Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Julia Child Night #8

Greetings and happy Tuesday!  We had our 8th annual Julia Child Night on Saturday night. It was a wonderful event!  As I mentioned in my post on Friday, this year we decided to make small plates that featured dishes from the different regions of the U.S. The menu was super collaborative this year as several different family members weighed in on what we should make. We came up with a really fun menu. I think the small plate approach was the way to go. It's still a lot of food but was far less than what we've served in past years. Here's how the event shaped up (warning:  tons of photos to follow!)

On Friday afternoon, some of us gathered at my cousin Suzanne's to make the GF slider buns and mason jar lid apple pies.

GF buns, fresh out of the oven. You have to make foil collars for the buns so they keep their shape.

GF Mason jar lid apple pies, all filled and ready for the top crust

My mom and her sister putting the finishing touches on the pies
On Saturday, the day of the event, it was all hands on deck. Many hands certainly make light work! We started off prepping the tuna poke salad and then moved onto the first course: a homage to hotdish, which is something us North Dakotans grew up eating. People in other regions of the U.S. might refer to hotdish as casserole.

It took a group effort to make these croquettes!
The food at the event is amazing, but the people are what really make it a special night!
My mom, aunt Barb and me
My dad and Phil HATE posed photography so of course we made them take a picture together

My best guy and me. I need to get a striped shirt for Phil next year.
 After a couple of busy hours of preparation, it was time for the event to begin!  We started off with an appetizer course.

Smoked salmon canapes and a selection of locally made cheeses. My aunt and uncle smoked the salmon themselves and it was delicious!
 The signature drink this year was a gin and tonic with olives. It was my uncle Keith's favorite cocktail, so we chose it in honor of him. He would have turned 61 on Saturday. He was on our minds, as was his identical twin who misses him dearly.

My mom and her two sisters, Barb and Mary Bet, toasting to the memory of their dear, sweet younger brother
After the appetizer/cocktail hour, we moved into the dining room for dinner.  Plate 1 was the homage to hotdish. 
The hotdish consisted of a potato croquette with stewed short ribs and a delicious gravy, topped with a corn garnish
 Plate 2 was my idea - ahi tuna poke on a bed of spiralized cucumbers and yellow squash, which represented Hawaii. If you want to try to make it yourself, you can find the recipe here.

This was such a delicious, light plate.
 Plate 3 was my brother's Wild Rice Soup, which represented Minnesota.


My cousin's girlfriend is quite the mixologist, so at this point she made a round of old fashioneds.


We also took a break to take our annual apron photo.  The group was quite large and the younger generation got involved this year!


My nephew Matthew and me.
Plate 4 was a Waldorf Salad, which represented New York. My aunt used Julia Child's mayonnaise recipe for this dish.


Plate 5 was a smoke brisket slider. The gluten free bun was delicious!  I rarely get a chance to eat homemade gluten free products so I especially appreciate it when my loved ones go to the effort to make bread for my cousin (who has celiac) and me.

We had a serve-yourself slider bar. I topped mine with coleslaw that my mom made. My brother smoked the brisket. It was so good!
Last, but not least, for plate 6 our guests had a choice between mini cherry and apple pies, which represents the Midwest. We served them with a homemade custard that my sister-in-law makes each year.


I was STUFFED by the end of the meal, but I think the portion sizes were more manageable this year.  Plus we eat this meal over the course of several hours. Everyone left with full tummies and more importantly, full hearts.

It was such a wonderful event and I just love that my family has kept this going for 8 years. The event seems to grow each year so I'm especially thankful that people in my family have homes that are large enough to accommodate a group of this size. There's just no way we'd fit that many people in our small 1,300 square foot home!

I can't wait to see what we come up with next year!

If you had to pick a dish that represents the region where you live, what would you pick?

14 comments:

Charbelle4 said...

your food posts looked amazing and it's so cool to see everything and how it all turned out!!!! That's so wonderful that your family has places where you can all get together and do this!!!! The apron photo this year was amazing and Matthew is getting so big!!!

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

Man, you guys really went to town this year!! Everything looks delicious! I love that it's gotten bigger each year; it's really becoming quite the event! I had Thanksgiving at my house last year and it was about 20 people, maybe a few more, and it was a blast. My house is only about 1000 SF but we moved dinner into the living room and made it work.

I have a couple of questions for you. Do you sit down for each course or it is more of a land where you may kind of deal? Also, organization-wise, how do you decide what to make, who will make it, and when it will be served? It seems like you guys have it all figured out!

Marlys Dotzenrod said...

My heart is still filled with all the fun & love we shared last weekend, in addition to the wonderful food! It is awesome that so many pitch in and contribute so it isn't quite so much work and cost for a few people. Our family is awesome!
I will let Lisa fill in the answers to the questions Kyria had!

J and A said...

I love reading these every year! It's such a fun night for you guys and I love that you do it as a family. It also looks SO delicious!!

Jeanie said...

Every year I love this event more and more. I especially love how you combine everyone, young and old. And yes -- sit down or wander? Quite the organizational challenge and I salute you all!

What represents our region? I'd probably be much like you with the cherry or apple pie -- seems to be what people think of when they think of Michigan!

Carolina John said...

YUM!! I love seeing Julia Child Night shenanigans. So much fun this year.

Amber said...

I just love that you guys do this event each year - it always looks so so amazing and it has been really really cool to read your blog and see how it has grown every year. It looks like you guys seriously knocked it out of the park with food this year - everything looks SO DELICIOUS! I can see how the small plates / appetizers would be the way to go. I would love to have a home big enough to host larger events in one day! I am renting a space for Eric's 30th birthday party in November as I just feel our home is too small to accommodate 20+ people!

Oh man, I think probably I will have to go with poutine for Canada - even though that is from eastern Canada. Or bannock, which is an amazing fried bread that I LOVE!

Stephany said...

This is just such a cool idea and I love that the whole family is involved. What a special day for everyone involved!

Hmm... a dish that represents my region... maybe key lime pie?!

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

Wow!!! What an incredible feast of dishes, and they are the perfect sizes too :-) I would probably choose perogies, as Ukrainian culture is strong in Saskatchewan.

Sandra Bond said...

I love that family tradition of yours. I always look forward to your recaps and all the good food that you whipped up!

Abby said...

Thank you for breaking down the regions. I knew these were dishes from around the USA - but I wasn't 100% clear on all of them! Yum!! We make a type of Tuna Poke for christmas when we do our redition of "7 fishes" - and serve it in shot glasses with sushi-grade ahi, cucumber, avocado, green onions, jalepeno. So goood!!

Great pictures! Way to capture the great night. Makes my heart swell.....

If I was going to serve a Tucson dish....I would (unfortunately) have to do a dish that puts Tucson on the map...even before our Tamales. And that is.....sonoran dogs. I still haven't eaten one. But it's a big thing here. It's a hot dog, wrapped in bacon, served with green chiles and mayo. But some of the gastropubs/food trucks are done it up more. I'd good sausage (nitrate free), wrapped with bacon, with all the works - maybe mini-slider style?

Or mini carne tacos. Because that's more human.

I love how everyone @ Julia Child night has a part in the prep!! So fun!

That pic of Phil and Dad is priceless! :D

Kelly (She Wears a Red Sox Cap) said...

I cannot believe you guys have been doing this for 8 years! Such a fun tradition and fun for me to watch how it's grown and changed! I might have to attempt those brisket sliders some day. I love brisket but only eat it once a year when we do a religious exchange with my friend. I don't know why I don't think of it more often! I feel like a Boston/New England dish would be lobster something, maybe mini lobster rolls!

Shoshanah said...

Everything looks delicious, as always! As for what I'd serve, for California I'd do fish tacos. Louisiana is hard, only because there are so many different options, but I'd probably go with my favorite, crawfish etoufee.

Gracie said...

This year looks especially delicious and I am a huge fan of poke salad. It's hard to find, but when I see it on a menu (usually a seafood place or sushi restaurant), I always order it. I love the regional idea and how the theme got everyone involved.