Maria's $79 Dining for Women Dinner Party

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I recently posted a question in my weekly email and on the site from Maria, who had gotten involved with an organization called Dining for Women and was having a dinner party to raise funds for a project in Uganda. She asked for help planning her menu. She promised me she'd send in a report with photos...
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Maria apologizes for not having much documentation of the food itself. Apology accepted - but only because of her smiling face in the host photos above. Next time you must remember to shoot the food!

Kitchn readers will be pleased to know that I pulled a few ideas from their generous contributions, pushed myself out of my culinary comfort zone and ended up with a pretty delish menu - and we raised about $1500 dollars for Bead for Life, which was this month's recipient!

Here's what I served: veggie wrap appetizers (whole wheat tortilla, hummus or cream cheese with chives, alfalfa sprouts, julienned carrots and cucumber, a basil leaf); African peanut stew (modified); and pulled pork with the cabbage slaw.

I took a very easy route to this cooking: I basically picked up everything at Trader Joe's (my total budget for food ended up at a mere $79 dollars, although I did end up buying a case of wine and beer which added up) and picked the basil from my garden.

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The African Peanut Stew went like this: (I looked up a bunch of different recipes and then decided to do it my own way):

2 containers of Trader Joe's pre-cut sweet potato and turnip mix
vegetable broth
onion
Trader Joe's bag of chard medley (kale and chard)
smashed garlic
almond butter
red pepper flakes
pinch of cumin
pinch of coriander
pinch of cinnamon
Did the spices, onions and garlic first in a bit of vegetable oil, then added the sweet potato and turnip, then the greens. Brought to a boil, then simmered for about an hour. Kept adding the veggie broth. Served on its own, people loved it.

For the pulled pork, I was so nervous (my typical bailiwick is Mediterranean) that I tried to follow the AT recipe of yours exactly but ended up throwing in my own stuff as well - namely some white wine. It came out exactly as promised and pulled right off the bone! I was ridiculously proud of myself.

The cabbage slaw I cheated again and used Trader Joe's pre-cut cabbage, then added the peanuts (forgot my list and used roasted unsalted instead of salted), rice vinegar, sesame oil and a dash of low-sodium soy sauce. I used the mini-tortillas although most people just wanted the pork and the slaw on their own.

I want to urge AT readers to consider starting their own Dining for Women chapters, it's such a great way to bring people together. As I mentioned, this month's recipient was Bead For Life, an organization that assists women in Uganda with their bead making businesses. I sold so many beads, we ate, we watched a documentary and we drank until late at night.

Maria will host another dinner next month and if there are any readers in LA who would like to come, to please email me and I'll connect you with her.

Thanks, Maria!

More on cooking for a crowd:
Good Question: Casual Dinner Party for 20
Slow Cooked Hoisin Pork Wraps with Peanut Slaw
Beer Braised Short Ribs

Related:
How To Throw a Giving Circle Dinner
Maria's House Tour on AT:LA
Dining for Women's website

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