Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Dinner For Eight Dilemma

A couple of years back, we were invited to join a dinner group. Those who know me know that I'm not a chef. I'm barely a cook. I love to cook, but am only secure when following a recipe. I rarely venture into "I wonder what would happen if I put some _____ in this dish?" comfort zone doesn't really reach that far. And, for some reason it seems I can use every pot and utensil in the kitchen to boil water. So, as you can imagine this has been a great learning experience for me. Here's how it works:

Once every three months--give or take--we'll get together at one of our homes, open some wine and see what we've turned out. The host picks out the menu--based on a theme--and assigns a dish to each couple. We've discovered some terrific recipes, and have had themes on:
  • Oktoberfest
  • Hawaiian
  • Breakfast for dinner
  • Cranberries (each dish used cranberries in some way)
  • A touch of gold (everything on the menu had to have a hint of yellow/gold)
When my turn came around to pick the menu last year, I decided I wanted to learn to cook Thai. Never had, and neither had anyone in the group. It ended up being one of our favorites. Here are the dishes, with links to all recipes (conveniently gathered from the web) in case you'd like to give any of them a try.

Appetizer: Best Spring Rolls, courtesy Darlene Schmidt
Salad: Rick's Thai Cucumber Salad, courtesy Rick Scott
Entree: Thai Red Chicken Curry, courtesy TheKnackeredChef
Dessert: Thai-style Creme Caramel, courtesy Darlene Schmidt

Now for my dilemma: It's my turn again. I need a theme. Anybody?

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