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Thu Jan 26, 2017, 11:11 AM

$1000 Dinner

is a book that inspired my husband and me to start having formal dinner parties. It's a wonderful book, about a dinner held in 1851. Our next $1000 dinner will be this Friday, and here is what we're serving:

Drinks and hor d'oeuvres (puff pastry/prosciutto/fontina pinwheels, round of warmed brie with honey and fresh thyme drizzled over w/toasted baguette slices, miniature crab cakes w/remoulade, multi-color baby carrots and baby cucumbers w/blue cheese dip. And pretzel rods.

First course: mushroom bisque

Second: cod fillets baked on little flat blocks of garlic potatoes, creamed spinach

Third: chicken breasts porcini over rice

Fourth: shrimp a la greque over fusilli, haricots verts

Fifth: strip roast, broccoli

Sixth: roasted vegetables

Seventh: chopped salad

Eighth: sorbet

Ninth: desserts: Paris-Brest, triple chocolate mousse cake

Tenth: champagne glace

Eleventh: fruit and nuts

Twelfth: coffee, liqueurs, Savoy truffle

We will have 14 at table--we built an extension to our dining room table out of a 4x8 sheet of plywood--and since I do pretty much all the cooking (my husband is making the soup and crabcakes), I've begun prep. Yesterday I made and froze the pinwheels--they're so easy and bake quickly at the last minute--and made the Savoy truffle, although I didn't ball it and roll it in coconut yet. Today I've made the praline for the Paris-Brest (the recipe calls for hazelnuts, which I used the first time I made it but my god what a pain in the ass hazelnuts are, so I'm using almonds this time) and will be making the blue cheese dip. I have to iron the tablecloth and napkins--we set up the table last night and moved all the chairs into the living room for cocktails.

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Reply $1000 Dinner (Original post)
cyclonefence Jan 2017 OP
FrankfurtCat Jan 2017 #1
cyclonefence Jan 2017 #2
FrankfurtCat Jan 2017 #3
cyclonefence Jan 2017 #4
riderinthestorm Jan 2017 #5
cyclonefence Jan 2017 #6
Phentex Jan 2017 #7
cyclonefence Jan 2017 #8

Response to cyclonefence (Original post)

Thu Jan 26, 2017, 11:22 AM

1. That's a fantastic menu...

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Response to FrankfurtCat (Reply #1)

Thu Jan 26, 2017, 11:48 AM

2. thanks

This is about the eighth time we've done one of these. Our first dinners were for six because that's all we could seat comfortably. We start early, 5 or 5:30, and it takes until 10 or 11 to finish eating. Amazingly, no one feels too stuffed, partly because it's stretched out over so many hours, partly because (with exceptions) no one takes seconds.

It's so much fun--we use all the wedding china and silver, and I make enormous flower arrangements. Lots of candles, printed menus (to help pace your eating, so you know what's coming up) and place cards. The planning and prep are almost as much fun as the dinner itself.

We aren't wine drinkers, so people tend to bring their own wine, which is great.

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Response to cyclonefence (Reply #2)

Thu Jan 26, 2017, 11:58 AM

3. What a great way to spemd time with famiy and friends-

-without the additional stress/pressure of a Holiday dinner. If really sounds like a great experience

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Response to FrankfurtCat (Reply #3)

Thu Jan 26, 2017, 12:09 PM

4. It is

We did not entertain at home for a very long time because we just weren't able to. Now we are really cutting loose! I highly recommend the book that inspired us, "The Thousand-Dollar Dinner" by Becky Dimond. It's a great read. Also, on Netflix, "Fannie's Final Dinner".

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Response to cyclonefence (Original post)

Thu Jan 26, 2017, 10:17 PM

5. Amazing!! I'm lucky if I get the canned soup microwaved hot enough

 

(I get impatient . )

I'm drooling here. Sounds like a blast!

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Response to riderinthestorm (Reply #5)

Fri Jan 27, 2017, 06:12 AM

6. I can't tell you how much fun it is to do this

The key is that we are all friends, so if something goes wrong, who cares? I have made mistakes in timing and served things cold or overcooked; once I dropped the dessert on the floor of the kitchen (we had "floor cake" that time--yes, I scraped it back onto the platter and served it). The first time we did this I realized that what our guests (and we) like is the fact that we've made a big fuss over people we care about; they love the candles and flowers, all the flatware (which does get ridiculous), and the chance to sit at the table for hours, a little drunk, talking and talking.

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Response to cyclonefence (Original post)

Fri Jan 27, 2017, 08:36 AM

7. I admire that you can get that many people to commit to a date...

no matter how big or small the group, choosing and sticking with a date seems to be impossible for people we know. It has caused me to give up completely on group gatherings and just stick with the last minute invite a friend over or out to dinner.

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Response to Phentex (Reply #7)

Fri Jan 27, 2017, 02:27 PM

8. We scheduled it three weeks ago

and there are people who could not make it (thank goodness; 14 is my limit). Those who have been to previous dinners will *always* cancel other plans, which is the nicest compliment in the world. In fact, two of them (both men) called a while ago and asked if it wasn't time for us to have another dinner.

Today I *think* I finished all the shopping. Lots of flowers plus a potted palm to replace the dead one, all the perishables. I made the first, dark chocolate layer of the mousse cake, cut the cod into serving pieces and froze the scraps, cut the rind off the brie and rewrapped it, and started cutting up the root vegetables for roasting. I am cheating with the salad; I bought a couple of bags of cut-uo and washed romaine and a box of washed baby lettuces. I'll cut up the rest of the salad vegetables this afternoon. I have to wait for the dishwasher to finish this load so I can get going on the pastry cream for the Paris-Brest. I need to make the other two layers of the mousse cake this afternoon, too, but I'm using the dw as an excuse to sit down and read DU for a bit.

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