Hi there! I'm having an impromptu dinner for a total of 6 women (including me) where we'll be celebrating my mom's 75th birthday, but very casual. I usually love scheming up a menu for such occasions but I think because it's so short notice I'm suffering a block.
Dietary restrictions and preferences include: One gluten free, she also tries to avoids nut, beans and limits dairy (but will indulge for occasion dinners). And the birthday girl is not generally a fan of chicken. She loves Italian and Mexican first, but really likes anything that is good and not overly heavy-melted-cheesy type stuff. So middle eastern, asian, etc. are not off limits, but I want a cohesive menu.
The more make ahead the better. I really prefer to do multiple small plates all out at once to pick from over a standard salad, main, dessert. And mostly stuff that is room temp.
So far I settled on the birthday cake, Clementine & Almond Syrup Cake from Jerusalem, with the dark choc icing (mom loves the combination of orange and dark chocolate so this was an easy choice). I also started a batch of Jim Lahey's no knead bread, so I have crusty bread covered if it's needed.
Ideas that crossed my mind so far:
Socca with caramelized onions and mushrooms (GF)
Sliced pork tenderloin with various accompaniments, one being Tonnato Sauce
from Six Seasons. (GF)
A GF meatball - maybe Turkey + Ricotta from Small Victories? Turkey + Zucchini from Jerusalem?
Steak Bites the Pickled Jalapeno relish from Small Victories (GF)
No thoughts on veg dish except that I currently have some jerusalem artichokes, scallions, carrots, arugula, one leek and a head of savoy cabbage.
Salted brown butter rice krispie treats from smitten kitchen for the GF guest.
I'm obviously all over the place at this point. Halp!