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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Intimate Green Dinner St. Patrick's Day 2013

For the last couple of years my alternative to the traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner on St. Patrick's Day resulted in some very creative green colored dishes. The only rule was that each dish had to be some shade of green so the choices were only limited by my guests' imaginations. My foodie friend, Stacie Tamaki, did two great posts describing every delicious bite on The Flirty Blog. Just recently she did a recap of my last two dinners hoping to inspire others to plan their own green feasts.

Grilled Swordfish w/Lemon, Mint and Basil, Green Rice, Grilled Artichokes w/Sauce Gribiche

This year I decided to keep it intimate and at the last minute I turned a family dinner green. My menu this time was a bit more conservative but still far from traditional for the day we all celebrate the Irish.

Appetizers: Olive Tapenade and Artichoke Parmesan Dip with celery stalks and Riceworks Wildrice Crisps. Sicilian olives, Pistachio nuts and Cornichons. These crackers are low in fat, wheat and gluten free, all natural and get their crunch from black sesame seeds. They have now trumped all corn and potato chips as my hands down favorite tool for dipping.

Simple all green appetizers hit mostly the savory and salty bases with our virgin Margaritas.
My sister, Holly, came armed with her blender and made virgin green margaritas for all.
Some very spring-like weather had me definitely in a grilling mood so three of our four courses hit the coals starting off with one of my favorite salads courtesy of my foodie friend, Andy Mark. Andy introduced me to this dish when he posted a recipe for Grilled Avocado Salad which was perfectly green for my menu this evening.

A small splash of olive oil and quick stop on the hot grill is all it takes.
The only dressing this salad needs is a drizzle of aged Balsamic Vinegar.
Next up to bat on the grill were Artichokes. I first halved, cleaned and steamed them on the cooktop. Their visit over the hot coals then added some smokiness and just slightly char on the edible side. I served them with a Sauce Gribiche which has mayonnaise, yogurt, capers, dill pickle, parsley, shallots, thyme, chopped hard-boiled egg and lemon juice. This recipe is a Tyler Florence fresh twist from the typical way chokes are served with just mayo or drawn butter.

Grilling Artichokes adds a whole lot of texture and flavor.
Grilled Swordfish with Lemon, Mint and Basil (Giada De Laurentiis recipe)
My favorite starch to accompany fish is most always rice so the obvious choice tonight was Green Rice. I actually use long grain brown rice and then mix in finely minced green onions and flat leaf parsley for the color and taste.

Green Rice gets it's flavor from scallions and parsley whipped together in the food processor.
My parting shot is nothing close to green but it was our entertainment of choice tonight. In 1987 Roy Orbison filmed an historic concert with some of popular music's biggest stars. It was filmed in black and white and simply called Roy Orbison and Friends: A Black and White Night. It is a go-to concert when I entertain and paired quite nicely with all of the shades of green we enjoyed.

Roy Orbison and Friends: A Black and White Night for our Green Dinner.

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all! Please do throw a Green Dinner of your own.

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