Category Archives: food

Dinner party menu

Tonight I served dinner for 23 people.  Among them were a few vegans, several vegetarians, a few low-carb people, and one gluten-free person: not an easy crowd to satisfy.   I’m pretty pleased with myself and my menu, so I’m going to reproduce it.

The nice thing is that you can make the curries in advance and leave them in the fridge. I did the rice in the oven earlier in the afternoon.  To make the whole thing low-effort, you could skip the naan (or buy it) and buy a dessert instead of making the pies.  With those changes, you could serve this on a weeknight – it would just take 30 minutes or so to heat up the curries.  I spent about $75 on groceries — $3.25/person isn’t bad.  

Tuesday: bought groceries.
Wednesday night: made the curries and the spinach.  Put in bowls in fridge.
Saturday morning: made naan dough.  Made pies.  Made lassi.
Saturday afternoon: put the rice in the oven.
5:30: got the pots out of fridge, put on stove to heat.   Cooked naan. Decided at the last minute to make gingerbread as well for the vegans.
6:30 guests arrived.
7:00 ate.
10:30: Jeff is washing 23 people’s worth of dishes.

Pinewoods Chicken Curry:

This comes out miles ahead of all other quasi-Asian dishes I’ve tried to make, and it doesn’t need a lot of tricky ingredients.  I used to make this every week when I cooked at a summer camp, so now I just eyeball the proportions.  This is an approximation.  You can do the same curry with cooked chickpeas instead.

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1-2 T minced garlic
  • 1 T grated ginger root (use less if using dry ground ginger)
  • 1 package boneless skinless chicken
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tsp red Thai curry paste (comes in a little jar, keeps for years in the fridge, worth having just for this recipe.)
  • chopped basil

Saute the onion in the bottom of a pot.  Add the garlic and ginger and saute some more.

Cut up the boneless skinless chicken into bite-size pieces.  Add it to the pot.

Add the coconut milk to the pot.  Let it all cook until the chicken is fully cooked (ideally, it’s starting to fall apart).

Dissolve the curry paste in a little water.  Add to the pot.  Season to taste with more curry paste, lime juice, and salt.

Add the chopped basil at the last minute.


This is quick and easy enough you really can throw it together when you decide you need dessert at the last minute.

  • 1 .5 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup oil or melted butter
  • 1/2 cup molasses

Mix dry ingredients.  Stir in wet ingredients.  Pour into greased 9×9″ pan.  Bake 30 minutes at 350°.