Cooking Lessons and Cocktail Hours

It’s Fundraiser season!

As mentioned in an earlier post, I often contribute cooking lesson gift certificates to charity auctions. For instance, the Urban Arts Academy Gala last Sat and two upcoming in May, for World Savvy’s 10th Anniversary event, and MN Chorale’s Annual Gala, respectively.

I also cater fundraiser receptions and house parties. Good food & drinks loosens wallets. In particular I enjoy always providing tasty options for vegans and gluten-free eaters, without omnivores even noticing. It’s so rewarding to hear “Omigosh, I never get to eat anything at these events, I really appreciate it” and “Wow, real food” !

So, tomorrow I’m catering a cocktail hour fundraiser for MN United for All Families. Menu includes Guacamole Hummus & Creamy Vegan Arugula Herb Dip w/ veg platter, assorted cheeses w/ gluten-free crackers, Savory Gluten-free Mini Pies, Braised Chicken Chunks in Moroccan Chermoula Sauce, Balsamic Beet Slaw, dates & nuts and some light biscotti.

Next Sunday, I’m cooking the post-Mayday Parade volunteer banquet for 60 tired hungry artsy folks, after their marathon day of putting on the Parade and Festival in Powderhorn Park, and then schlepping everything back to In the Heart of the Beast Theatre and putting it away.  (I think most parade-goers don’t think about what happens AFTER the festivities.)

They hold this community meal late, late at night after all the Reddy Rents trucks have been returned and the theatre space has been miraculously cleaned up and transformed from chaotic gigantic workshop to dining area. Volunteers help me set up and prep the last parts of the meal (and clean up, of course).

This occasion calls for hot hearty food like stews and curries, which fortunately and by design are vegan and gluten-free dishes. To satisfy a request for ‘greasy comfort’, last year we baked up tater tots — a major departure for me! But hey, after a day on your feet, I’d want some too.

I am in love with Chermoula Sauce, so I will probably make it for both a vegan bean stew and a chicken stew. I used it as a base for a vinaigrette a few weeks ago, for a Brown Rice & Cauliflower Salad, featured in Delivered Dish of the Week. It rocked! The combination of cumin, paprika and fresh herbs particularly enlivens. If you’re looking for new ways to enjoy mild vegetables such as cauliflower, cabbage, zucchini, or beans and grains, try this. Of course, it’s great on everything else, and on meats & fish.

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