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Jan 16, 2007 11:30 PM

Casual dinner party for 10 - help

We are having 8 people for dinner next week (family friends of my in-laws/clients) and Im 7 weeks pregnant so can heardly see straight, Im so exhausted. Im looking for a few fool proof recipes that I can turn on with relative ease. Most guests are jewish, so no pork. Any help/advice/sympathy much appreciated..

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  1. I'd roast a chicken or buy breasts and roast w/garlic and fresh rosemary. Then roast veges to go with it. Small potatoes, onions, sweet potatoes and squash....
    Easy to do. Just cut up all then spread on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle w/EVOO and salt, then roast. I also add raw beets, unpeeled and just cut up like the rest. If you have a Trader Joes in your village, p/u their Kosher breasts. I love 'em. I also get their cranbeery/apple chutney and spiced apple slices/sauce to round up meal. Then one of their apple pies w/a dollop of really good vanilla ice cream. YUM :)

    1 Reply
    1. re: Kitchen Queen

      I ditto the roasted veggies. I did 3 different ones yesterday (brussels sprouts, cauliflower and broccoli) and it took about 5 minutes prep per veggie, and about 30 minutes to cook. Carrots are good too. And I absolutely love roasted sweet potatoes wedges w/sage.

      And note, many Jewish people that don't eat pork also won't eat shellfish. No shrimp, lobster or clams for my kosher-observant grandmother!

    2. Simplify with something you can make a day or even two before.There is a great moussaca recipe in the New York Times Cookbook, IT can be made days ahead of time frozen and baked the day of. Serve with a salad and Hot bread and a simple desert.Be sure to have two so they can repeat

      7 Replies
      1. re: Rickw

        Moussaka is a risk if any of the Jewish guests do keep kosher or otherwise observe Jewish dietary laws (i.e. no pork or shellfish). It combines meat and dairy, which is strictly forbidden.

        1. re: rednails

          can you explain this more? i'm fascinated. why the no mix of meat and dairy? i learn so much on this board.

          1. re: lollya

            It's the most fundamental rule of (now ancient) Jewish dietary laws. Never mix meat and dairy at the same meal. I can't give you the textbook reason right now, but I bet if you go on the Kosher board and ask the question you'll get the best answer. I have a book at home called "The Jewish Book of Why" which would give me the correct way to articulate it. And as I noted above, no shellfish either.

            Just as an example, my maternal grandparents were Orthodox Jews. My grandmother had 6--yes, 6--set of dishes: 2 for every day, 2 for company and 2 for Passover. Four sets of silverware--2 for every day, 2 for Passover. Ditto for pots n pans. (Orthodox Jews change everything for Passover.) Separate sets for meat and dairy. It made things interesting when she passed away and all her stuff got divided up.

            1. re: rednails

              I believe the kosher mix of meat & milk comes from an Old Testament Bible verse about not cooking a kid (goat) in its mother's milk. The Moslems also eat halel meat, which I believe is slaughtered the same way, just not salted and soaked. Someone help me out - do Moslems also observe the milk & meat restrictions as well?

              1. re: Diane in Bexley

                That's right. The way that verse was explained to me, it was about avoiding cruelty/disrespect to the animals.

                I haven't noticed that rule being in play in Muslim cooking, but neither can I remember dairy ever being served. I do know they cook the beef absolutely to death and then some--I have yet to meet a Westerner who can deal with the paste-like results.

                1. re: foiegras

                  Very interesting... I'm a vegetarian so i get that. Thanks for the explanation.

                2. re: Diane in Bexley

                  Muslims don't observe that - they do obviously use yogurt sauce all over their meats.

        2. Button - it would be easier to recommend if we knew a little more of your resources. Are you in Australia? If so, are you able to cook on an outdoor grill? Also, will your guests all be able to sit down or will this be a buffet where some will be eating off their laps?

          1. Do you really have to have that dinner party that weekend? It seems that waiting 3-4 more weeks would be easier on you and you would be better able to deal with a menu and sudden whims or aversions to foods. You will feel a lot better then and right now you do not need the strain. Unless one of the guests is in precarious health and might not make it through another month you should not do this at this time.

            1. Maybe this is a time where you could order some great take out from a restaurant, or something prepared from a high end grocery? And just make the cocktails - or serve champagne :)

              For something easy if you have to cook, what about steaks on the grill that the men could cook when they get there. Maybe make a sauce for the steaks if you are feeling up to it. And serve the roasted veggies on the side. For dessert - ice cream sundaes everyone can assemble themselves. Can't get much easier. Good luck. I can remember being in the early weeks of pregnancy and coming home from work and going directly to bed. We survived on cereal for those first few weeks!