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dinner party menu

October 3, 2009
beet salad with oregano, pecans and goat cheese

beet salad with oregano, pecans and goat cheese

I spend an inordinate amount of time hand wringing over menus for dinner parties.  When Mike invited a work colleague and his wife over, I started brewing over the menu two weeks prior.  And then spent a week shopping for it at various places:  Italian Centre, Save-On, Sunterra, Italian Centre (again), Le Gnome (for dessert bowls), liquor store.  Etc.

I read somewhere that you should not try use dinner guests as guinea pigs for new dishes, so most of these things I’ve made before, except for the beet salad and caramel apple addition to the rice pudding.

I decided on:
Cheese plate with Okanagan grapes, dried apricots and almond-stuffed olives
Brushetta
Braised short ribs
Pappardelle noodles
Beet salad with oregano, pecans and goat cheese
Rice pudding with caramel apples
Chocolate peanut butter cups

I liked the result.  It was a good fall dinner party menu.  I’m rotten with appetizers, and I don’t like appies that need a lot of attention when you really should be getting your guests Pom martinis (pomegranate juice, cointreau, lime) instead.  So I cheated and bought premade brushetta from the Italian Centre deli and just added the parmesan on top.  The cheese was smoked gouda, cambozola, manchego and pecorino.

brushetta

brushetta

I loved the pappardelle noodles – these are really fat fettuccine noodles and are perfect for spooning short ribs on top.   I could only find them at the Italian Centre.  The beet salad was a nice mix of tart beets with soft goat cheese and pecans for crunch.  I will make this again. Yum.

Beet Salad with Oregano, Pecans and Goat Cheese
-from Fine Cooking

6 medium beets, cooked, cooled, peeled and chopped into quarters
3 Tablespoons olive oil
3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
1 small tube goat cheese, crumbled
2 Tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
1/4 cup toasted pecans, roughly chopped

Put the beets in a salad bowl and mix with olive oil, vinegar and salt and pepper.  Add rest of ingredients and lightly toss (my goat cheese turned pink).  Serve cold.

And then for dessert, the lovely Ella lent a hand and made her now-famous chocolate peanut butter cups.  She used small muffin tins to minimize the huge-ness of the experience.  And we served this recipe from Bon Appetit in dessert bowls, layering rice pudding, caramel apples and rice pudding.  I am a sucker for a rice pudding – all creamy and soft…the caramel apples were warm and melted into the entire concoction.

rice pudding with caramel apples

rice pudding with caramel apples

Now I am surveying my kitchen.  It looks like a bomb went off in it.

mess

mess

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 3, 2009 11:15 am

    I would have swooned over this menu. Either that or I would not have been able to stop complementing you throughout the meal.

    Those lucky, lucky guests–I hoped they helped with clean-up.

  2. October 6, 2009 5:28 am

    Very nice blog you have!

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