WND – In which everyone we know RSVP’d yes

August 10, 2009

shucked corn

What do you serve 14 people, one of whom is vegetarian, and one of who doesn’t eat eggs or dairy?

The quick and dirty answer is vegetarian chili with cornbread.  You substitute plain noodles for the cornbread for the person who can’t eat eggs – or embrace better living through chemistry and use egg substitutes to make the cornbread.  I can’t quite bring myself to do this, but others might not be quite as up tight.

Unfortunately this was the week that Boston decided to embrace the concept of summer and it was hovering around 90 with about an 80% humidity rate and even the thought of eating chili left me feeling faint.  Or at least, Boston was playing at summer when I made my menu plan, and even when I went shopping on Saturday.  On Sunday it was back to doing a stellar imitation of San Francisco – mid 60’s and overcast – but without the hills, SF located friends or the fabulous farmer’s market to make up for it.

There are other quick and dirty answers, but they mostly involve tofu which I don’t to cook because I don’t like it and I refuse to make something I’m not going to enjoy eating.  The other option is a vegetarian pasta dish, but fresh pasta is harder than it sounds for a crowd, and baked pasta dishes almost invariably involve cheese because that’s what binds them together.

The more complicated and involved answer is a buffet.

Okay, with 14 people Dinner was always going to be a buffet because my table only seats 8, but by buffet what I really mean is a lot of different dishes so that everyone has enough protein to eat no matter what they can and can’t eat.

Moroccan Roast Chicken
Couscous Salad
Devilled Eggs
Cucumber Soup
Spinach Pie

Moroccan Roast Chicken
I made it earlier in the day, cut it off the bone and served it cold with lemon and lime wedges

Recipe previously given:  Paean to Summer Vegetables


Couscous Salad
Corn is finally in season here and I’m taking full advantage.  I’m also taking advantage of the cucumbers and tiny heirloom tomatoes and the fresh basil.  We had this for dinner at Jes’s last week and it was good then, and it’s good all over again a week later made in my kitchen.

Recipe previously given:  Couscous Salad
And then reinterpreted by me:  Paean to Summer Vegetables

couscous salad composite

Devilled Eggs
Who can resist a devilled egg?

Recipe previously given:  The Curse of the Devilled Eggs is Lifted!

devilled eggs

Cucumber Soup
(serves 6-8 as a first course)
I looked all over creation for a recipe for cucumber soup that sounded appealing, but most of the recipes I found just sounded like a thinned down version of tzatziki.  I love tzatziki, but if I want cucumber soup I want it to be soup, not a watery dip.  My mother came through with her recipe that involves actual stock and cooking, and sounds like an actual soup.

3 medium cucumbers
2 tablespoons butter
1 leek, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon flour
2 ½ cups vegetable or chicken broth  (2 ½ cups broth; ½ cup milk)
½ cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup half-and-half
2/3 cup plain yogurt
Juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp chopped dill
Sour cream for garnish

Peel and thinly slice 2 cucumbers. In a large pot, melt butter; add sliced cucumbers, leek, and bay leaves. Cook slowly until tender, but not brown. Discard bay leaves.


Stir in flour, mixing well. Add vegetable or chicken broth and salt; bring just to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

Puree mixture in a blender or food processor. Chill soup in refrigerator several hours.

Peel, halve, and remove seeds from remaining cucumber, then grate. Add to soup with half-and-half, plain yogurt, lemon juice, and dill (reserve some for garnish). Correct seasoning with salt and pepper.

frog & lemon

Chill in refrigerator for at least another 30 minutes, so soup will be icy cold when served.

Serve in cold soup cups and top each serving with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of dill

Spinach Pie
Possibly I’m a little egg heavy on my vegetarian proteins and the Devilled Eggs weren’t strictly necessary, but Spinach Pie is really easy to make and having once thought them I then had a craving for Devilled Eggs.

Recipe previously given: The Day After St. Patrick’s Day Dinner

spinach pie composite

I bought the whole watermelon and then studiously tried not to feel like an outtake from “Dirty Dancing” as I lugged it into the house.  We ate ¾ of it, and I suspect that we would have eaten the remaining quarter except that I didn’t cut it up because I have plans for it and some tequila and popsicle molds.



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