The temperature was dropping in Cincinnati and the holidays were only a couple weeks away. My good friend, Sebastian, wanted share a warm and wintery meal with a few of our close friends.

The theme of the meal focused on the idea of gifts and unwrapping. When do we unwrap our food? After some brainstorming we settled on the use of parchment paper.The material evoked a whimsical and festive feel that just fit the season. Plus you could cook with it and it created beautiful diffused light when paired with candles!

Sebastian constructed a beautiful table designed specifically for this meal in an open studio space and collected an army of toaster ovens! The studio space we had did not have a real kitchen, it might have had a microwave and a single burner... but with the help of some generous friends, we had a little toaster cover workshop.*

Each course was presented as a little gift to our guests. When they first took their seats at the table there was a little tied bundle of roasted spiced nuts sitting on the table as an appetizer. Next came "salad envelopes" full of arugula, figs, and goat cheese. The main course was chicken thighs and tilapia prepared en papillote, which is the french preparation of cooking in parchment paper. Finally, dessert was salted pumpkin soft caramels twisted in parchment, the perfect sweet bite to end on.

Each course was such a fun surprise and definitely evokes the feeling of opening presents on Christmas morning. But instead of a barbie for christmas, there were chicken thighs.

* this meal was prepared using only 4 toaster ovens... only 1 small minor fire was started.


Roasted Spiced Nuts

Arugula, Fig and Goat Cheese Salad

Citrusy Tilapia w/ Zuchinni and Eggplant en papillote

Garlic and Thyme Chicken Thighs w/ Carrots en papillote

Pumpkin Salted Soft Caramels