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cooking for yet another party of mixed food needs

I'm having a small dinner party for a group of people who have some overlapping but different needs and preferences. 8 people total. One is a dairy and gluten free pescatarian, one is allergic to onions and dairy, one eats everything but fish (just doesn't like it), one is allergic to shellfish. I want the meal to be summery, but feel special for a party. I don't feel that every dish has to be consumed by every person if I have three or four dishes. Any ideas are appreciated!

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  1. This sounds like a nightmare. Good luck.

    1. A Venn diagram might help here - and I am only half joking! This sounds like a good scenario for a potluck, with ingredient labels on every dish.

      Seriously, I suggest you post this on the V&V board since after the caveats, you're left with vegan. Mujadarra would be good except for the no-onion person. Grill/broil some monkfish or swordfish for those who'll eat it, make the Stir-fried roasted eggplant from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, subbing garlic for the scallions.

      Here's a good recipe from CHOW: http://www.chow.com/recipes/10960-egg...
      Omit the onion, up the garlic amount. This sauce cooks down a lot more than in the picture. I vary the prep by using my mandoline to make LONG julienne strips of eggplant, and slice the bell pepper into the thinnest rings (which break into strings in cooking). This makes a *meatier* texture for using it as a pasta sauce. (I do the onion like the peppers.) Adding mushrooms, particularly if they are dried, also makes it a heartier dish. This, and the stir-fried one mentioned above, can be served as a main or as a warm or cold side dish, or bruschette topping.

      1. Given the mix, I would avoid dairy all together. Some kind of whole fish dish would work and a ratatouille. More vegetables and another protein?

        1. This seafood rice salad would be good for your dairy-free, GF pescatarian guest. http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/10.... It can be made in advance and served at room temperature. You don't necessarily need to use the precise seafood selection called for in the recipe. If I made it again, I'd probably omit the mussels but that mainly reflects my seafood preferences.

          Find some sort of poultry or red meat dish that does not involve any dairy products or onions, that will appeal to both of your 2 other guests with dietary issues.

          Then add a variety of sides, including a couple that are onion & dairy free.

          1. This reminds me of those logic problems I did when I took the GRE. Jane has to sit next to Steve, but Steve can't sit next to anyone having fish, a so on. I would do a bunch of veggie dishes and grill fish and steak.

            2 Replies
            1. re: SarahCW

              I love those logic problems! I found a set of Mensa flashcards at a museum once and bought them, they are mostly those kinds of puzzles. So fun to do! I'm sh!t at all other math, though. I never made it past pre-algebra in HS, and my Dad was a math teacher!

              1. re: schrutefarms

                That's funny, I also had a lot of trouble with math in school, but could just breeze through those logic problems. One year I was on the verge of failing geometry, but then we did a logic unit, and that pulled my grade up to a C-. Whew

                As for the initial inquiry--I'm vegan and I would be delighted if I was at a dinner party and ratatouille was on the menu.