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Having Dinner for 8 on Saturday --What do I cook?

I'm throwing a birthday party for a friend this coming Saturday. I don't want to spend a fortune on the food, but would like to make a nice dinner. No polenta, indian food, etc.

Suggestions? I'm begging you!!!

Did I mention it's 105 degrees out?

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  1. gazpacho, salmon balsamico, caprese salad, bread, fresh fruit, sorbet

    1. Do you have access to a grill or will you be cooking inside?

      1 Reply
      1. re: masha

        I can do either. I have a nice size grill.

      2. This feeds a bunch, and because you are flaking it, you can get away with getting a less-expensive salmon. Also, I have made it ahead of time - I just cook down the sauce and keep the flaked salmon separate, then combine everything at the last minute. I've added peas or asparagus for extra color and sweetness in the past.

        1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
        1 tablespoon olive oil
        3 cups chicken broth
        1 cup heavy cream
        1/3 cup vodka
        1/2 teaspoon salt
        1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
        1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated fresh lemon zest
        2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
        1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
        2 cups flaked cooked salmon
        10 oz capellini

        Cook onion in oil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened (but not browned), about 6 minutes. Add broth, cream, vodka, and salt and boil over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until sauce is reduced to 2 cups, 40 to 50 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in dill, lemon zest and juice, and pepper. Reserve 1/2 cup sauce, then add salmon to saucepan and cook over moderately low heat until fish is just heated through, 2 to 3 minutes.
        While fish is heating, cook pasta in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta-cooking water, then drain pasta in a colander. Return pasta to pot, then toss with reserved sauce and cooking water. Serve pasta immediately with fish and sauce spooned over the top.

        1. Grill some Citrus Chicken under a Brick (epicurious.com), gazpacho, pizza bianca, grilled wedges of pineapple, watermelonade, wedge of iceberg lettuce with creamy chive & goat cheese dressing, buttermilk sherbet with the grilled pineapple, frozen margaritas or other fruity drink, sangria, grilled veggies, ceviche, etc

          1. By all means take advantage of the grill!

            Hors d'oeuvres: Fire-roasted tomatillo guacamole, chipotle grilled peaches and cheese
            Main: Pernil with sour orange mojo
            Sides: Green rice, watermelon salad, corn and black bean salad
            Dessert: Sundaes with chipotle-ancho chocolate sauce

            All relatively inexpensive ingredients brightened with the right seasonings.