One evening not long ago, in a land not so very far away, Ellyn selected our dinner party theme – Fairy Tales – and inspired the rest of us to pay a visit to the old favorites residing in the “Once Upon a Time” sections of our bookshelves. Yes, we mingled with familiar friends Rapunzel and Jack (of the Beanstalk Jacks, doncha know), took a trip down memory lane with three porcine pals, and were introduced to fairy tale heroes and villains from other cultures.
Sure, I get that these were often used as cautionary tales for children to learn the do’s and don’ts of survival in their communities, but sheesh! That’s a lot of dead people.
Okay, now that I’ve dragged us down to a very goth place, let’s lighten the mood.
How about a thematically correct playlist for a bit of musical ambiance while reading onward?
Hit the Play arrow and enjoy.
Now let’s take a look at the cast of characters and overall menu.
We’ll settle in for storytime about each course after that.
- Drinks – Kathleen & Karen: Giant Feller (a vegan rye sour) and Corpse Reviver No. 2 cocktails; assorted wine
- Appetizers – Dan & Greg: Sausage Balls; Bacon Wrapped Dates; Prosciutto Wrapped Melon
- Main Course – Ellyn: Rapunzel Salad; Grilled Citrus Chicken; Baked Beans
- Dessert – Ilise & Ann: Plum Cake with Black Pepper and Candied Ginger Ice Creams
We have been experimenting with aquafaba (garbanzo bean juice) as a substitute for raw egg white, which is verboten to vegans and isn’t terribly appealing to a lot of people. The vegan rye sour we made, with its use of chickpea juice, was a natural fit for the fairy tale theme. We’re certain that the beans that Jack exchanged for his mother’s cow, her only source of income, were garbanzo beans, thus named our drink the Giant Feller (feller as in felling trees, not as in guy). The recipe for one drink is as follows:
3/4 oz. simple syrup (we prefer a 2:1 water-to-sugar ratio)
3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
2 oz. rye
1/2 oz. aquafaba (chickpea liquid) - we strained it straight from the can, though many recommend other methods, which may be found through an online search.
This is how to build it:
Add all of the ingredients to a large shaker. Dry-shake the mix first before adding ice (once ice is added the cold mix won’t foam up as well). Shake the hell out of it for 10-12 seconds, longer than an egg-white shake. Add ice, and shake thoroughly a second time for about 10-15 seconds. Strain the mix into a frosted glass of choice. Top with Angostura bitters.
We could not resist making a Corpse Reviver No. 2 – we thought mainly of Sleeping Beauty (Princess Aurora, Briar Rose) for the connection but many others were suggested. The recipe we followed is from The Spruce Eats.
Another reason for surprise and delight with this course – it proves the exception to the rule. In the stories which inspired these beverages no one died. In fact, the Ks served a Corpse Reviver No. 2 which brings one back to life – heads up to Sleeping Beauty, Rip Van Winkle, etc.
Huzzah to Kathleen and Karen on a job very well done!
I could not resist including a special musical track for this course, even though there's a full playlist linked above. It was just too perfect a match. Please enjoy Pigs (Three Different Ones) by Pink Floyd.
Now back to the pigs. First, please squeal with delight at the cute serving dishes shaped like sweet piggies. SQUEEEEE
Note: In case you’re wondering, in this story the pigs turn out just fine but the wolf dies. He huffs, puffs, and blows down the first two houses before tumbling down the chimney of the brick house into a pot of boiling water. Too bad, so sad!
Click on the photos to enlarge them and read the captions.
In the story we learn that the reason she was incarcerated is that her father stole lettuce from a neighbor's garden for his pregnant wife (Rapunzel’s mother) and the child was snatched by the witch-neighbor as payback.
Later the prince rescues her by climbing the tower using her hair as a ladder, but there’s also a great deal of shocking, gory stuff in this grim tale (ha! Grimm).
The side dish of yummy baked beans continued the Jack and the Beanstalk theme begun by the Ks. Follow the link to the recipe from Steve Raichlen’s Barbecue! Bible.
Two years ago Ilise perfected an old family recipe for Aunt Sarah’s plum cake (which is more like a pie) but we did not have the chance to serve it to our friends at that time. This dinner party provided the perfect occasion to share the love. After checking to see which flavors pair well with plums, we opted to make two ice creams to serve alongside the cake/pie – black pepper and candied ginger. Happily (ever after), everything was delicious! Click on the photos to enlarge them and read the captions.
In the interest of thoroughness, we’ve also got a Hmong fairy tale about using pepper as a weapon against tigers (Death count = 2) and a nursery rhyme about ginger, by Alaghde Kelvin Terngu.
Aunt Sarah’s Plum Cake/Pie – from Entertain The Possibilities
Black Pepper Ice Cream – from David Lebovitz as shared by NPR
Candied Ginger Ice Cream – from The Bojon Gourmet
Want to read more about more Foodie dinners? Click here.