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#1 of 28 Old 03-03-2003, 08:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Nicolas has invited some visiting colleagues to dinner. I need some ideas for a menu. It must be all whole foods/from scratch. I was thinking of my spinach quiche, but with what? Maybe a potato/leek soup? Any ideas for appetizers? And - I'm making this hard for you all, I know - I can't get anything fancy like hummus or goat cheese. So really, I can work with veggies, rice, pasta, fruit, beans (red, white and black-eye).
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#2 of 28 Old 03-03-2003, 10:08 AM
 
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For an appetizer, you could get a nice loaf of bread. Add fresh tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, a little bit of salt,and basil (and cheese if you want to). Heat in the oven. If I make three appetizers (even *fancy* ones), this one is always the first to disappear.

Do you eat meat?
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#3 of 28 Old 03-03-2003, 11:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Do you mean carve out the bread and put the stuff in there?

Yes we eat some meat occasionally, but good meat is tricky to find.

I like the bread idea, thanks.
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#4 of 28 Old 03-03-2003, 12:13 PM
 
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It's easy to make hummus, if you're interested. Tons of recipes online for it.

A whole grain salad is always nice with quiche. Use whatever grains you have, cook until soft. Marinate a bunch of veggies in whatever type of salad dressing you like, then toss the veggies and marinade with the cooked grains and refrigerate until serving.

You can make little fruit tarts on whole wheat pizza dough for dessert. Toss the fruit in a little honey and fruit juice, drain. Make the little dough circles, brush with melted butter, pile the fruit on, sprinkle with cinnamon or nutmeg, bake about 10 minutes. Really easy and not too sweet. Serve with tea. (And whipped cream, if you like. Mmmmmmmmm.)
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#5 of 28 Old 03-03-2003, 12:26 PM
 
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No need to scoop out any bread, PM.

Another salad that is easy: even parts of diced tomato (remove seeds), cucumber, Hungarian peppers, and minced onion (maybe use about half of the amount of onion than the other veggies). Toss in a little bit of olive oil, salt, and lemon juice to taste. Add farmers cheese (if available) right before serving.

Soup and quiche sounds lovely. And they are perfect for entertaining, because most of the work is done ahead of time so you have more time to be social.
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#6 of 28 Old 03-03-2003, 12:53 PM - Thread Starter
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SoHappy, I'm totally interested! It's just that there are no chickpeas here. Can I make hummus with a different type of bean? Fruit tarts is a good idea.

MamaOui the salad sounds yummy. Only thing is that these types of salads are a staple here, and I was hoping for more of a back-home effect for this guy. I know I didn't mention that, so I do appreciate the idea.
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#7 of 28 Old 03-03-2003, 01:25 PM
 
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How about a bean pate with crackers??

There are lots of recipes on-line.
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#8 of 28 Old 03-03-2003, 01:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Bean pate sounds great! But no crackers here! I've looked and looked. You see how creative I have to be?!
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#9 of 28 Old 03-03-2003, 01:49 PM
 
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Can you get potatoes? Potato salad can be made lots of different ways, with vinaigrette/mayo, etc., with other vegetables (peas)

Rice salad - same thing - just add whatever vegetables you have and mix up some dressing (oil, something sour (lemon juice, vinegar) and salt and pepper)

Yogurt salad with tomatoes and cucumbers

Local bread and pastries?

Are you veg? It seems like from this site I found (which admittedly is kind of weird :-) ) lots of traditional dishes have grilled meat in them:
http://www.svetlanasbrides.com/kyrgy...lery/pg011.htm

Maybe you can make a "lots of side dishes buffet" rather than a regular 3 course meal or whatever.

This is interesting!! Let us know how it turns out!

Edited to add: Just thought of another one - filled crepes? Those can be savory or sweet and would have more of the European feel you want.

Mom "D" to DD1 "Z" (14) and DD2 "I" (11) DH "M"

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#10 of 28 Old 03-03-2003, 02:29 PM
 
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oh, this sure sounds fun! When is the dinner and how many are you expecting? I second the idea of lots of side dishes (maybe with a pasta main dish- linguine with green beans and potatoes???), rather than trad 3-course meal. I like potato leek soup though.... a grain salad is also good, you can add raisins and nuts for interest.
What abt Baked Tomatoes as side dish? You cld do it Corsican style (with parsley & garlic) or Sicilian style (with bread crumbs & dried oregano). Or what abt oven roasted vegetables? Or a ratatouille, which you can make with white beans? I think I even have a recipe for making a white bean spread for bread, which I can look up if you are interested?
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#11 of 28 Old 03-03-2003, 02:40 PM
 
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How about polenta for appetizer.

Cook polenta and spread in baking dish. Refrigerate to harden. Spread with pesto or tomato sauce and sprinkle a little cheese over.

Also for appetizers - olives, toasted nuts tossed with tamari, veggies and dip, fruit-kabob with yogurt dip, maybe taboili and pita . . .

Cathe Olson, author The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook, Simply Natural Baby Food, and LIck It! Creamy Dreamy Vegan Ice Creams Your Mouth Will Love.  
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#12 of 28 Old 03-03-2003, 02:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Wow! You women are fantastic!

Dinner is day after tomorrow - between 4-6 adults.

I like the side dishes buffet! And I really like so many of the suggestions that now I'm having an even harder time!

Keep em coming!

Oh! I would like the white bean spread recipe.
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#13 of 28 Old 03-03-2003, 03:02 PM
 
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Instead of crackers, can you use pita? Or can you cube bread and bake it?
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#14 of 28 Old 03-03-2003, 03:19 PM
 
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Crackers are easy to make, too! I bet Cathe would be willing to give you a quick and easy recipe. Even if you don't use it for your party, wouldn't it be nice to have crackers again!?

Oh, and you can make hummus with cooked white beans.

I'm so hungry just reading this thread. I'd better go have a snack.
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#15 of 28 Old 03-03-2003, 05:35 PM
 
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ok, the white bean spread recipe is here. It says to start from scratch, but you can also make it from canned beans:

~2 cups of white beans, soaked in 6 cups of water to cover & 1 tsp baking soda
~1 bay leaf
~1 tsp dried basil or pesto
~2 tsps freshly squeezed lime juice
~1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
~1 tsp grd cumin
~1 tsp salt
~2 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
~1 Tbsp olive oil

Do not drain the water from the soaking beans. Bring it to a boil and cook for 45 mins. The beans shd be pierced easily with a fork.
Drain beans and put them in food processor or blender. Add the basil or pesto, lime juice, garlic, cumin, salt Parmesan cheese and olive oil. Process or blend until smooth. Add a bit more oil if it's too dense. Viola~! (Serves 12)

There's also this roasted eggplant spread that dh's family really loved:
~1 medium eggplant, peeled
~2 red bell peppers, seeded
~1 red onion, peeled
~ 2 garlic cloves, minced
~3Tbsp olive oil
~11/2 tsp salt
~1/2 tsp black pepper
~1 Tbsp tomato paste

Preheat oven to 400F.
Cut the vegetables into one-inch cubes, and toss them with garlic, olive oil salt & papper. Spread them on a baking sheet & bake for 45 mins, tossing once during cooking. Vegetables shd be lightly browned and soft. Cool slightly.
Place vegetables in food processor, add tomato paste and pulse to blend. Taste for salt & pepper.

oh, I do hope you have a good dinner party! Do let us know how everything turns out, good luck & have fun!!
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#16 of 28 Old 03-03-2003, 06:12 PM
 
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NO CRACKERS????
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#17 of 28 Old 03-03-2003, 07:10 PM
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Let's see...for a down-home approach, what about black eyed peas and greens? If you can get a hold of dried hot chiles, garlic, and oregano (with maybe a dash of cumin and ground mustard seed), you could also do red beans and rice. Quiche sounds fantastic. If you do a fruit tart and have access to eggs, milk and cream (and some vanilla would be great), you could make pastry cream on which to put the fruit in your tart - it's really easy and makes a big difference.

What fruit and veggies do you have available to you? What spices? What dairy products?
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#18 of 28 Old 03-03-2003, 07:13 PM
 
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As Sohappy said, I have lots of cracker recipes. Look at the "whole grain crackers for toddler" thread under good eating and I have posted 3 different kinds and they're all really easy to make!

Cathe Olson, author The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook, Simply Natural Baby Food, and LIck It! Creamy Dreamy Vegan Ice Creams Your Mouth Will Love.  
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#19 of 28 Old 03-04-2003, 09:46 AM - Thread Starter
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I'd love to do crackers! Sounds fun.

I can get any spice imaginable (one of the benefits of living on the old Silk Route), any dairy including soy milk (but a limited choice of cheeses - though I can pay 50 bucks for a smidgen of parmesan! ), any fruit in season, and all sorts of wonderful nuts and dried fruits! Liquid vanilla can be found in ONE place in the whole city and I won't be going there (far) this week, and I'm all out.

I have a question: Do you all think it's OK to have a quiche and a pie-crust dessert (I was thinking of my Tarte Double Pomme - Double Apple Tart). I think it's too much pie crust for one evening. I would do my chocolate cake but I think my dh's getting sick of it. Maybe I'll do just a fruit salad - naw, one of the guests served that at her dinner. Argh! Ideas for dessert?
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#20 of 28 Old 03-04-2003, 10:33 AM
 
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In that case you might be able to do fruit crepes for dessert to avoid the second crust. As long as the flour and eggs are OK!

Mom "D" to DD1 "Z" (14) and DD2 "I" (11) DH "M"

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#21 of 28 Old 03-04-2003, 11:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Anybody ever use kasha (buckwheat) in a salad? That would be a semi-local (Russian) dish to introduce to one of the guests.
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#22 of 28 Old 03-04-2003, 11:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Ragana - good idea! We haven't given up our monthly crepe day that we brought from France.
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#23 of 28 Old 03-04-2003, 11:40 AM
 
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If you can make custard, you can make a chocolate cake trifle.

I take fruit like strawberries and throw some sugar on them to make a syrup. Then layer cubes of chocolate cake with custard then berries, then cake, custard and berries until you have filled your dish and then top with whipping cream. This is such a yummy dessert that is SO easy your daughter could help with this!

I can imagine you could go all out with the combinations. I use strawberries but the possibilities are endless.

can you get condensed milk in cans?

If so, stick a can in a crockpot or slow cooker for 8 hours on low. It will turn into a toffee type filling for a banana cake. This is topped with a white icing for a cake that is UNBELIEVABLE!

What about a chocolate almond torte?
Ingredients are simple
chocolate
eggs
almonds
flour
butter
sugar

I glaze it with ganache and decorate with homemade truffles.

(I used to bake desserts for a restaurant when I was in college)
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#24 of 28 Old 03-04-2003, 12:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
I used to bake desserts for a restaurant when I was in college
No kidding! Yummy, yummy, yummy! I can get the condensed milk, but no slow/pressure cooker. We've been looking and looking! But I'll remember that one cause it sounds delicious.

I hope everyone is taking notes - not just me - because this has turned out to be a very intersting discussion!
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#25 of 28 Old 03-04-2003, 01:59 PM
 
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Dunno if this is still in time, but I found this buckwheat recipe in my Moosewood cookbook (takes 25 mins to prepare & serves 4):

3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 heaping cup of chopped onions
2 cups of water or vegetable stock
1 large egg
1 cup buckwheat
about 4 cups of sliced mushrooms
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill (1 tsp dried)
1/8 tsp grd black pepper
diced red pepper

Heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a medium skillet and saute the onions over medium heat. While the onions cook, heat the water or stock to boiling. In a small bowl, combine the egg & buckwheat. When the onions have softened, add the kasha mixture to the skillet & mix well. Stir for a minute or two, until kasha kernels are separate & dry. When the water or stock boils, pour it into the skillet, cover and simmer gently on low heat for abt 10 mins, until liquid is absorbed and kasha cooked.

Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 Tbsp of oil and saute mushrooms over hi heat, stirring often, until they release their juices. Remove the mushrooms, drain, and reserve the liquid. When the kasha is tender, add the mushrooms and 2 or 3 Tbsp of their liquid. Stir in the soy sauce, dill & pepper.
Top with diced red pepper, and a sprig of dill, if you like. Serve hot.

oh, with all these good, delicious ideas, don't I wish I am a guest at the dinner!

Have fun & let us know!!
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#26 of 28 Old 03-04-2003, 03:02 PM
 
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How about fruit shortcake or a layered parfair with fruit, yogurt, granola - also fruit crisp with oat-nut topping. Or a cake with fruit like apple cake or carrot cake. I have a great pineapple-carrot cake recipe in my book I could post for you.

Cathe Olson, author The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook, Simply Natural Baby Food, and LIck It! Creamy Dreamy Vegan Ice Creams Your Mouth Will Love.  
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#27 of 28 Old 03-04-2003, 05:53 PM
 
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If you are still wanting to make hummus, I often substitute black beans or red beans for the chick peas. Doesn't taste EXACTLY the same, but VERY tasty none the less.

16 oz of canned or cooked beans
2-3 Tbls. tahini (seasame paste)
1 Tbls. lemon
2 Tbls. fresh parsley
ground cumin to taste (I like about 1 tsp.)
salt and pepper to taste
water/sesame oil to get the right consistency
olice oil (optional)

grind, chopped, or squwish the beans. Add tahini, lemon juice, parsley, and seasoning and mix. Add water/oil to get it to the consistency you like. Top with olive oil and a sprig of parley if desired.

Serve with pita or crackers.

YUM!

Mama to three small people; wife to one big person; pet-person to cats and dogs..."Be the change you want to see in the world"-- Gandhi
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#28 of 28 Old 03-05-2003, 01:58 AM - Thread Starter
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I have written down all these recipes. This would have been a lot of fun even without the dinner party!

Ok, here's the final menu. Anyone whose recipe didn't get picked this time, don't worry! I have plenty more dinner parties while I'm here in Kyrgyzstan.

White Bean Spread - but I'm using rosemary instead of the basil cause that's how it would be done in Italy (usually and from my personal experience, and anyway I love rosemary!)

Stuffed Tomatoes

Spinach Quiche

Lemon Cake with fruit topping and whipped cream or yogurt (depending on level of laziness at the last moment!)


Hey! I went to the European/American supermarket (tiny little thing - they have runners bringing stuff in their suitcases and the American stuff is all Shop-Rite brand). Anyway they had some nice Scandinavian type crackers! Every time you go in there there's something different, and you have to grab it when you see it!

Thanks again everyone!

Oh and the hummus sounds great! I would have made that today but I don't have time to go to the one place that has tahini.
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