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Notes

Challenge: Making A Healthy Dinner Menu For Ten Or More

Here is an idea for a dinner party that is sane and healthy on the one hand and not coercive on the other. The meal is an invisible compromise… tons of great vegetables and a great salad, so that anyone who cares can comfortably go all veg. But there is also a terrific tenderloin roast (cooked medium rare in less than 30 minutes at 500 degrees) for the others. And — I am ashamed to add — white baguettes and butter on the table.

The veg:

1) Farro with some chopped green onion in it: simply boil farro for 13-15 minutes, to desired texture, drain. Add the green onions. If you can’t find faro, use brown rice. Or fingerling potatoes.

2) Carrots with ginger. Peel, slice and cook carrots until done-totaste (al dente!)… In separate pan, melt a little bit of butter, add some chopped ginger and a teaspoon of brown sugar (the whole thing is only a couple of tablespoons… to add slight taste); add to carrot and stir. Everyone loves these.

3) Baby tomatoes. This is super easy and surprisingly successful. Adds a very different taste and tomatoes are super good for you. Get a couple of boxes of baby tomatoes (miraculously, they have a real tomato taste, year ‘round). Pop ‘em in a frying pan with a little olive oil and melted butter. Cook (barely) and serve at last moment. This is almost a garnish but a wonderful one.

4) Fresh spinach. If you can find it, it’ll be good, at any time of year. Rinse a lot! Cut off stems and boil BRIEFLY in hot water. Add a dab of butter. Rush to table. Only get a little of this… it’s an idea, not a plate-filler.

5) Salad, always the same for me: Boston or bibb lettuce, well cleaned; avocado, more green onions, some endive if you can find it, all tossed in a light French dressing (minced shallots, a little mustard, olive oil, white wine vinegar and a little salt and pepper; the ratio of olive oil to vinegar is a slightly high 3 or 4 to one). Whip up and dress salad at last moment.

Okay, everything but the meat and the farro has to be done at the last moment. That, kids, is a terrific meal… several wonderful things for every taste.

Here’s the big thing. You’re highlighting the veg a lot here… not bullying anyone but presenting the vegetables differently. Lots of ‘em. Some get it, some don’t. Some will go almost all veg… use the meat as a garnish.

Oh… add enough good red wine and no one will know what they’re doing or care. Bon appetit!

 

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Chris Crowley
Chris Crowley

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