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kitchen warming dinner

i'd like to invite a few women from work to dinner in my newly renovated kitchen. they've all heard about the whole ordeal and seen all the pictures. a few have given me a good natured hard time about not being invited over yet.

now for the dietary restrictions. I have one gluten free, one vegetarian who will eat fish, and one omnivore who won't eat fish. I would prefer not to do a taco bar. i'd like to do an appetizer, a meal with a starch and veg, and a dessert. any suggestions?

thanks in advance.

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  1. I'm wondering about seafood other than fish. Sometimes people who don't eat fish will eat shrimp. If both your omnivore and your vegetarian will eat shrimp that might give you a collective protein to plan your main meal around and then you could aim for vegetarian, gluten-free options for the other courses.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Jacquilynne

      omnivore won't eat anything from the sea. fish or seafood. i was thinking mussels would have been my best bet, but not for the anti-seafood woman.

      1. re: eLizard

        Drat!

        My usual go-to vegetarian dinner party dish is a mushroom lasagna -- it's substantial and awesome enough that the omnivores never notice the lack of meat -- but that won't work for your gluten free person.

        What about a crustless quiche or a potato strata as the main? For the quiche you could do a rice pilaf as the side, and the potato strata wouldn't really need a starchy side.

    2. Cheese plate with crudités, cocatel de camarones (no shrimp, more gazpacho like for veg. Person), sourdough bread (partake or not), assorted summer fruit platter. White wine sangria, or wine coolers. Infused water.

      4 Replies
      1. re: letsindulge

        thanks. sounds delicious. and forgive the question, but does that menu entail any.....cooking? i would like to cook....and i suppose this a question i should post on not about food "what is cooking?" sorry if i've offended.

        1. re: eLizard

          Very little cooking which can be a good thing if the main intentions are to invite them to see your new kitchen, and more interaction time with them. The menu is sophisticated, light, seasonal, and easy to pull together, and clean up after. Done.

          1. re: eLizard

            I do butterfly, and blanch the shrimp rather then use the pre-cooked bay variety.

        2. I would go the Middle Eastern route. Grill up kebabs of various sorts to satisfy everyone's needs: chicken and lamb for the meat eaters, shrimp for the pescatarian. Mujadara (for your starch) and taboulleh or other Middle Eastern salad for your veg.

          5 Replies
          1. re: TorontoJo

            And for an app course, if you want to stick with the Middle Eastern them, you could do a vegetarian lentil or chick pea soup. And for dessert, a rosewater panna cotta with some fresh berries would be a lovely way to end.

            1. re: TorontoJo

              we may have a winner!! thanks.

              what about a vegetarian risotto using mushroom stock.... i could make it in the pressure cooker.

              1. re: eLizard

                Sure, it doesn't have to be Middle Eastern, per se. Kebabs can be spiced up however you wish, and risotto is always delicious. My only caveat for the risotto is that I generally think of it as a cool weather dish. So depending on the weather where you are, it may or may not feel a bit heavy.

                  1. re: eLizard

                    The nice thing is that almost everything is make ahead. All you'd have to do is heat up the soup and grill the kebabs. The mujadara can be served warm or room temp.

          2. Having been eyeing menus for a dinner later this week for friends as well, my first thought was Flexitarian Table's Grilled Shrimp in Harissa, Fresh Corn Polenta (mixture of polenta and fresh corn with satueed cherry tomatoes), and Grilled Zucchini with Mint Oil. Summery, seasonal, not too complicated.

            Of course, then I saw the shrimp restriction for your omnivore. But maybe you could adapt a second protein with the same harissa seasoning...chicken?

            Flexitarian Table was COTM a few years ago and this menu had lots of positive feedback. Check out the reviews if you're interested.

            Regardless, congratulations on the new kitchen! Enjoy!

            1 Reply
            1. A spanish themed meal could work.... Gazpacho to start with chopped avocado garnish, spanish tortilla with aioli, an arugala spinach salad with olives, marcona almonds and tomatoes. Crema catalana for dessert.
              Or you could do gambas al ajillo for the main, with an individ version using chickpeas instead for the anti seafood contingent. Serve with roasted smoked paprika potatoes