If I am a reflection of the people in my life, then I must be like the brightest star shining in the sky… In early January, Serendipity waved her hand and decided that it was long overdue for some of the most important people in my life to finally meet each other. That changed when I decided to run a 5K that would benefit SEEDS. My friend Courtney here in NC joined in. My longest friend Christina who lives in NYC decided to fly down. My sister Keyla who lives in Maine couldn’t bear the thought of missing the fun and bought a flight as well. And Maria, another friend who lives in NYC (around the block from Christina!) decided to come too! Oh, yes. Serendipity waved her hand. And this meant one thing and one thing only. UNA FIESTA!!!!!!!!!!
Little did I know, Serendipity was not finished waving her hand. Oh, yes, she waved her hand once again. Our 5K race was scheduled for March 26th. And this month’s Foodbuzz 24×24 Challenge was scheduled for March 26th. This meant one thing and one thing only. I had to enter the contest! The rules were straightforward… come up with a theme party and Foodbuzz would help support the theme coming to fruition.
My friends and I are a Benetton ad (or UN poster) waiting to happen! So, to celebrate the spring equinox, our eclectic cultures, new and old friendships, and sustainable living, I decided to plan a ‘spring-time around the world theme party.’ The food centered around: a) local, fresh, vegetarian food, b) a cultural fusion of our Portuguese, Venezuelan, Hawaiian, African American, Puerto Rican, Jewish, Cajun, Irish, Italian, French, and Brazilian backgrounds, and c) a number of great causes—SEEDS, supporting friends, setting and accomplishing goals, paying homage to the spring, and sustaining our local farms. Everyone was encouraged to wear clothes that represent spring time and/or their culture(s). And throughout the night we listened to music from our various cultures. Following the tradition of my monthly ‘jam’ group, everyone was encouraged to bring instruments to dinner and following the meal we played music capoeira music and then danced to salsa, merengue, and bachata. I even gave an impromptu samba lesson!
Oh, but you want to hear about the food. I know you do. The food was the star of the show. And to ensure that each dish received its proper attention, I rolled the food out over the course of the night (starting at 6pm and going until midnight!). Each time there was a new dish ready to come out, I would hit the side of a glass with a fork. Everyone cheered knowing that a new delectable treat was coming out. And then I gave a short description of the dish, my motivation for making it, and the cultures it represented.
I’ll be posting the recipes for the dishes over the course of the next week or so, but just so you do not have to wait, I’ll give you a sneak peak of the menu. We had…
1. Pasteles de Goiaba (Guava pastries)
2. Queso de Cabra (Goat cheese and tomatoes) with Fresh Ciabatta
3. Vegetarian Moqueca (Brazilian stew) with Citrus-Scented Rice
4. Jalapeno-Guava Glazed Tofu Napoleons with Grilled Vidalia Onion
5. Jamaican Pattie Canapes with Bok Choy, Carrot, and Mushroom Slaw
6. Indian-Spiced Blue Sweet Potato Hash
7. Garden Greens with Citrus-Herb Vinaigrette
8. Abacaxi com Cilantro (Pineapple with Cilantro; palate cleanser)
9. Vanilla-Saffron Shortbread
10. Strawberry Salsa with Amaretto Sweet Cream
11. Coconut-Lime Flan
12. Cranberry-Ginger Punch
Oh, I was cooking for a week (with a looming deadline for work…which is why I’ve been MIA for a bit)… but it was SOOOOOOOOO worth it! The night was nothing short of magical. I was telling my sister, during one of our many kitchen bonding moments, that every single person at the party, every single one of them was amazing. I realized that I had no mediocre, kinda cool, somewhat ok people in my life. Every single person is spectacular. So spectacular that it brought me to tears. I almost feel unworthy to have so many wonderful, stunningly spirited people in my life–people with whom I can share the blessing of food and positivity in a world that can be full of such despair some times. This party left me speechless (not an easy thing to do). And when I am speechless, my go to is Gibran. So I leave you with a quote, “Your friend is your needs answered. He is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving. And he is your board and your fireside. For you come to him with your hunger, and you seek him for peace….For in the dew of the little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.”