A Dinner Fit for a Hobbit (and Some Recipes Too)

Another Book Club dinner party is in the books, and this year’s event was just as lovely as the previous year.

Beautiful decor…

Fresh Salad…

Delicious soup…

Decadent dessert…

Oh, and conversation about The Hobbit as well…

While this book goes down as a favorite for some of us, others were not fans of the fantasy fiction genre or any of Tolkien’s works. However, we all could agree that the dramatized version available on Audible got a big thumbs down for leaving out narration, the dialog being too hard to follow and just generally not doing justice to the story.

For those of us that liked the book, we appreciated Bilbo as the reluctant hero and enjoyed following his very unhobbitlike adventures. Several of us are excited to one day read this book to our own kids as they start looking for adventures of their own.

And now, what you all have been waiting for…the recipes!

Corn Potato Poblano Soup
Makes about 2 quarts
6 ears organic corn, kernels shaved and reserved, cobs cut in half for stock following
8 c. water
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. sea salt

  1. In a medium saucepan combine corn cobs, water, oregano and salt. Simmer 30 minutes.

2 poblano peppers
3 yellow onions, small dice
4 ribs celery, small dice
4 yukon gold potatoes, medium dice
1/4 c. olive oil
1 tsp. sea salt
pinch of cayenne
1 c. white wine
red bell pepper coulis or cilantro pesto

  1. Using tongs, roast poblano peppers directly over a medium high flame. The skin of the peppers should be blistered and black all over. Put roasted peppers into a small bowl covered tightly with plastic wrap.
  2. In a large stock pot combine corn kernels, onions, celery, olive oil and remaining salt. Cook medium high until vegetables color.
  3. Add white wine and cook a few minutes more.
  4. Add potatoes, and strain corn stock into the main pot.
  5. Peel seed and chop poblanos, and add to soup. Simmer until potatoes are tender and flavors combine.
  6. Garnish with red bell pepper coulis or cilantro pesto.

Roast Pumpkin Soup
Makes about 5 cups
4 medium cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 kg peeled deseeded pumpkin (you will need about 1.5 kg or pumpkin to yield the 1 kg of peeled, deseeded pumpkin needed for this recipe)
1 tablespoon oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
Cream, for serving
Ground nutmeg, for serving

Preheat oven to 375º.
Chop pumpkin into even-sized pieces (larger pieces will require a longer roasting time). Place pumpkin and unpeeled garlic cloves in a baking tray/dish, drizzle with three teaspoons of the oil and toss to coat with oil.

Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the garlic so that it doesn’t overcook. Continue baking pumpkin until tender and cooked through. Keep an eye on the pumpkin to ensure it doesn’t burn.

Heat remaining teaspoon of oil in large (at least 3 quart capacity) saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, nutmeg, cumin, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for one minute.

Add pumpkin and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until the onion is soft and stock has reduced, about 20 minutes. The more the stock reduces, the thicker the soup will be.

Peel roasted garlic and add to saucepan. Allow the soup to cool for about half an hour before pureeing in batches in a blender.

Serve the soup hot. Top with a drizzle of cream and a sprinkle of nutmeg, if desired.

Store soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.

Chocolate Mousse
The recipe for the chocolate mousse can be found here at Allrecipes.com.

Pumpkin Spice Latte
Jodi shared her pumpkin spice latte recipe last year, and we put it to use for this dinner party, too. Here is the recipe.

Hope you can join us for October meeting where we will discuss Agatha Christie’s The Murder at the Vicarage (the first Miss Marple mystery). See you October 13 at 7 p.m. at Paradise Café and Bakery at Hamilton Town Center!

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Where’s your sense of adventure?

The Bagginses had lived in the neighborhood of The Hill for time out of mind, and people considered them very respectable, not only because most of them were rich, but also because they never had any adventures or did anything unexpected: you could tell what a Baggins would say on any question without the bother of asking him. This is a story of how a Baggins had an adventure, and found himself doing and saying things altogether unexpected. He may have lost the neighbours’ respect, but he gained–well, you will see whether he gained anything in the end. 

 –J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

Do you seek out new experiences? Love to travel? Will you try just about anything once? Do you secretly enjoy getting lost because you get to be somewhere you hadn’t expected and might get to meet someone new? Or do you prefer the comforts of home and the familiar? Enjoy the company of close friends? Does the thought of traveling to places unknown make you uneasy? If presented with the opportunity, how quickly would you jump into an adventure?

In the passage above, J.R.R. Tolkien is introducing us to Bilbo Baggins, the hero of this month’s book, The Hobbit. In the full section of the chapter, we learn exactly what a hobbit is, and we find out that adventures are frowned upon and avoided in hobbit society. Bilbo’s quest goes against everything he has been taught as a hobbit, yet he goes anyway, and he finds himself in the middle of situations unlike anything he had ever imagined in his warm and safe hobbit hole.

So where is your sense of adventure? When an unexpected party of visitors comes knocking at the door of Bilbo’s hobbit hole will you join them on their journey? I hope you will accept their invitation and travel “There and Back Again” with Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit. And when you have come “Back Again, ” I hope you will join us for our dinner party on September 8th at 7 p.m. If you can make it, please RSVP in a comment or reply to the Facebook invitation. Can’t wait to see you there!