Menu planning help for casual dinner.

I'm having a casual early evening dinner by the pool when my brother comes to visit with my nephews. I want to be able to make most everything in advance so I have plenty of time to play with my nephews. So far, for the main course I am planning to make a pork butt using the marinade from monkeymom's caramelized pork and pickled veggies and serving with rice and butter lettuce leaves so people can either make a lettuce wrap or a rice bowl. I'll serve with a few sauces - hoisin sauce, spicy cilantro sauce, and a honey-Srichacha yogurt sauce. I'm struggling with appetizer and side ideas. For dessert, I am thinking Merrill's Lime Ice Cream with either cookies or a simple cake. So, any ideas for apps, sides, and accompaniment to the ice cream?



testkitchenette March 26, 2011
Here's the link to the salad...
and a link to my summer rolls on my blog
Midge March 26, 2011
melissav, it such a great marinade; love your idea of lettuce wraps and dipping sauces. Might have to steal that one!
melissav March 26, 2011
Thanks everyone. I love all the suggestions. testkitchenette - I definitely would love that recipe for the salad. That sounds awesome.
dewdropper March 26, 2011
I'd add a simple salad of shredded cabbage dressed with sesame oil and rice wine vinegar, to which you can add any or all of the following: sesame seeds, sliced green onions, shredded carrot, diced jicama, diced red or orange peppers for color and contrast.
MHardison79 March 26, 2011
I honestly have to second what testkitchenette said; was thinking a spring roll as a side, and serve a crispy, wafer, pie crust-like shortbread cookie with the lime ice cream. Dinner sounds wonderful!
testkitchenette March 26, 2011
How about Thai inspired rice paper spring rolls stuffed with some rice noodles and matchsticks of carrot, celery, and red pepper that you can pair with your sauces you are using already or make up a peanut sauce. You could also do a green mango/papaya salad with an avocado dressing (I'll post these recipes). Crab cakes would go nicely with your menu as well. With the ice cream, a crisp cookie that you could do ice cream sandwiches with or just serve alongside would be nice and berries are always a great accompaniment to ice cream or in your case, perhaps roasted bananas/pineapple/mango to complete your Asian theme.
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