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Tue Sep 26, 2017, 11:05 AM

Our next $1000 dinner is coming up in a couple of weeks

This time we're having my husband's tennis buddies and their wives. There will be 12 of us, so we'll put the 4X8 plywood extension up next to the dining room table--we can seat 14 easily, 16 if we have to--and covered with white tablecloths, it'll look like one big banquet table.

I always go apeshit over flowers--three big arrangements down the middle of the table, with a couple of smaller ones here and there. We have two old silverplate candelabra, five arms each, two big glass ones, and lots of individual sticks, so the table will be well-lit.

We started giving these dinners after we read the book The Thousand Dollar Dinner (http://www.beckyldiamond.com/the-thousand-dollar-dinner.html). We have loads of inherited dinnerware, silver and glasses that are never used, and we thought it would be fun to trot it all out. We've given probably a dozen of these dinners for from six to fourteen over the past two years, including one at which the author of the book and her husband were honored guests.

Here is the menu I'm working on as of now--it's subject to change right up to the last minute. One of our guests has celiac disease, so a lot of our go-to dishes are off the table.

We'll start with drinks in the living room, until everybody arrives. With drinks we're going to offer a great big pile of shrimp with cocktail sauce, piled over ice in a big bowl. There's a huge coffee table, and we'll put the shrimp and sauce in the middle, with little plates and cocktail napkins. Also some cheeses and a basket of rice crackers.

At the table, my husband is going to make sushi--California rolls and his own invention of lox and cream cheese rolls (delicious), and we'll have sake with that.

Next, the soup. Red Velvet Soup, my current fave. It's basically carrot and beet soup and is velvety and red. Voila. Really good.

Since we had shrimp already, and since one of our guests does not eat fish, we'll skip the fish course.

Next will be a light chicken parm (Cooks Illustrated) over cellophane noodles with zucchini and summer squash ribbons sauteed in butter.

The big heavy entree is going to be dry-rubbed baby back ribs my husband will have been cooking for at least four hours on the grill. With that we'll have grilled portobello mushrooms and grilled vegetables.

Salad will be a repeat for this group, mostly because one of the old guys liked it so much the first time. I make a chopped salad, again from Cooks Illustrated, that has romaine, cucumber, red pepper, pear, cranberries, pistachios and blue cheese in a very light vinaigrette.

Then store-bought lemon sorbet. We made our own sorbet a couple of times, and it wasn't worth the effort.

Dessert is my favorite course to make. I'm going to make a lemon mousse with raspberry sauce and a chocolate swirl crustless cheese pie. I'm also going to investigate some kind of cooked fruit--pears Helene, maybe, or maybe just half a baked apple. I like to serve three desserts--and everybody always takes one of each!

Fruit and nuts--probably pineapple and strawberries, with fancy mixed nuts. Although one time I served only enormous cashews, and they totally disappeared, so maybe it'll be cashews this time, too.


Savoy Truffle--I'm a Beatles fan, and I looked and found a recipe for savoy truffle online. Also the explanation that the song is about Eric Clapton's sweet tooth, listing all the chocolates he would eat from a box of mixed chocs. Savoy truffle is really easy to make.

We start at 4:30 (because we are all old; we are 70 and the youngest in the group. The oldest is 94) and end somewhere around 10. It's a whole lot of fun and really no pressure at all because we do this only with people we are good friends with, so that if something were to go horribly wrong, we'd all just laugh and move on to the next course.

It takes me about three days of cooking--I do as much as I can ahead of time--and close to a week to clean it all up.

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Reply Our next $1000 dinner is coming up in a couple of weeks (Original post)
cyclonefence Sep 2017 OP
irisblue Sep 2017 #1
cyclonefence Sep 2017 #2
Hortensis Oct 2017 #3

Response to cyclonefence (Original post)

Tue Sep 26, 2017, 04:38 PM

1. this sounds amazing & very friendship bound.

(off to look up Red Velvet Soup)

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Response to irisblue (Reply #1)

Tue Sep 26, 2017, 05:07 PM

2. Here it is


Its real name is scarlet carrot soup. I call it red velvet because it is so like the cake if the cake were soup.

I can't tell you how much fun this is. I posted about it because I hope other people will try it, too. It's wonderful to take out all the stuff from the china cabinet and actually use it, and if you're among your best friends, it's totally delightful. We have friends who ask when we're going to have another one (hint hint).

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Response to cyclonefence (Original post)

Thu Oct 5, 2017, 08:35 PM

3. Wonderful! I'm not leaping out of my easy chair, but that is inspiring

and sounds delicious.

Except for what seems to be becoming one big family holiday, whichever is our turn each year, we're doing rather rare sit-downs for one or two couples. But other than the holiday, entertaining more people is very casual, fairly impromptu appetizers/munchies and drinks on the porch a couple times a summer, an annual fish fry on friends' houseboat (a joint venture, we bring the lion's share of the food for 30 or so, including the fish and cooking, and leave all the mess).

But you make me realize that, except for the fish fry, which is a group venture, we don't give friends something special to look forward to each year. And that is a very nice gift. Have a blast.

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