My friend Ann is arriving from Champaign on a 2:00 flight. I could say that I have three lovely casseroles and a succulent braised joint resting in its juices all waiting to be pulled out of the fridge and heated up in any given moment, but I am working on my honesty. Thank God for the act evolving. Having something to eat for your guests is critical, but the height of hospitality is no where near dependent on a main course. Dinner as you imagine it can surely even compromise all hopes of hospitality when dinner as you imagine it, leaves you freaking. If the impact of arrivals has left you without the ability to plan your menu beyond the drinks and snacks, then give it up and stick with drinks and snacks.
Put your music on–you are looking for something that strikes you deeply, but isn’t going to start you crying–turn the right lights on, light the candles, and chill the champagne. Forget the veal joint and roast some pumpkin seeds. Give them a drizzle of olive oil and toss them around. Salt them if they are unsalted. Crush a two pinches of cumin, a half a bay leaf, and mix around with a two pinches of cinnamon, a quick grating of nutmeg, and a teeny weeny pinch of cayenne pepper. Add about a tablespoon of dark brown sugar. Roast these at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes. Taste.
Put out your good cheddar with crackers, and a bowl of beautiful dates and apricots.
Add a bowl of steamed string beans dressed with olive oil and fried parsley and garlic.
Arrange a bowl of new potatoes and planks of carrots (braised and drained) cut into cubes, some cut up red peppers, radishes, and green onions, and serve it alongside a little dish of curry mayonnaise. (1/2 cup of mayo, squeeze of fresh lime juice, half a clove of smashed fresh garlic, pinch of sugar, teeny bit of smashed fresh ginger, and a teaspoon of curry powder-salt to taste)
Chic peas dressed olive oil, lemon and slivers of baby red onion.
Get out the chocolate.
That’s dinner, baby.