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Main table…A lot of silver to polish… and only the start of the crystal!

I’m no Emily Post or Martha Stewart… but boy… do I have some ideas for you if you need to do a 7-course dinner for varied important guests! Now… first… apologies for not including more pictures, but as I recount the tale of last night’s dinner party… know and understand that I was either with a dishcloth and knife in hand, or knife and fork in hand, or fork and glass in hand :)

Either way… it was delicious and will hopefully inspire you to get behind the chopping block.

Dinner for a LOT of people. Two hours from arrival time we (my dad and me… the ‘helper’ for the day) did not know how many to expect for sure. 8? 10? 15? 25? My dads were hosting a dinner for a delegation of doctors from South Africa who were here in the Netherlands for a series of meetings to establish a partnership and shared-training venture. Original idea was to have a “Borrel and Braai.” (Borrel is the Dutch idea of drinks and nibbly bits – think Happy Hour… and Braai is the South African idea of a BBQ.)

When my dad asked me if I’d be available to help at the “Borrel and Braai” I said of course “yes!” My roommate translated it as “your dad has someone coming over he wants you to meet!” I translated it as “You really rock at making sure the dishes are served without sloshing.”

Anyway… welcome to Amsterdam Summer… 62 degrees and pouring. Despite the best of the best of American gas-grills installed on the patio… in this weather… a Braai is not going to happen.

At 5pm we were still changing the menu. By 5:30pm there had been 5 trips to the store in one day. (Keep in mind, no car to make a Costco RUN!)

– Pre Dinner Drinks: Prosecco mixed with elderflower syrup and soda water over ice. Served with assorted nuts, cheese crackers, wasabi crackers and nibbles (thanks, Seren!!!!)

– First Course: Mushroom soup – but not just any soup… a creamy, nutmeggy flavored mix with giant slices of sautéed oyster mushrooms, bacon and onions.

– Second Course: Avocado, dill, cream salad – mixed with onions and leeks. Served in a little tower on top of greens and crowned with Dutch ‘shrimp’… teeny tiny little shrimps. Paired with a Klevener wine from the Alsace.

– Third Course: Kebas… hamburger patties rolled like a taco and stuffed with green pepper chunky paté, baked with a bread crumb crust, and served with couscous, goat cheese, greens and sun-dried tomatoes. Paired with a lovely rich and lush South African red wine that was a timely gift from the guests.

Fourth Course: Salmon roulades wrapped in bacon, served with potatoes baked with olive oil, onions and a whole slew of herbs (lots of dill as well as anything else within reaching distance.) Served with a buttery and deep white burgundy in big, clear, crystal glasses.

I’m sorry… what? my mouth’s full!

– Fifth Course: Ricotta, apricot, caramelized walnut tart topped with dark chocolate shavings and rose petals. Served with a lovely sweet sauterne wine.

– Sixth Course:  Tête de Moine (Monk’s head) Cheese and port wine. This cheese is a circular hard cheese that is served with a turning slicer, which carves the slices of cheese paper thin and at the same time curls them into cheese ‘flowers’ as you turn the slicer. A total crowd pleaser.

– Seventh Course: Ripe-picked cherries (i.e. they have more flesh on them!), strawberries, canteloupe and wild pears. Served as a chopped fruit saled and with rose petal liqueur poured over it. Coffee.

Good thing we cut the bread and tapenade as well as the beet salad!