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Plan my dinner party

Please help me plan a delicious harvest dinner, using all the wonderful local foods that are available to me in New England. There will be 10 of us and all are foodies. I love to cook and I am partial to soups, braising and roasting. Desert is not my strong point, so I am looking for something less labor intensive and more dependable. I want this dinner to be memorable. Wine pairings also welcomed. Thanks!

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  1. Starter
    Oysters Casino –this classic appetizer comes from Long Island, where they are baked on the half shell with minced scallions, bell pepper and seasonings, topped bacon.

    Soup
    Parsnip Chowder – tangy parsnips paired with potatoes, bacon, onion and spinach in a rich cream sauce.

    Entrée
    Veal Osso Bucco – veal shanks braised slowly with white wine, tomatoes and veal glaci de viande for depth of flavor

    Vegetable
    Ginger Glazed Carrot Ribbons – wafer thin ribbons of carrot and whole pieces of walnut simmered in orange juice and fresh sliced ginger.

    Starch
    Potatoes Forestière – cubed potatoes sauteed in a splash of olive oil with pancetta and crimini mushrooms.

    Dessert
    Blueberry Grumble – a classic New England stovetop cobbler cooked in a Dutch oven or covered skillet, served with freshly whipped Lemon Cream.

    1. Ok.. here goes.. this is all very simple and very elegant....

      Starter: Salad with Baby Arugula, Fennel, Shaved Pecorino and a Shallot/Lemon vinergarette
      Main: Beef Stew (with harvest veggie) on a cream Polenta
      Desert: Either a Deep dish Carmel Apple pie or Pear and Fig pie or Fresh figs, quarterd, drizzled with honey and a selection of (3) Cheeses... a Blue, double or triple cream and a goat.
      Wine: A Pinot Noir or Syrah would work with all the courses.. or you can start with a Saturne with the salad and move on to a Pinot with the Main course. Finish off with with a lovely Port along with coffee.
      Good luck!

      1. Soup
        Roasted garlic soup with parmesan fricco

        Main
        Apple cider-braised pork shoulder with caramelized onions
        Smashed parsnips with cider gravy
        Wild rice pilaf with apples and hazelnuts

        Dessert
        Maple panna cotta with candied walnuts

        2 Replies
        1. re: JungMann

          Apple cider braised pork sound fantastic. Is it very fatty? When I slow roast pork shoulder, it is delicious but there are distinct areas of fat. Not sure I want to present that to guests. Does braising melt the fat down more efficiently? Do you have a recipe?

          1. re: greenstate

            The best aspect of shoulder is its richness, but in the long cooking period, a good portion renders out into the sauce.
            http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

        2. Our dinner club is meeting at our house tomorrow. Here's what we're having:

          Gougeres
          Coq Au Vin
          Parsnip and Potato mash
          Roasted Brussel Sprouts
          Apple and Pomegranate tart

          1. i love jungmann's menu. very similar to a fall-back dinner party menu of mine, actually.

            if you're concerned about fattiness, try making apple cider glazed pork chops, instead. i have a recipe somewhere in my archives if you want it. (make sure you brine the meat; that makes it 2x better and keeps it almost as moist as braised pork shoulder would be.)

            i might have a roasted beet / frisee salad to start and a side of roasted, carmelized Brussels sprouts or roasted asparagus spears with the main course, as well. (if you like to plate in advance, perhaps have the parsnips on 1/2 the plate bedding down the pork, the rice pilaf on 1/4 of the plate, and the brussels sprouts on the final 1/4.) a gruner would go well with this course.

            [shot glasses of roasted garlic soup might make a good amuse bouches.]

            dessert... i love the previous suggestions. to continue the brainstorm, though: for something less serious, how about candied / caramel apples made with the smallest apples (i.e. crab apples) you can find? or a more grown up duet of pumpkin and maple ice creams, with lace cookies? or pear sorbet? (ice creams and sorbets are easier than you might think, if you happen to have an ice cream maker. you can make them pretty far in advance.)

            perfectly ripe pears dressed with a light honey sauce and served with muscat might be nice, as well.

            3 Replies
            1. re: cimui

              While reading about jungmann's braised pork recipe from Epicurious, I found one that sounds perfect - Six Hour Pork Roast. It's got the Harvest Dinner feel, with a bistro slant. I am thinking of roasting a pan of root vegetables and making roasted garlic mashed potatoes. I love the idea of pears for dessert. Maybe baked with vanilla ice cream. ( Right up my alley for dessert - easy and good.) I also like the idea of roasted garlic soup. Great ideas - keep them coming and thanks.

              1. re: greenstate

                The dinner was a hit, thanks for all the suggestions. I started with a mushroom soup, then the six hour pork roast, scalloped potatoes with asiago cheese and roasted carrots. I made a simple apple tart with puff pastry and served it with vanilla ice cream and warm caramel sauce. The roast was fabulous, crispy, herby crust and succulent moist meat that just fell apart. Since it had no gravy, the creamy scalloped potatoes were a good match. I will try that apple cider braised pork roast this weekend.

                1. re: greenstate

                  I finally cooked the cider-braised pork that JungMann recommended. It was fabulous, cooking all afternoon and filing the house with the best aroma. I took the advice of several reviewers on the Epicurious site made a few changes to enhance the flavor. I added fennel seed, thyme and coriander to the cooking onions and to the liquids, I added fig vinegar, apple brandy and brown sugar. It was unbelievably good, served with horseradish mashed potatoes and sauteed cabbage. Thanks for the suggestion.