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Ideas for my cooking club

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We have a 'cook' club which is like a book club; the hostess plans the menu and purchases all the ingredients, then we cook together and split the tab; a ton of fun; my turn coming up in Feb. I'm thinking olive oil crackers (homemade) /cheese/fruit starter and either: cioppino or roast beef tenderloin with vinegar/onion sauce (nathalie dupree); I typically don't serve a side with cioppino and serve garlic pasta and roasted broccoli with the beef. Anyone have thoughts or suggestions (on either of these or another dish)? We typically have 8 - 12 guests. Thinking lemon tart (beef) or pears poached in red wine (cioppino) for dessert.
Thanks!

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  1. Do you all have themes for the club meals or favorite cookbook of the month?

    Based upon your menu thoughts, I would build a theme around a Mediterranean country... Spain?

    Quince, cheese and Jamon?
    Paella?
    Etc...

    1. I vote for cioppino, it's easy to make, no other sides required except garlic bread to dip and it's a great warm dish for these colder months.

      1. Current thread on precisely this topic: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/884438

        1 Reply
        1. re: greygarious

          I love cioppino (assuming you can get great fish) - I like the idea of poached pears but would do them with a zabaglione to "fancy" them up.