The All-Chocolate Dinner Party
Seeing as how the guests “ooh”-ed and “ah”-ed at the appropriate times, ate everything I served them, and then waddled out the door at the end of the evening, I’d say the chocolate dinner party was a success. It was a belated birthday party, and the birthday girl loves chocolate. Thus the theme ingredient.
For the most part, the chocolate in the dishes (with the exception of the birthday cake) provided an earthy richness and depth of flavor and not so much chocolate taste per se. There is not a lot out there in terms of chocolate vegetarian savory dishes that I could find, so it was a bit of a challenge to put dishes together, but I managed a few.
We started with a green salad, topped with chocolate-miso vinaigrette. It was loaded with garden leaves and herbs: endive, beet greens, basil, lemon basil, marjoram, arugula, fennel, green onions, and of course, flowers: snapdragons, pineapple sage and calendula blossoms.
The other cold appetizer was a dip made from canary beans I had purchased years ago in Ecuador at a grocery store. They tasted like a cross between a kidney and pinto bean. Blended with cumin, chili powder, hot sauce, semi-sweet chocolate, olive oil, garlic, onions, water, salt, and apple cider vinegar, they made an interesting, complex dip.
As I threw everything together yesterday, it was starting to taste annoyingly like the main course, which would have been redundant, and I was worried I would have to come up with a new main course at the last minute. Fortunately, I managed to tweak the dip enough so it ended up with a mildly spicy, sweet-sour flavor.
Sorry, no recipe, since I just threw things in, tasted, added, tasted, added some more, etc. until I said “Mmm” when I ate it. The deciding factor was my father’s more-like-the-general-public palate. When he said, “Yeah, that’s good,” I stopped.
(Hmm, looks like a chocolate cake crumb at the bottom of that menu above.)
Still to come: Chocolate Vegetable Soup, the main course, and the piece de resistance…birthday cake!