Mar
11
2012

  Luncheon Menu Indecision

The date of my luncheon is drawing near, yet I still can't decide on the menu.

T's "recording artist", J, spends a lot of time over here. Tuesday and Thursday afternoons since sometime before Christmas, usually. Her parents are coming from CA for a visit, and she'd like them to meet T and see the studio. So I invited them all for lunch.

Wednesday will be the day, but I still haven't decided what I'd like to serve. I don't know much about them, except J did mention they're Jewish (this came up while discussing our Christmas tree, and how she always wanted one as a child but her parents didn't allow it). If they were kosher I'm sure she would have shot down the lunch idea, but I know even some secular Jews avoid pork even if not keeping strictly kosher. So I'll play it safe and avoid pork.

Which rules out the chicken dish I originally planned to serve, since pancetta is a key ingredient. I even tried out the recipe last week without the pancetta, but it wasn't quite as good. Plus, it involves filling an oven-proof frying pan with chicken thighs, and mine only holds eight. But there will be FIVE adults for the meal instead of just four, so I couldn't cook enough chicken thighs at once with my current cookware.

Actually, the chicken wasn't my original plan. I originally thought I'd make a cheese souffle. But when I made one a few weeks back, T commented that he didn't think it was a great leap up from the taste of plain old scrambled eggs. M disagreed-- he ate souffle by big snowball-sized fistfuls, just like W did when he was W's age. But I don't want to go through the effort for the luncheon and then have T make some dumb comment like that. Which he would-- he's often inadvertently insensitive.

I originally wanted them on Friday, since the house would be cleaned on Thursday, but they're not staying in town that long. If we went with Friday, I would have cooked fish (for my own sake since it's Lent). Although it's not necessary now that the meal will be Wednesday, I still might go with that. I could make salmon with charmoula. It used to be my go-to large dinner choice, but I haven't been eating salmon as much as I used to, now that I know a bit more about the environmental impact of farmed salmon. But I could get some wild-caught salmon at Whole Foods. The only issue would be what the price of that is this week.

I'm leaning toward the chicken pot pie casserole from my America's Test Kitchen cookbook. It's probably been over a month since I last made it, but I do recall writing a note in the recipe book that it was good enough to serve to company. And the quantity would be fine-- it fills a 9 x 13 casserole dish. But I'm not sure it's better than the salmon.

I was going to make Quiche Terrence, but as a refresher I made some for us on Friday, and T no longer likes it, he thinks it's too rich. And the traditional recipe for quiche includes bacon, so I'd have to do some variant without that, and I don't have much experience making baconless quiche so I'm not confident I could come up with a recipe that tastes good (since T doesn't like his version anymore, which I came up with for him during the years when he wasn't eating meat).

Sigh.

Sometimes I'm so decisive, I just KNOW what to do, and I do it. Other times I just can't make up my mind.

I need to figure out the menu by tomorrow night, though, since Tuesday morning is when I do my grocery shopping for the week. Plus I'll have to work out the timing of it all to get it on the table around noon.

Maybe I'll review all viable recipe choices in my head tonight, then sleep on it, and the answer will be clear in the morning. If it was JUST J's parents then I'd have more choices, since I'm more used to cooking in quantities for four adults. It's the fifth adult that is throwing me a bit. You can't feed five people with one roast chicken, for instance. At least not unless you're positive you've got some light eaters in the group.

It's times like this that I have to remind myself how blessed I am that my inability to make a decision for a luncheon menu is the big problem in my life right now.