Four Course Dinner

The second part of our weekend culinary retreat was to cook a four course dinner by floor. The appetizer group on the first floor made a variety of Scandinavian bruschetta. Most were made with white baguettes with the exception of the salmon option that used Danish rye bread. The options were as follows: white bread, pesto, feta, and tomato; white bread, goat cheese, and blueberry; white bread toasted with garlic and olive oil; white bread, yogurt sauce, pesto, and sun dried tomato; and rye bread, yogurt sauce, and smoked salmon.

The entree group made the best risotto I’ve ever had and I wish I could have been in that group to help take credit for it. It was cooked in white wine and vegetable broth and then it had grana padano cheese, garlic, onion, and chunks of pumpkin. On top were roasted pumpkin seeds and arugula. I can’t wait to get this full recipe from someone in that group and make it again. I’m not used to eating pumpkin in February but it reminded me of fall which added to the hygge (Danish concept of coziness) of the evening.

The third course was a pizza and this group did a fantastic job and even made the dough from scratch. It was topped with parsley pesto, mushrooms, parmesan, mozzarella, roasted hazelnuts, drizzled olive oil, and thyme. My favorite thing about it was how little cheese they used (or maybe how little I got on my slice?). That gave it a bit of a lighter flavor and combined with the parsley it tasted very fresh. Also mushrooms are one of my favorite things ever so you can’t go wrong with throwing a bunch of them on a pizza.

I was unfortunately in the dessert group, and to avoid creating a disaster for everyone else to eat I stuck to low profile jobs. If it’s not clear from that sentence, I hate baking, and dessert is such an after thought to me I have very little practice making it. We made an apple crumble, tossed apple slices in cinnamon sugar and topped it with dough made from scratch. It was actually really good despite my lack of enthusiasm surrounding that portion of the meal.

My favorite part of the evening (besides eating of course) was walking up and down the floors. In attempts to avoid having to bake I was a fast volunteer when we needed supplies from other floors. I walked from the top floor to the second floor to grab finely ground salt and on my way down I started by smelling cinnamon from the apple crumble. When I passed the third floor I was overwhelmed by the scent of fresh parsley, and then I was met with the smell of strong garlic when I finally made it to grab the salt from the second floor kitchen. I only wish I had continued that walk to smell the pesto or lox on the first floor.

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