FMITK: My Best Friend’s Kitchen Edition

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FMITK throws a dinner party

I recently spent a long weekend in San Francisco at my best friend’s house, where he and his love so graciously offered up their kitchen and let me cook up a storm for them and a 10 of their close friends.

I used every. single. dish. pot. pan. fork. spoon. spatula. and whisk in the house.

And it was totes worth it.

Let’s talk about the evolution of this menu, and how an easy, breezy, fun dinner party quickly turned into a legit Iron Chef challenge.

Initially, I wanted to serve everyone all my favorite things – spicy Korean ribs, bacon mac and cheese, shrimp and grits… then the BFF replied to my first-draft menu with “oh… by the way… Kat and Jeff are slightly vegetarian… just nothing with a face or a hoof. But don’t change anything on the menu! They’ll be fine!”

Which, of course, I just couldn’t do. For me, the point of a dinner party is to bring people together around delicious food, and that just doesn’t work for me when some people are served one thing and others are excluded from that dish. So, I welcomed “slightly vegetarian” with open arms, knowing I could still use oysters (there was a yuzu mignonette recipe I’d been dying to try) and I could still keep the shrimp and grits with roasted tomatoes on the menu. No big whoop.

A few days later, BFF sends another text: “Oh… yeah… so… Sandy’s allergic to shellfish. And tomatoes.”

So, no seafood (bye, shrimp and grits and oysters mignonette) and no tomatoes (hasta la vista, roasted tomatoes and tomato and vanilla bean jam). It was time to start over and make an entirely vegetarian friendly menu that would also please a carnivore. A few more ideas were tossed around, then we finally arrived at this menu:

First Course: Duo of crostini with homemade goat cheesecaramelized onions + candied jalapenos

Last Minute First Course 2.o: Gorgonzola biscuits with tomato gravy

Second Course: Spinach and coconut milk soup with ras el hanout

Third Course: Charred brussels sprouts with parmesan frico, yuzu aioli

Fourth Course: Pumpkin and swiss chard lasagna with homemade saffron pasta, homemade truffled ricotta

Fifth Course: Roasted strawberry and salted caramel brownies with pink peppercorn ice cream

The Menu

FMITK throws a dinner party

I really wanted to add a personalized twist to the menus and place cards, so I went with this watercolor look and feel, different on each place card and menu.
Thanks to Leo for helping me refining this design!

First Course

FMITK throws a dinner party

The first course started with some excellent french bread from Craftsman and Wolves.

FMITK throws a dinner party

The bread was topped homemade goat cheese and either candied jalapenos and a drizzle of Tupelo honey or caramelized onions.

Last Minute First Course 2.o

A few hours before everyone arrived, I had a small panic attack and envisioned 12 people sitting around, hungry and angry, so we added in another quick course – gorgonzola biscuits and tomato gravy.  One of the biscuits even looked like a heart.

Second Course

FMITK throws a dinner party

I added a little twist on my usual spicy coconut milk and spinach soup recipe by changing up the spices used. I replaced the usual cumin and coriander with ras el hanout.

Third Course

FMITK throws a dinner party

Crispy charred brussels sprouts inside of a parmesan frico cup, with a side of yuzu aioli.

FMITK throws a dinner party

Parmesan frico cups: bake parmesan cheese on a silpat for ~10 minutes at 350F. While still warm, place the frico over a cup or muffin pan to create the shape. It will crisp up as it cools.

Fourth Course

FMITK throws a dinner party

I wanted something hearty, warm and filling for the main course. This pumpkin and swiss chard lasagna is one of my favorites. I love a lasagna without a red sauce! I decided to also make the ricotta from scratch, and seasoned it with a bit of truffle salt. Deeeelish. I served it with an arugula salad dressed with lemon juice, parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.

Fifth Course

FMITK throws a dinner party

I woke up one day and thought “pink peppercorn ice cream sounds delicious!”. This was the perfect opportunity to try it out – along with my most requested recipe, the roasted strawberry and salted caramel brownies.

FMITK throws a dinner party

The pink peppercorns add a subtle, floral-y spice to this tangy sour cream based ice cream.

FMITK throws a dinner party

“Holly, are you done with this parchment paper covered in leftover caramel from the brownies? You are? YAY!”

FMITK throws a dinner party

Eating and drinking and merriment was had by all.

And that is how FMITK throws a dinner party, complete with custom menus, delicious food, photography and a playlist. I couldn’t have done it alone, though. Big, extraly large thank yous to my best friend and his boo for hosting, making random trips to the store for items I forgot,  and just helping throughout the entire weekend in general, and to Leo for helping me with the menu and place card design!

Would you like FMITK to throw you a dinner party? Email me and let’s discuss!

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