Do you get stuck and bored with giving dinner parties? Well, break out of the routine. Now, what I’m about to suggest may take some preparation on your part, because you may need to add some new recipes to your cooking repertoire. But you and your guests are going to have a wonderful evening being transported to another place for the evening. I’ve included two ideas below, but feel free to create your own theme. Just pick a country or region of the world, do some research and make your plans!
African Theme Dinner
Transport your guests to Africa for the evening. Decorate with palm fronds over your doorways and windows. Make center pieces from native African fruits. Use African fabrics for tablecloths. Check out some books on Africa from the library for your guests to look at while they’re having appetizers. Play music from the Congo River in the background.
The most common dinner in Africa consists of a stew or soup accompanied by some form of starch. This makes creating an African dinner fairly simple. Make two pots of stew or soup and two forms of starch (one can be rice). The most common dessert is fruit. Look on the internet or in African cookbooks to find the following recipes:
- Groundnut Stew
- Moambe (a soup)
- Fufu – a starch dish
Traditional beverages for an African meal include water, soft drinks and beer. It is rare for African families to serve appetizers, but fried plantains are a very popular snack and would make a great appetizer, if you’d like to serve one.
Brazilian Theme Dinner
Use tropical and rainforest decorations, and have a Brazilian feast. The most famous Brazilian dish is Feijoada, which as been served for over 300 years. This recipe was invented by slaves who mixed pork leftovers, given to them by their masters, with the black beans that were used to feed the animals. It’s a great, hearty main dish for a dinner party. Following is a traditional recipe.*
Feijoada Carioca Cariocan -from Rio de Janeiro – Feijoada)
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 red cayenne pepper, chopped
- 4 cups dried black beans, soaked overnight, drained
- 1 lb. Salt pork, boiled for 5 minutes, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 lb. Portuguese sausage (linguica) or Italian sausage
- 1 lb. Smoked Polish sausage, cut into 1-inch lengths
- 1 lb. Smoked lean ham hocks
- 2 lb. Corned beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
- 1 lb. Pork spareribs, cut small pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 fresh orange, washed very well, cut in half
- 2 quarts water
- 6 oranges, peeled, sliced
Heat the oil in a large, heavy, deep pot and stir-fry the onion, garlic, and cayenne for 2 minutes or until light golden brown. Add the beans, salt pork, Portuguese sausage, smoked Polish sausage, ham hocks, corned beef, pork spareribs, salt, black pepper, bay leaves, halved-orange and water. Cover and simmer for 2 hours or until the beans are tender, stirring occasionally and adding water, if needed, to ensure that the beans are completely covered while cooking. Serve with sliced oranges, manioc meal with butter and eggs, white rice, collard greens, vinaigrette sauce, and cachaca (Brazilian spirits) cocktail. Serves 8-10.
So, as you can see, with a few good recipes and some fun décor, you can plan a dinner party that’s off the beaten path, literally. Wow your guests by giving an exotic dinner party soon.
*recipe courtesy of Cosmopolitan Club