Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Last night's dinner

Opening: sage flatbread; pistachio-chorizo cake
Main 1: 2-hour chicken, ratatouille, rice
Salad course: gnocchi and smoked trout salad, morrocan carrot salad
Main 2: Lamb tagine with dates, chick pea soup, spaghetti squash, couscous
No knead bread
Ice creams: Double chocolate, aztec chocolate, banana, vanilla, strawberry sorbet. Also, salted caramel sauce.

There were around 20 people over for dinner last night. In the last few years I've had the dinner party on my birthday; this year, though, Helen's taking me out to celebrate the big 4-0, so we moved the celebration to the 29th.

I organized the menu a little differently this year. I didn't have a palate cleanser, and went with the main course/salad course/main course approach.

The dinner went well. My reaction is a lot like last year – it was fun to do, but I'm glad we don't do it too often. It's a lot of work. I tried to pick recipes that can be made the day ahead of time, or that don't take a lot of attention during the meal. Still, with two days of cooking, it's a lot of time spent.

Hard to tell what the crowd favorites were. People did eat all of the sage pizza. They ate a lot more of the first courses (chicken, ratatouille) than the second main course, but I suspect that's from lack of pacing.

I will say that, as much as I liked the chicken and the lamb, it was nice to get back into vegetarian cooking. I might have liked the lamb the best, but I liked the ratatouille a lot, too. I want to keep working on that. It's not the easiest thing to make, and I don't yet have it down, but it's a great dish.

But for the next few days, I won't be doing much cooking. Helen's taking me out to dinner tomorrow; but for now, we're eating leftovers!

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