What Happens in the Kitchen…

‘Twas the week before Christmas and all through Stephanie Meyer’s house, not a creature was stirring except 45 women, chef Adam Vickerman from Cafe Levain, comedian (server/bartender for the evening) Dan Mogol, host John Levy (Stephanie’s husband) and patient puppy Louis. So…creatures were stirring. And chopping and drizzling and grating and talking and laughing and drinking bubbles and eating.

The sparkly scene featuring snacks, smoked salt and Kelli Abrahamian

Stephanie was gracious enough to host a ladies-only MN Food Bloggers evening of cooking with Chef Vickerman. The atmosphere was festive and the menu was fantastic, to say the least:

* Roasted mushroom soup with sautéed mushrooms, Honeycrisp apple and cider gastrique
* Charred kale salad with roasted and pickled root vegetables, bacon lardons and buttermilk vinaigrette
* Slow roasted pork shoulder with braised white beans
* Brussels sprouts with dried fruit chutney
* Panna cotta with candied pecans and citrus reduction

Each course was more luscious, savory and mouth-watering than the last. The roasted mushroom soup was so smooth and the wonderful mushroom funk was cut by the sweet apple and the tart gastrique. The kale salad was *perfect* — the veggies were firm and well cooked, the lardons were a fantastic chewy bacon explosion and everything was bathed in the tangy buttermilk vinaigrette.

World's best pork and beans, now with bonus brussels sprouts deliciousness!

The pork was fall apart tender and the beans were delicate and scrumptious. The brussels sprouts were roasty, toasty brown with pops of sweet from apricots and dried cranberries. The creamy, dreamy panna cotta was lush with citrus freshness and crunchy candied pecans.

Panna cotta perfection.

It was such a privilege to spend time in the kitchen with Chef Vickerman and I prepped with pleasure quartering brussels sprouts, chopping dried apricots, squeezing citrus and grating cheese. Then there was eating and a room full of chatty ladies went silent except for the occasional exclamation about how delicious each bite was.

So, what *does* happen when you gather 45 women in a kitchen, where women the world over have gathered together for centuries? Amazing happens. Joy, bonding, celebrations of success, comforting of sorrows, warmth and beauty, secrets, shoes, confidence, laughter, gorgeous, classy and strong happens. Plans are hatched, ideas born, problems solved, power is built, vision is clarified and friendships are formed. Maybe a woman’s place really is in the kitchen … it’s the staging area for taking over the world!

The ladies (and gents too) I’ve met this year through the MN Food Bloggers group have elevated my life in ways I couldn’t have previously imagined and I’m so blessed to have vastly expanded my circle of friends. And it all started in the kitchen.

Happy New Year to all the cooks and eaters. May 2012 bring wonderful tastes and adventures to you all.

6 thoughts on “What Happens in the Kitchen…

  1. Lynne this is so lovely! What a blast to read, wow it’s fun to see the menu, and description of the courses, and I couldn’t agree more about the amazing experience of 45 awesome women all in the same room. What a YEAR! Thank you for all of your help. Happy 2012!

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