Last night’s Dialog Dinner, 5 February

"Cholesterol is now being sold as a supplement," comment made by Steve Fowkes at the table.

Tonight was quite an event for 19 of us. There were 15 people at the table and 4 of us in the sidelines (i.e. in the kitchen – adjoining the dining room). All of us were quite enthralled with Steve’s depth of knowledge and understanding of the human body’s function and mechanisms.

Steve recently said that he likes "to watch the dance between molecules and the effect on the human body."

Chef Joni in the kitchen, it's 'twilight time' (the amuse bouche is served, the appetizer and soup are ready) = all is well.

The first guest arrived early – coming down from SF – to have private time with Steve, others joined at 5:30 and soon the front room filled with 14 people all engaged in one big conversation. I joined them from time to time with an Amuse Bouche of “Pippin apple dipped in lemon juice and zest speared with a fresh mint leaf.” And they enjoyed a sun tea brew of “Red Clover Blossom and Dandelion Root.”

My day began with making the sun tea….

Red Clover Blossom and Dandelion Root Tea, in the sun for the day.

….and roasting the cauliflower and butternut squash, then off to do a Health Fair at the Whole Foods Market in Los Altos. I was one of 10 vendors at their “Eat Right America” store fair. Many, many folks stopped by my booth… they all enjoyed my Raw Avocado Soup, topped with toasted pumpkin seeds. T’is good to be in Whole Foods, along with others who want to cook and eat well. A couple of the people who stopped by my booth stands out …. a 16-year-old who has been eating and cooking well for a couple of years, she’s eating some raw foods and has a dehydrator, too. AND – she’s making a difference at school… doing a “Meatless Monday” program, raising the awareness to others that what you eat matters. Another person I met today who comes to mind is Lisa, from Lisa’s Counter Culture, and her two smiling, happy kids. Lisa’s passion for good wholesome food seems to mimic mine. We’ll be talking more, to be sure. … and doing events together in the future – I’ll keep you posted(!).

Chef Joni, Health Fair at the Los Altos Whole Foods Market.

I closed my booth a bit early in order to get home and into my kitchen to prepare tonight’s meal…. but, gosh, time goes soooo fast for me when I’m in Whole Foods. It’s like there’s a vortex there and once I’m in it’s hard to get out. Surely I’m not the only one who finds themselves in Whole Foods for much longer time than anticipated.

Okay – back at home, first thing – get the ribs cooking. Second is to infuse (perfume) the mushrooms. Third and fourth…. get the first two courses done and ready to serve: The amuse bouche and stuffed carrot appetizer. Once I get those two things done I can relax. OH – it’s like I have two “twilight times” when making a big meal. Y’know – that big sigh at the end of the day – at twilight time when the kids are in bed, the dishes are done and there’s no more pressing things to do for the day? – well, that’s my ‘twilight time’…. of which I have two when I do big dinners…. during prepping and the first two courses are done… and then the BIG one – when the main course is served.

Amuse Bouche: Lemon Apple Mint Kabob

The kabob idea came to me while in Whole Foods. I wanted to serve my guests a bit a food, not much, but something to satisfy their curiosity as well as their need to eat something – b/c – my goodness – the aromas in the house were fantastic. If I had been a guest i definitely would have wanted something to nibble on. So, a nibbler is what I offered. Just a small bite, and with a bit of sour to get their stomach acids activated.

Once everyone arrived I explained the menu and agenda for the evening, then led them into the dining room where they sat down to their appetizer: Stuffed Carrots with a Dried Kale Leaf.

Appetizer: Sweet'n Sour Goji Berries Lemon Grass Stuffed Carrots w/Dried Kale Leaf

I steamed and cored the carrots yesterday, oh, and marinated the goji berries, so all I needed to do was to blend it to make the stuffing, fill the carrots and plate’m. The kale leaves were in the dehydrator Wednesday and Thursday. The plan was to serve’m for tonight’s meal, just didn’t sure when or how. Serving it with the Stuffed Carrot really set off the dish – both esthetically and in flavor.

Soup: Gingered Squash Soup w/Cilantro and Smoked Salt

Main entree: Beef Short Ribs (wraps), Stuffed Beet and Field Greens

Beef short ribs in parchment paper wraps

The short ribs cooked in their own juices for 3 hours.

Dessert: Baked Pippin Apple w/Pecan, Coconut Meat and mint

Tonight’s topic with Steve Fowkes, neurobiochemist, was: Thyroid hormone, estrogens, inflammation and body energy systems as they apply specifically to diet and weight loss.

 

The Menu:

Amuse Bouche:  (simple, very simple and satisfying)

Mini Kabob of Mint leaf and Pippin Apple slice dipped in lemon zest

Appetizer:
Sweet’n Sour Goji Berry Stuffed Carrots w/lemon grass

Soup:
Gingered Squash Soup w/curry leaves, topped with cilantro and smoked salt

Main course:
3-hour steamed Beef Short Ribs in parchment paper wraps w/red wine and candied orange peel reduction sauce
Twice-Baked Riced Cauliflower w/Chinese 5 spice stuffed in Steamed Beets
Field greens w/sesame oil and lime-basil perfumed mushrooms, toasted pumpkin seeds and blood oranges

Dessert:
Stuffed Baked Apples w/pecan and young coconut meat in Port Balsamic Vinegar

yummmm

Date/time: Saturday evening, February 5th, 5:30 PM to 9:30 PM
Place: Cupertino