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Monday, November 13, 2006

Cleaning vs. thinking

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Thinking always wins. Hubs and I are having some friends over for dinner next week, and since we haven't had a dinner party or company in a while, I'm all excited, planning the menu. I *should* be perhaps cleaning, getting dressed....or any of a number of things that would actually accomplish something.

But I'd rather revel in my be-robed bliss, with a rich cup of dark roast next to me. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm....... and then think about food, of course.

I haven't had these friends over for dinner yet, so I'm not really sure of preferences. I sent out the request for likes/dislikes, and the only thing I have is seafood and mushrooms.

So I thought I would plan a meal with the theme of passion - some red to every course, and just a hint of exoticism...

The menu....

Amuse Bouche
Bocconcini red pepper pesto bites (VERY simple - roasted red pepper wrapped around a mini bocconcini with some pesto) - nice basic flavours and easy prep for me. Just something for people to nibble before dins....

This will be a showstopper. It's a roasted yellow pepper soup, along with a roasted tomato soup, drizzled with serrano cream. The beauty of this is that you pour in the brilliant yellow and red soup from opposite sides of the bowl, to the presentation should be magnificent. Very excited. Puréed soup is one of my favourite things ever. This recipe is from epicurious - SOUP RECIPE and though I don't plan on putting it through a sieve, etc., I think it will be wonderful. The soups can be made the day before.

Arugula salad with pomegranate seeds, oranges and goat cheese - also from epicurious - again, I thought the jewel tones would go with the theme and pomegranates are just so cool. I can make this up earlier in the day and dress at the last minute. SALAD RECIPE

6 oz fillet mignon with peppercorn brandy sauce, served with wasabi mashed potatoes and skinny green beans. Nothing is yummier than grilled beef with peppercorn sauce. *just in case* I end up with non-beef-eaters, I'll defrost a chicken breast or two....but hubs can cook the beef to everyone's liking so hopefully they will enjoy. Wasabi mashed is awesome. I always loved horseradish, but hated how it overpowered the meat - this is a more subtle version, with an exotic and surprising taste. I'll use yukon gold potatoes for an extra rich, golden colour. The beans I will just drizzle in a bit of butter, sea salt and pepper. I'm really hoping to find the skinny kind though, because they are just more elegant on the plate. The peppercorn sauce is amazing. It takes WAY longer to thicken than the recipe indicates, but I can make it earlier in the day, along with the mashed potatoes. Beans and steak are last minute finishes, but are relatively unfussy and quick. PEPPERCORN SAUCE REcIPE

Crap. Just found out one of the guests is a pseudo vegetarian.....I *think* I will make some stuffed peppers for her. Again, they are something I can make in advance, I can use veggie ground round for protein, and they are quite tasty. It's just a bit of a challenge to find a straight meat sub for this particular meal, because the meat is quite central, and I just don't feel that a bbq'd hunk of tofu is an adequate sub. Yuck! I think peppers might be okay, though I worry it might be too much 'pepprage' for a single meal. Then again, she may prefer a boneless chicken breast, which would also be quite tasty with the peppercorn sauce....we shall see. Now that I think of it, I could actually make the stuffed peppers for dinner on Friday, and just not cook a couple of them. They would keep fine in the fridge, and then I could cook them on Saturday....hmmmmmmmmm.....
Steak demands a chocolate finish. I don't think anything else could hold up to the rich flavours and lingering red wine. I found a really yummy-looking panna cotta recipe in the new LCBO magazine. Bittersweet Chocolate Panna Cotta with Raspberry and Port Sauce. holy yummy decadence batman. The panna cottas can be made ahead of time as well and are just plated and drizzled with sauce at the last minute. I like that it won't be too sweet.

So hopefully it will be enjoyed.....I enjoy planning it out and making it, and this menu doesn't leave me with a lot of last minute fussing, which is key to having a fun evening. It's not that fun for the guests when the host is off hidden away in the sweat shop ( and slaving away. An open kitchen would be ideal for entertaining, but I think this menu will be fab.

I'm super excited to try the just sounds so gorgeous, and really not that hard to make. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

SO yeah, day off work, should be doing something, not doing a darn thing and loving it!

Thanks for reading! Any suggestions on the menu? :)


Brad said...

I have a suggestion... get dressed and start cleaning! :)

Brad said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Sounds only suggestion is to be 100% sure they don't have a problem with goat cheese...maybe it's because I HATE goat cheese and won't touch anything that it's been near, I'm ultra sensitive about it. And sometimes, it's not something someone thinks about when asked what are your likes and dislikes (since it's not as obvious as say, seafood or beef).

That soup sounds scrumptious and beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Where do you get green peppercorn in brine?

leslie @ definitely not martha said...

Anonymous, I'm not sure where you are, but I find it at an italian grocery store (La Bottega in the Byward Market in Ottawa). Any fancy/boutique type grocery store would have it, and some regular grocery stores might have it. Hard to find though!!!!! But totally worth the search.

Anonymous said...

How do I get myself invited to one of these delicious dinner parties? :) (Marlene)

Melissa said...

That soup sounds so good!!!
(It all sounds great, actually!)

Anonymous said...

Um, can I come?

The menu sounds fantastic! I can't wait to hear how the soup turns out. Will there be pictures?

Happy cooking!

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