GINNA PARSONS: Charity Ball, here I come

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

Friday night, you’ll find my husband and me at the Junior Auxiliary’s 49th annual Charity Ball at the BancorpSouth Arena.
I’d like to say we patronize this event every year but, sadly, we don’t. I’d say we make it about every other year just because of other obligations.
I’m looking forward to three things at Friday’s “Evening in the Orient.” First, my daughter, Mary, will be presented as one of the Living Ads. Second, the band, Almost Famous, is back by popular demand, and I do love to cut a rug.
And third, Chef Joshua Simpson will once again be donating his time and talents to prepare the night’s menu, which includes snowy crisp Asian salad with bamboo and citrus sesame vinaigrette; caramelized sweet potato puree; Japanese fried rice; citrus-scented green beans and pearl onions; ginger-crusted pork loin with plum sauce; and fresh assorted fruits and cake bites with chocolate dipping sauce.
“I’m pulling inspiration from different meals I’ve had and trying to tie it in with an Asian theme,” said Josh, who is the executive chef for the Hilton Garden Inn and the BancorpSouth Conference Center. “I’ve tried to choose some things people will recognize and know.”
This is Josh’s second year to help with the food.
“I like to get involved in as many community events as I can and help out,” he said. “And feeding 700 people is always a fun and exciting challenge.”
When Chef Joshua and I talked last week, he offered up this recipe to share with readers. It will not be featured at the ball, but it does sound delicious.
If you’ve never experienced the Charity Ball, give it a shot this year. You don’t have to get all gussied up in a tux and a sequin gown. A nice suit and a cocktail dress will work just fine. Tickets ($40 each) are available at Flowerdale Marketplace, Village Frame Shoppe, Reed’s Gift Shop, Staggs and J. Britt Lighting.
Hope to see you there!

Balsamic Bean Dip
1 can cannellini beans (white kidney beans), drained
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, plus extra for drizzling
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons oil from jar of sun-dried tomatoes
Pita bread, cut in wedges
Puree beans, garlic, olive oil and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar in a food processor until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl. Drizzle with tomato oil and a few drops of balsamic vinegar. Serve with pita wedges.
Note: If desired, add bits of chopped sun-dried tomatoes and some grated Parmesan cheese for added flavor and texture.
Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.