ladies’ lunch

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress

Categories: Soups, Supper, Dinner Party, Lunch, Eating Out, Fête Fact, Posted on September 26, 2015 by Sandy Bergsten

Last Wednesday I invited Carrie Walters, from the DLM Culinary Center, Liz Valenti, from Wheat Penny, and Wiley, from Meadowlark, over for lunch.  I knew I wanted to serve something seasonal, but also something with a bit of flair. Let’s be honest how often do these three top Dayton chefs get to sit down to a midday meal that is reminiscent of days gone by.

Nothing elevates a gathering more than serving multiple courses. While you might think this is difficult, think again. Serving several courses is simply taking what you were originally planning on having and bringing each component out one at a time. While you might have an extra plate or two, what is gained in terms of slowing the meal down is well worth the extra soapsuds in the end.

As for the season- zucchini squash seem to be everywhere. Instantly I knew what my first course would be- cold curried zucchini soup.

When entertaining the best starter is often a soup. Almost every soup is best made at least a day in advance. It gives all the ingredients a chance to truly meld. It also affords you a chance to wash up all those prep pans days before your party. And with a cold soup you simply smile, open up the refrigerator, ladle the soup into bowls, garnish and serve. First course- done!

Thinly slice 2-2 ½ pounds of zucchini. Using a mandolin makes this a quick job.

Finely chop a small onion.

Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a medium stockpot.

Sauté the zucchini and onions with a pinch of salt for 10 minutes over medium heat.

Add two teaspoons of curry powder. I adore the hot curry from Zabar’s in NYC.

Stir well to let the curry coat all of the zucchini.

Add four cups of chicken broth and one cup of half and half. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Carefully puree the mixture in batches in a food processor or blender or in the pot with a hand blender. Season with salt and pepper. Let the uncovered soup get to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate overnight. The soup can be made a day or two ahead of time. Before serving check the seasoning.

To garnish thin ½ cup of sour cream with a couple tablespoons of half and half.

Ladle up the soup.

Drizzle the thinned half and half in an “s” shape on top of the soup.

Run a knife back and forth through the “s” to create a feather pattern. If you mess up don’t worry- just stir the soup to incorporate the sour cream, pour into a fresh bowl and try again.

And here’s a big party tip- if you are serving a crowd consider using decorative paper cups and passing the soup to guests on a tray.

One and done- now on to the next course!

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