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Need a fresh menu for older people, two couples, special dinner.

My parents just moved from their long-time house to a nearby condo. I’d like to make an “inaugural” dinner for them and their two best friends. So 4 total – I’ll be cooking, serving and fiddling with the music – I want to cook & wait on them hand and foot, not dine with them.

I’m just tired of doing steak, roasted rosemary potatoes and string beans with almonds for an older group.

I live close by so can do most of the prep at home. They have a standard, small kitchen (gas range, single oven with broiler) and an outdoor grill (small 2 burner).

Group: 4, ages 75 - 87
Needs: low sodium, no tomatoes, no onions, no excessive garlic, no legumes/beans, no peppers, no hot spices, and nothing that might require Tums or a wheelchair afterward

Steak, lamb, fish, shellfish are fine. Pork too – but maybe not celebratory enough?

Desert is covered.

I would love your ideas. Thanks.

Pegeen is a trusted home cook.

asked over 1 year ago
45 answers 2381 views
Moi_1
QueenSashy

QueenSashy is a trusted home cook.

added over 1 year ago

It's the king salmon season. How about slow cooked king salmon (225F in the oven, for about 20-25 min, depending on the size) with a lovely sauce, or salsa. Very few things can beat king salmon, and you are serving four, so it is close to affordable...

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Pegeen

Pegeen is a trusted home cook.

added over 1 year ago

QueenS, I like that idea... with an interesting sauce. Thank you!

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added over 1 year ago

This is very sweet of you, but probably they will want you to dine with them, if only for the conversation! If you chose salmon, I love salmon with sorrel sauce, a recipe by mrsweelbarrow way back in the beginning of this website. It is mild, delicious and easy to prepare partly ahead of time so you can be part of the entertainment. Have a great party!

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drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 1 year ago

Amanda's olive oil poached fish or shellfish (maybe attributed to Mark Bittman?) is also wonderful, and you could toss angel hair pasta (my parents-who are the same age- love angel hair pasta) with the seafood flavored olive oil, fresh herbs, maybe some Parmesan cheese. My parents also love spinach salad-- you could make a warm salad by sautéing thinly sliced mushrooms in olive oil and butter, then pouring it all over a bowl of baby spinach and tossing it all together till the spinach is just wilted. Maybe add some crunchy bacon (so it's a play on that old spinach salad that used to be so popular-- or not if you're trying to keep it low sodium-- maybe some toasted nuts or breadcrumbs instead?) and a little sherry vinegar to brighten it. You're a great daughter!

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drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 1 year ago

Here's the recipe: http://food52.com/recipes...

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added over 1 year ago

Salmon and olive-oil poached fish, as suggested, sound lovely. Since you suggested lamb, the other thing that immediately comes to mind is the Genius roast lamb shoulder. It's so tender and delicious. You could pair it with the suggested mashed root vegetables and any number of seasonal sides (e.g., sauteed sugar snap peas with mint). Have fun!

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added over 1 year ago

How about starting with a cold cucumber soup, then an arugula salad with toasted nuts and goat cheese tossed in their favorite dressing. If you go with the salmon maybe a warm potato salad and some grilled or steamed asparagus

Junechamp
ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 1 year ago

King Salmon is a really special dish. Here's a really easy but impressive way to serve it: http://food52.com/recipes....
Another idea might be scallops. This http://food52.com/recipes... -- is my favorite way to prepare them. My folks used to love them!
And since you mentioned lamb, I'll suggest my winning recipe for Leg of Lamb with Garlic Sauce (not spicy): http://food52.com/recipes.... Plus there'll be some left for sandwiches!

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added over 1 year ago

I know it's not fancy but nothing says 'welcome home' than a roasted chicken, perhaps stuffed with herbs. That would give you the ability to mingle a little. Maybe served with the sweet potatoes Anna on this sitehttp://food52.com/recipes... And a salad filled with everything good in season.

Bigpan
added over 1 year ago

I have volunteered and eaten with seniors in this age group and agree that you have to go easy on spice, garlic, heat, etc. You said "you" are tired of cooking the same old same old. But, are they tired of it?
I would stick with foods they like rather than what you want to show off doing. (no insult intended, it is "their" night) Perhaps a chicken breast with wing bone on (french style) and tip cut off. Roast with some lemon and herbs. Don't overcook, they like soft food. Maybe a stuffed pork tenderloin. I would stay away from hard to chew foods like lamb or beef. Mashed potato (or turnip) with some gravy made from the chicken drippings. Try a new veg...instead of your beans and almonds, perhaps some stir fried carrot/jicima/asparagus - nice colors. For dessert perhaps a creme brulee.
Start with an amuse bouche of bleu cheese on flatbread with some marmalade on top.
I seen with this age group too many folks sending back food and asking for a plain sandwich and jello because they don't like to experiment too much.

Dsc_0048b
added over 1 year ago

I noticed that you didn't mention chicken, but Amanda's spatchcocked and braise roasted chicken is really nice and can be dressed up with side dishes. It's asparagus season in many areas so that might be a nice base for a vegetable dish and maybe a risotto alongside?

Bigpan
added over 1 year ago

Another thought is to go italian...spaghetti and meatballs is a favorite for any age group. Dress it up with a nice checkered tablecloth, candles, fancy salad, appetizers to start and tiramisu to end.

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Pegeen

Pegeen is a trusted home cook.

added over 1 year ago

Thank you so much, everyone, for all the lovely menu ideas. There are so many good ideas here I can do menus for them for a couple months of Sundays! I’m going to go with the King Salmon – tender and easy to eat, nice to do something “in season,” they love salmon but wouldn’t splurge on it for themselves. Torn between Mrs. Larkin’s Watercress and Sorrel approach and ChefJune’s Falafel-Crusted (maybe have to omit the cumin), but if the Watercress & Sorrel, might try pureeing most of the greens into the sauce so they don’t compete with… the warm spinach salad! (Bacon crumbles on the side for those who dare mess with sodium.) New peas with shredded mint, a touch of butter. And maybe as contrast to the tart salmon sauce, spinach salad and green peas, the sweet potatoes Anna or regular pommes Anna.

Thanks again everyone for the thoughtful ideas – truly appreciated! I think they’ll love it.

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Pegeen

Pegeen is a trusted home cook.

added over 1 year ago

I forgot to say: I loved the idea of the cold cucumber soup to start but I fear I have too much green. Will look into a very light borscht, with a baguette with something creme fraiche-y for dunking. Served in my grandmother's tiny bouillon bowls, so that my Mom feels some reward for schlepping boxes to the new place.

Farmer's_market
added over 1 year ago

I do a light, cold borscht that's a bit unusual: saute some chopped carrots/onions until soft, then add a couple of tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and cook it down. When cool, puree the mixture with the beets/liquid (fresh, or honestly, canned beets are fine here) s&p, a pinch of sugar if you like, and then whisk in some buttermilk, until it's the shade of pink and shade of creamy you like. Serve with a dollop of creme fraiche or sour cream, and sprinkle of chopped chives. Gorgeous colors and very tasty (also best made a day or so ahead, so good for entertaining - just give it a good whisking before serving.) My dad - who grew up on old school borscht - loved it.

Junechamp
ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 1 year ago

recipe, please AmySarah!

Farmer's_market
added over 1 year ago

Ok, will try! Will need to make a batch first to document real measurements – I’ve been making this for ages, and frankly, it’s all by eye/taste!

Apropos, this is always my problem with submitting my own recipes – the best ones evolve over years … and if anything is written down at all, it tends to be very minimal (i.e., ‘add splash of’ or ‘saute a few’ or ‘reduce a little’…i.e., very scant details on measurements/timing.) Also, this borscht began with a recipe in a magazine many moons ago - but no recollection where. Over time I’ve tweaked and adapted it, but I can’t claim complete ‘ownership’ either…I’m never sure where that line is to be honest.

Hilary_sp1
added over 1 year ago

I love the King Salmon idea and the warm spinach salad. I am somewhat concerned about the sorrel. Might not be a good choice, due to its propensity to wreak gastrointestinal havoc on some. Not everyone has the stomach enzymes to break it all down--and like some other very green vegetables--can cause after effects best left unspoken.

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Pegeen

Pegeen is a trusted home cook.

added over 1 year ago

Hilarybee, thank you for the heads-up about sorrel. (Whenever I hear sorrel I think "cows," and figure if they can eat it, I can. But wait a minute... ) I'm guessing Mrs. Larkin's sauce would be just as tasty if I pureed the sauce only with watercress and omitted the sorrel. Thanks.

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Pegeen

Pegeen is a trusted home cook.

added over 1 year ago

amysarah... Great. I'm going to make that ahead of time double-batch because I think I'll want to keep half of it myself. You should submit it here. Thanks!

Sit2
Sam1148

Sam is a trusted home cook.

added over 1 year ago

If you go with the Falafel crusted salmon. How about a bread course of flat bread, herbs, and Babaganoush; and a chilled cucumber/dill soup with fresh dill and greek yogurt garnish? (ah, I see you going with another chilled soup--good call).

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Pegeen

Pegeen is a trusted home cook.

added over 1 year ago

Sam, I love your food suggestions. But I fear Babaganoush = gastrointestinal \ postcards for people over a certain age.

I thank you for the dill reminder. Adding it to the salmon sauce. And some beautiful dill feathers as garnish on top.

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Pegeen

Pegeen is a trusted home cook.

added over 1 year ago

Wish we could edit our posts. I would have said, "But I fear Babaganoush for people over a certain age" and would have deleted everything else. Sorry.

Sit2
Sam1148

Sam is a trusted home cook.

added over 1 year ago

I'm not sure about that. It's one of my Mother Out Law's favorite dishes..and she's 75; no humus or bean dishes tho. The cumin in the felafel crust of the salmon might be too spicy for her tho so I'd have to adjust that for her.

Dsc_0048b
added over 1 year ago

sounds like a lovely dinner!

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added over 1 year ago

Roast chicken with a green salad

Cimg0737
added over 1 year ago

Pegeen, your menu sounds lovely. I can vouch for mrswheelbarrow's Salmon With Sorrel Sauce recipe. It is one of my favorite recipes on this site. However, if you are worried about any possible digestive effects of sorrel, I can recommend one other delicious salmon recipe on food52 that I have made many times. It's especially good for dinner parties: thewimpyvegetarian's Grilled Salmon with Garlic Basil Butter for Easy Entertaining (http://food52.com/recipes...). In this recipe, the garlic is sauteed so the finished dish does not have a raw garlic flavor. The compound butter can be prepared ahead of time and the salmon cooks quickly, leaving lots of time to focus on other dishes and to mingle with the guests. What are you serving for dessert? :)

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Pegeen

Pegeen is a trusted home cook.

added over 1 year ago


"Mother Out Law." Sam, I love that. I love Babaganoush but I alas know their digestive tracts better than I know my own. (Sorry to put so fine a point on it.)
Roast Chicken has come up several times - truly a delicious comfort food. You've all reminded me to bring one over, so they can have a couple meals from it while they continue to unpack. I’m aiming for several courses, so we can use lots of my grandmother's china, so my Mom will see that she can still use it in this smaller space and it doesn't have to be dinner for 25-30, which she served for so many decades. These major life changes are HARD.
Cookinginictoria - Dessert is chocolate mousse with either (or both) raspberry sauce (seedless! no denture problems) or vanilla cognac sauce. And a bunch of messy cupcakes that, if lined up correctly, will spell out Happy New Home (assuming the grandchildren I paid handsomely for the task get it right).

Dscn3274
added over 1 year ago

I know I'm late to the party but when tomatoes and basil are at their peak this summer, consider Dad's Favorite Seafood Stew:
http://food52.com/recipes...
Broth can be made ahead so it's just a matter of throwing the seafood in just before serving. And with a green salad and crusty bread, it's a perfect summer and celebratory dinner!

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Pegeen

Pegeen is a trusted home cook.

added over 1 year ago

Cookinginvictoria - the Salmon with Garlic Basil Butter sounds lovely (keeping it for another time) but I've committed to the watercress sauce, omitting sorrel, maybe subbing some dill, or something. It's an awesome piece of salmon, want it to shine on its own.

inpatskitchen... love your Seafood Stew recipe. This is what I'd want someone to make for me. Alas, no tomatoes and not much garlic allowed. But thank you!

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added over 1 year ago

A side of polenta and it goes well with salmon

Dscn0624
added over 1 year ago

Wild Salmon season is here and I have it at least 2 to 3 times a week. Why not make a casserole like pasticio or lasagne? Then everyone gets the gift of leftovers to enjoy the next day and they don't have to cook.

021
added over 1 year ago

I have been a member of Food52 for some years. I have learned a great deal from enthusiastic cooks. I have read Hotline almost every day through that time and laud its presence. To me this thread is the way it should always be. A real question from a real person who has a real issue. Loving and generous responses flowing in daily from our Food52 activity community. No hectoring or lecturing - just sharing. I am sure your meal will be wonderful Pegeen. Your parents will be delighted for sure.

021
added over 1 year ago

I have been a member of Food52 for some years. I have learned a great deal from enthusiastic cooks. I have read Hotline almost every day through that time and laud its presence. To me this thread is the way it should always be. A real question from a real person who has a real issue. Loving and generous responses flowing in daily from our Food52 activity community. No hectoring or lecturing - just sharing. I am sure your meal will be wonderful Pegeen. Your parents will be delighted for sure.

021
added over 1 year ago

I have been a member of Food52 for some years. I have learned a great deal from enthusiastic cooks. I have read Hotline almost every day through that time and laud its presence. To me this thread is the way it should always be. A real question from a real person who has a real issue. Loving and generous responses flowing in daily from our Food52 activity community. No hectoring or lecturing - just sharing. I am sure your meal will be wonderful Pegeen. Your parents will be delighted for sure.

021
added over 1 year ago

I have been a member of Food52 for some years. I have learned a great deal from enthusiastic cooks. I have read Hotline almost every day through that time and laud its presence. To me this thread is the way it should always be. A real question from a real person who has a real issue. Loving and generous responses flowing in daily from our Food52 activity community. No hectoring or lecturing - just sharing. I am sure your meal will be wonderful Pegeen. Your parents will be delighted for sure.

021
added over 1 year ago

Sorry not sure how that happened.

Cimg0737
added over 1 year ago

Pegeen, tonight for a family b-day dinner, I made mrswheelbarrow's Salmon in Sorrel Sauce with fresh sockeye salmon. This has got to be one of my favorite food52 recipes -- so delicous and really highlights the flavor of fresh salmon. Subbing watercress is a great idea. Your parents and their guests are sure to love it. Your desserts sound great too. Please report back and let us all know how the dinner went. :)

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Pegeen

Pegeen is a trusted home cook.

added over 1 year ago

Friends - The dinner for my Mom & Dad last night, and their best friends, was delicious and a big success. Of course the fireworks for my Mom & Dad were the grandchildren and the cupcakes.
I so appreciated your thoughts and advice on menus. I've been a little weary helping them move, so your thoughts were so helpful and saved me some tasks. A few of you asked to know how it turned out, so I'll leave a post soon.
Cheers, everyone. There are so many celebratory occasions for younger people - nice to do one for older people.
Thank you again! - P.

021
added over 1 year ago

Fantastic post. Thank you for sharing. I am smiling and chuckling as I am typing this. Simply wonderful.

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added over 1 year ago

Wow -- what an awesome menu and experience! Thanks so much for circling back!

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added over 1 year ago

wondreful update. Wishing your parents lots of happiness in their new home! The menu sounds fantastic!

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Pegeen

Pegeen is a trusted home cook.

added over 1 year ago

amysarah, re Fred & Ethel, they’ve been known by those names forever, because they’ve always been the perfect understudies. They are indeed Russian. Next time I do dinner again for Mom, Dad & them, will check out your new borscht.

Cheers everyone and thanks for your help and kind thoughts. If you’re able, do something nice for older people. Getting older is not for sissies, takes courage.