NaBloPoMo Day 10: Friday Night Dinner at the Natural Gourmet

“Tell us about the best meal you ever cooked.”

The best meal I ever cooked was actually planned and prepared not by me alone, but as part of a team with 6 of the most amazing women you could ever hope to meet. It was our graduation dinner from the Natural Gourmet Institute, a 35-year-young health-supportive culinary school in New York City.

The theme was Native Americana, a celebration of ingredients and recipes that originated in the New World, and this was our menu:

beverage
CHIPPEWA MAPLE-MINT SPRITZER

amuse bouche
CATTAIL CASHEW CANAPÉ
Cattail pollen and acorn flour cracker with basil-cashew cheese and pickled strawberry

appetizer
CHILLED AVOCADO SOUP AND NASTURTIUM-SUNCHOKE SALAD
Raw avocado-cucumber soup garnished with organic popcorn and fresh parsley oil

Frisée and mâche with pickled jerusalem artichokes, caramelized fennel, and smokey carrot chips on a bed of nasturtium leaves with an orange tarragon dressing

entrée
THE THREE SISTERS
Grilled crookneck squash filled with lemon-sage anasazi beans and a roasted corn purée

Accompanied by a wild rice and currant salad, sautéed dandelion and chard greens, and garnished with roasted red pepper sauce and tomato chip

dessert
JOHNNYCAKE SUNDAE
Maple-drizzled cornmeal and spelt flour cake with vanilla bean coconut ice cream, blueberry-cranberry compote and a salted dark chocolate bark speckled with hazelnuts and dried blueberries

No matter where my culinary journey takes me, I will always be proud of this meal. Not only was it the culmination of life-changing experience, but it was an unforgettable lesson in how a positive collaboration can create something much greater than any one chef could have imagined.

our team:
CTP 192: Melinda Boumans (that’s me), Madeleine Dodge, Jill Piatkowski-Kane, Debbie King, Sara May, Shelley Page, and Luba Vcherashansky, under the guidance of Chef Instructor Celine Beitchman

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2 Comments on “NaBloPoMo Day 10: Friday Night Dinner at the Natural Gourmet”

  1. Sara at The Cozy Herbivore
    15 November 2012 at 02:41 #

    I would agree that this was the best meal I’ve ever cooked as well. Not only was the food absolutely delicious, but planning and practicing and executing this meal with some of the best women I know was one of the best experiences I’ve had in my life thus far. Miss you!

    • spotcleanfood
      15 November 2012 at 07:59 #

      Must admit I got a bit teary-eyed when I pulled out Maddy’s gorgeous art. Maybe it’s the time of year–this menu would make a fine vegan Thanksgiving feast.

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