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Husbands birthday dinner


Chufi
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Dinner is over and it was a big success. I was extremely pleased with myself for keeping the menu so simple. Besides a bit of plating stress (when I realized the dessert plates were in the middle of their dishwasher cycle when I needed them) I was able to have a relaxed evening with a minimum of last minute cooking.

I did not take too many pics but here are a couple to give you an idea of what we had:

little gorgonzola pancakes, endive with grapefruit and avocado

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Dejah´s spiced cigars. I made them with half beef, half lamb, and added smoked paprika which made them lovely smoky-spicy. They´re very good: the filling is soft and moist, with a good balance of spice and sweetness.

Served on a salad with dill en cilantro.

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Chicken Musakhan, which came out exceptionally well. The bread is sooooo good! I honestly think that´s the best part of the dish.

there were 2 of these huge trays.. and besides some leftover bread I have in the fridge, and the two tupperwares that went home with guests for their spouses, it´s all gone.

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Served with this salad, which I made without the raw onions and the cilantro, and with the addition of some wilted spinach.

There was also a bulgur pilaf with roasted aubergines and little cubes of fried halloumi, and lots of mint.

I did not really listen to the plating advice I´d asked for over in the pastry forum :shock: but my excuse is that by the time I was plating dessert, I didn´t care what it looked like and I was pretty sure my guests wouldn´t either.

Basbousa, poached quinces, quince vodka syrup, mascarpone ice cream, candied pistachios. The ice cream was absolutely fantastic. Very very rich but with that little tang from the mascarpone.. oh so good.

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Thanks everyone for helping me compose this menu. Everything worked really well together, and I think the guests also appreciated the simplicity of it (and the fact I wasn´t completely stressed out!)

See you next year!

Edited by Chufi (log)
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Great looking table, Chufi. :biggrin: The spiced cigars looked very elegant with the salad. I have been using Hungarian paprika for that extra kick.

I agree with you on the bread in the musakhan as the best part: all the flavours, juice... :wub:

How many guests did you have?

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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there were supposed to be 18 people, but we had 3 last minute cancellations due to illness, so we ended up with 15 at the table.

I have just enough table ware, silver ware and glasses for that.. we only had to rent an extra table, some chairs and table cloths.

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Looks like everything turned out beautifully! I will have to try that musakhan recipe... and a couple of the others as well. Are the grapefruit and avocado on the endive dressed with anything beyond a little olive oil and citrus juice?

Edited by jm chen (log)

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Looks like everything turned out beautifully! I will have to try that musakhan recipe... and a couple of the others as well. Are the grapefruit and avocado on the endive dressed with anything beyond a little olive oil and citrus juice?

that´s it - and some chives. Very nice and light.

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What a great looking dinner. Do you find that the more you do these large dinner parties the easier they become- or have you learned to stream line your menu to make it easier on yourself; I entertain often but not usually for more than 8 of us. I am very impressed!

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What a great looking dinner.  Do you find that the more you do these large dinner parties the easier they become- or have you learned to stream line your menu to make it easier on yourself; I entertain often but not usually for more than 8 of us.  I am very impressed!

oh, definitely streamlining! As I read back in this thread, I see that I made much more work for myself in previous years - more courses, lots of home made appetizers, 3 different cakes for dessert (what was I thinking??)

This was the most relaxed dinner ever (for me) and still some people said it was the best :smile:

You know, many of these friends have been coming to this birthday dinner for 16 years now (which means I´m getting old...) and I really feel there´s no need to impress them anymore. Just be together, and eat good food.

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This is the first time I have stumbled upon this thread and have enjoyed reading your several years' worth of birthday menus. I am so impressed. So much thought, care, love, and work put into each dinner!

I will look forward to next year's and hopefully will have a few good suggestions to contribute.


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This was the most relaxed dinner ever (for me) and still some people said it was the best :smile:

Klary, I've done a ton of entertaining. The more relaxed I am (meaning less stressful meal), the more fun my guests have. They don't just come for the food, they come for the company!

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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  • 10 months later...

It's that time of year again!!

I'm planning another birthday dinner. I think there will be about 18 guests this year. It's becoming a big challenge to think of interesting flavors and new things to cook. Most guests have been here for 15 years in a row.. and even though I don't think they would mind being served something for the second time, it's much more fun for me to make something new.

So, I'm thinking of making a Goulash with dumplings. This recipe looks good, although I think I'd want to add some fresh herbs (chives?) to the dumplings.

That said, I'm open to suggestions for other make ahead, braise/ stew kind of dishes, that can serve a crowd, and that look appetizing (the reason I like the idea of dumplings is that I think it will make a stew look better). We had chicken last year so I'm thinking beef or pork this time.

For dessert I'm making Smitten Kitchen's Chocolate Guinness cake but probably with a white chocolate cream cheese frosting instead of the ganache.

I could use some ideas for an interesting starter and for things to serve with the goulash!

The starter can be assembled at the last minute as long as components can be made ahead. Thanks!

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I think you should do something from your last US vacation like braised pork and coleslaw...we can talk you through it :laugh:

Tracey

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

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I think you should do something from your last US vacation like braised pork and coleslaw...we can talk you through it :laugh:

Tracey

Oh Klary, YES. I so totally agree with Tracey.

I have a fabulous recipe for a pork shoulder roast that is rubbed with chili powder (dried ancho or chipotle, or it would even work with generic "chile" powder") and salt, and then slow roasted for like 4 or 5 hours. You shred it down, heat some corn tortillas and serve it as soft tacos sprinkled with lime juice and cilantro. Scallions could sub if you can't get cilantro in The Netherlands...

With some slaw, and some beans, you'd be back in the Southwest in no time. Or make it into pulled pork sandwiches with slaw (do the roast as above, then shred and mix with barbeque sauce), slaw ON the sandwiches for authenticity.

Like Tracey said, we'd walk you through it, HONEST, and you'd absolutely blow your guest's minds (and palates !).

--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

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Thanks guys! While the pork sounds delicious, I did something very similar for another party (same crowd) not so long ago...

I've browsing a lot of recipes and this recipe for braised lamb shanks caught my eye. I think I'll make it with lamb shoulder instead of shanks, because browning and braising 22 shanks seems a little too ambitious.

For sides I was thinking a pot of white beans.. because I like beans with lamb. Except, my husband is not a big fan of beans...

I need something green there though.

First course will be from Paula Wolferts Cooking of South West France. There's a recipe there for salmon rillettes that I've made often, in the book she pairs this with a tomato artichoke salad, black olive tapenade and grilled bread. I never made all those things together but it sounds like a good combination and something that will look interesting when plated (different colors, textures etc)

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Thanks guys! While the pork sounds delicious, I did something very similar for another party (same crowd) not so long ago...

I've browsing a lot of recipes and this recipe for braised lamb shanks caught my eye. I think I'll make it with lamb shoulder instead of shanks, because browning and braising 22 shanks seems a little too ambitious.

For sides I was thinking a pot of white beans.. because I like beans with lamb. Except, my husband is not a big fan of beans...

I need something green there though.

First course will be from Paula Wolferts Cooking of South West France. There's a recipe there for salmon rillettes that I've made often, in the book she pairs this with a tomato artichoke salad, black olive tapenade and grilled bread. I never made all those things together but it sounds like a good combination and something that will look interesting when plated (different colors, textures etc)

Maybe something with kale for the green to go with the lamb?

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Ina Garten in "Barefoot in Paris" has a receipe for Roast Lamb with White Beans. I have never done the lamb portion of the dish, but have made the white beans many, many times. My guests have always asked for the recipe. I can highly recommend it if you want a great bean dish that can be done ahead and reheated.

PM me if you want the recipe.

Life is short, eat dessert first

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