa cuisine, vegetarian etc.)
- The host can coordinate what dishes are coming to the dinner or choose not to (I don’t coordinate it….it is more fun.)
- Choose how often you want to hold them every 4 weeks, every 6 weeks –you get the picture?
- Voila – you have a culinary dinner group!

Over the years, I have been part of two such groups and always enjoyed them immensely: not only for the food but for the friendships.

I recently reached out to an acquaintance who I knew was into cooking and suggested we start a group. She would invite about 4 to 6 friends and I the same.

Tuesday night was an inaugural dinner at my house with the new group. Choosing a couple days before Thanksgiving to host it wasn’t the best choice of days and we had a couple of cancellations at the last minute. All-in-all, there were 6 of us including two guests (since there was so much food). The theme I chose was “Anything but Turkey.” Our dinner ended up being eclectic, fun and tasty.

The dishes for the evening:

-Oysters in a champagne cream with spinach served in an artichoke heart
-Vietnamese spring rolls with nuoc mam dipping sauce
-Shrimp ball soup (recipe link) - see photo above
-Russian herring and potato salad
-Honey truffle thyme marinated chicken thighs
-White asparagus with lemon zest
-Apricot almond cake - I have a link to the Kerrygold cookbook but you have to click on dessert tab and then on the apricot almond cake- here is the (link)

A miracle fruit experiment to wrap up the evening

Early this summer I participated in an experiment with the magic berry, a taste altering fruit which contains miraculin. It alters your tongues perception of sour and bitter foods making them sweet. MiracleUK company from Great Britain sent me a complimentary pouch of the freeze-dried miracle fruit. After the culinary dinner posse had eaten we tried the experiment. I kept it simple, each was given some of the powder that they left on there tongue for a minute or so, then I gave them a slice of lemon to suck on and a taste of vinegar, both became sweet to them.

Let us know what your culinary groups do or any suggestions for people putting a group together.

For more info:

If you are a member of http://www.facebook/ check out my “Love to Cook” group.

Miracle Fruit: I have written about the miracle fruit in past posts in greater detail and here is the full story and also another one I posted on Gordon Ramsey’s reaction to the magic berry.

Purchase Miracle Fruit:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a fun idea!


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