Friday, March 23, 2012

Hunger Games Dinner Party

Hello, fellow Hunger Gamers!  I'm running off of three hours of crappy sleep thanks to the midnight premier of The Hunger Games.  I'm going to save my review of the movie for a time when I'm feeling slightly less exhausted and instead share with you the Hunger Games-themed deliciousness that I whipped up before the movie, because I'm cool like that and because you need to have your own Hunger Games dinner party!

First up, I made Prim's Salade au Chevre Chaud, or salad with hot goat cheese.  This is a pretty classic French salad consisting of lettuce, French dressing (the real kind, not that orange stuff), and broiled goat cheese rounds on slices of baguette.  I had this salad in France and it was the best way I could think of to incorporate Prim's goat cheese into the meal and I must say, it did not disappoint.  It's pretty self-explanatory, but here's the recipe I used for the dressing.

Next up, we had what my friend Ali designated "Flambless Stew," or my recreation of the lamb stew with dried plums that Katniss loves so much.  There's no meat in it of course (I used Gardein beefless tips).  It went over really well with everybody, even my fruit-in-food hating husband, and is further evidence that you don't need to eat meat to eat well.  The recipe is at the end of the post and Hunger Games lover or not, I recommend you make it.

Finally, for dessert, we had this beauty of a cake:
Isn't that gorgeous?!?!
That's right - that's a Peeta Mellark Nightlock Berry Cake which, unfortunately, I can't take credit for.  My talented friend Sarah produced this beauty and I must say, it was pretty amazing (and delicious).

All in all, it was a great dinner party and so much fun that I almost forgot about the movie afterwards.  I'll be back sometime this weekend with a review.  In the meantime, go check out my review of the series on audiobook.  Or start planning your dinner party.  May the odds be ever in your favor!

Flambless Stew (adapted from this recipe)

3 9 oz. bags Gardein beefless tips (in the freezer section)*
olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup red wine
2 cups vegetable stock (I use Better Than Bouillon brand)
1 tbsp sugar **
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
1 small zucchini, cubed
2 large red potatoes, cubed
2 1/2 cups pitted prunes, quartered
1 tsp dried thyme
1 1/2 tsp dried rosemary, crushed in your hand
1 tsp dried parsley
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup ginger ale**
black pepper

6 cups cooked grain of choice (I used brown rice)

Heat a big pot over medium-high heat and coat the bottom with olive oil.  Brown the beefless tips, working in batches.  Don't worry about cooking them through right now, just get some color on them.  Remove to a bowl.  Add some more oil to the pan, along with the onion and garlic.  Cook until the onion starts to brown.  Deglaze the pan with the wine, scraping at the bottom to get all those good crusty bits.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot and bring to a boil, then lower heat.  Simmer for 40 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft.  Add more water or stock if it seems a little dry to you.  Five minutes before serving, add the beefless tips back to the pot and simmer until heated through.  Season to taste.  Serve over grain.  Be amazed at how yummy it is.

*According to the Gardein website and the package, you should be careful not to overcook the tips, so be sure to remove them from the pot after browning.  I'm not sure about this, but if you leave them in there the whole thing will probably explode.  And don't worry - they're plenty tender.  I see a Meatless Monday post about faux meats in my future.
**I think the ginger ale in the original recipe is really for meat tenderizing purposes, which wasn't necessary here, but I wasn't sure so I added it.  In the future, I would probably leave out the sugar and the ginger ale, because with all those prunes, it made the stew pretty sweet.  I added some extra water and a lot of black pepper and that cut the sweetness, so I leave it up to you to decide about the sugary stuff.


  1. OK, so the first thing I thought when I read this title was "Oh so you arrive for the dinner party and are greeted with an arrow to the throat?"

    Anyway, that's awesome that you did this and that cake looks amazing.

  2. That sounds like so much fun! & the cake is awesome. Glad you had fun & look forward to your review of the movie.