A few weeks ago Jessica Murnane of One Part Plant invited us to co-host one edition of her monthly dining series, For Reals Meals. For each FRM gathering, Jessica asks her co-host to cook a plant-based meal for an intimate group of individuals they don't know personally. It might sound intimidating cooking a meal for a group of strangers, but we were so excited for this opportunity to connect with some rad women we had been admiring from afar!
Check out our awesome guest list of bright Chicago ladies:
- Jana Kinsman, illustrator/creator of Doodlebooth, and founder of urban beekeeping initiative, Bike A Bee
- Claire Staszak, shop manager and buyer at Neighborly and Yoga Instructor at Tula Yoga
- Chelli Look, Owner of Chelli Harms Collection handbags (10% of the profits from every CHC purchase is donated to WINGS: an organization empowering women and providing services to end domestic violence and homelessness)
- Rebecca Crall, founder of craft collective and textile company Territory Global Craft Collective
- Sarah Burrows, co-founder of Modern Sprout planters (a successfully funded kickstarter campaign!)
Eva Deitch photographed the event (including all these gorgeous shots in this post!), and her presence, spirit, and story were so inspiring. We were so grateful for the chance to connect with her in person as well!
To kick off the afternoon, Andrea led the most rejuvenating yoga class. While some of our guests were regular yogis (two guests teach yoga on the side), others had less experience with the practice. I love how my sister can build out a sequence that is approachable, yet challenging for students of all levels.
It was so fun to turn Jessica's living room into a yoga studio for a day! It's a beautiful open space with loads of natural light!
We kept the tables cape simple, as we were brining everything into Jessica's home for the event. The table was made of a rectangular slab of wood placed on top of a desk, with 10 seats around. We didn't have much space for tabletop decor - the wood slab was pretty narrow and had to fit a plate of food, bowl of soup, and 2 drink glasses for each guest. Ultimately, we placed a few small soy candles, a few flat and potted succulents, and an air plant inside of a faceted glass terrarium in the center.
Andrea folded the napkins into cute kimono shapes!
We used this special event as an excuse to try our hand at making a Kale+ Ginger Margarita, inspired by one of our favore cocktails - the Garden Variety Margarita from The Wayland NYC. Andrea played with the proportions the night before the event, and here's the recipe she came up with:
2 oz Blanco Tequila
1 oz fresh lime juice
1/2 oz fresh kale juice*
1/2 oz agave nectar
Smidge of fresh ginger juice* - this is potent stuff!
Spice House Vulcan Salt
Molden Smoked Sea Salt
1. Add smoked sea salt and vulcan salt together to desired level of heat
2. Use a lime wedge to salt glass rims
3. Stir/shake liquid ingredients
4. Pour over ice in salt-rimmed glass; garnish with a lime wedge
*Unless you own a fancy juicer, fresh kale and ginger juice can be hard to come by! In our case a new juice shop in Old Town - Real Good Juice Co. - came to the rescue. Andrea convinced their chef Gabe to sell her fresh kale & ginger juice! If
As a refreshing drink option to compliment the kale margarita, we served iced pitta organic tea from TeaGschwner with a mint sprig in each glass.
Zucchini pasta with cherry tomatoes, basil pesto and pine nuts was one of our main dishes. I used a julienne peeler to make zucchini noodles and tossed it with halved yellow and red cherry tomatoes, pine nuts, and a pesto sauce made with fresh basil, pine nuts, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Once everything is mixed, let is sit for about an hour so the zucchini noodles can absorb some of the sauce and soften, giving them more of a 'noodle-like' consistency.
We also tried our hand at quinoa and diced vegetable cabbage rolls, served with a peanut dipping sauce.
For the rolls: We blanched leaves of savoy cabbage, then patted them dry and kept on the side while we made the filling. The filling is a mix of cooked quinoa mixed with diced bell peppers, chopped mint + cilantro, mango vinegar, soy sauce, salt, pepper, and honey. We put a tablespoon of this mixture, along with a few julienne carrots (for crunch) into each cabbage leaf and rolled them up.
The sauce was a mix of raw peanut butter, apple cider vinegar, soy sauce and some honey.
Check out those Raw Almond Butter Triangles above! We doubled a recipe from Oh-She-Glows with a few variations: we used a 9X9 pyrex baking dish instead of muffin tins, garnished with unsweetened flaked coconut instead of slivered almonds, and cut into cute triangles.
A few hours of conversation later; empty plates + full stomaches. What a special event! Thank you Jessica for asking us to host with you, to all of our lovely guests for sharing so openly and vulnerably, and to Eva Deitch capturing the magic through your lens!