Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A (Relatively) Easy Feast for Fourteen

Yes you *can* put together a delicious feast for fourteen people without stressing! We had a big family dinner here tonight and once again I was gone practically all day bringing Felix home from school. This menu is mostly do-ahead and can't-go-wrong. And the quantities will feed a lot of hungry teenagers.

Slow-roasted pork loin
Potatoes au gratin
Tart gingery slaw
Sauteed squash
Roasted garlic focaccia

1. For the meat, I laid two good-sized pork loins in my roasting pan early in the day, squeezed the juice of two limes over them, and dosed them liberally with Cajun seasoning (or any favorite spice mix). These need about three hours in a low over (300 or so). So plan accordingly.

2. The potatoes can be fixed at any time of day and reheated for dinner. Peel and slice about 5 pounds, chop an onion, mince two garlic cloves, and put all into a pot with two cups each of milk and cream and a small palmful of salt. Simmer until the potatoes are tender, then dump into a large pan and bake at 500 for about 20 minutes. Let rest before serving.

3. Slaw: Use two bags of slaw from the produce section, and slice a few radishes, a cucumber, and a red pepper to add. Dress with this: 1/4 cup vinegar or lime juice, 2 T. grainy mustard, a lot of grated ginger, 1/3 c. oil, 2 t. sesame oil, and a bunch of chopped peanuts. Toss it all together, and cover in the fridge for however long until you need it.

4. Just before dinner, or even early in the day, saute your squash or zucchini by slicing thin, putting in a skillet with about 2 T. olive oil and salt and pepper, and cooking covered over a high heat, shaking occasionally. Best when served immediately, but if you're busy no reason you can't do it early and reheat gently.

5. Make or buy some tasty bread.

6. Serve ice cream (or get Bella to make a cake!)

13 comments:

Polly said...

You make it all so accessible, and I appreciate that so much. As someone who received *zero* domestic training in my childhood and teenage years, and then spent my 20s getting a masters & JD & working, and now stay home with a toddler & a house to keep & husband to care for, I need hand-holding and guidance coupled with my own common sense.

reheating sauteed squash. never even thought of it before!

Regan Family Farm said...

Love the squeezed lime juice idea for the pork, and I'll definitely be trying the ginger slaw. I agree with Polly...so manageable!

AmysZoo said...

It seems to me that the real key to it all is thinking/planning ahead. In the past, I relied on restaurants as an "out" for those nights when my planning didn't happen or my creativity failed me at the last minute. But this year I resolved to do things differently and so every two weeks I have made menus, shopped accordingly, and I have fed my family at home week after week even on busy soccer, dance, piano evenings. Of course, the beauty and creativity with which you pull things off is extraordinary...thanks for sharing it with us!

Dawn said...

The slaw sounds luscious! I would love to have dinner at your house- so elegant and relaxing at the same time! Looking forward to *after* Thanksgiving here, it's School House Chicken Soup done with turkey! Have a wonderful holiday with your family, Anna!

In Christ,
Dawn

Rose said...

Happy Thanksgiving Anna, or are your dinner and me both early? I thought Thanksgiving was on a Thursday? Whichever way it goes, happy times!

Rachel said...

It's funny, because I could just as easily have written this...all your recipes are almost exactly what I use - especially the slaw! ;o) Of course, I don't have a Bella to make the cake for me...LOL!

Lynne in NC said...

This is wonderful. Thank you for the menu and the how-tos. Even at my age, one can use ideas like these.
Have a fabulous Thanksgiving with all your birdies back in the nest.
Peace.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing! I'll be trying all of them!
Happy Thanksgiving!
Amelia

Lisateresa said...

Anna, do you mean regular pork loin, or the tenderloin? I'm at the point where the tenderloin is the only pork I'll buy, because it's juicy and tender, whereas any other cut is always dry, even the regular loin. What am I doing wrong, or are we just fussy???

YayaOrchid said...

Anna, I absolutely love the way you explain your recipes. It just makes it seem so easy and uncomplicated. It also makes me think 'I can do this", which is what cooking is all about.

YayaOrchid said...

P.S. Happy Thanksgiving Day!!

Margo said...

I love this post! I love hearing how other people cook. Your menu is delicious, balanced and perfectly do-able. My alteration would be to chunk the squash, roast it with olive oil & salt in the oven, and then serve it room temperature later. I roast lots of vegetables like that now.

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