At times I feel as if I have a somewhat limited audience for my culinary efforts. Don't get me wrong -- I love cooking for G, and he's extremely appreciative. I mean extremely. This is a guy who never complains -- even when I put mushrooms in his food. He just leaves them in a neat little pile by the side of the plate. And almost every evening, he tells me how good dinner is. At the same time, he's pretty truthful, and will let me know that he's fonder of some things than of others. But by and large, he loves just about everything I make, and considers himself lucky to have a partner who likes to cook. Just as I consider myself lucky to have a partner who likes...well, no, he doesn't like to, but he does them. Dishes, I mean. So it all works out.
But back to this "limited audience" dilemma. We don't entertain a whole lot, for a variety of reasons, space being among the main ones. So I really do love it when I have a chance to cook for a larger group -- larger being any number that exceeds us two. I have two upcoming events: one is a birthday dinner for my brother, to be held at my dad's apartment. The other is a dinner to celebrate a couple we know who just got secretly, privately married.
So I'm mulling over these two possible menus, and would welcome any and all feedback. Of the various animal protein choices, my sister-in-law eats only fish, so that leaves me with the option of cooking separately for her, or having a seafood entree. Right now, I'm thinking about shrimp, which always seems festive to me. So here's the tentative menu for a brother's birthday dinner:
Shrimp and Saffron Rice Pilaf
Green Salad with Avocado & Meyer Lemon Dressing (a version of Nigella's Green Fattoush Salad, for those of you who have Feast)
Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake (again Nigella, How To Be A Domestic Goddess)
Homemade Mocha Ice-Cream (the bro and SIL gave us an ice-cream maker for Christmas)
And here's the tentative menu for a celebratory dinner for just-married friends:
Starter Salad: Roasted Beets, Watercress, Goat Cheese, Toasted Walnuts with a dressing of Blood Orange and Walnut Oil
Roast Duck (I've never made duck at home, and I really want to try); Savory Cranberry/Orange Sauce
Butternut or Delicata Squash Puree w/shallots, parsley & creme fraiche
Broccoli Rabe (or some other bitter green) Sauteed with Garlic
Pear-Cherry Crisp OR Almond Cake with Berry Sorbet
I love playing around with possibilities, especially when it comes to food. I'm open to all suggestions...