Around the World Supper Club
Trying new foods is one of the joys of traveling, and frequent flyers are constantly sharing their latest culinary discoveries. If you're more interested in the food than the actual travel, or just don't have the budget to get away as often as you'd like, one alternative is to bring the food to your own door. Gathering with a group of foodie friends makes for an entertaining and tasty way to explore the world's foods and cultures.
Getting It Together
With any supper club, you'll need a group of adventurous eaters to interact with. If that describes most of your friends, you're all set. Otherwise, you might need to find additional members through food-related online communities. Once you're connected, you can use your tablet or your phone to organize the evening through a shared online calendar and social sites. That way, your group can hammer out the best evening for the get-together, and message back and forth about the dishes everybody's bringing or preparing.
The "Cook It Live" Format
Getting together just to eat is fun, but some supper clubs prefer to cook at least some of the dishes collectively during the get-together. It's often easier to wrestle with unfamiliar cuisines when you have friends nearby to help. You might even arrange to have a guest on hand who's familiar with the specific dishes or cuisine, and can provide expert assistance. If you're hosting, focus on your guests instead of the food. Be ready to provide utensils and serving dishes as needed, whisking away dirty bowls and pans to your Chef Collection dishwasher. If you've settled on one or two specific dishes to make as a group, check to make sure you have everything you'll need.
The Filled Pasta or Dumplings
Some dishes, such as Chinese dumplings or filled pasta, are especially suited to the "supper club" format. They're eaten in hundreds of variations across multiple cultures, and they're a lot more fun to make with a group. The basic technique is the same for any filled noodle, but let's use tortellini as an example.
- For the dough, simplify the process by purchasing pre-made egg pasta, or by using wonton wrappers. Set aside while you work on the fillings.
- Prepare fillings—herbed cheese, chicken, spinach or seafood fillings are all good choices. Refrigerate the finished filling, if necessary.
- Cut the dough into squares, measuring 2 to 2 1/2 inches on each side. Carefully place about 3/4 teaspoon of filling into the center of each square, then moisten its edges with water. Fold the square over the filling to make a triangle, carefully squeezing out any excess air before sealing the edge.
- Pick up the triangular filled pasta and moisten the points at either end of the long edge. Wrap them around your finger and press them together, to give each "tortellino" its distinctive shape.
The same basic technique works for everything from perogies to Chinese pork dumplings and wontons. The dough, the filling and the actual shapes vary, but the process remains the same.
The Pot-Luck Format
If you'd rather get your cooking out of the way ahead of time and focus more on fun with your friends, treating the meal as a potluck might be your best option. How much structure you give the meal is a matter of personal preference. A completely random surprise menu has an appeal of its own, but sometimes it's helpful to break the dinner down into appetizers, main dishes, side dishes and desserts. Let everybody pick which course they'd like to bring, and that way you'll know that the end result is a well-rounded meal. It's also helpful to know which dishes will need to be reheated or kept warm. If you have a Chef Collection Range, with its Flex Duo oven, you can slide in its divider and use half of the oven for cooking and the other half for warming.
Make It Go Away
The only downside—if you can call it that— to putting on a lavish spread is the leftovers. Having too much tasty food on hand is not a bad thing, but you don't necessarily want to be serving dinner party memories for weeks afterward. It's more practical, and more fun, to plan ahead for sharing any surplus food. Encourage your friends to bring along a stack of food containers. Once the meal is over, divide any extra food into the containers and tuck them into your Chef Collection fridge. With 34 cubic feet of space there's plenty of room, and the refrigerator's three evaporators will rapidly cool the leftovers to a food-safe temperature while you're enjoying the after-dinner conversation.
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