Thursday, August 9, 2007

What's for dinner?

We're expecting guests to join us for dinner tonight. What shall we serve? Who's dining? Kathy, Primo, and I will enjoy anything good. Secondo, our six year old is more selective. Our guests include Kathy's aunt, a senior, Boston-area, Irish Catholic who will try most anything I serve, but will more readily enjoy simple mainstream selections. (Kathy reminds me that I've served goat rogan josh to her aunt - but it seems to me that perhaps that occasion was not her favorite visit here.) And finally we have Kathy's cousin - a resident of New York City and instructor (professor?) at FIT. I don't really know this fellow, but as he has been a New Yorker for some time, and is in the fashion business I expect he'll have more sophisticated tastes. And finally, finally, there's the fact that I'd like to enjoy some nice, seasonally appropriate wine tonight.

To review the forces in play then:
  • Six year old - keep it simple, not too spicy, clean (unsauced) protein or pasta is best

  • Aunt - keep it simple, not too spicy, avoid unfamiliar protein items

  • NYC Cousin - ?Since I'm supposed to be some kind of cook, and in any case I'll grasp at any straw of justification for doing something other than the usual, Secondo preferred, lowest common denominator, maybe something sophisticated?

  • Try a good bottle of wine (or two)

  • And as we've been drinking Alsatian Pinot Gris and Riesling, and Loire whites throughout the summer, it's bound to be something other - perhaps even a chard for the first time in who remembers how long. Yes - why not. There's a reputedly good Planeta Chardonnay down in the cellar that I've been meaning to try.

  • Who's afraid of a little cliche? OK - I'll say it. It looks like it's fish tonight. Have to see what's available at the fish market (and green market) before nailing this down - but given Aunt and Secondo - it's probably some sort of white fish preparation where it's good without the sauce for Secondo and where the sauce and sides make sense given the wine and the season.

    I'll post the market findings, the further decision process, and the resulting menu later.


    erin said...

    I really like that you identify the tastes/preferences of your guests while thinking about the menu. I'm all for this. For me, cooking for friends and family is an expression of love/friendship etc. It truly is a gift. And like any gift the recipient should be kept in mind.

    I bristle at those who feel, "well I cooked and Mr. or Mrs. X can make due!" This is selfish and ridiculous. But, I've attended dinner parties where clearly the hostess subscribed to this paradigm...For instance, I am uber healthy and was offered duck filled ravioli with a butter sauce. Okay, that is NOT something I'm excited about.

    Anyway, your thought process is great. Also, my MOST favorite chardonnay is Rombauer. It's excellent.

    Dan said...

    Thanks, Erin. I appreciate your kind words. And I confess, I have not always been so considerate of my guests - but I guess I'm mellowing in my old age.
    As to the wine - yes the Rombauer is very good. Being toward the south, their style has some things in common with the Planeta. The Rombauer tends more toward fall fruits and the Planeta more tropical.
    Also, as I think further about the Planeta, my comments in this morning's post were not adequate. If memory serves, I failed to mention the honeyed aspect. It's funny, because it's not that the product is sweet. It's not - but still there's something honey-like about it. And toffee, and, on reflection, even coffee notes. I'm starting to wonder if they give this wine some extra lees contact.
    Well, I just checked some other online descriptions and they're nothing like what I got so ? People talking about citrus - which was not in evidence last night at all. No mention of lees. ? Maybe the effect of more bottle time? Maybe I'm wrong? Anybody else have any ideas here?