Hmm, this might be the first time I’ve even considered including a Not Safe For Work (NSFW) tag on one of my posts. Overreacting? Maybe just a bit, but I’d feel terrible if someone gets in trouble with the boss for a bunch of nekkid Barbies up on the screen.
And naked Barbies a-plenty there will be, my friends.
Let’s take a step back. The most excellent theme for this dinner was Naked, selected by hosts Kathleen and Karen. This could go in so many different directions: naked meaning raw/pure/clean whole foods, or naked like fig leafs in the Garden of Eden, or naked as in penis-shaped cakes for a rowdy bachelorette party or … you fill in the blank. Luckily our group loves a good challenge. Game on.
Drinks – Greg and Dan: Hop Skip and Go Naked cocktails; Sangría de Cava (with a theme-appropriate substitution of Naked Wine pinot grigio in place of the bubbly); a progression of Benziger Tribute Cabernet Sauvignon – we sampled the 2010, 2011 and 2012 vintages
Appetizers – Ilise and Ann: Sushi (Spicy Tuna Rolls and Salmon Nigiri) and Cucumber Canapes served nyotaimori style
Main course – Karen and Kathleen: Gnudi in Parmesan Broth with Asparagus, Mushrooms and Peas; and an “Undressed” green salad
Dessert – Ellyn: Naked Cake (Lemon sponge cake with whipped cream and berries)
If we’re going to get naked together we might as well have a little music to set the mood, right?
Kudos to Kathleen for making a wonderful playlist to suit the theme.
While I cannot personally attest that she created this joyful noise while wearing nothing but a smile, I’d say the music captures the free spirit that a Naked Playlist must surely possess.
Please hit the play arrow and enjoy.
Our cocktail was based on the “Hop, Skip and Go Naked” from Chasing Delicious. We used Absolut Citron vodka. We tried the recipe with five different ales but found the hoppy flavor to be overwhelming, so we experimented with alternatives. We discovered that substituting 1 oz Stiegl Grapefruit Radler and 1 oz Blue Moon Belgian Style Wheat Ale in place of the 2 oz hoppy ale made a more balanced cocktail. We also added a few dashes of Scrappy’s Lime Bitters which may be found on Amazon or at Binnys.
Served with dinner was Sangría de Cava from Columbia Restaurant. We substituted “The Naked Grape” pinot grigio in place of the sparkling cava to match the theme. This recipe is rather forgiving, so you can adjust juice and brandy quantities to suit your taste. Also, you can add other juices such as peach nectar if you have them on hand.
Special thanks to Greg and Dan for sharing these special occasion wines with us. We all enjoyed the rare opportunity to sample the same wine year over year. All were rich, hearty reds yet one was more fruit forward, another had a mineral bite, and I’ll be damned if I can tell you which was which. (Did I mention we drank them all? Plus the hopping, skipping, etcetera.) It was a very special evening of drinking. Which no doubt contributed to the Barbie hi-jinx that kept us in stitches all night long. Haven’t laughed that hard in a looong time.
Again, I’m getting ahead of myself. Wherefore Barbie, you may ask. Here’s how she entered the picture.
As Ilise and I grappled with our approach to the theme, one of the euphemisms for naked – in the raw – kept leading us to sushi. (Not my thing but everyone else in the world loves it, so fine). We’d never made it before, but hey, these dinners are all about trying new things.
Then we found the perfect gimmick to take it right over the top. Do you remember the body sushi trend from the mid-2000s? Prone naked models – both men (nantaimori) and women (nyotaimori) – essentially serve as platters for sushi and sashimi. The tradition, dating back to samurai and geisha culture in the 18th century, certainly has its detractors from diverse perspectives including anti-objectification and pro-food safety. But for purposes of our little foodie group, and using Barbies, Kens, Blarbies, and Lens as individual ‘plates’ instead of a live model in the middle of the dining room table, we thought it would be good for a laugh. We sure got that right!
Click the photos to enlarge them and read the captions.
The non-fish appetizer: petite cucumber slices topped with whipped feta mousse, sun-dried tomato bits and chopped basil. The flavor was just okay and the mousse was runny; won’t be repeating this one.
Look for our How to Make Sushi post coming soon including recipes. (Pro tip: fan the rice.)
Also coming soon – The Foodies Get Naked - Part 2 in which we’ll unveil the details about Karen and Kathleen’s main course and Ellyn’s dessert.
Photos by Ilise Goldberg unless otherwise noted. Thanks to Karen Wollins for the video.