in a funk...hosting a dinner friday night
my brain is fried...just got home from work...my husband and I are hosting a dinner...there will ONLY be the 4 of us...but I guess I'm thinking too much about the menu.
I won't get home til 6pm Friday and we've invited them over for 7:30.
One doesn't eat cheese, the other doesn't eat fish...
I was thinking of bbq'ing some filet mignon, a starchy side, some veggies and a salad...but is this too boring? what about a sauce for the filet? I know it doesn't really need one..
we'll be drinking some awesome red wine and finishing off w/muscato from napa valley.
I need to be able to prepare most of the menu tomorrow night...
please, any suggestions for a menu, etc.. would be sooo greatly appreciated.
I do want it to be a lovely dinner, but not over the top...no time for it.
thanks so much :)
assuming you're set on filet mignon (otherwise i'd suggest an easy but tasty roasted chicken a la barefoot contessa), you might make polenta the night before then slice and grill friday night, as a hearty accompaniment, now that the weather is cooling down. you could also do some couscous, which is obviously very easy since it's a 5 minute cooking process.
as long as you're grilling, maybe marinate (starting tomorrow or friday morning) some asparagus in a balsamic marinade, then grill off with the meat.
you could do a whole grilling theme, and grill off some pineapple and peaches with some basil for dessert, served with either vanilla ice cream, creme anglaise, or creme fraiche...
I think that is charming that you are inviting people for dinner. Your menu doesn't sound boring to me, just high quality food simply prepared. You want to be relaxed when they arrive, not stressed. Mood is important too. Plus if you don't go too elaborate, they might reciprocate and invite you for dinner soon. However if you set the bar too high, they might feel they have to match you and just not want to go to all that bother.
The filet mignon absolutly needs a sauce. Filet is the most tender but also the most flavorless cut of beef you can buy. Why not go for a more flavorful cut that requires a little more chewing like a strip, hanger, or tritip. If you must use tenderloin try a porterhouse that way you get the tender filet on one side and the flavorful strip on the other.
If you want to go barbeque I say make your own bbq sauce tomorrow. Then in the morning of the dinner throw the bbq sauce you made in the crock pot with some shank (makes a bold statement on the plate with the bone) or shoulder, some spices, vegies, and water to cover. When you get home the meat will be braised and the sauce will be full of flavor. Pair this with spoonbread, polenta, grits and a green like kale, collards, or rabe. Sometimes traditional is as fancy as you need if you do it right.
If you want to go more classic french then forget the bbq. Make a sauce by searing your steaks in a pan. Add some diced onions or shallots deglaze with the wine you plan to drink (the easiest way to pair is to use the wine in the food). You can add beef or veal stock and herbs and spices (thyme, bay, peppercorns, parsley). Reduce. (add cream if you want and reduce more) then finish by straining and whisking in a few pats of butter. Other quick french sauces that would work well Beurre Rouge and Hollandaise.
Don't forget pork, chicken, quail, cornish game hen, duck breast, veal and lamb. All viable options. Heck veal scallopini (your butcher will pound or slice it thin for you) can be cooked and on the table in a minute and a half.
If you just want some inspiration think seasonally apples, pears, dried fruit, squash, pumpkin, pepitas. If it is local and in season people will almost always be impressed.
Menu sounds great. I just blogged a recipe for roasted squash and mushrooms for which you canslice the squash the day before and day of just slice mushrooms, layer them on a baking sheet, lay squash on top and it'sin the oven cooking while you are barbecuing steaks. You can use a variety of mushrooms for interest and it's great colour on the plate. Would go beautifully with potatoes or with the polenta suggested.
Your menu doesn't sound boring. I think steak on the grill is great. Throw some nice potatoes in to bake at 450 degrees, until they are nice and crusty will do nicely. Roasting carrots or asparagus, salad and having a crusty bread makes a great dinner.
Also, it is easy to prepare and lets you sit down and relax after a long day at work too!
I've learned a lot over the years and enjoying one's own dinner parties is top on my list now. Have fun!