View Full Version : Dinner party menu!
02-01-2002, 02:47 PM
I am so excited about my dinner party tomorrow night that I had to post the menu. Pretty much everything on this menu is an experiment (to me), but I think that I have put together a healthy menu that no one but me will know is low fat (and low cal if portion controlled!)
White bean and garlic hummus with pita chips and grape tomatoes
Herbed cheese cigarettes (cigarette-shaped phyllo appetizers)
Grilled leg of lamb marinated in moroccan spices
Za'atar yogurt sauce
Couscous with caramelized onions and golden raisins
Grilled eggplant, red peppers, and zucchini
Orange, fennel, and moroccan olive salad
Homemade semolina bread
Pinenut shortbread wafers
Both couples coming are major wine snobs so I have entrusted one of them with brining cocktail hour wine, and one with bringing dinner wine.
I got all excited about doing a butterflied leg of lamb, but was SHOCKED to discover that it was about $30! I couldn't find whole legs of lamb at my regular market so I went to a Halal market. It was only 2.99 a pound, but of course they weigh it before they bone it. Oh well....food is a great thing to spend money on, IMHO.
Just wanted to share....I love reading other people's special menus!
02-01-2002, 04:27 PM
OMG, Jen, your menu sounds FAB!!! Where are the recipes from? I am particularly interested in the hummus, couscous, and shortbread!
I admire that you are making such an exotic meal for your guests - I love experimenting with that kind of thing when it's just me and DH, but for guests I tend to stick with tried and true things that I am certain won't freak anyone out (we have some very finicky friends). Although I do have to admit, one of my favorite "cook to impress" entrees is the Lime-Coconut Swordfish, but I don't tell that it's so easy! :p
02-01-2002, 04:46 PM
This is a crowd of foodies, so I feel a little pressure to perform.....
The hummus is my own concoction:
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
3-4 cloves minced garlic
Whir this in a food processor until smooth....you can thin/enrich it with olive oil (I've even used water before) if you want. Salt to taste. Now, let it set for at least one hour before you serve it...it is amazing how much the flavor of raw garlic develops over time. The garlic flavor will be very present. Let it sit overnight and you will be scaring off vampires for miles! And that's it....I serve it with pita chips and veggies.
The couscous is an adaptation of a recipe from epicurious. Here is the real recipe:
2 tablespoons garlic oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup couscous
1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed, drained
1/2 cup golden raisins
Finely grate enough peel from lemon to measure 1 1/2 teaspoons; set lemon peel aside. Squeeze enough juice from lemon to measure 2 tablespoons. Combine 2 cups water, lemon juice, garlic oil and ground cinnamon in medium saucepan. Bring to boil. Simmer 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in 1 cup couscous. Cover and let stand until water is almost absorbed, about 5 minutes. Mix in garbanzo beans, golden raisins and reserved lemon peel. Cover and let stand 5 minutes longer. Fluff couscous with fork. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer couscous to bowl and serve.
I am skipping the garbanzo beans, and caramelizing some onions slowly in olive oil before adding the liqiud to the pan. I think I will skip the lemon (lemon and caramelized onions doesn't do it for me) but leave in the cinnamon.
And finally, the shortbread is an adaptation as well. I'll go ahead and post with my adaptations; it will be easier. I already made these...fantastic!
1/2 cup pinenuts, toasted
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Finely grind toasted pinenuts and sugar in processor. Blend in flour, baking soda, and salt. Add butter; cut in using on/off turns until coarse meal forms. Add milk and vanilla. Process using on/off turns until moist clumps form. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap and chill in freezer for about an hour. Place sheet of waxed paper on work surface. Sprinkle waxed paper lightly with flour. Place dough disk in center of waxed paper and top with second sheet. Roll out dough to 1/4- to 3/8-inch thickness. Using 2-inch fluted cookie cutter, cut out cookies. Transfer to large baking sheet. Gather scraps, reroll, and cut out additional cookies. Re-chill dough for about 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake cookies until lightly browned, about 12 minutes. Cool on rack. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.)
I actually cut these into 2" x2" squares and plan to call them "pinenut tiles" ala Gale Gand. Alas, the edges on mine are not as sharp as I'd like, but you can still tell they are square. And they taste fabulous!
02-01-2002, 04:58 PM
Please post your recipe for Lime-Coconut Swordfish. I did a search, but nothing came up...
Jphilg - Your menu sounds excellent!
02-01-2002, 05:09 PM
Jena, here's a thread with the recipe:
It's wonderful - I serve it with coconut rice (from the Joy of Cooking) and it's so easy!
02-01-2002, 05:10 PM
I'm not Rebecca, but I think this is it:
Malaysian Lime-Coconut Swordfish
Recipe By :
Serving Size : 4 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Oriental Seafood
Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
1/3 cup light coconut milk
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons thinly sliced peeled fresh lemon grass
(about 1 stalk) or 1 tablespoon grated
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon lime juice
1/3 teaspoon Thai chili paste (such as Dynasty)
2 shallots, peeled
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 (1 1/2 pound) swordfish steak (about 1 inch thick)
Cilantro sprigs, optional
Lemon wedges, optional
Combine first 9 ingredients in a food processor; pulse 3 times or until coarsely chopped. Place fish on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray; spread 1/2 cup shallot mixture evenly over fish. Broil 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve fish with the remaining shallot mixture, and garnish with cilantro sprigs and lemon wedges, if desired.
5 ounces fish and 2 tablespoons sauce: 255 cal, .5g fat, 36.g pro, 5.4g carb, 71mg chol, 40mg sod.
Oops! You beat me to it. Oh, well. One more place to find it, I guess.
Just curious if you serve the swordfish with anything else besides the coconut rice. I'm always looking for great easy menus to impress dinner guests. Also, if it's not too much trouble could you post the recipe for the rice?
WOW!! Looks like you have a great menu! How very ambitious and courageous you are to tackle all that for a dinner party. Good Luck and let us know how everything turns out.
02-02-2002, 08:36 AM
I would love the lamb recipe if you get a chance. I have a small leg of lamb in my freezer and I was going to make it soon. Your recipe sounds perfect. Thanks.
02-04-2002, 08:59 AM
Jen this sounds truly awesome. Would love the herbed cheese cigarrettes recipe! thanks!
02-04-2002, 09:08 AM
The dinner party was great! I was a little disappointed in the lamb; it was not as flavorful as I thought it would be. But the vegetables were fantastic...I think the fennel and orange salad will be a new standard for me.
Ann...to make the cheese cigarettes, blend 1 part feta with one part ricotta, and mix in whatever fresh herbs you have on hand. I used marjoram, basil, parsley, and mint. Salt and pepper to taste. Then take sheets of phyllo: spray one sheet with cooking spray, stack a second on top, spray, and then a third, spray, and a fourth. Cut the sheets in thirds the long way. Arrange about 2 T of cheese mixture on a finger-shaped log at one short end. Fold in the long sides, and tightly roll.
Arrange on a parchment covered sheet, brush with real melted butter, bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until golden.
These made a great presentation stacked log cabin style.
02-04-2002, 09:12 AM
Jen -- glad the party went well. The menu looked great. I'm curious to know what wine you served with it. What did your guests bring? Did it complement the lamb and meditteranean flavors nicely?
Your menu sounds terrific. Can I invite myself to dinner??????
I would even brave the Beltway traffic in rush hour.
02-04-2002, 10:07 AM
Sorry for not getting this to you sooner - I didn't check the board over the weekend. This recipe from Gourmet magazine is very similar to the one I make from Joy of Cooking, with the one change noted below.
The texture of this rice is moist and sticky, so do not expect fluffy individual grains.
3/4 cup well-stirred canned unsweetened coconut milk
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup long-grain white rice
Garnish: sweetened flaked coconut, toasted I use unsweetened flaked coconut, bought from the bulk section of Whole Foods, toasted lightly.
In a small saucepan bring coconut milk, water, and salt to a boil and stir in rice. Reduce heat to moderately low and simmer rice, covered, until most of liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let rice stand, covered, 5 minutes.
Serve rice sprinkled with coconut.
As far as the rest of the menu, I think last time I made this I stir-fried some broccolini with a bunch of garlic. Hope this helps!
Glad to hear your dinner went well!
Thank you for the recipe and menu suggestion. I've copied it into MC for future dinner group ideas.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 4.2.0 Copyright © 2013 vBulletin Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.