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)