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Got a cooking lesson for a Christmas gift, and took a class at Sur Le Table. Tuscan Italian night. Herb crusted Pork Tenderloin, shallot and basil bruschetta, wild mushroom and white bean ragout, and a poached pear with a sabigione sauce.

Chef told me I had good knife skills, and that was due to watching so many cooking channel shows.

Anyway, I have gotten recipes and done Chicken marsal (courtesy of Tyler Florence), creamed spinach (would love the version from Ruth's Chris or Flemings, lots of cheesy goodness), tomato and basil bruschett IGiada Laurentis recipe), and both a regular and a chocolate Creme Brulee. Did buy one of the small torches.

So, when you have a small dinner party, say 6 to 10 people, what do you pull out as a masterpiece show stopper? Beef Wellington? Prime Rib?

One of the things I did learn was when making creamed spinach, it helped to have all the ingredients already measured out. I guess that is why on alll the cooking shows I see all the herbs and wet ingredients in cups or ramekins. Trying to add the correct amount of heavy whipping cream and then the nutmeg made me char a bit too much my onions. When I measured it all out, it was much easier to pour in.

One thing I have to get down is timing. The spinach was done quickly and the chicken marsala had already been done for 10 minutes.
 

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I admire your effort. The personal touch is laudable. My wife and I can only muster the energy to have catered parties these days. Living in a city with inexpensive world class cuisine where household help is a negligible expense helps.

My go-to on a personal level is a big pot of collard greens, corn bread, biscuits, gravy and black eye peas. My grandmother taught these to me. I can put 20 lbs on in two weeks with these foods.

Cheers,

BSR
 

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Probably I'd start with a country minestrone and follow it up with chicken roasted on a bed of rosemary and good Tuscan bread. Cheese and port for dessert. I like to keep things simple.
 

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I am a chap, choosing to live alone, who is appreciative of fine cuisine (even more so since I quit smoking last year) and so I am a reasonably accomplished cook. I could not identify a signature dish but for spectacular results in minimal time then fusilli and sour cream is a an admirable starting point.
 

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I remember in college we used to make 'poor students' enchilidas' by rolling tortillas in sour cream. It was quite satisfactory with your choice of hot sauce. I'd imagine that fusilli in sour cream would be equally so. Nice one.
 

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Just goes to prove that you can take a man out of the deep south. But, you can't take the deep south out of the man.
Amen to that. Rather than running from it like I did in my youth, in a failed attempt to appear more sophisticated and worldly, I have come back around to embracing it as one of the traits that makes me who I am. I won't ever be taken for a Brit in a pub, but I can be the "Yank" southern guy in the pub with a good tale to tell, a hearty laugh and an understanding of how rounds of drinks are to be purchased when out on the lash.

Less Truman Capote and more Shelby Foote.

Cheers,

BSR
 

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I can make sushi for a smaller party but can't keep up serving speed while enjoying the dinner with more than 2-3 people.

For 6-10 , I would sous vide and then fry prime rip eye steak (or filet mignon if Costco has it at $15/lbs) with baked potato dressed with butter and oven grilled asparagus in say sauce-olive oil mix. Sous vide frees me from grilling and the steak always comes out perfect.

For more casual beer party, lightly battered fried wings with Korean style hot sauce are always praised as way better than Bonchon Chicken's. I make the sauce in large quantity and keep it stocked. Deep frying wings is painless and always perfect with my electric automatic deep frier.
 

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Now THAT looks seriously delicious -never had the pleasure to try a real Brunswick. The dates on the stir stick marking earlier stews I'd imagine?

Nice...

How do you serve it? Over rice, with cornbread, or just on its own?

Its look/consistency reminds me of this until now super-secret, goulash-like recipe from the (grand)grandmother(s) of a Hungarian/Slovak ex of mine...

1 to 1 to 1 ratio by weight of wild boar, old rooster, and old ox/bull/cow.

By weight, same amount of onion as meat.

Enough of paprika (a lot), lightly crushed caraway seeds, salt, and pepper. A bay leaf or three works well too.

Cube, salt, pepper meats, and dust with flour. Darkly brown in lard. Remove. On low heat, slowly saute the sliced onions until golden picking-up all "brown bits", stir in spices to "bloom", return meats, and JUST COVER with water simmering until all the meats have disintegrated into a fibrous mass. DO NOT over-water. Just add a little water from time to keep the solids barely covered. Done in 4-5-6... hours - cannot be overcooked, best on the third day. Serve with homemade egg noodles/dumplings. Flavor is an acquired taste but is nothing like one would expect.
Todd,
In North Carolina, Brunswick stew is frequently served with Barbecue (note: in NC ALL Barbeque started as pig) Lore says that it was usually made in the fall taking all the left overs from the last of the gardens and cooking them all in a bog pot outdoors during "hog killing time". It's basically any and all vegetables and meats that you have left over and cooking them down then canning them for use later in the winters. My friend Bernie comes from the Eastern part of the state and you'll find more Brunswick stew in that area than in the western parts where we now live. And yes- the dates are from previous "runs" of stew.
 

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As someone who cooked for a living and was trained at a culinary school, I feel like I can cook anything. Well I have struggled with raviolis with egg yolks inside.

I have always been the everyday cook in our family and find it is the simplest preparations and great ingredients that please me. I have a fairly successul 31 year old son who won't move out as long as I am cooking dinner.

My go to if a few of you were coming for dinner would be a roasted porchetta, pasta con pepe, and some local asparagus. I would also make a loaf of Jim Lahey's no knead bread.

I can't remember the last time I bought a prepared item or anything canned other then tomatoes, tuna and beans.

Yes my wife and I are both fat.
 

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I've taught myself, and I don't claim to be a great cook. But as with some previous posters I'm proud to say that in our house almost everything is cooked from scratch, whether that's olive oil and sea salt granola in batches, or tartare sauce on the side of a fish supper.

I'm not sure these are "show stoppers", but here are some things I've cooked in the past six months I found unusual or visually interesting.

We are eating a lot of North African, Middle Eastern and Iranian recipes from the likes of Sarit Packer and Sabrina Ghayour. Before this we went through phases of Indian (Meera Sodha), Italian (Marcella Hazan) and Mexican (Thomasina Miers).

Kebab recipe. The sauce made it. Very simple. The meat was cooked over charcoal (Big Green Egg).

A lamb and mince meatball stew, characteristically mixing sweet and spices. Sabrina Ghayour recipe from her book Persiana.

And for the vegetarians: An unusual one. A head of cauliflower poached in spices and wine before being charred over smoky charcoal. Served with a whipped goats' cheese.

Tonight's dinner was a steak and cheese recipe from Thomasina Miers... rather less visually appealing...! And yes I cheated on the salsas tonight
 

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When I have a dinner party of that size I tend to stay away from show stoppers because they usually involve too much work, too many expensive ingredients, or too much time away from my guests. OTOH I am ok doing things that took a lot of work before the guests arrive, like cassoulet or the boeuf Bourgignon from Mastering the Art of French Cooking. If I don’t have that sort of front end time I tend to combine things that have similar enough cook times that they are likely to come out evenly, like chicken piccata or saltimbocca with roasted asparagus and risotto or one dish meals like shrimp and grits. I have the salad after the main. Heavy meals call for lighter desserts, and buttermilk panna cotta with berries usually fits in nicely.
 
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