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chop block breadEast Meets West is one of those dinner themes that will come back in future Foodie Dinners. Although I love traditional or modern Southeast Asian dishes, many times, I also make dishes that are from a completely different part of the world. This dinner theme allows me to integrate my favorite dishes and serve together similar flavors from different countries.

Since June is the official start of Summer, I wanted to embrace our warm weather with some of my favorite Summer dishes. There is no question about it, chop block bread is tasty year-round! What differentiates it for each meal are the add-on ingredients that go into each loaf. Regardless of what I put into it though, one thing that remains the same is that it is always a hit at every gathering! This time, I made two versions – a tomato basil loaf and an apple cheddar loaf. The savory tomato basil loaf was a perfect complement to the fresh herbs in the cold cucumber soup and the slightly sweet and savory combination of the apple cheddar loaf went perfectly with the berries and quinoa salad.

cucumber soupAs my guests savored their refreshing cucumber soup and chop block bread, my daughter and I put the finishing touches on the salad – delicately layering spring mix greens with fresh dill and mint, then the dressed quinoa, and finally, the berries. The salad was met with delight at how the subtle flavors were blended to create a refreshing flavor burst with each bite.

berries and quinoa_saladThe “fun” part of the evening happened while I was cooking up the citrus chicken.  Yes, you are correctly noting a bit of sarcasm there. 😉 One of the hardest things to control in an apartment kitchen is the cooking ventilation. Even though the chicken was nowhere close to being burned, the fire alarm chose to make its presence known. Ahhhh! Thankfully, my guests were understanding. I’m sure as the host, I noticed it more than they did. My little helper was able to work on quickly silencing the fire alarms while I continued to tend to the chicken. Soon enough, we were back to music and cooking sounds as the backdrop to great conversations taking place at the dinner table. Phew!

coconut-riceAs the chicken was baking, I put the final touches on the coconut rice. Since last month’s rice creation was such a huge hit, I decided to serve another one. This time, I cooked white rice in coconut milk with raisins. I purposely chose dark raisins to add a golden color to the rice and heighten the sweetness of the coconut milk. When I was ready to serve it, I also added in some toasted coconut flakes and chopped basil to add some crunch and aromatics to thecitrus chicken dish. It was soooo good, you could almost have this as a stand alone dish! As soon as the chicken came out of the oven, we plated this and served our guests. The rice and chicken were a huge hit! When I sat down at dessert, one of my guests offered to come to the class if I held a workshop on how to make it. That’s one of the ways you know it was GRRRREEEAAAAT!

My Summer dessert consisted of Asian icees and cold watermelon wedges. Yum! My best description of the icee flavors is that they’re Asian tasting. So, I asked if my guests felt there was a difference in flavor between the red and the green syrups. The funniest response I got was, “Yes. One is more green flavor and the other is more red flavor!” Ha ha! Clearly, I am not the only one who can’t describe the flavors other than that they are sweet, just like an icee should be.

Thank you to my fabulous dinner guests who are so willing to share a part of their world with me and the other guests. You really do make the dinners fun and exciting! For those who have never been and are curious about the supper club experience, besides the delicious food that is served, a large part of the supper club experience is meeting new and interesting people. I have as many guests who come as singles on their own as there are groups of two or more. In addition, my guests are able to observe what I’m doing in the kitchen and ask questions while I’m putting each dish together. This is a great preview into my Cooking Workshops.

make sure to subscribe to my blog to stay current with my food happenings and send me a note if you want to be personally invited by email to the next Dinner with Foodie Friends. I hope to see you at my next event – Sunday Brunch on June 23. In the meantime, stay healthy and eat well!