Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Butter for Dinner Menu: Planning a Girls Night In

As I was discussing all things related to the new year with my girlfriends on New Years Eve, I had a wonderful idea. What better way to ring in the first full week of January than with a girls night in? With the idea birthed, we decided that on Friday night, the girls will make the pilgrimage to my place for some delicious, non-diet food and lots of conversation. Hopefully good wine will also be part of the deal as I've asked each of my lovely friends to bring their favorite bottle to share with the group.

Of course, this means that I need to get cracking on a tasty menu at once. While I have a number of things in mind, I'm trying to find some sort of cohesion with my menu. I want plenty of rich, flavorful food, but I also hope to integrate some green vegetables as well. As much as I'd like to treat my favorite ladies to all decadent recipes, I know we all need a little balance in our lives. So far, these are the "for sure" items on my menu.

BBQ Jalapeno Poppers
Olive & Cheese Bread
Cesar Salad

I'm still tossing around other items, of course. The second appetizer spot is up for grabs with fried polenta and marinara sauce tying with hot artichoke dip. Either would be warm, comforting and wonderful. Both would be satisfying. I'm so torn, it's not even funny.

The main event, the entrée to leave all entrées behind, is hanging out there in Limbo. Part of me wants to throw together pasta with vodka cream sauce, but another part of me is rooting for a roasted beef tenderloin or goat cheese-stuff chicken breasts. The possibilities are endless. So are the preferences of my esteemed guests. Everyone has a different favorite. Everyone has a different palate. Finding something that bridge the void between all my gloriously different girlfriends is a chore indeed. Right now, pasta seems safest. Although the opportunity to throw together a creamy mac and cheese to accompany a nice roast threatens to tip the scale in the direction of robust red meat. I will continue to debate this issue for hours, I know.

And, of course, there is the dessert. For me, it's the most coveted meal marker. I am, undoubtedly, as I have said many times before, a sweets addict. The idea of having to pick only one dessert makes me nervous. How can I turn my back on so many delightful options? How can one truly judge the value of a Pineapple Upside Down Cake against Toasted Pound Cake with Marscapone-Almond Filling? Who can choose between Blackberry Cobbler or Peach Crisp with Warm Maple Cream? Is there really any good that comes out of overlooking Banana Oatmeal Bread or a fresh from the oven sugar cookie? What to do? What to do? At this moment, I have no idea.

So, here I sit. Attempting to figure out what I want to serve. Hoping to choose correctly. Crossing my fingers that when my girls arrive, I'm ready to sit back, sip a glass of wine, and enjoy the kind of good food and great conversation that you can only have with the women who you've chosen as your sisters.

It may be a very long night, indeed.

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