Dinner with Friends

Entertaining this season? Try these easy appetite pleasers!
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The Menu

Suggested Wines
crostini
Sweet Pear and Cheese Crostini

  • Appetizer course: A dry version of Alsatian, gewurztraminer, or Riesling.
  • Main course: A hearty red wine, such as California zinfandel, Australian Shiraz, or Cotes du Rhone.
  • Dessert and truffles: Champagne or Sauternes.

Sweet Pear and Cheese Crostini Our sources told us that taleggio cheese tastes wonderful with pears -- and we couldn't agree more. We also suggest trying the creamy, rich, tart, and slightly sour cheese with grapes or sprinkled over greens.

 

Smoked Salmon with Lemon-Thyme Mayonnaise The great thing about this appetizer is that guests can garnish the salmon as they please -- with a sprightly squeeze of lemon or a rich dollop of mayonnaise mixture.

 

Baby Greens Salad with Oranges and Olives Add the blood orange sections just before serving. Overmixing can cause their festive color to bleed into other ingredients.

 

Lamb Shanks with French Green Lentil and Sweet Potato Ragout With almondlike tones and a heady texture that's reminiscent of an earthy caviar, French green lentils -- sometimes called Puy lentils -- are definitely worth seeking out.

 

Country-Style Semolina Loaves Semolina is a coarsely ground durum wheat flour. While it's more likely to show up in pasta than in baked goods, here it brings a pleasantly rustic touch to the loaves.

 

Festive Jam-and-Cannoli Cake Roll If you've never made a jelly roll, this is a good place to start. You will be surprised how easily the tender cake rolls up -- and guests will enjoy the rich results of your "beginners luck."

 

Exotic truffles, gourmet fudge

Continued on page 2:  Preparation Timetable

 

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