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Dinner Menu - What do you think?

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This is the menu I decided on for dinner on a cold winter evening:

Soup: Butternut Squash+apple+leek

Salad: greens/roman lettuce with broiled red onions and mushrooms, sauteed shrimp and pan toasted corn with a balsamic vinaigrette

Meat: Roast Pork Loin - stuffed with dried figs, almonds, lemon juice, parsley and olives

Side: Mashed Potatoes with butter, sour cream, roasted garlic and a tad of Parmesan.

So here is my question, does it sound like a very fruity and inharmonious meal? Perhaps the salad should be a little less sweet and more tangy? Perhaps more fresh? I can't have any fruits or tomatoes in the salad.

And perhaps the pork loin is a little too loaded with fruit as well? Maybe garlic, rosemary and apricot glaze would be a better choice?

I would really appreciate your comments.

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  1. And for dessert I guess a pear tart is ruled out. Too much fruit going on. I can't include any chocolate. Perhaps cream puffs? Or maybe a strawberry shortcake? (that's fruit, but at least it's a little more tart).

    1. I wouldn't put shrimp in the salad. As for the pork loin, I am using a charmoula herb & spice mixture ( I think it's on epicurious). I think that the figs will be too rich especially with that rich soup as an opener. Then it allows you to have an apple or pear crostada. Or maybe just have a small scoop of very nice ice cream with a little splash of sauce.

      3 Replies
      1. re: sarah galvin

        You're right, no shrimp in the salad. I thought that I should just stick with greens and roasted red peppers with a salad dressing.

        The rub is very interesting, I think I might do that one or perhaps Giada's fig and port sauce (no stuffing). I have a great balsamic fig vinegar it's sweet and tart, it would make an excellent glaze I think. But you're right, perhaps the soup and figs will be an overwhelming combination.

        1. re: sarah galvin

          I agree about the shrimp. Sounds like too much with the soup in there too. The shrimp salad sounds like almost a light lunch dish in itself, and if you were to simply reduce the number of shrimp it would just be kind of odd. Who wants a salad with 2 measly shrimp on it? ;-)

          You could dress the salad up a bit more in other ways by adding to or replacing the romaine with other more delicate greens like baby spinach and arugula. If it were me, with as nice as the rest of the meal sounds, I would not use romaine lettuce unless it was presented very nicely. Romaine is fine for cesar salad kinds of applications but it can seem a little "cafeteria-like" in others. I just get this picture of a romaine salad with shredded carrots, a cherry tomato, and ranch dressing. Maybe it's just me!

          1. re: HaagenDazs

            Roman lettuce is terrific, I love it's crunchy texture and buttery flavor. I used to only eat greens, but for some reason my recent infatuation is with lettuce. However, you are right, romano lettuce is inappropriate for this meal, greens will do much better. Eeek at the image of cafeteria food! Tank you tank you for your comments, I promise not to sadistically add two measly shrimp.

        2. I think I would have to taste these dishes to provide any reasonable feedback. What time is dinner?

          1 Reply
          1. re: bnemes3343

            Hmm, seems like a self invitation to me... :) Will you be willing to provide champagne and a couple of bottles of vintage wine?

          2. Soup. Niiiiiiice!
            Salad: I would go with a nice spring mix of greens and a slice of warm goat cheese with a balsamic vinigarette.
            Roast Pork. Ohlala! No figs or almonds. Make a garlic and seasalt paste rub it and pour some apricot jelly over it and bake--throw in some rosemary sprigs
            Mashed taters. Leave out the parm--since the garlic will be in the pork--load the tates with chopped, crispy bacon or soprasetta.
            Dessert...a nice apple tart in a pate sable or a nutella tart.
            Now I am very hungry.

            1 Reply
            1. re: jarona

              About the salad, no cheese. :( It's absolutely crazy but this one very special individual doesn't care for cheese and since the dinner is for him and his wife it's a no no. My favorite is greens with goat/Gorgonzola, toasted walnuts and pears/beets with a splash of balsamic.

              The original salad is terrific also by the way. Greens with toasted corn and broiled red onions with mushrooms. It has a very earthy flavor with onions and corn adding a touch of sweetness.

              Roast pork...ok, it's official the almond and olive stuffing is out. But I do like Giada's port and fig recepie, so I'll have to think about it. It'll either be Giada's or the apricot jelly.

              So, no cream puffs, or perhaps profiteroles!!! With some vanilla ice cream! Yup, that sounds better.

            2. From my standpoint as a Personal Chef, it doesn't sound too fruity to me. I admit I wouldn't stuff pork with figs and olives ; that combo just doesn't appeal. I'd stuff pork with apples & pears with a splash of lemon.

              The Mashers sound just fine, as does the Salad and Soup.

              No vegetable side? That's what I think is missing. The little stuffing in that roast isn't IMHO enough to count as a side, and would bee far too sweet.

              Dessert? why not a fruit and cheese plate? Or if you must do fruit, think chilled fruit soup - strawberry/blackberry fruit in plain yogurt thinnned with a bit of clear soda.

              3 Replies
              1. re: KiltedCook

                So you don't think that potats should be abstinent from the parm invasion?

                I thought about the vegetable side, but then I thought it would just be so much food. I don't want to them to roll off the chairs in horror.

                I'm afraid that one of the guests doesn't eat any fruit or cheese. It's total madness I tell you, but he is such a lovely man.

                1. re: Inthemood

                  i would say maybe the salad with the broil red onion with some balsamic glaze... maybe fry some bacon and use that for the salad too? i just like this salad, very manly =) you can serve it with some shaved cheese or not, for that lovely man =)

                  I would say yes to a veggie side. everything will start to look so brown if there are not veggies.

                  1. re: Inthemood

                    I think as long as you stick to "a tad" of Parm in the potatoes they'll be fine. Just enough that you know there's something 'interesting' but not enough to say "oh that's Parm"...

                    Dessert without fruit or cheese... A light and fluffy cake of some sort (angelfood, poppyseed)? Decadent brownies served in wine glasses with a whipped cream cap. Chocolate truffles. A platter of gingersnaps with a dollop of cream cheese on each. Ice cream filled pastry cups.

                    If this is a dinner party, then don't serve that menu family style by plunking platters down on the table and "filling their eyes before their stomachs". Serve restaurant style:

                    Serve the soup course already in bowls. Pick up the bowls.
                    Serve plated salads, about a cup of salad, max. Pick up the salad plates.
                    Serve the entree and sides plated together - a 4-6 oz slice of meat and a dab of stuffing; a half cup of mashers and a half cup of side veg.

                    When people are part way through eating, then ask if anyone would like more of anything. Take their plate to the kitchen, and bring them back more of whatever they ask for.
                    When you go to make coffee, get a dessert head count.
                    Return with dessert. Clear the dessert plates.
                    Finish with coffee.