Tales of a Married Gamer – Dinner and a game… or five

hong shaoGreetings, and welcome back to another Tales of a Married Gamer.  This week’s article will be rather different than previous ones, as I will present you with a new ambitious plan that my wife and I are undertaking.  Tomorrow, we will have friends over and we thought it would be nice to kickoff our new place with dinner and a game.  But then we started to think about it, and why stop at just dinner and a game, so we decided to have a five course meal with five games played with each course.  That’s right, instead of pairing wines with food, we are pairing games (and beer) with food.

I actually do not know how well this will go over, but I have decided that for today’s article I will write down our menu for all to see.

Course 1 – Chilled Tofu and Celery (paired with a nice game of Tsuro)

Ingredients: Silken Tofu, Celery, Sesame Oil, Salt

Directions: Slice celery thin, beat tofu till it becomes a smooth paste like a ricotta.  Mix celery into the tofu, add sesame oil and salt to taste.

I put Tsuro here, as I thought it would be a nice way to start off our Asian themed dinner with an Asian themed game.

Course 2 – Sauteed Pea Shoots (paired with a game of Miles Bourne)

Directions: Heat a wok or fry pan on high heat.  Throw ginger, garlic and scallions (diced) into hot oil.  Add pea shoots and stir fry vigorously for a few minutes.  As the shoots wilt, add a little rice wine and serve hot.

We play a game of Miles Bourne here so if things go quickly, we can move to the next course with ease.

Course 3 – Baked Chinese Hong Shao Ribs (paired with a game of Ticket to Ride)

Directions: Marinate ribs  overnight in a mixture of (cubed or riblets) 70% brown sugar, 20% Chili Powder, 10% Salt.  Add soy sauce (enough to cover the ribs) and a tablespoon of honey two hours before baking.  Turn the oven to 400F place marinated ribs inside and bake until they are done.  Make sure to cover tightly with foil while baking.

Ticket to Ride is a nice game to play here as the Ribs can be eaten with utensils as they are quite soft.  Just be careful not to get Hong Shao sauce on your cards or game pieces.

Course 4 – Whole Steamed Fish (paired with Pandemic)

Directions:  Clean a whole white fish (preferably a Rockfish or Red Cod).  Place onto a platter that can be put into a steamer.  Cover the fish lightly in salt, and add a generous amount of Chinese cooking wine and lots of scallions.  Steam until fish is just fully cooked.

Pandemic seems like a horrible choice of a game for a dinner table, especially with the theme of sickness.  Yet, we have had a lot of fun playing this game at the table, and the fish can be taken apart and eaten very easily without taking up much space.

Course 5 – Egg Tarts with Mango Pudding (paired with Settles of Catan with Cities and Knights expansion)

Directions: I’ll be honest, I bought the egg tarts and mango pudding mix at the Chinese grocery store.  The mango pudding is literally heating milk and adding the mix, and then letting it set for a few hours.

We placed Settles of Catan here, as the game takes longer for us with the expansion than any of the other games.  It also needs more management and space, so food is served in small plates and bowls and will have very little mess.

So that is our grand menu for tomorrow.  Do you have any suggestions for food and game pairing?  Or do you believe that food should stay as far away as possible from the game table?

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