Help me with a kinda special dinner

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Chef Extraordinaire
Aug 19, 2004
My mountain
My son has become good friends with a kid from his school who is Ethiopian. He has come over to our house to work out with my son (lift weights, bike, eliptical, speed and weight bag, etc.) in the basement after school.

However, his mom always picks him up before dinner. I was home - and awake- the last time, and asked why he never stays for dinner. He just says that his mom was already here to collect him, and that he has to go.

Shyly, this giant kid - a 6' 5", 320 lbs lineman told me that he is Tewahedo Christian, and that they don't eat pork.
Lol, apparently I smell like bacon.
Oh, or worse, chitlins, or tripe.

I told him to tell his mother of my mother's Norwegian tradition that everyone is always welcome to share at mealtimes. (My mother's family is from way north and sparsley populated area in Norway: on the outer islands west of Harstad. People there can go for long times without seeing anyone else, especially in winter, so everyone was always welcome to come together.)
Well, he's coming over tomorrow for dinner. I hope his mom comes early as invited.

So here's the thing: what should I make?
What would you make?
I have 1 day to purchase the ingredients, and the necmxt to cook.

My wife asked me to make my chicken, grape, and harissa tagine, and my son said pad thai, or a stir fry?

Every time i think of something good and American that I make, half of the time a little piggie is in it. I think I understand his mom a little better now.

What would you make? Any recipe is appreciated.
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Id simplify it by making a delicious roast chicken and mashed potatoes. Maybe with green beans and some kind of winter salad?

For that thai aspect, you could make thai butternut squash soup as the first course. Ill give you my recipe.

For a starter, you could make chicken salad with grapes and harissa and serve it on slices of toasted baguette
Bucky, vegan food usually takes less time to make then omni food, in my experience.

If you buy the berbere spice mixture, it might streamline making some kind of a stew to serve with some kind of a flat bread. If you have all the spices to make berbere, then go to that.

Mashed potatoes can be made without butter or milk. Use water and veg bouillon or stock, add a touch of lemon juice, salt lightly.
I would make your chicken, grape, and harissa tagine as it will be a familiar-ish flavor. Serve it with flat bread for tearing, scooping and dipping.

Serve lots of bread and skip the mashed taters. If you think you need a second starch serve rice.

For sides:
Some cooked greens, or cooked green beans

A creamy cabbage - apple salad sprinkled with nuts (peanuts would be a familiar flavor for them although I prefer pecans)

Steamed carrots with parsley and butter would be nice as well and add color to the plate.

Dessert: Vanilla ice cream with some fruit and a crunchy cookie or snickerdoodle.
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It may be Italian in origin, but eggplant Parmigiana is one idea.

Roasted Cornish hens. A great veggie would be something like roasted sweet dumpling, or acorn squash, seeded, dressed inside with maple syrup, or with a more savory mixture of butter, salt, pepper, and cumin. My Mom used to make acorn squash stuffed with a meatloaf mixture that was very tasty. Just omit pork from the meat filling.

Speaking of Cornish, have you ever made pasties? Yummy shortbread crusts folded around a mixture of diced potato, coarsely ground beef, chopped onion, garlic, salt and pepper, and diced rutabaga, Serve with catsup, and/or gravy.
You can't go wrong with pasta bakes, such as lasagna, ziti, spaghetti, or Penne, ravioli, spaghetti pie, etc.

Shredded beef, open faced sandwiches, with chunky mashed potatoes, butter, and gravy, with a side of roasted asparagus, and Hollandaise sauce would be a great meal.

A roasted lamb crown roast is easy, and has wow factor built in.

Sirloin steak, cooked medium rare, and bias sliced thinly across the grain, with diced fresh tomato, avocado slices, and mung beans, inside pocket pita halves, dressed with mayo, or aioli makes for a very tasty meal, and stretches your meat dollar.

Stuffed pepper; need I say more?

Crepe's with shredded chicken, or waffles with fried chicken, or homemade chicken fingers is very good, and comforting.

These are just some options. Myself, I'd go with something tempura, the lamb, Cornish hens, shredded beef, or pita sandwiches.

Have you thought about shellfish, shrimp, or seafood?

Ok.I'll stop now.:LOL:

Seeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
Lol, Chief. You're the best. I'm furiously scribbling this down.

jenny, thanks for a perfect suggestion (but I'd have to make 2 chickens; these boys eat like they never saw food before).
And yes, please. The butternut squash soup recipe would be greatly appreciated. I'll trade ya my butternut/carrot/and sweet potato puree recipe.

And Andy, always thoughtful and wise, made me realize that research is necessary. Thanks, bud.

And bliss, yes. I was thinking something berbere spiced. But the boy would know the real thing, so my attempt might be horribly infantile at best. Now going vegan is a new thought, and efficient. Maybe fresh and new. Maybe...

And Janet, yes, thanks so much. A tearing bread is mandatory; some kind of naan, or pita, or lavasch. I'm not sure how spuds could work. And I think I'd like to eat at your house for the rest you'd mentioned. All good ideas.

So, I found out just now that the dinner has been postponed until next Tuesday. Something about their AP physics class having an after school thing.

But thank you, again. Any more input, Ethiopian and Tewahedo specific, as well as just plain well intended suggestions are appreciated.
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It might be a challenge for you to find teff flour for this, but injera is THE mainstay of Ethiopean food. It's like a sourdough pancake made of teff flour.
I've made it a couple of times, my daughter's gluten-free so I have a few different kinds of flour around.
Here's a basic recipe -

Jeezus h christmas, while I was struggling with my spelling issues and the diameter of my fingertips to write a percievable response, I managed to neglect your response.

Thank you very much, summer. All 57 of yous.
Quick thought ... his mom probably makes more traditional Ethiopian/African food for him or at least tries with what she can find. He may enjoy something more traditionally American or Italian or something different but not too out there.

Have fun!
Thanks, taxy. I like the idea of using coconut milk. I just happened to buy some Arroy D brand upon a recommendation from a Thai coworker. Now it has a future purpose.

And you're way ahead of me, jenny. My son's friend did come over today. While I was sleeping and not expecting him, my wife ran out and got everything to make turkey meatballs and spaghetti. He said that he loves Italian food, so it's a go.

I will cook next week. Thanks again, all.

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