Friday, September 22, 2006

Dinner Party Plans

My wife will be entertaining eight guests at our home in a few weeks and I'll be preparing the menu. I'm thinking four courses.

For the first course, how about tuna tartare.

For the second course, how about a salad? I'm thinking about a tomato carpaccio with arugala, or maybe just a simple heirloom tomato salad with balsamic and olive oil.

The third course, the main course, is what I really want to highlight. I can't decide if I want to make a pan seared salmon with smokey lentils and keep the whole meal light and healthy. Or, how about rack of lamb, but what do I serve as sides? Or maybe lamb shanks. I've got this great recipe for lamb shanks with dried fruit. But then what do I serve the shanks on? I tried it once it with cous cous and didn't like that pairing. Mashed potatoes are not right for this dinner crowd. How about roasted root vegetables?

And for dessert, I'm thinking about individual angel food cakes with fresh berries and a raspberry sauce. Or maybe with a lemon curd and fresh berries.

Please comment and help me prepare the menu!


  1. At the restaurant right now we are serving leg of lamb with fresh shelling beans. Don't know if you can get your hands on fresh beans where you are, but they are about the best thing going right now. Also, favor tomatoes in September, the best time of year for them. Apples and pears are really good for dessert, starter, or cheese pairing. Have a great dinner!

  2. Thanks for the ideas Scott. I'm pretty sure I can get fresh english peas, or some similar shelling bean at Russos, this great Wholesale/Retail market in the Boston suburbs. I made them at Thanksgiving last year and they were popular.

  3. Scott D-

    I grew up on a NH farm but transplanted to Oregon about ten years ago, so my memory of New England seasonality is a bit strained. Tomatoes, when in season, are my favorite fruit, but I would think that October might be pushing it some.

    Instead of tomatoes as a second, consider integrating Apples with duck confit as a room-temp salad. A drizzle of maple syrup might add a sweet aspect if you can find some nice, biting apples to pair off the salty/savory of the bird.

    Also, not sure what the game supply is like these days, but a rack of venison with juniper might be a bit more seasonal than lamb.

    My two cents. Hope the dinner goes well, and I look forward to reading about your adventures.


  4. Sorry, connection blipped out on me and it posted twice. Also, you might want to consider turning word verification on to cut down on spam comments.

  5. No worry about the double post and I'll take your advice about the word verification. I saw that setting when I was tweaking things and wasn't sure if it was something I should turn on or not. I'll do it now.

    Thanks also for the recommendations. I like the idea of apples in the second course but I've never made duck, so that could be an interesting challenge. And apples are definitely prime in October whereas local tomatoes are done.

    I've also been enjoying your blog, starting at the beginning like you requested. I love the use of Red Sox players to protect the names of the "innocent".

  6. Thanks for taking the time look at the blog, I've been enjoying yours as well. Duck confit is time consuming but easily done and well worth it. You can make a large batch and it keeps for a while. "An obsession with food" has a post from about a year ago detailing his adventure with it. There are some butchers around town here that sell duck confit as well. Don't think of it as a cheat if you find some pre-made.