I am looking forward to hosting our friend from Northern California. He lives with a most excellent cook so he’s accustomed to sophisticated fare. This will be an opportunity to pull out the stops and serve some fun foods that I don’t make every day. I am keeping with my rule of preparing one special dish each meal with simpler side dishes that compliment the main dish without killing the chef. These are all tried and true recipes – you may rest assured that they are all quite good. All dishes have links to the recipes so feel free to prepare along with me.
Wednesday evening: Eggplant, Mozzarella, and Saffron Bake, with a green salad on the side. Lemon Panna Cotta with Lemon Marmalade for dessert. The vegetarian, eggplant dish is really a one-dish meal and can stand on its own. It is rich, savory and you definitely wont miss the meat. The intoxicating scent of saffron wafting through the house is one of my favorite reasons for making this dish. The green salad will be made up of romaine lettuce, carrot, radish, and tomato tossed with Hawaiian chef Beverly Gannon’s Hali’imaile General Store Balsamic Vinaigrette. This is a delicious vinaigrette to have on hand – I cut down on the sweetness a bit by using half balsamic vinegar and half white balsamic vinegar. Dessert is a bright, flavorful Lemon Panna Cotta made with tons of lemon and vanilla. This will be made the day before – it keeps nicely. One of our favorites.
Thursday evening: Salmon Cakes, Coleslaw, and Dill Bread with Buttermilk Spice Cake with Pear Compote and Crème Fraîche for dessert. Who doesn’t like Crab Cakes and who doesn’t like Salmon? Combine the two and you have Salmon Cakes. Another favorite in our home, this is a tasty and quick way to get your Omega 3’s. Served with a little home-made Tartar Sauce and lemon on the side – delicious! The coleslaw from Cook’s Illustrated, is creamy and refreshing, and can be partially made a day ahead. The Dill Bread is an easy recipe that, there’s no other way to say it, will knock your socks off. Virtually no kneading required, it bakes up soft and moist. What doesn’t get eaten at dinner makes the best toast imaginable the next morning. The Spice cake is a single layer cake that is served with a Pear Compote and a dollop of Crème Fraîche. We love this cake and all components can be made a day ahead. All in all I think this dinner will feature a terrific combination of flavors and textures.
Friday evening: Chicken-Dijon, Rosemary-Roasted-Potatoes, Sweet-and-Sour-Green-Beans. Not the kind of chicken you want to prepare when on a diet but a simple and elegant dish you would be proud to serve to company. Just be careful to not overcook the chicken – skinless, boneless chicken can be easily rendered unpalatable by overcooking. Rosemary potatoes are delicious any time with the garlic and cayenne taking things up a savory notch. Green beans prepared with shallots and olive oil? I could make a meal of them. We will have leftover desserts from the previous two nights so it’s diner’s choice.