Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Girls Night Out

Clockwise from left: Kira, Yolanda, Liz, Sanne, Hannetjie, and Maela

Left to right: Yolanda, Staci, and Kira

Last Saturday I hosted girls night out for six fabulous and diverse international women. Each one is interesting and accomplished; among other things, our common denominator is that we live in Denmark and we love to laugh and eat good food. In part, I have my husband to thank for this.

Before we moved to Hobro, Alan had a Friday night tradition in Skive known as "book club." Yes, it's in quotes because there were no books involved. It was a bunch of guys sitting in a pub drinking pint after pint of Guinness. He was lucky enough to be welcomed into this group of Irish, Scottish, and British men that's been meeting for years to shoot the breeze and consume as much Guinness as their bellies will hold. While I was happy for Alan--he thinks the world of these guys--I wasn't so thrilled seeing him stagger into the house and head immediately to the couch where he would stay (fully clothed) until morning. And in true Danish fashion, he rode his bike home from the pub! However, his book club membership paid off for me in a big way.

One of the Scottish guys works with an American woman, Liz, with whom I eventually got connected. Liz invited me to coffee at her house with her and two other American women and then soon after to an unforgettable girls night out where I met some really incredible women. I hadn't had that much fun in ages. So yes, I do have Alan to thank for going to the pub, drinking Guinness, and passing out on the couch. Now that we're in Hobro we have a new, much mellower, Friday tradition: we ride our bikes to the marina and while Anatole and I share an ice cream, Alan savors a single pint of Carlsberg Special (no Guinness at the ice cream shop!). He misses book club, but he's happy to be felling fitter and saving the 200 plus kroner he would spend each time (that's $40...on beer!).

Back to girls night out. My Danish friend Kira showed up early and got preparations underway for her signature peach soup. Last year she attended a conference near Vejle and this soup was served at the hotel. She later obtained the recipe from the hotel's website. It's a gorgeous and wonderfully delicious concoction. Yolanda is from Madrid and she showed up next with a mouth watering orange chocolate mousse. Then the rest of group arrived: Liz, who's originally from Missouri, brought an amazing, garlicky shrimp artichoke dip. She served it with tortilla chips, and it was impossible to stay out of. Trust me. Hannetjie is South African and she made a simple yet incredibly delicious appetizer--cherry wrapped bacon skewered with toothpicks and broiled until crisp. It was only after I ate one did I realize that she used maraschino cherries, not something I typically go for. But the combination of sweet and salty was irresistible.

Sanne is Danish and she whipped up not one but two pans of ham and leek quiche. I think there was cheese in it, too. It was light and seasoned perfectly. The quiche I made was studded with sauteed spinach, tomato slices, and crisp bacon bits. Lots of pork going on at this party.

Yolanda and Maela

Born and raised in Belgium, Maela is the daughter of Italians. She speaks four languages that I know of. Maela bestowed us with her delectable tiramisu (to which she added sliced strawberries) and a lovely apple tart. There's not much to say about tiramisu other than that it's a truly special dessert. Beautiful to look at and even better to eat. The apple tart was sweetened perfectly, had a nutty, crunchy topping, and I love the fact that Maela left the skin on the sliced apples. It gave it a rustic touch and a pretty pinkish color. Thanks, Mama Maela! I almost forgot about the chocolate cheese--very unique and such a treat. Last but not least, Yolanda's chocolate mousse was a huge hit--light, creamy, and so delicious.

We drank beer, wine, Safari liqueur, tea, coffee, and consumed a 9 x 13 pan of vodka Jello. While it's possible to find gelatin in Denmark it's virtually impossible to find anything similar to Jello, where all you do is add water to the mix and then let it set in the fridge. So when I told Liz I was thinking of hosting a girls night and that I had shipped some boxes of Jello from the U.S., she said "You have to make Jello shots!" I combed the stores for little paper cups but couldn't find any, so I took Liz's suggestion and made them in a pan. I followed the recipe for strawberry gigglers and simply added vodka. When they were ready I cut them into squares and people ate them right out of their hands. Gigglers are nice (with or without the vodka) because there's so much gelatin in the mixture that they don't stick to your hands and make a mess when you eat them. There wasn't one of us who didn't take seconds...and thirds. Those little suckers are dangerous!

We took a nice walk to the marina for some fresh air and to make room for dessert. After we stuffed ourselves with mousse, tart, and tiramisu, we sat talking until after 1:00 a.m. What a spectacular evening. Thanks, ladies! I can't wait for the next girls night...

Kira's Peach Soup
2 onions - chopped finely
2 cloves of garlic - chopped finely
1T mild curry (madras)
1t turmeric
1-2t oil
1 can of peaches in syrup
1 can of chopped tomatoes
1/2 liter cream
750ml chicken stock
2 leeks - finely chopped
400g small shrimp

1. In a large stock pot, fry onions through turmeric in oil for a minute or two.
2. Puree peaches and tomatoes and add to the pot, let simmer over low heat for one hour.

3. Add leeks and shrimp 2 minutes before serving, mix together and serve with bread on the side.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent blog you´re keeping, Staci. You really did capture our evening quite well - it was almost as fun to read it as it was to be there....maybe not really, but it sure brought back good memories:-) I too enjoyed the evening so much that I simply can´t wait for the next Girls Night Out.