advent journal: a shared table


a shared table

It is not news to say I love to cook for people. I have told the story of our Thursday Night Dinners many times. As I have tried to negotiate life without a regular income, two friends from church, Gus and Mike, suggested we host ticketed dinners where I cooked and people paid to be a part of the evening. Mike and Kristin, his wife, hosted one about a month ago. Gus and Sarah, his wife, hosted one tonight. My friend Lisa was my kitchen partner for both of them.

I have called the events “A Shared Table” because the idea is not that I decide what to cook and then people come, but people sing up and then I decide what to cook based on their food needs and preferences. Tonight, for example, several in the group were pescatarians and one was allergic to gluten. Rather than create a menu and then make special dishes, I wanted a menu that was made for everyone. Rather than think about it as what I had to do without, I chose to see the limitations as an opportunity for creativity.

Eighteen people gathered for dinner tonight. I have spent the day in the kitchen, with the occasional check of World Cup scores. I am tired–in a good way–so tonight’s post is a photographic journey through the menu for the evening.

We started with appetizers: a smoked trout paté (smoked trout, celery, parsley, capers, lemon juice, crushed red pepper flakes–sorry, no picture), and two pick up appetizers: chai-spiced sweet potato slices with goat cheese and date and olive tapenade, and apple slices with brie and balsamic walnut brittle.

The first course was a roasted beet, carrot, and sweet potato soup that had ginger, garlic, and oranges in it. I topped with a little sour cream and a fried sage leaf.



The second course was a winter salad of baked delicata squash, ruby red grapefruit slices, Brussels sprouts shavings, and a lemon maple vinaigrette. (Gus made the maple syrup.)



The third course was a tostone (twice-fried green plantain) topped with roasted pineapple guacamole and then a piece of lemon-chili baked cod and a mango chimichurri sauce.



Lastly, we served a chocolate risotto with whipped marsacpone, caramelized sugar, and a parmesan sail.




And then we hung out and talked for two hours after we were finished eating.

It was a good night.


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