Happy October 1st!! It was a lovely weekend that sent warm wishes to the remaining three months of 2012.  Did any of you get a sneak peek at the Harvest moon on Saturday night?  It was pretty foggy here in Birmingham, but we did make it out for some fun adventures around town.  James and I hit up Sloss Fright Furnace, one of my favorite annual Halloween activities!  We also did a quick walk-through at Oak Hill Cemetary for their “Shoot the Moon” event.  I showed James some of the gravesites of Birmingham’s most well-known historical folks, including my all-time fav Louise Wooster.  I hope to do something with her story one day through film.  You should take a few minutes and read a little about her.  If you are intrigued, then I highly recommend checking out her book, A Woman of the Town: Autobiography of a Magdalene (with foreword by James Baggett), from your local library.

There was lots of activity with friends this weekend with two big dinners on Saturday & Sunday night.  One was a Mexican-themed collaborative meal where each guest was responsible for an assigned course.  I was given citrus guacamole (fairly easy and delicious) and James was assigned griddle cakes, which was a little more complicated.   All of the dishes turned out wonderful, and about 14 people showed up with food in-hand.  Vero talks a lot about the eating/dining style of Europeans (she is from Belgium) and how they graze for hours on multiple courses.  Eating is a special time of sharing and being with others, not meant to be rushed.  When she goes home to visit her parents, she talks about holiday meals lasting for 6-7 hours.  They spend all day preparing the food, then enjoy it slowly.  As most of you know, Vero is a very lean person…so it often counters in my mind the lifestyle expected to go along with that.  Vero is the queen of healthy cooking, she can make almost anything nutritious by doing simple swaps with ingredients.  I knew she would be happy when I accidentally picked up these weird Florida avocados that had significantly less fat for my guacamole.  I thought I had ruined the whole thing, but it ended up that you couldn’t really taste the difference with the other ingredients combined.  :D

Here is the full menu for those of you who are interested.  Vero planned the menu herself!

HORS D’OEUVRES
JEN: Orange guacamole with blue corn chips
http://www.cuttingbackkitchen.com/2012/08/07/fresh-guacamole-with-a-twist/

JAMES: Masa griddle cakes with poblano peppers and goat cheese
http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/april-2008-masa-griddle-cakes-with-poblanos-and-goat-cheese

MELISSA AND DAVID: Sweet stuffed chilies
http://caciqueinc.com/recipes/sweet-chiles-stuffed-with-cacique%C2%AE-chorizo-picadillo-queso-fresco-with-fire-roasted-red-bell-pepper-sauce

SOUP
MICHELLE’s BEAU: Vegetarian Posole Soup
http://flavorista.com/2011/02/28/meatless-mondays-new-mexican-posole/
or a pumpkin soup
http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/2006/01/mexican-pumpkin-soup.html

APPETIZER
CARRIE AND WADE: Black bean cakes with chipotle corn sauce
http://allamericanvegetarian.blogspot.com/2011/05/black-bean-cakes-with-chipotle-corn.html

KRISTINA: and a citrus queso fresco salad
http://caciqueinc.com/recipes/citrus-queso-salad

ENTREE
Vero: Mushroom enchilada with mole sauce, with Nopales Asadas (grilled cacti)
http://www.weheartfood.com/2008/05/wild-mushroom-mole-enchiladas.html

BERNARD: with Arroz Verde
http://chefinyou.com/2010/11/arroz-verde/

DESSERT
DEMET: Flan de queso (flambe)

Pre-run kitty lovin.

Sightings from my six mile run on Saturday

Mexican collaborative dinner at Vero’s house. Photo by Vero!

Stuffed alive.