November 9, 2009

There is no cooking tonight, in large part because my feet hurt. I may fix myself some cheese and an apple after while, but that’s gonna be about it.

I was going to go grocery shopping tonight for the staff dinner party on Thursday, and even make the coconut cake so it’d have time to get good and moist, but…see above. I’ll make the cake tomorrow and hope it’s ready by Thursday night.

(Aside. I have been in this damn business for 12 years. I should know — I should KNOW — that if I’m going to spend the day walking around industrial buildings, I should wear shoes that are made for it. These were fairly comfortable, but they had a thin sole; think of walking on concrete in a ballet flat with a one-inch heel. M’mm h’mm. Like that.  Consequently, I am On Strike until this Bloody Mary takes hold, and then I may go off strike long enough to fix a snack and another one. Or I may not.)

In any event, I had promised you the menu that, in a moment of weakness, I have promised to cook for our staff retreat this Thursday and Friday. With updates through the week as I cook. So here goes.

Thursday night’s dinner:

  • Bouef Bourguignon
  • Potatos Dauphinois
  • Green Beans Provencale
  • Glazed carrots with coriander
  • Green salad with walnuts, cranberries and feta and balsamic viniagrette
  • French bread
  • Coconut cake  with ambrosia

And for breakfast the following morning:

  • Mexican frittata with chorizo, black beans and potatos
  • Sausage and egg quiche
  • Fruit salad with honey mustard dressing
  • Baked French toast with cream cheese
  • Bran muffins

There is a lunch involved in all this, but I’m not doing lunch; that’s sandwiches and pot-luck trimmings and leftovers.

The baked French toast is something I’ve tried before, a sort of a bread pudding, with cream cheese in amongst the bread, eggs and half-and-half and maple syrup poured over it, baked and served with strawberry sauce. It’s hideously rich, but we may need the energy for a day of staff retreat; it warms up pretty well, too.  The frittata is my stand-by, with chorizo, fried potatos, black beans, eggs, lots o’cheese, avocado, salsa, and so on. Quiche is quiche; eggs and cheese and sausage (or ham, if I feel more like that when I get to the grocery tomorrow).  Fruit salad I’ll likely make tomorrow night and let it sit in the dressing (or I might make it Wednesday night) — just apples and pears and grapes and whatever else they have at the grocery that’s a relatively hard fruit, with a dressing made of honey, olive oil, rice vinegar and a tad bit of mustard.  Bran muffins will, of course, get baked that morning, and I will probably forego the fruit and nuts and just do the straight muffins.

Dinner is going to be a real adventure because I’m trying recipes I have not actually cooked before — well, I’ve cooked bouef bourguignon, but never for a crowd of this size. However, it’s the Gourmet mag recipe (Julia’s is too freakin’ complex), and I can make it in advance and reheat it. The potatos I can parboil, layer with the cheese and butter and salt and pepper, and just pour the cream over and bake them when in time for service. I’ll string and snap the beans, and possibly even go ahead and parboil them, leaving the saute’ until the evening of; the carrots will prepare on site, as they’re fairly quick. I’ll make up the ambrosia in advance, bake and frost the cake tomorrow.

This should be doable. I think. I’ll be curious to see how much it costs me, or more to the point, my employers, too; it’s a textbook opportunity to cost out that kind of dinner. While I’ll do some staples from home — a tad of flour, some spices, oil, and so on — all the rest will be a single-purpose purchase. I’ll be interested to see how inexpensively a dinner party for 12 can be done. And a brunch, for that matter.

I’m gonna fix me another drink and some cheese and an apple. You and y’mama ‘n ’em want some?




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