Missed opportunity/duty calls

So I missed a chance to cook for some people I’ve never cooked for prior to this point. Something intervened, naturally, and the window of opportunity closed. I’d like to be able to convince people to screw up at more convenient moments for me, but I expect this is a futile endeavor. I think it would have been quite a good meal, even if what popped into my head when someone was casting about for suggestions didn’t actually make it on the final menu. However, it did give me an idea for a menu to make at some point for my steady tasters or whatever group happens to be around at the moment:

Pan seared pork chops on sweet potato pancakes with pan gravy; black bean-mango salsa; roasted asparagus with lemon zest (or haricots verts if asparagus isn’t available); jalapeno cornbread.

I’ve added that to my collection of Things to Cook One Day. I’m hoping One Day will arrive at some point soon and there will actually be people with regular schedules and ready appetites to eat whatever it is that strikes my fancy at a given moment. Otherwise I’ll have to start chasing after strangers on the street, begging them to try the food while assuring them that I’m not crazy or trying to poison them.

Feed me, Seymour!

Party time is creeping up on us. If everyone we’ve invited comes, we’ll have 30-40 people here. What, then, of the menu?

Here’s a rough outline of what I’m planning.

Ribs, rubbed and smoked, with homemade bbq sauce on the side (smoking on Saturday)
Chicken, burgers and dogs for those who don’t like seafood (not many of those people)
Guacamole & chips – a huge batch, which will look similar to the picture I posted down a bit
Homemade salsa
Baked beans (made by someone else)
Potato salad (made by someone else)
Homemade hummus and pita
Fresh fruit
Homemade pickles (and possibly a try at Wickles as well)
Grilled veggies
Shrimp – boiled and grilled, with homemade cocktail and remoulade sauces available
Blue crab, steamed with Old Bay, assuming we can procure these on a Sunday
Grouper – fried and grilled, with chile-lime butter and a roasted garlic/herb sauce available (both of which would also go well with the shrimp)
Fresh bread, depending on me
Cookies – chocolate chip, white chocolate macadamia, madelines (maybe)
Apple tart? Chocolate hazelnut tart? (maybe) – Any voters who would like to cast their ballot for one or the other or both?

Some of these things can be made ahead of the party, of course: pickles (way before), sauces, salsa, coleslaw, desserts, bread, salad, guacamole. The ribs will be done on Saturday before the party Sunday. That will leave Sunday with prep only for the actual grilling and frying. I think it will all come together nicely.

Before the party, though, the painting of the foyer/living room and kitchen must be completed, and we must continue to put the house in order.

I am looking forward to being able to try my ribs for the first time since I started making them for other people. I won’t be able to eat much of them, but a taste will do. The fish will be easier to handle, and I do love some grouper. It should be a great day to be gathered around with everyone. And of course, if you’re reading this, we know you (every if we only have just met you!), and you’re in the area, come on along a week and a half from now. Bring your swimsuit and a towel or two. Eat and make merry with us.