December 31 is always a special day. It usually brings last minute invitations to either go out to a friends place or an invite to join us. There is laughter, games, ultimately a countdown, hugs, kisses and perhaps even some singing!
This year was a little different because instead of last minute, we planned over a month in advance! The reason? We made this one of our supper club events!
If you don't know what a supper club is, well, let me fill you in on what we do.
This club was started about 15-years ago with a murder mystery themed evening. The eight participants, dressed up as members of the roaring 20's. I still remember my sister putting pin curls in my hair! We have a picture, I'll have to get it on here.
That evening was so loved, that we decided to continue it. There are four couples and each couple hosts once a year. So, once a year, one couple will come up with a 'theme' and do the whole enchilada! From specialty drinks, to appetizers, to soup and/or salad, to the main course, to dessert and coffee. For one evening a year, we have our work cut out for us. One rule is: you must make items that you have never made before. (it gets broken from time to time :)) This rule has prompted us to try to make and to eat foods that we have never done/had before. We have enjoyed chocolate appetizers, deep fried pickles/cheese, eaten with our hands (Giant turkey drumsticks), had curried soups and oh, so much more! Our tastebuds have expanded and even our shrubbery avoiding participant has stretched outside his palate comfort zone and nibbled on things like roasted red cabbage and broccoli infested dishes!
So one evening of the year we work, we spend, we serve. Then three evenings a year we arrive, we binge, we accept and enjoy! We enjoy three, 4-5 course meals and drinks, every year. It is awesome and I recommend it to anyone - those who can cook and those who are learning. Another option is to have one group set the theme and provide the main course and then ask the other participants to bring appetizers, salads/soup, dessert to go with the theme. This makes it a little cheaper and less work intensive.
So, back to December 31, 2017! The stage is set with a large clock set-outside with a hand-made sign by my daughter that initiates the theme, Wonder and Magic. (Earlier, an invitation had gone out to all the guests with hints of what was to come.) Sidenote: Unfortunately, one couple was unable to attend due to illness. It made us all sad. We will need to make it up to those folks at the next one!!)
Part of my enjoyment in these events is coming up with a theme that is fun and new. It isn't always new, but I hope it is fun!
So the premise of our theme was that every dish had to hold a surprise of some kind. Whether it was stuffed inside or an ingredient that you didn't expect. I also wrote the menu in such a way as to keep the wonder and surprise going.
I had Bernie string lights across the dining room and we had candles going to provide atmosphere. It was fun getting ready. I borrowed dishes and glasses from my mom - and chargers and napkins (it is a virtual wonderland at her place!).
My daughter folded the gold napkins into roses that we put in glasses. Every couple got a box of Black Magic and a KinderEgg Suprise!
For appetizers we had cheese stuffed deep fried pickles, crab stuffed mushrooms wrapped in bacon, prosciutto wrapped pears, goat cheese & arugula. After appetizers, we were entertained with a magic show. My son, #JudsonRempel, is an amateur (very) magician and along with my grandson, they gave us a little magic show by way of card tricks. (I bought them magicians hats to add to their ensemble!)
Following that we dined on a wonderful Beer Cheese soup that was put in homemade pretzel buns (That was my first attempt at pretzels - I had to make yeast dough and then let it rise, form it, let it rise and then dip it in boiling baking soda water, then bake it! They didn't rise as high as I might have liked, but they still tasted good.
Then came the main course of: stuffed butternut squash (filled with rice, pomegranates, walnuts and feta cheese), stuffed pork loin (green apples and brie cheese), stuffed mini peppers (carrots, asparagus, cauliflower rice, peppers).
Oh, I forgot drinks!
(These glasses, much to my mom's chagrin, are mine!)
Dessert was Baked Alaska - Cherry/chocolate frozen yogurt with a Lindt ball tucked inside, surrounded by egg whites and torched to a toasted brown and lit with a sparkler! (note... don't start sparkler until you are giving it your guest!)
It was a fun evening and everyone left sated, smiling and kinda tired!
Seriously, people. If you are not part of a supper club - start now!!