“If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him…
The people who give you their food give you their heart.” ~Cesar Chavez
If there was a quote to characterize my dinner party this last weekend and the way I feel in general towards having guests in my home, the quote by Cesar Chavez above really explains how I feel. This actually became quite the topic of discussion on Instagram, many of you were surprised to see that I love to have guests over and cook for them with zero expectation in return.
Most people invite guests over for a specific purpose — you like those people, you miss someone and want to see them, and for some even, you want to show off. For me, my intention is not to invite people over to then be invited back in that persons house. My purpose is giving. I am a giver by nature, and this is one small way I can give to those I care about — simply for the pure joy they experience during the time they are in my home.
When you give and put love and your heart into your food and the experience you are providing, you get love and heart in return. My guests this weekend were truly overjoyed by the experience, and I in return by their reaction, and we just fed off of each other’s energy the whole evening, it was truly magnificent. One again, my dear friend Romina was over with her camera to help take pictures , thank you dear Romina for your beautiful photos! Ok onto the food!
I had gone the previous day to purchase the freshest ingredients for my guests and had done lots of prep the night before because once my guests arrived, I wanted to really enjoy their company. Turns out that my friends had other plans and were so excited with the 3 course meal I had prepared that they wanted to jump in and help, so with my team of fantastic sous chefs, we went to the kitchen and began the plating preparations. But first, a cocktail — after all you cannot invite guests over and not offer them a beverage. For tonight, since the weather was warm, I picked a refreshing Strawberry Daiquiri.
I reminded my guests that I am an amateur chef with no training, but I try to keep things healthy and as fresh as possible. For a starter, I served a salted rice cake with a spicy avocado puree topped with alfalfa. Then guests chose whether to have a garnish of tomato marinated in coriander and olive oil or buffalo mozzarella and balsamic vinaigrette, or both.
For the main course, the star of the show was chicken curry. I usually marinate my chicken curry in yogurt, but because I had guests who did not eat dairy, I made a non-dairy version as well that combined the curry with lemon, honey, soy sauce, and a little peanut butter. I then boiled my basmati rice and let it cook a little longer than usual so that it would have a bit more watery texture so I could easily mold it into the little cups for plating. To plate, I placed a piece of warmed Indian flat bread on each plate, the rice molded in the little mason jar cups, with butter of course to ensure it would come out of the mold, and 3 skewers of the chicken curry per person. My non-dairy friend actually ended up trying the yogurt version and liking it, so hooray for the chef!
Now for my favorite, dessert! Due to the warm weather, I wanted to serve something refreshing — so what better than fresh sorbetto of mangoes, orange, and a bit of mint! I took the fresh mangoes that I had frozen the night before, mixed it with orange juice and mint, hand mixed and froze again. Then every 30 minutes, I would use a fork to grate the fruit mixture so it would get a shaved or sorbetto effect. I served my sorbetto with a shot on the side featuring passionfruit and gold grade rum.
The food was nothing extravagant, but I put my heart and soul into it and my guests could feel it too. They in return were so elated to be in my home and receive this hand made fresh meal. It was truly a lovely evening. I hope it inspires you to cook, to entertain, and to give. Happy cooking to all of you beautiful freaks!