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Help with a milestone birthday menu

My mother is turning -- years old and we are planning a family-only a surprise party for just the 10 of us. We've narrowed it down to either Indian, or Mediterranean/Middle Eastern (Lebanese, Greek, Moroccan). We want to do the bulk of the prep in advance, and cook as much as possible on the barbecue, because we don't want her stressing about people "making a mess of her kitchen". So we're thinking kebabs, salads, dips, flat breads, etc. Any ideas? Reasons to go with Indian over Mediterranean/Middle Eastern or vice versa? The cake needs to be chocolate and something really special but I don't know what direction to go to make it work with the theme (unnecessary maybe?) so any suggestions would be much appreciated.

asked by softpunk over 2 years ago
11 answers 1181 views
Melissa_mitchell
added over 2 years ago

What a sweet idea! For Valentine's Day my husband made me Moroccan lamb chops. He made his own ras al hanout (he said he googled a recipe and I know there are ones on Food 52) in advance and grilled the chops in the evening. He made a really good wine sauce and cous cous with some simple grilled veggies on the side. He made a traditional bread along side but I think a nice flatbread with za'aatar (sp?) would be really lovely. Since chocolate cake is a must (on my birthday too!) maybe one with cinnamon that might echo the cinnamon in the ras al hanout?

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added over 2 years ago

I love the idea of using za'atar because she loves it. I was thinking about doing some lamb for other family members, but she isn't a big fan of it so I don't want to make it a highlight. Any ideas for chicken? Maybe yogurt marinated somehow?

Dsc00859_2
added over 2 years ago

Paula Wolfert has great Moroccan chicken recipes. Chicken with lemon and olives, maybe, or a really nice one; she blends a mix of herbs (parsley and cilantro) and scallions, fresh garlic and some ground cumin into a puree with and salt and a pinch of cayenne, blends with butter, and smears over the chicken before broiling or grilling. It's in her book, Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco.

Dsc00859_2
added over 2 years ago

p.s. I don't think you have to get too 'theme-y" as these cuisines can complement each other. If she likes a certain chocolate cake, I would go with that.

Lorigoldsby
added over 2 years ago

Try Boulangere's chocolate cake.

http://www.food52.com/recipes...

Lorigoldsby
added over 2 years ago

Try Boulangere's chocolate cake.

http://www.food52.com/recipes...

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added over 2 years ago

I would go with a tagine, khoresh, or curry that can be made a day or two before. They get better with age (like your Mom!) and you can make it all in your own kitchen and avoid messing up your mother's. Paula Wolfert has a lush chicken tagine with preserved lemons and olives--I made it for a party earlier this year and it disappeared in a flash.

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added over 2 years ago

PS Go with a Moroccan or Lebanese main course and then a French chocolate cake or torte will still fit in the theme.

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added over 2 years ago

You are so right. And it will also be easier to come up with salads than if we do an Indian main. Fattoush, tabbouleh, etc.

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added over 2 years ago

I have a good recipe for chicken marinated in yogurt: Mix together 1 cup yogurt, 1-2 T each olive oil and lemon juice, and salt, cumin, chili powder, cinnamon, pepper, coriander, and any other spices you like (to taste). Add chicken (about 2 lbs., in pieces) and let marinate. Grill. Top with a sauce of another 1 cup yogurt and 1-2 T lemon juice, and chopped fresh mint if you like it.