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Italian Tasting menu on Thanksgiving day in Asia

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 

That's what I've got going on. 

In just a little over a week, three of my dear friends are moving back to their respective countries. One is American, one is Spanish, and another Italian. The Italian's brother lives here and is staying. He and I have decided to have a small intimate farewell meal before they leave. There are a few things we've decided to make for them, and then I started pulling in other dishes that I wanted to make, and not necessarily that went with the whole concept. We've scratched those, and are trying to stick to a theme, and one that's not too heavy. It's going to be a bit of a heavier meal than a typical Italian dinner; it'll drag on through the evening, but I'm thinking about six or eight courses. The dishes around which the menu will now revolve are:

1. Ricotta ravioli with balsamic brown butter and walnuts

2. Some kind of braised short rib. We were headed towards Thai (or at least Asian) before, and I wanted to do something with ginger and pineapple. The ginger could still work. I still definitely want to do a short rib dish. 

3. Chocolate fettuccine pasta with Alfredo sauce (an absurdly rich dish I've made before that's just a novelty kind of thing. Something I haven't done in a while and just want to do. It looks beautiful on a plate and will be served before dessert). 


The biggest constraints for us here are cooking techniques and ingredients. We have no ovens, maybe a small toaster oven at best, and it's difficult even to find fresh baby spinach here. I'd love to do some kind of arugula and parm salad or something, but it's just difficult to find that sort of produce. I would love to do some kind of poached fish on zucchini ribbons. I want to stay away from too much starch, but it is FINALLY getting cold where I live, and I do love heavier foods. We need some lighter things, though. If we don't do a fish course, I'll probably make a fish soup with a fennel broth, but I make that all the time. I'd been wanting to do a pumpkin soup for ages, but that too is quite rich. I have tons of ideas throwing around, but it'll come down to what we can get our hands on in the coming week. Anyone have any ideas? Not sure if I gave too little detail or way too much. 

(Oh, and I'll also need to think about wine pairings on the cheap)

post #2 of 2
Thread Starter 

More thoughts: for the braised short rib, I'm oven-less, so I'll have to use my Dutch oven, but I still can't decide what exactly I want to DO with it. And I need to go see if Taiwanese butchers even have short ribs [I'm sure they do; how could they not?] and what it's called in Chinese. Any ideas for how to do it? I wanna serve it with a veg instead of a starch. 

There's word that we DO have a grocer that carries zucchini, so that's good. Still no luck with arugula, though. I was thinking of tossing some baby asparagus and parmesan in some lemon and olive oil before the meal. Would love to do the same with some arugula as well, like as a bed for some tomatoes, but this isn't the time of year for that. 

I need to see what kind of fish I can get. So much of the fish here is really small, thin fillets, and they wouldn't be right for what I'd like to do with it. 

So far... I've got two pasta dishes, at least one idea for an antipasto, a beef course, and a fish soup (or other fish dish). I'm going to make ice cream, probably, if vanilla beans here don't cost a fortune, just because I like making ice cream, not because it's quintessentially Italian. 
I guess not much of this is... I should say Italian-inspired, maybe. Thoughts?

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