Dinner for 9 in a Tiny Kitchen

Now I know 9 people doesn’t sound like a lot, especially when I think back to my mom’s holiday feasts for crowds of 20 or 30, but when your kitchen is tiny and you only have 7 chairs in the apartment, it’s quite a feat to pull off a sit-down meal for a group of friends.

Our friend Caroline brought over some extra chairs, so we all had a place to sit at the table, and I got to work cooking pretty early in the day. On the menu:

  • Butternut Squash Soup
  • Bread (which I forgot to serve, though Orso baked some mini cheese puffs which were delicious and we did eat)
  • Salad (which I also forgot to serve — just plain forgot it was in the fridge all ready to go)
  • Stuffed Peppers
  • Baked Eggplant
  • Herbed Rice
  • Pear Clafouti with Vanilla Ice Cream

The cooking was hectic and used a ton of pots and pans, but it wasn’t too bad. The soup turned out perfectly — and was my first pureed soup made with our new immersion blender. The stuffed peppers, a dish I’ve been making for a few years now, turned out a little watery — I blame increasing the recipe and the oven not being as hot as it says it was. The baked eggplant basically tasted like an eggplant stuffing you could serve on Thanksgiving, not my favorite dish, just because I’m not a huge stuffing fan, but it turned out well. And the rice was just what was needed to accompany the pepper.

Everyone’s favorite dish, though, was definitely the pear clafouti. I didn’t even know what a clafouti was until a day or two before the dinner party, but Evan’s parents have made them, so I looked up a recipe. It turned out to be remarkably simple, requiring few ingredients, and I was able to bake it while we ate and serve it hot at the end of the meal.

It came out of the oven puffed up and golden, a sort of fruit-filled pancake souffle. And despite how decadent it tasted, it actually wasn’t too unhealthy, with no butter or oil save for what greased the pan, and made with non-fat milk and non-fat yogurt instead of whole milk and cream. Of course, we did put ice cream on top, which made the dessert extra delicious, especially since the clafouti was still steaming as we served it.

messy kitchen

The devoured clafouti (only a few crumbs left) and our storage-space stovetop

The clafouti was supposed to take only 20 minutes to cook and ended up taking about 40, but I think my oven was having an off night and wasn’t as hot as it should be.

Of course, we didn’t manage to get any photos of the food before it was devoured. I was busy checking everything in the kitchen and Evan was busy entertaining everyone else. We did get a couple photos of the aftermath, which show just how small a space we were working with — we have to use the oven as extra counter space, the cookbooks were on the floor outside the kitchen for most of the night, and we used every piece of silverware we have, as well as almost all the pots and pans, baking dishes and plates.

messykitchen1

The other side of the kitchen. Yup, that' all the counter space we have.

We finished up the night with a Wii Sports and Outdoor Adventure tournament. There was some impressive tennis and boxing and some hilarious mine-carting, too.

Playing Wii after dinner

Playing Wii after dinner

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