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May 6, 2009 07:41 PM

Husband's boss coming for dinner. HELP!

Hello! My husband's boss and wife are coming for dinner next week. They enjoy good food and he is a seasoned cook. They are going to French Laundry for dinner while on an upcoming vacation.

What should I make? I am wracking my brain. They are both super nice so I'm sure that it won't be totally high pressure, but I'd like to make a great dinner and wow em. Dishes that can be mostly made in advance are great as I have a little guy running around.

Husband asked for no Indian or anything that could be considered "weird". I asked for clarification and he just said "you know". I was thinking Mediterranean, like maybe mousaka, pitas and a salad. (I am too into theme/ethnic nights)

Your help and suggestions are greatly appreciated!

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  1. Forget the French Laundry. Just put it out of you mind! If you compete with that you will loose just based on anxiety! I would consider a classic roasted chicken, with lovely appetizers and a warm welcome. This is a "simple" meal that wows when well-prepared and can be made in advance, leaving you time to entertain and chat with your guests.

    1 Reply
    1. re: smtucker

      My first response as well. A garlic/rosemary roast chicken, a pasta as the side, a salad and a great vinaigrette. maybe an easy antipasto as a starter - pickled or stuffed mushrooms?

      You are not going to compete with the French Laundry, but you can do basic and make it look effortless.

    2. I see your go-to recipe is lasagna. That's a great foundation to build on. They're headed to French Laundry? So how about a 'tasting menu'? Line up a bunch of courses.

      Start with a soup. Easy to cook and serve.

      Move on to an antipasti selection: tomato, basl & fresh mozzarella is always a winner. Maybe add some crostini, melon & prosciutto, or whatever you find at your local Italian grocer... All of which can be prepped and plated ahead of time.

      Another course: beet salad with mixed greens and goat cheese. Another prep and plate ahead of time course.

      Time for the main event: lasagna.

      Is it time for a sorbet? Maybe served with a moscato?

      Finally, time for desert. As long as we're lining up all the Italian classics, why not tiramisu? Or panna cotta? Or maybe chocolate mousse? With coffee of course.

      Six courses sounds crazy, but I've tried to come up with ones that you can do almost entirely ahead of time. If you have pantry space you can even plate them ahead of time.

      5 Replies
      1. re: BernalKC

        That sounds great! Tiramisu especially (one of my husband's favorites). You are right. Multiple courses won't be too hard if prepped in advance.

        1. re: Main Line Tracey

          Still a lot of work and more chances for issues to occur. Keep it simple let the food shine not the technique or number of courses

        2. re: BernalKC

          Sounds like a an awesome menu! I might actually make it myself, if my husband has a "Lost" finale party next week.

          One concern- is it too much cheese? Personally, I love cheese, but maybe for some it's too much?

          And regarding the sorbet- Ive actually seen sorbet made with moscato. If you make your own sorbet, maybe that's an option.,

          1. re: cheesecake17

            Probably. I was winging it. Take the cheese off the salad and add some pralines instead. Or substitute a different antipasti combo -- I love all things pickled, including cured fish -- but that's just me.

            I've never made sorbet, but I do like to make a poor man's granita where I freeze lemonade in an ice cube tray and use the blender to crush them. I'm sure the approach would offend true granita lovers, but hey, it is sooo simple and it works for me. I've been meaning to try it with a desert wine -- maybe now I'll be inspired.

            1. re: BernalKC

              I make sorbet the same way you do, because I don't have an ice cream maker.

              I had a moscato and raspberry sorbet concoction at a restaurant- it was delicious.

        3. braised short ribs with roasted garlic mashed potatos, a great salad and bread you can't go wrong. Always wow's people.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Analisas mom

            MMMM that is a good suggestion. Easy, no tending, foolproof, pretty on the plate (I would serve something colorful next to the potatoes and meat) and the smell in your house when they come in will be very homey and welcoming!

            Now, what for a pre dinner nosh and what for cocktails and what for dessert??? ~Laughs~

            Have fun!

            1. re: Sal Vanilla

              I completely agree about the smell in the house. I absolutely love it and if I walked into a home for a dinner party and got that initial whiff I'd be smiling

            2. re: Analisas mom

              How do you prepare your short ribs? I have a husband's boss coming next week!


            3. What a jerk! What kind of an answer is "you know"?

              I'd second the roast chicken suggestion. It can't be seen as "weird" and is easy. Something like Zuni Cafe's roast chicken with bread salad. Perhaps some sliced tomatoes on the side. And I'd end with something simple like orange slices in rosemary-honey syrup (which may be another Zuni recipe and is really simple and nice). I'd add a nice dry rose wine and perhaps some simple cookie or biscotti to go with the dessert and there you have it.

              Lasagna and multiple courses just sound too heavy and involved to me, even if they are made ahead.

              1. How about a nice home cooked meal. You are not going to accomplish a tasting menu, There is one of you and at any resteraunt there is a staff.

                Shrimp Cocktail with martinis or wine/beer.

                Salad- fresh produce

                Tri-tip roast
                MAshed taters

                cake the New York Times had a great Almond Cake recipe that looked great and simple yesterday.
                Good luck and stay relaxed.