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I recently invited two other couples, who also love cooking and entertaining, to start a gourmet group.  My mom has been in a gourmet group for years, and I loved the idea!  Here’s the concept:  every few months, one couple hosts a dinner party.  The host is in charge of creating a menu, and dividing up the cooking responsibilities between couples.  It’s a great way to try new recipes and get together with good friends.  I hosted our first gourmet group this past Friday…it was a success!

My menu packet:

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John served refreshing and delicious (and strong!) French 75’s to start the evening.

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I wanted to incorporate fresh and in-season fruits and vegetables into the menu, like the mango and zucchini.  The zucchini tart was a favorite, and the light and fruity kale and mango salad was the perfect complement to the rich angel hair flan.

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(This tart, prepared by a friend, makes such a statement)

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Both the mango salad and the flank steak (marinated in soy sauce, sesame seeds, ginger, and scallions) have Asian elements.  I continued this theme to the table setting with a vibrant blue Asian toile tablecloth and some tall green grass centerpieces, which I secured with raffia.  I also wanted lots of color to keep things “springy.”  The bright coral pillar candles placed down the center of the table worked with the blue and green.  I arranged tulips and other bright flowers around the house.

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