Tamale Party – a.k.a. Bridge-Playing Gringos Tackle Tamales

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Steamed tamales for a crowd.

Last week our bridge group (16 of us) descended on our kitchen to make tamales – with time off for a bit of bridge, loads of fun and, of course, some serious eating and drinking.  How did a group of bridge-playing gringos end up elbow deep in masa?  It all started with a side-conversation around Friday night bridge:

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Easy Outdoor Party with Seasonal Produce (Part 3 of 3)

Summer Berries

Summer Berries

What could be a better finish to our seasonal party than a shortcake with peak-of-season local berries?   Since our party was in June, strawberries were just the ticket. It is August now and, at least here in Michigan, local strawberries have moved over to make room for our luscious blueberries and blackberries.  No worries.  You can use any seasonal berry or mix of berries in this easy dessert.

There are a number of reasons why this dessert is so easy for a party menu: Continue reading

Easy Outdoor Party with Seasonal Produce (Part 2 of 3)

Sangrias at the Drinks Table

Sangrias at the Drinks Table

This summer party was a group effort – a beautiful backyard provided by our hosts, menu by A Global Garnish and food/drink contributions from all attendees.  Don’t confuse this group effort with a potluck, which has the emphasis on luck.  If you’re lucky, a potluck party will have a good distribution of appetizers, main dishes and desserts as well as a mix of ingredients/flavors.  But why leave all this to chance??  If you give out menu assignments, you KNOW the final meal will all come together.  Further, you save your guests the trouble of wondering:  “what should I make?”. Continue reading

Easy Outdoor Party With Seasonal Produce (Part 1 of 3)

Israeli Couscous with Sweet Red Peppers and Asparagus

Israeli Couscous with Sweet Red Peppers and Asparagus

Summer solstice – time to enjoy the glorious evening daylight, the early summer climate, lush gardens and early seasonal produce. Could there be a better time for an outdoor party?  My clever friends thought not. Continue reading

Cuban-Style Citrus – Mojo and Mojito (Part 2 of 2)

Mojito Ingredients

Mojito Ingredients

My Mojito in La Bodeguita, My Daiquiri in El Floridita.” … Ernest Hemingway.

La Bodeguita and El Floridita were favorite Ernest Hemingway haunts in Havana.  If you’ve read anything by or about Hemingway, you won’t be surprised that he lingered as regularly as possible in the proximity of his favorite drinks. La Bodeguita was his place for Mojitos. Continue reading

30 Years of Ukrainian Egg Parties – Painted Eggs, Party Menu and Paskha

Pysanky -  Artwork by Nanci Yermakoff

Pysanky – Watercolor by My Sister, Nanci Yermakoff, 2000.

Countries steeped in Eastern Orthodoxy celebrate Easter with glorious painted eggs and a traditional Easter buffet feast.

The eggs (pysanky) are quite an art form.  The style of egg-painting is different in each country (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus et. al.), but perhaps the most beautiful are the Ukrainian batik (wax-resist dyed) eggs. Continue reading

2012 Smorgasbord Menu — Assembled by Friends of A Global Garnish

Pickled Herring, Eggs, Cucumbers and Beet Salad

Pickled Herring (Inlagd Sill), Eggs, Cucumbers and Beet Salad (Rodbetesalad)

Every year for the past 17 years, my good-hearted friends have allowed me to plan our menu for our year-end progressive dinner. They really are silly about the whole process — each year thanking me profusely for planning the menu and giving out assignments. Don’t they know that this is an ideal situation for me??  Have fun planning a lengthy menu and then give out assignments for everyone else to prepare??  It is second best only to having a commercial kitchen and staff at your beck and call. Continue reading