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Old 06-02-2011, 08:30 PM   #1
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Need some ideas for the menu...

I am planning on doing a special dinner for my nieces. Problem is, the technical expertise of high end foods are generally lost on them. They are 9 and 12.

If I'm looking to do a dinner with the primary purpose of trying to impress, what would be some good items for the menu.

Appetizer, drink, and dessert are easy.

For appetizer, I plan on doing up an ice cube tray with blue jello, and a gummy fish in each 'cube', with a coat of green jello on top. Extra gelatin to help maintain shape, turn it over, and you have mini-aquariums that are edible. Could go further with Nerds as gravel, etc etc...

Drink, I'm thinking a 'witches brew' style punch bowl, with dry ice... and only let adults serve.

Dessert, a Bombe Alaska... they know ice cream isn't supposed to be in the oven, and when its served on fire... well, yeah. Could then even go a step further using dry ice to douse the flame...

... which covers everything but the actual dinner.

Thoughts on interesting presentation foods? There's only so much one can do with flambe... and I'd like to do something more interesting then get creative with food coloring (which their mother has already done to death... I mean really... the meatloaf I tried tasted off because of the amount of food coloring used to make it blue...)

As per ideas... if I have the tools to make it, and I have a recipe, I can make it. No worries about difficulty.

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Old 06-02-2011, 08:52 PM   #2
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children don't deserve such high amount of special treatment... they'll get spoiled.

bagel pizzas will do
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Old 06-03-2011, 10:17 AM   #3
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The reason I want to do an 'above and beyond' dinner for them...

My nieces both just hosted two different family get-togethers (with only a minimal amount of help from their parents, mostly just to get ingredients).

One made broiled baby back ribs, a lo mein style noodle salad, hand made fried wontons, steamed asian style vegetables, and hand made mini egg rolls, with home made frozen yogurt as dessert... for eight people. The 9 year old made all that, my sister-in-law only helped with the egg rolls since they were labor intensive (think, 6 made a 'normal' egg roll).

The 12 year old made hand made cheese raviolis (from scratch) for an appetizer, for dinner.. chicken ka bobs, beef kabobs, pan seared broccoli and cauliflower, homemade bread, lemon herb mashed potatoes (and I give her credit... didn't need gravy), with a spiced apple punch (she spiced it herself, well), and she did root beer floats for dessert. She even cooked the beef kabobs to order, and though I asked for rare, they were med rare going on medium... everyone else's was perfect. She got no help from her parents.

I did something similar when I was 8... my menu consisted of Peking Duck and Baked Alaska, among other things.

Our family learns to cook early. My brother and his wife have carried on the tradition of teaching the young to cook, and cook well. Because of their excellent presentation, good food, and overall display of skill, I'd like to reciprocate and try and do a dinner that would hopefully impress upon them the fun that food can be. Though they would have an inkling as to the difficulty of certain foods, simply difficult to make would be fairly lost on them. I'd like ideas for foods that are fun and have an inherently great presentation.
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Old 06-03-2011, 10:34 AM   #4
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Thats awesome! I remember my parents would let me 'host' them and my grandmother. I dont really know what to suggest right now though :)
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Old 06-03-2011, 10:54 AM   #5
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Wow, I'm impressed with your nieces, Wishbringer! If you sent our Administrators a "heads up" message, I honestly think your nieces would be welcomed and respected by our DC community of enthusiastic cooks.

So, dinner main course...
serving eight... medium difficulty... over-the-top presentation... do you have a date set, a deadline for us to submit suggestions?

Depending on p.o.v., this is either thematic or repetitive...
Either a whole fish, or a pork roulade encased and baked in salt plaster. You can ask your nieces to crack it open and serve everyone.

Terrific family tradition, sounds like it'll be great fun!
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Old 06-03-2011, 11:34 AM   #6
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Serving 8-10
ANY difficulty (there's not much I can't do in a kitchen)
As over-the-top presentation as I can muster (high presentation is key)

As per date, would like to do it this weekend, but that's easily moved around. Now, I do have access to dry ice, but not liquid nitrogen. If I pull some strings, I should be able to get transglutaminas (meat glue)... but that may a few days to get.

In the past, when doing special dinners for people, they always came up with the menu, and I made it. (My best friend's dates have gone over well, since they always believed he was the cook, lol... did finally teach him a FEW recipes...)

I'm just horrible at coming up with my own menus.

Looked into salt crusted... that would make for an interesting main dish. Hadn't heard of that sort of thing before. Going to have to try it at some point now, regardless.

I'm sort of thinking a braided sweet bread, using thin braids to make a wide, thin base, then rolled around figs for a 'pretty', tasty dinner bread. I could also go with just simply a 'woven' bread.

Any other thoughts on main dishes?

As a thought for a side item, I'm almost thinking stuffed potato skins. If I went with a roulade, I could then use the potato guts as a filling, leaving the skins for minced veggies... if I gutted them from the bottom, then filled them, wrapped them in foil and baked again, it would look like a potato, feel like a potato, you cut it open and get not-a-potato.

Whole fish they've had several times, that wouldn't be that over the top to them, though good idea. One of them even loves escargot.
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Old 06-03-2011, 11:37 AM   #7
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how about lamb crown?
it's 2 racks of lamb tied together to make a crown. over the top presentation, but... I seriously doubt the taste of it because you have to cook it after shaping it, meaning you can't give the lamb any charring whatsoever
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Old 06-03-2011, 11:53 AM   #8
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how about mashed potatoes made with purple potatoes?
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Old 06-03-2011, 11:57 AM   #9
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how about pressed duck? it's a slow roasted duck, which you cut the best part (the breast) off and serve it, and then squeeze the rest of the duck in a duck press which gives you the jus to serve with the meat.
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Old 06-03-2011, 11:58 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hyperion View Post
how about lamb crown?
it's 2 racks of lamb tied together to make a crown. over the top presentation, but... I seriously doubt the taste of it because you have to cook it after shaping it, meaning you can't give the lamb any charring whatsoever
Hmm, there's an idea. As per charring, you'd be amazed what a good propane torch can do in the kitchen. Yes, I keep a propane torch from Home Depot in the kitchen...

It does present some awesome possibilities as use in making edible sculptures... could combine with previous ideas and make a fence row out of it, with a salt crusted roulade centerpiece, shaped carrots for 'trees'..

Feel free to keep throwing ideas my way... going to probably combine a few together for the final product.
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