January 20th 2010
By now you’ve found 5 other people who would love to do a dinner club with you, so what’s next? Decide how often you will meet. I suggest once a month. If you try to schedule it more than once a month, you may find people bailing out more frequently. When it’s once a month, people tend to schedule around it.
Pick the person who will host the first one. Even if their apartment is too small, you can always lend them your large dining room, but everyone should get a a chance to pick a theme. A theme can be a color, a holiday, a country or region, even a movie. Last year my club did Spain, cheesy 70′s, porch picnic, and Cajun-Creole food.
For every dinner think of it as three courses, cocktail, and a few appetizers if you’ll be drinking before dinner is ready. If you don’t drink or have a member who doesn’t, still make a special drink that matches your theme, just make a blend of fruit juices, ginger ale, or even fresh made mint-limeade.
We usually do a soup or a salad, but you can have both if you want. Just make sure the portions are small enough that everyone can eat all the courses. The main course can be a one dish meal or you can flesh it out with a few veggies on the plate too. Dessert is often the centerpiece and make sure to have some coffee if anyone likes it.
If you’re planning your first one for February, a Mardi Gras theme would work well. There are tons of red beans and rice, gumbo, and jambalaya recipes you can choose from. Make a bread pudding with whiskey sauce if no one wants to brave making a king cake. Make hurricanes for your main drink using fresh juices and rum.
This month my club meets at my house. We’re doing a fondue night. I found an easy and healthier fondue recipe that uses pureed white beans as its base. It’s still cheesy, but chock full of nutrients and much less fat. I also use 2% cheese. I figure that leaves room for more chocolate fondue.
Before the night is over someone should volunteer to host next months. Everyone can throw out some suggestions for the theme or sign up to bring a certain dish. Set the date then if you can, it’s easier when everyone is in the same place. Most of all enjoy the night!