October 24 x 24 Foodbuzz Event: What’s Your Sign Soiree

by Jessica Mishra on October 30, 2011

I recently submitted an idea for a chance to participate in the October 24 x 24 Foodbuzz Event. This is an event where 24 food bloggers host a party within 24 hours and then blog about it. Foodbuzz is a food blogging community, and I am one of their featured publishers. Foodbuzz liked my idea, so please enjoy this post about my 24 x 24 festivities!

My idea was to host an astrology-themed dinner party. I think astrology is fascinating, and it is a study that I occasionally like to learn about. I thought it would be fun to throw a dinner party where each course corresponds to a category of zodiac signs. I also encouraged guests to dress either like their sign or category of signs. The party that ensued contained some amazing food, libations, and festive costumes. Everyone really got into it! It didn’t hurt that it was the weekend before Halloween, so we were all in the spirit!

In case you are not familiar, the zodiac signs are grouped into four categories. The idea is that each grouping of zodiac signs takes on similar types of qualities.

The categories are:

  • Earth Signs: Capricorn, Taurus, and Virgo
  • Air Signs: Aquarius, Libra, and Gemini
  • Fire Signs: Leo, Sagittarius, and Aries
  • Water Signs: Pisces, Cancer, and Scorpio

As I mentioned above, the menu for the What’s Your Sign Soiree was designed with these categories in mind.

First Course: Salmon Quinoa Rolls for the Water Signs

The first course was designed for the water signs. With water as my inspiration what better choice than a roll with fish and seaweed? With the help of a friend with some serious culinary skills, we rolled up some Salmon Quinoa Rolls. These were a play on the basic sushi roll, but instead of rice, we used quinoa.

To make these rolls simply cook up a big pot of quinoa (we used 2 cups of quinoa and 4 cups of water). You can also use a rice cooker. Let the quinoa cool slightly, then spread it on a nori sheet laid on top of a bamboo sushi mat, packing it down to help it stick. Leave about a 1-inch border of nori.

We laid thin slices of carrots, cucumber (which had been peeled), pickled radish, and baked salmon towards the bottom of the roll, but feel free to use whatever you like for the filling. Roll the mat and nori from the bottom, carefully pressing down each time you roll. Just before you finish rolling, dampen the edge with water to seal. Slice the roll into pieces with a sharp knife that has been dipped in hot water.

Second Course: Mixed Greens Salad with Pomegranate Champagne Vinaigrette for the Air Signs

The bubbles of champagne and fluffiness of goat cheese inspired this course, created for the air signs. I picked up some fresh mixed spring greens from the local farmer’s market. They have a variety that contains edible flowers, so it’s a nice touch for parties! I added some fluffy goat cheese crumbles and thinly sliced persimmons (also from the farmer’s market).

For the dressing I simply made a pomegranate champagne vinaigrette by mixing ¼ cup pomegranate champagne vinegar with ½ cup extra virgin olive oil (important to whisk furiously to combine). I added a little bit of raw, local honey to taste. This was a simple, yet delicious salad that got a lot of compliments!

Third Course: Spicy Tomato Coconut Curry Enchiladas for the Fire Signs

What self-respecting fire sign doesn’t love a little spice in their life? These enchiladas are filled with spiced black beans, avocados, and cilantro and topped with a fresh heirloom tomato coconut curry sauce. These are pretty easy to make and were a big hit at the party!

Check out the recipe here!

Fourth Course: Assortment of Decadent Chocolate Truffles for the Earth Signs

Ah yes, my favorite course. Well, you might guess that I am an earth sign (Taurus to be exact), but who doesn’t love chocolate! These truffles are so amazingly rich, smooth, and satisfying. They are also vegan as I use coconut milk to make the ganache. They are so easy to make, impressive at parties, and there is much room for creativity with different flavors and toppings.

Jessie’s Chocolate Coconut Milk Truffles

Ingredients:

  • 1-11/2 lb dark chocolate of your favorite variety
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • Assortment of flavors: peppermint extract, orange extract, raspberry jam, mesquite powder, and cayenne pepper (I used these flavors but experiment with your favorites!)
  • Toppings: shredded coconut, crushed blanched almonds

Chop dark chocolate into small pieces. Divide into several bowls (depending on how many flavors you want to make). Carefully heat the coconut milk being sure not to burn it. It should be hot enough to the point where it is just about to boil.

Pour the coconut milk over the chocolate pieces and stir to combine. You will need to experiment a bit here to find the proper consistency. Add a little more milk for a softer truffle, or a little less for a firmer truffle that has a darker flavor. It is hard to go wrong here. If you add too much milk, just add a bit more chocolate to balance it out. Remember that the mixture will harden up in the refrigerator.

After stirring mixture, if there are still lumps, place bowl over a pot of steaming water and continue to stir. After well combined, add in extracts, jam, or powders. I usually just add these to taste. Place your mixture (ganache) in the refrigerator to set. This will take 2-3 hours.

Once the mixture is firm, use a spoon or melon baller to scoop out the truffles. Roll them in your hands to shape. Dip them in shredded coconut or chopped nuts and roll to coat. Place on a plate and store in the refrigerator until serving time. You will not be disappointed with these decadent treats! I ended up with 4 flavors: Ravishing Raspberry, Refreshing Mint, Mesquite/Cayenne, and Sweet Orange.

This was such a fun night, and I was so glad that my friends could come out to join me for this amazing event. We had a couple feisty Taurus bulls, a few creative and mellow Pisces (one as sushi, one as a beautiful mermaid, and one in a purple jumpsuit). The energetic Aries represented with their ram horns and devil horns (fire sign). We also had two Aquarians who were thinking outside the box, as they often do. One was in a scuba mask (Aquarius is the water bearer), and the other in an innovative sexy banana costume. Last but not least, the twins made an appearance (Gemini). Thank you everyone for making my Halloween weekend so devilishly delightful!

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