The Herbs of Autumn for Foodbuzz’s 24×24

October 30, 2011

Myself and Sister

How awesome do you feel when an idea of your works out? I know I love it. And I got the chance to find out last night with a Foodbuzz prompted, fall-inspired dinner party hosted at my gym.

Let me explain a bit more.

Foodbuzz sent out an email blast for their annual 24×24 program, where featured Foodbuzz publishers are given a chance to submit their ideas for a dinner event. Only 24 bloggers are chosen to actually put on their dinner party. And with a nice incentive, all 24 dinner events are sign, sealed, delivered within a specific 24 hour time period. Kinda cool, right?

My proposal was chosen!

Best part? My gym has a huge (and unused!) commercial kitchen they recently built. Why not host a dinner bash there???

So off to work I went with the last minute details of the event: Buying plating, solidifying the location, inviting some gym-goers and clients, and purchasing and prepping ingredients.

The What Runs Lori Featured Fall Inspired Meal for October’s 24×24?

I loved an herb idea… And with a little help from my clever sister, the meal was underway this Saturday, October 29th at my gym to showcase that amazing and healthy meals do exist.

 The Five Herbs of Autumn

(download your free copy of the recipes here!)

Each component of the autumn meal featured a different fall herb, bringing out not only some bold and some subtle flavors, but also new tastes using different herbs.

The start of the meal featured Warming Marjoram Tomato Soup, rich with fresh, ripe tomatoes, spicy chili pepper flakes, and leaves of fresh marjoram. Marjoram brings to the soup a subtle sweet pine flavoring with added citrus notes. Upon first taste, my gym friends wished this a larger portion for tasting.  It was finished off quickly!

Sage took the stage with the blending of balsamic vinegar and olive oil, to create the Balsamic Sage Dressing on Mixed Greens. This salad was the most popular dish (well, besides the cupcakes). I think everyone was quite impressed with the dressing’s simplicity of ingredients and the ease of actually creating your own dressing. Preparing homemade dressings usually taste much better than store-bought, and 99.9% of the time is much healthier. The trick to creating an incredible, mouthwatering dressing without much fat is letting the onions (and other veggies, if using) soak in the vinegar (or whatever acid you are using)  for at least 15 minutes before mixing with the greens.

While the chicken and potatoes were baking, gym-goers were lining up next to the kitchen, as they could smell the delicious aromas wafting throughout the club. I truly think Saturday’s gym members did not get in a good workout. How could they have? They were all waiting for food!

Next up was the highly anticipated main course. Roasted root vegetables are always a hit and the Rosemary Sweet Potatoes with Rosemary Caramelized Onions did anything but disappoint. But how could soft, savory, and caramelized anything disappoint? The rosemary created a grounding and comforting taste for the potatoes and onions, and baking melded all flavors together.

An overnight marinade did wonders for the Orange & Thyme Grilled Chicken. Huge flavors with this dish. Just the smell of garlic and citrus nailed a 10 on the taste-test. Incredibly moist, the chicken evenly baked in a bath of fresh orange juice spiced with thyme. Five pounds of meat never disappeared so quickly.

After everyone tasted, politely asked for seconds, and then hurriedly grabbed thirds, the cupcakes came out of the refrigerator. The star of the show featured lemon and lavender and took fluffy and dense to a new level. Lemon & Lavender Cupcakes with its Rich Lavender Frosting took the show. The cupcakes were hinted with lavender but boasted sweet lemon.

The cake itself was fluffy but because of the mix of spelt flour and whole wheat flour, was slightly dense, creating a wonderful combination. The cupcake alone would have done it, but added to the top was super rich lavender-infused frosting and a sprinkle of lemon zest. Fantastic.

…But I never said I was good at piping frosting.

 

It was great being able to make a meal for so many people and to have them appreciate the health of it! Along with the delicious flavors we all got to try, I’d say this herb-filled meal was a hit!

Want to recreate your own Five Herbs of Autumn meal? Download the PDF of the menu and recipes! Free! Click Here!

What would be your fall-inspired meal?

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Christin@purplebirdblog November 1, 2011 at 7:00 AM

You are an absolute genius!!! I love this idea and now I’m starving, lol 🙂

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tea-bagginit October 31, 2011 at 5:03 PM

those dishes look great … wish i could say the same about the gym-goers’ attire – the 80’s called and they want their tank tops back! haha! you and your sis are so pretty & i’m glad the event was a success!

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Mama Samaan October 31, 2011 at 3:33 AM

Wow, very impressive!!!! Everything looks and sounds absolutely delicious. Wish your blog could be tasted too 😉

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Katie October 30, 2011 at 8:33 PM

Lori, you have outdone yourself here. I was just talking to my mom about how I think everyone would LOVE veggies and “halthy” food if they just learned how to use herbs more. This is great.

I love marjoram – its such an underused herb. I never thought to add it to tomato soup though, and I have a bunch of tomaotes from my garden in the freezer that I wanted to make into soup. Dinner tomorrow, courtesy of What Runs Lori. Thanks!!

I LOVE, absolutely LOVE, the new header!

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Kim @ Eat, Live, and Blog October 30, 2011 at 4:45 PM

YUM! Everything looks delicious! I’ve never tried lavender cupcake before! It sounds delightful. 🙂

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Pure2raw Twins October 30, 2011 at 3:46 PM

Awesome job Lori!!! We are so proud of you! Everything looks perfect. Perfect for fall 🙂
So happy for you too! and so great that your sister was there to help. we would have loved to be there to taste everything ,yum yum

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Natalie @ Cinnamon Bums October 30, 2011 at 2:46 PM

Wow Lori! I am so beyond impressed, and I LOVE the theme for your meal – I’m obsessed with herbs & spices (I want to grow my own herbs!) and I’m always trying to think of more ways to incorporate them into my cooking, so this post of yours totally inspires me!!! Ahhh you are a creative and beautiful soul =)

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Ela October 30, 2011 at 12:44 PM

Congratulations! What an awesome opportunity and what great use you put it to.

I adore all things herb, so I’m looking forward to looking through your menu in more detail. You and your sister are adorable!

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Hezzi-D October 30, 2011 at 11:21 AM

Great idea! I love that your gym has an enormous kitchen too, how cool! Great use of all the herbs.

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Alissa - Not Just Apples October 30, 2011 at 9:16 AM

This looks delicious! Everyone keeps telling me how much they are currently loving sage, and it’s been too long since I cooked with it…

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Lori November 1, 2011 at 8:48 AM

I’m not sure I had ever used sage but I’m so glad I did! Sage is delicious!

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