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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Menu planning

Nothing delights me more than to hear my grandchildren are coming to visit. But a close second to that is hearing that someone is coming to dinner, and I can plan the menu. This morning a bonanza of both fell into my lap. My son-in-law Christian called to talk to me about tomorrow night. I was a little vague and he said, "You know. We're coming for dinner. Jordan said that was the plan." Jordan is in the Dominican Republic--a business trip--so "we" is Christian, Jacob, and Susan, Jordan's colleague who's living with them. I was delighted,
The Houston Alters--Colin and his family, will arrive Friday night in time for a late supper, and the Frisco Alters--Jamie and his family--may join us. Plus Jordan has sent word that she, Christian and Jacob will be here. And Sunday morning is Father's Day--deserves a special breakfast, don't you think?
Then Gayla and Fran, my two longtime publishing buddies, announced they're coming for a too-long-delayed pajama party Tuesday, so I'll feed them dinner and breakfast the next morning.
And then Thursday, my memoir class has its first meeting of the next session, and I've promised appetizers and wine--the rest of the time the class takes turns providing them.
Yippee! I have some menu planning to do! I immediatley got out my appalling collection.

For Christian, Jacob and Susan, I'll do a simple dinner:

Beef cutlets with lemon juice
Buy tendereized beef cutlets. Cut into strips. Coat in flour, salt and pepper (lots of the seasonings). Fry quickly until brown crust forms. Squeeze lemon juice over and serve.

Green beans binaigrette
Fry two slices of bacon in skillet. Remove and crumble. Fry sliced scallions in the bacon grease. Add a healthy amount of cider vinegar to the grease, return beans to the skillet and sprinkle with bacon crumbles.

Oven-Fried potatoes
Scrub but do not peel new potatoes (the medium-sized red ones);cut into slices;  toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, and fresh rosemary (if you don't grow your own, you should--it's so easy!). Put in greased baking pan and bake at 400 until potatoes are browned and crisped--but don't let them burn.

Friday night I'll fix a ground beef casserole contributed by Riley Adams to the blog, Mystery Lovers' Kitchen. It's filling, delicious and goes a long way, though I may have to double it. Check out the recipe at and scroll down until you come to Cheesy, creamy, beef casserole

On Saturday, for Jacob's fifth birthday, there will be a huge party at Jordan and Christian's. I'll make a dip of
2 15 oz. cans corn
1 can original Rotel tomatoes
1 8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Cilantro to taste

I haven't quite figured out Sunday's Father's Day menu but I'll probably make  Colin scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, chopped tomatoes, sliced scallions, and maybe a bit of cottage or cream cheese to gie them texture. The rest of his family won't eat them, but he and I love what we then called lox and eggs. And there's always there's the abundant fresh fruit of the season to serve.

And Tuesday night? Either Beef tenderloin with tomatoes, shallots and Maytag blue cheese or sea bass en papillote with sake, soy, ginger, sugar and scallions, served with rice and asparagus. More on that later. The ladies will also get scrambled eggs with salmon for breakfast.

For Thursday night's class, Palmetto original pimiento cheese on crackers and a dip of
1 can Pisces tuna
8 oz. cream cheese
half a large can of drained crushed pineapple
1-2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
 a "thumb's worth" of minced fresh ginger.

Wow! I have a great week of cooking ahead of me. First thing, trip to two grocery markets tomorrow. Pumps me up to do this. I hope you all will enjoy one or more of the recipes.

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