Friday, September 9, 2011

Diner en Blanc - Seattle

A friend of ours invited us to a Diner en Blanc. It is a couple of weeks off, she said, it should be fun. Everything this friend suggests ends up being fun but I didn't know what a Diner en Blanc was. It is a dinner party of sorts, she explained. The location is kept secret until the night of the event. Everyone wears white. All the decorations are white. Each group brings their own food, table, tableware, utensils and lighting; it originated in Paris.

I went home and started googling around because, well, isn't that what everyone does when they hear about something interesting and new? After that I started seeing articles on it and some blog posts. It is a flash mob (or smart mob?) of sorts, I learned. But you get to hang out, chat and eat delicious food with wonderful people instead of doing a weird 80s dance to bad music. It sounded potentially wonderful and given that it involved food and originated in Paris, how could you go wrong?

Our friend who was table captain cleverly invited all her friends who are mildly obsessed with food; people who might do absurd things to bring excitement to a meal, even if they have to drag it to a park.

My contribution was appetizers for our party of twelve. Pablo's Coctel de Camarones, Chile Garlic Peanuts and a slight derivation on Peach, Prosciutto and Ricotta (I used Crème fraiche). The first two appetizers were constructed on site as they couldn't really be put together early without too much degradation of quality. I constructed the shrimp cocktails and a friend put together the crostini.

Another couple brought cantaloupe soup made by cooking the cantaloupe in apricot nectar, adding some spices and half & half. It was then pureed and served with fresh mint and yogurt. It was sweet and tangy and creamy and my favorite course, except possibly for the coffee served at the end of the evening.

Someone in the party brought a grill so we could have a hot main course, cooking a beautiful slab of salmon on it. They served it with two salads; a quinoa and corn salad, as well as a zucchini salad with parmesan, feta and fresh dill.

After that came the cheese. Four cheeses, fresh figs dribbled with honey, crackers, pickled homemade cherries and a mango chutney. Bread and a butter spread was passed around as well.

Finally, for dessert we were each handed a mason jar. Inside was a pile of beautiful blueberries and underneath, a delicious lime curd. And to end the evening we had percolated coffee that was cooked on the grill. All the food was delicious but that coffee was the culinary fete of the evening.

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