For the first time in a couple of years, I’ve decided to host a holiday dinner party for a few of my best friends, at my home in Redmond. For the sake of posterity and to give you some ideas for holiday meals you might want to prepare for your friends and family or request of that special cook in your life, here’s what I plan to serve to my guests.
My Requirements: meal must be festive, semi-formal, multi-course, serve 14-16 people, and be as kosher as possible…if possible.
- Cambazola, Mirabo, and plain brie on rosemary wafers with tropical fruit compote and/or fireweed honey. Plain croutons (sliced baguette fried golden brown with butter and light herbs and spices), a selection of harder cheeses, and kalamata olive tapanade, on the side.
- Pickle Tray: whole garlic cloves, jalepeno stuffed green olives, artichoke hearts, and pickled herring (a Svenska touch in honor of my heritage).
- Fruit Tray: fresh pineapple and a pomegranate garnished with fresh mint (yes, that’s it)
- Bacon-wrapped jumbo prawns with a wedge of braised pineapple, because I figure we may well concentrate all that is unkosher in one side dish.
- Beverages: Hot, spiced apple cider AND/OR Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Meritages, and other light reds from California’s Napa Valley and Central Coast, Oregon’s Willamette Valley, and Walla Walla, Washington. Chef juice.
- Roasted Carrot Soup–4oz, topped with a tablespoon-sized dollop of whole sour cream and a julienned spear of organic carrot, carmelized in clarified butter, with brown sugar, shallots, garlic, and sherry to al dente perfection (hopefully). Garnish, a sprig of fresh tarragon.
- Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Bisque, upon request. Same portion size and toppings as the carrot soup. Garnish: fresh, minced chives.
- Beverages: Sparkling Water with a few drops of Pomegranate juice and AND/OR the remains of the reds, the cocktail dregs, or apple cider.
- Mixed Organic Greens topped with: crumbled gorgonzola, dried currants OR pomegranate seeds, and chopped walnuts. Accompanied by three, equally sized wedges of avocado, unpeeled mandarin orange, and Washington State pear.
- Dressing: approximately two parts raspberry dessert wine (framboise), one part balsamic vinegar, one part good old tap water, Salat-Kroenung Italienische to taste (Good Seasons Italian Dressing mix will do fine, in a pinch) and three-four parts walnut oil, the most important ingredient.
- Beverage: Ice water AND/OR a blend of TBD juices and water, probably inclusive of grapefruit, lime, and pomegranate (Thanks be to Trader Joe. You da man!)
- 6 oz Chilean Sea Bass*: steamed, supple, and simple
- Substitute, upon request, of oven-roasted rosemary chicken breast (brined 2 hours), broiled filet mignon (rubbed with fresh minced garlic, coarse sea salt, and freshly ground pepper), broiled portabella mushroom, or eggplant korby-aise.
- Sweet|Crunchy|Orange|Green|Vegetable: roasted, carmelized carrots and zucchini spears along with zucchini spears…and roasted red pepper if’n I’m inspired. (3-4oz)
- Crispy|Chewy|Salty|Yellow|Starch: platanos fritos(4-5, 1oz aka tostones)
- Sour|Red: blaukraut (2-3 oz)
- Sweet|Spicy|Brown: Chutney, made with love by my mom. (.5 ounce, served atop fish)
- Garnish: fresh, minced chives and fresh parsley sprigs
- Beverages: 2004 Silverado Cabernet Sauvingnon yumyumyum
Oooooh, I just realized that my meal is missing a “creamy” element. Hm, should I trade out the chutney for something else? Whatever it is, it must be slightly spicy.
- Cheesecake (4oz) with some kind of tropical fruit compote and fresh mint
- Beverages: coffee OR black tea, tawny port, and any other dessert wine that one of my guests brings.
*For the record, I only allow myself to prepare, serve, and eat Chilean Sea Bass once or twice per year. Guilty pleasure.