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Yay, I get to have a dinner party!

16 years ago

I am so happy to finally be able to have friends over for dinner. This will be my first dinner gathering since the virtual summer picnic last JULY! (I was on the road from then until thru Mar.) I would love to toss some ideas around here for planning help.

I have the ingredients to make either a butternut squash gratin, (from the Mark Bitterman "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian" cookbook that I got for Christmas--thanks mom!), or the Butternut squash and macaronni recipe that khandi posted a while back (with marscapone cheese). I am going to make a chopped salad with balsamic vinagrette and either asparagus or braised cabbage as a side. Since the butternut dish is very starchy, dairyful and rich, I want to keep the rest of the meal light. I am stumped for dessert. I am also waivering on appetizers. I am making sangria or mulled wine (depending on the weather) to serve when guests arrive. It will only be two couples.

For appetizers, I'm thinking some type of antipasta--right now I'm thinking roasted eggplant dip, with pita, tuna-cannelli bean salad and marinated mushrooms. But, I could also do a spinach/white bean/artichoke dip I have a recipe for. These are all lowish in fat. I have another recipe for something called "white bean dip with seven savories" where you make a basic white bean dip and then set out a lot of condiments to mix with it, like olives, capers, chopped harboiled eggs, etc. I'm not sure if that would be impressive or ridiculously fru fru. I have a marinated asparagus salad with leeks and cherry tomatoes recipe I could do if I do the braised cabbage with dinner. I have never made braised cabbage, although I eat coleslaw all the time!

Dessert has me totally stumped. I'd love to do my cherry cranberry cobbler, but I can't find any cranberries, frozen or otherwise. Apple strudel with philo is one option, or pears belle helene? Or maybe pear cobbler. I'd love to do pear/rhubarb cobbler, but it is a tad early for rhubarb and I can never even find it when it is in season. I want something light and not too starchy. But also not too mushy, as the pasta will be pretty mushy.

Also, anyone have a good recipe for marinated mushrooms? Mine is just OK.

Any ideas or recipes or thoughts appreciated. I'm going to try and stick pretty much to vegetarian stuff though, although I don't mind a little pancetta.


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