TRAVERSE CITY — Ticket holders at the 11th annual International Dinner will eat their way around the world at Hagerty Center tonight when they sample goodies like Indian curry soup, Mexican jicama and mango salad, braised red cabbage with homemade egg noodles from Germany and a Serbian fresh fig tart.
Served up buffet style, the menu represents the more than two dozen international students who are attending Northwestern Michigan College. Created and prepared by the Hagerty culinary team, the dinner includes foods from nearly a dozen countries with input from NMC International Club students.
“The culinary group does all of the research for the menu,” explained Shauna Quick, the club's event director. “They want to make sure that the food is not only aesthetically pleasing, but that it’s complementary.”
Other dishes this year include a Ukrainian cold beet soup, Caribbean sweet potatoes and corn from Jamaica, turkey in red mole with avocado pico de gallo originating in Mexico and a ginger spice cake with cardamom cream and ginger-scented caramel from South Korea.
Each table is decorated to represent a country. Students, some dressed in traditional clothing, will serve the food and then sit down with diners to answer questions about their homelands.
“The event is a great chance to meet many international students from a variety of countries,” said Quick.
This year the students will provide the entertainment during dinner, which will include singing, traditional dancing, poetry reading and more.
Olga Narolska, a native of Ukraine, is volunteering for the second year. She not only helped make decorations, but will sing a Ukrainian song during dinner.
All of the event proceeds support NMC international student scholarships. Narolska said that is one of the reasons she pitches in with the dinner.
“All of the money is helping us and it’s also an interesting night,” she said.
Kalizya Nseluka is a first-year student from Zambia who will be serving, mingling and possibly joining in a traditional dance.
“I’m really excited to go to the dinner,” she said. “At my other school, we didn’t have anything like this.”
The event sells out every year, and space is limited. Dinner begins at 6 p.m., with tickets at $30 for adults and $20 for students. They are available online at nmc.edu/tickets or from NMC Admissions at 995-1054.
8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
½ c. butter
1 T. minced garlic
2 loaves French bread, sliced
1 lb. sliced sausage of your choice
1 cucumber, sliced
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
1 hard-cooked egg, chopped
In a small bowl, stir together the cream cheese, butter and garlic. Spread some of this onto each slice of bread. Place a slice of sausage, cucumber and tomato on each piece of bread, then top each one with some chopped egg. Serve open faced. Makes 25.
— Olga Narolska
Fisashi - A traditional Zambian vegetable side dish
Bunch of spinach
1 T. salt
½ c. cooking oil
½ pepper (hot if you prefer)
½ t. baking soda
About 8 oz. finely pounded ground peanuts (this can be done in a food processor)
Chop the spinach into very small pieces. Chop onions and tomatoes. Soak the spinach in hot water while heating some water in a pot. Put all the spinach in the pot and let it steam, then add onions, tomato, salt and cooking oil. Let it cook until softened, about 15 minutes, then add the ground peanuts and baking soda. Let it cook for half an hour until the peanuts are softened, stirring periodically. Let it sit overnight on the counter and eat the next day at room temperature or chilled.
— Kalizya Nseluka
Crunchy Jicama and Mango Salad
1 medium jicama (about 1 lb.)
2 small cucumbers
3 medium mangoes
1/4 c. roughly chopped cilantro leaves, plus sprigs, for garnish
2 t. powdered dried chile (any medium heat type)
2 limes, juiced
Peel and cut the jicama into long thin strips. Slice the cucumbers in half, scoop out the seeds and then cut into strips similar in size to the jicama strips. Peel the mangoes, cut the cheeks off, then slice into wedges. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl with chopped cilantro, powdered chile and lime juice. When ready to serve, season with a little salt and garnish with fresh cilantro sprigs. Makes 6 appetizer servings.
— The Food Network
Fresh Fig Tart
13 T. cold butter, cut into pieces
1/3 c. confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 large egg yolk
1 T. heavy cream
1/2 c. plus 1 T. heavy cream
2 T. honey
16 ripe figs, washed, stemmed and cut in half.
To make dough: In a large bowl, combine sugar and flour and cut in butter as for pie dough. Combine egg yolk with 1 T. heavy cream. Add to flour-sugar-butter mixture and mix pastry into a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 2 hours.
On a lightly floured surface, roll pastry dough to a 14-inch circle and fit into a 12-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Return to refrigerator and chill for 30 minutes.
Heat oven to 375°. Top pastry with a piece of parchment paper and place pie weights or dried beans on it. Bake 12 minutes, or until pastry is light golden. Remove from oven and take away parchment and pie weights.
To make filling: Mix cream with honey. In a large bowl, combine figs with half the honey-cream mixture, stirring to coat. Arrange figs on the par-baked tart shell and drizzle remaining honey-cream mixture on top. Bake 25 to 35 minutes or until juices are bubbling around the edge of the tart. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes before removing tart ring. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Makes 1 12-inch tart.