A Transcontinental Table: Set with Tradition & Inspiration

There’s nothing we love more at Entertaining Company than being part of a mix and mashup of cultures. Spices, foods, cultures, Chicago neighborhoods, our travels…it all becomes part of our heady brew of culinary inspiration. We love planning a dinner party with a touch of cultural surprise.  Sitting around the table with people from different neighborhoods, different countries, and joining together to enjoy food with ceremony and tradition re-imagined…heaven!

Our “cooking across boundaries style” means our process usually involves taking familiar, traditional recipes and enhancing, adding on, and taking inspiration from other, non-related cultures that makes what was once a traditional dish, more exciting and bold than the original.

In Italy one Winter, I loved driving up with friends on mountain roads for a midnight snack of Bruschetta . Traditional Bruschetta, like what I ate that evening,  is merely grilled, charred and very garlic-y Italian bread.  Back in the US, the bruschetta trend took off, and we all became inundated with toasted bread heaped with fresh tomato, basil and garlic. Good…yes,  but I got bored and so our Entertaining Company bruschetta went transcontinental. Fast-forward eight years and our bruschetta has evolved with an Indian spin…. Chimichurri-Marinated Paneer Bruschetta with Micro-green Salad of Arugula, Scallions, Cucumber and Diced Tomato.  Riffing a bit more on the bruschetta concept, our clients also love our Tandoori Tofu on Forbidden Rice Cakes (substitute for bread) with Cilantro, Mint and Chutney (substitute for tomato, garlic and basil).

When we think of seasonal flavors, we’re apt to add a global spin that takes our Midwestern bounty and transforms it into a a dish that is globally inspired.  Think adding saffron to an all-American Pumpkin Soup or a bit of Irish Stout to an elegant rendition of Hearty Beef Stew.  A bit of borrowing from Persia and a sprinkle of rosewater syrup makes all the difference in a dessert. Going beyond boundaries, using food as our vehicle, is what we love to do to create big, bold, flavors that are exciting, not jarring, that make our mouths happy and please our eyes. …a perennial culinary vacation from the ordinary, if you will.

We’ve even got a series of “Beyond Boundary” dinners planned for 2012 which we’ll be talking more about in the coming months.  Stay tuned.

Where do I go when I am seeking a little “goose” of Global inspiration?  It’s the season of gift giving, and if our “cooking beyond boundaries,” approach to entertaining inspires you as it does me, then be sure to check out these must-reads:


Mediterranean Hot and Spicy

Quiches, Kugels and Cous Cous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France

Crazy Water and Pickled Lemons

Ancient Grains for Modern Meals

Happy, Joyous and Peaceful Holidays!  See you in 2012 for another year of One World/No Boundaries Entertaining!