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Oct 7, 2011 08:09 AM

What's for dinner? #110 [OLD]

I thought I'd get a new thread started since the old one is WELL over 300....

We're hosting a potluck party tonight -- the 'theme' is basically everyone should make their favorite dish. So I'm curious and excited to see what people (about 20) will bring.

My man is making his incredible shish kebabs -- lamb chunks from the leg have been marinating overnight with the usual suspects (oo, garlic, onion, fresh rosemary, mint, parsley, and thyme) and will be thrown on the grill come evening.

I will make my potatoes au gratin, my mom's recipe that never fails, is incredibly easy & tasty. Besides that, I am still debating / torn between German-style cuke salad or tzatziki. I obviously have fixings for both, given how similar the ingredients are. We'll see.

I have heard rumors that other dishes will include meaty lasagna, shrimp salad, an eggplant dish, tapenade, and 'dessert'.

Looking forward to a cornucopia of edibles tonight.

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  1. Pasta night at Casa Harters.

    There's that half of butternut squash malingering at the back of the fridge. I'm going to chop up it up and roast it with some chunked chorizo. After a while, a couple fo handfuls of cherry tomatoes are going in and then quite a lot of shredded sage leaves. Mixed into whatever pasta comes out of the cupboard first, and that's dinner. Possibly topped with some Parmesan, although I did buy some Red Leicester to eat for "afters" as a treat, so that may be cheese overdose.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Harters

      That sounds fab, Harters. I think I may well be ready for a nice, satisfying pasta meal in the next few days -- not counting tonight's lasagna, of course... doesn't count if someone else made it '-)

      1. re: Harters

        Butternut squash and sausage just go so well together. Enjoy. :)

        1. re: Harters

          Proved to be underwhelming. Deffo not a keeper.

          1. re: Harters

            It's the squash. Should be outlawed as a comestible.

            1. re: buttertart

              Disagree. We roast slices of butternut rubbed with olive oil, crushed coriander seed, cumin and a goodly blob of harissa. It will convert you - trust me!

              1. re: Harters

                MAYBE. If you make it. Although that combination would make a block of wood taste good.

                1. re: Harters

                  So, basically what you're saying is that you're using strong flavors to mask the taste of the squash, lol?

                  1. re: roxlet

                    Au contraire, roxlet. 'Tis an enhancement. Strong flavours, yes. But not used with a heavy hand.

          2. OK, lingua, first of all: great party idea.

            Secondly, who could not love that lamb? Sounds delish. Do you buy a whole leg and cube it up yourselves?

            Thirdly, please share your no-fail au gratin recipe. What kind of taters do you recommend?

            6 Replies
            1. re: ChristinaMason

              Thanks, I'm very curious as to what people will bring.

              We bought a whole leg of lamb (7 whopping lbs.) at Wegmans and had them dice it into 2/2" cubes. We still needed to trim a whole lot of fat off, but they were too busy in the butcher's department to spend much time on it. Yeah, fascinating story, I know.

              Anywhos. The gratin...

              I got 'butter' potatoes for the gratin, not sure if russets would work? As for the recipe, I can only guesstimate, since I'm not a measuring kinda gal and just throw stuff together:

              - potatoes of your choice, sliced thinly (the mandoline's your bff, man)
              - butter a baking pan generously
              - mix together about a cup of light cream with more garlic cloves (I use a >gasp< garlic press b/cI like the juice, too) and WAY more salt than you think is healthy, hot Hungarian paprika as well as a good dash of cayenne pepper.

              I'm not kidding about the salt. You should taste the cream mix and think "OMG -- I'm gonna have to make this again", but trust me -- the potatoes will suck it all up and make it almost disappear. Otherwise you end up with a very, very bland dish.

              - arrange potato slices, slightly overlapping in the baking dish, then pour cream mix over.

              Now to my fave part: adding the cheese. I got shredded Swiss and shredded Parm & Romano, which looks & smells like a rather promising mix. Obvy, you can pick whichever cheeses you want. I almost added taleggio, which is a house fave, but found it too wasteful.

              Add a few blobs of butter on the cheese, then put in the oven in the middle @375˚F for about 45 min. to an hour. You'll know it's done when the house smells edible, and the cheese is all golden brown.

              I opted for tzatziki in the end. Seemed like a better match with the Armenian lamb....

              1. re: linguafood

                dang. wheres that "love" button when you need it!

                1. re: linguafood

                  Mmmm. Love me some potatoes au gratin!

                      1. re: janbo19

                        please report back. i hope it works out. 1 cup of cream is generally enough for 2 lbs. of potatoes, so adjust accordingly. you don't want too much cream in order for it not to bubble over and ruin the crispiness of the cheese!

                  1. Mapo tofu with a side of steamed broccoli and probably a bottle of Riesling. We need to celebrate the Tigers win!

                    4 Replies
                      1. re: biondanonima

                        Haven't tried it, but I can totally see that Riesling working with the mapo tofu.

                        1. re: inaplasticcup

                          There's a Sichuan place in Berlin whose owner has a massive Riesling list. Goes really well with spicy & savory dishes. My favorite wine, come to think of it.

                          1. re: linguafood

                            Love Alsatians with spicy food.
                            I'd like to live a life where Hirsch riesling was my house white (sorry lingua, Austrian rather than German - love some of the Germans too).

                      2. It's the time in the midwest for fried green tomatoes (lots of unripened tomotoes) and dipping sauce of sour cream, mayo, horseradish, dijon mustard, salt, pepper and chives. Will also prepare a mushroom risotto.

                        1. oh dear linquafood, Another inspiration! I need to make my version of lamb and chicken kabobs marinated in a spicy herby yogurt. All your sides sounds heavenly. Do you make you make naan or pita? Your dinner sounds perfectly lovely, your guests will be thrilled!

                          All but last year, i hold a pumpkin carving party here and in the past I've made pizzas, Mexican food and appetizers galore. I love your idea! thanks!