Monday, November 15, 2010

Sunday Supper Club

We started a tradition this year we affectionately call, "Family Dinner." We tend to have long, stressful weeks and cut loose on Friday and Saturday - what better than to relax and decompress with friends over food, wine and Sunday night football to finish off the week and start the next week renewed?

The point is that we get to hang out and enjoy each other's company at least one night of the week. Eating out and ordering pizza is not considered faux pas. However, it's also a great opportunity to develop entertaining and culinary skills. Nick and I sometimes take that very seriously.

One of the first forays into family dinner, Nick decided to use his new knife and do something simple but delicious.


Met Market had these gorgeous heirloom tomatoes so we thought that simple tomatoes drizzled with oil would be a nice starter along with crusty bread to sop up the extra oil.

Entrée and Sides

Nick made a spaghetti dish with Dungeness crab, mint and chilies. Now this either sounds heavenly to you or a bit weird but the mint incorporated in the dish cools off the heat of the chilies and balances well with the sweetness of the crab and saltiness of the shaved parm heaped on top. It's simple, delicious but with complex enough flavors to be interesting. For sides, he had heirloom carrots drizzled with a honey vinaigrette and roasted beets with a sauce made from the carrot tops.


I made a peanut butter, chocolate banana cream pie. It had a tasty vanilla wafer cookie crust with layers of chocolate pudding/mousse, peanut butter cream, bananas, whipped cream topped with toasted walnuts and crumble. I think it was going to be normal banana cream pie but someone requested chocolate to be added. Very easy to make since I used storebought pudding mix instead of homemade pudding and also delicious and homey-tasting.

Takeaway? We learned that our friends are f-ing picky.

Some people don't like bananas. Some don't eat raw tomatoes or essentially tomatoes that aren't in sauce or ketchup form. A bunch of our friends can't eat spicy food and are a 1 or 2 star in thai food ordering-speak. Many of our friends have fungi aversions and aren't fan of mushrooms while others do not eat seafood. Vince is allergic to shrimp. A few friends of mine are gluten intolerant. A few other friends (who haven't come to family dinner) are not adventurous with food at all. It turned out that the vegetarians tend to be the least picky (aside from Nick and Skyeward), funny enough.

I thought it was funny to have a chart of allergies, food aversions and general pickiness for our friends although some pals were not amused.

The next supper club, we made a taco bar. Easy to add what you want and not add tomatoes if you hate raw tomatoes. The food was gorgeous, fun and delicious but unfussy; the real takeaway was that we decided to rethink our approach to family dinner and not to be as experimental or different unless we have the right audience to eat our food. And we've since had delicious dinners cooked by Tiff, Beth and Vince, delicious desserts by Bernadette as well as more meals cooked by Nick and I.
I encourage you to start your own supper club with friends as an informal way to practice cooking, entertaining or just a relaxing way to end your week even if you're having beers and pizza or takeout thai food. Or if you're a friend of mine, come join us by hosting family dinner or asking to be invited! Enjoying food together is amazing but just being together is the key.

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