Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Innaugural Hopes

The living room of the Forkable International Headquarters was filled with Hope on Sunday night. Hope for our nation, and the belief in one man to help usher in a new more prosperous day for all Americans. The evening also held the hopes of one small Chicagoan that the evening of food and fun she had planned for so long would be successful. There was hope a group comprised mostly of strangers would be comfortable and mingle with ease in her. Most importantly, she felt hope that she had made enough food for all the soon to arrive guests and that it was good food, not crap.

As I thought of my own hopes, I wondered about those of my guests, most of whom, thanks to the TimeOut Chicago publicity, I had never met before. Where they nervous about going to a stranger's house? Where they experiencing any of the last minute social anxiety I was having about meeting so many new people at once. I hoped they were as excited as I was.

I can only wish our countries hopes are answered as wonderfully as mine were Sunday night. Everyone had a great time and loved the food, so they say. I was very proud of the fare.

Photo by Alyssa Miserendino

The appetizer of curried Butternut squash served in a mug sided with a freshly baked bread stick was a hit.

Photo by Alyssa Miserendino

The warm taste of the toasted curry was a subtle but nice sensation to balance the sweet of the squash as well as warm the tummy on a cold winter night. The entre of personal lamb meatloaf medallions also fit a blustery winters eve with its hearty homey feel, made slightly exotic with the middle eastern spices.

The lamb meatloaf prepared with thyme, rosemary, sumac and and a medley of vegetables was served over a dollop of beer braised fennel and potato mash with toasted anise and black caraway seed. Delicious lemon gravy and a garnish of mint pistachio gremolata gave the hearty meal a fresh lightness and a touch of sweet.

The dessert was perhaps the biggest hit. The deep fried "oreos" made of a chocolate wafer sandwich filled with a cream cheese filling was served with vanilla ice cream and drizzled with pomegranate syrup, fresh pomegranates and thyme. The crispy cookies melted in the deep fry and were decadently cakey. The tart pomegranate offset the sweet of the cookie and ice cream and was beautifully finished by the aromatic subtlety of the thyme. At least that's what I was going for. Recipes to follow soon, I promise.

I had all the food ready to go and thanks to the efforts of my amazing kitchen comrades, Meg Gustafson (above left) and Shayna Swanson (right), the evening was very smooth. The courses came one after the other as one would hope. Thanks so much for all your help guys!

Stay tuned for more photos of actual guests (yes, there were people who filled up the empty dining room) and for recipes for all the treats. But right now, I've got to get ready to watch the Inauguration ceremony.


Jess said...

Andrea- Your inauguration party sounded wonderful and the food looked fantastic! Happy Inauguration Day!

Andrea said...

Oh jeesh! I just realized I never thanked Ira for his help. Besides breaking his back helping serve, host and dishwash for the events, living with me, he has his hands full talking me down in my pre-event stress outs. Thanks Ira for all your hard work and support. YOU are the best!

Anonymous said...

Wowee was this delicious! The lamb meatloaf was certainly my favorite, and the fried oreo a close second. I met all sorts of interesting new people and had a generally lovely time at this forkable event. Thanks so much!

carolinetcasey said...

Thanks Andrea for opening up your lovely home again to a group of hungry strangers and serving such a delicious and thoughtful meal. Your concept and menu were both fun, unique and executed flawlessly! The lamb meatloaf medallions were killer.

I can't wait to come back to another dinner party whenever you host next.. it's a great Chicago experience where you end up meeting cool people and bonding over the shared experience and amazing cuisine!