menu query - too heavy?
I'm having some friends over for dinner next weekend and I'm concerned that the food is too heavy. What do you think? Any suggestions for substitutions? And I feel like I'm missing something in the middle part of the meal (another veg?). Thanks for your input!
Red pepper - feta dip
Roasted pork loin with spiced pears
Wild rice with cherries
Butter lettuce salad w/candied walnuts, goat cheese and apples
homemade coffee-caramel sauce or chocolate almond sauce
This doesn't sound too heavy at all, but why not try roasting some carrots alongside? I made something out of the Barefoot Contessa recently, very simple... just toss carrots with extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, roast at 400 for 20 minutes and then toss with some chopped parsley. Light, simple and very good. To save time, you can use baby carrots, otherwise, chop them up into smaller pieces.
I just did something very similar with fresh orange beet slices, mushrooms, and carrots tossed in a concoction like that, except adding garlic, parmesean, and herbs. Everyone loved the beets, as they had never had them this way - only those terrible red beets in a can. Since they had never had them, it seemed quite exotic......
It doesn't sound too heavy, and each separate thing sounds great. I do think the main course sounds a little too cluttered, though, if you know what I mean, even if you're serving the salad after. If you can simplify at least one of the three dishes in that course (the rice would seem the best candidate to me), there will be a clearer focus and more enjoyment.
Not too heavy, but I think needs more savory. I agree with the posters to roast the carrots as a veg. You've got two fruit additions to the mains--I'd either drop the pears with the pork loin or the cherries in the wildrice and (in the case of rice) add lightly sauteed green onions--a little more piquante. I'd also lose the candied walnuts and goat cheese in the salad, you've got caramlized/nutty flavor at dessert and lots of protein already. Add a citrus or savory (maybe garlicky croutons or crunchy peppers?) to the salad to brighten. (Can you tell I'm more a savory than sweet person? :)
It doesn't sound too heavy, though it seems like you've got a bit of a trail mix theme going on in your middle course. One fruit or candied item is charming. More than that, and you risk muting the impact of what sounds like a nice dessert.
I'd get rid of the spiced pears (substitute a bitter green). I'd also just use regular walnuts.
Whatever you do, everyone will love it. I'd love to be served this meal, trail mix theme or not. I'm just being picky since you asked. :)
Not too heavy at all, but definitly too fruity. You already have carrots with the dip, so another option would be to stick with the spiced pears, do a medley of roasted vegetables (potatoes, celery root, parsnips, or just potatoes)instead of the rice and then do add a green veg. Also, I like the goat cheese and walnut salad idea, but only if you serve it as a separate course, either before or after the pork. If before, you can sub beets for the apples, if after, I'm still on the fence about whether or not they should stay. I really feel that salads served with the entree should be as simple as possible.
I agree that the menu certainly doesn't sound too heavy, but I would be careful about reducing the actual amount of food being served (I'd err on smaller portions). Experience has taught me that most of my dinner guests have filled up relatively quickly (or maybe they dislike my food so much that they feign hunger :) ) even when all I serve are 3 distinct items (such as a meat, a starch, and some sort of starter).