04 Dec2006

name1

We usually host several sit-down Holiday dinners for 12-18 guests before Christmas. Oddly, we tend to resort to Filipino Food for festive buffets name3but rarely for a sit-down dinner served by waiters. Our holiday meals are the pinnacle of that year’s dining events. This is our way of sharing the holiday spirit with family and friends; for me, it is far more engaging than a restaurant get-together. In many ways, the events test our ability to pull off fairly elaborate meals in times that are far more modern, rushed, simplified than those just a generation or two before us. Marketman, Family & Crew understand that they require careful planning and execution. The crew, in particular understand that these are rare occasions but require precision and attention to detail if we are to do it well and they do a tremendous job of providing five star service in a home setting. Some years we are so busy or so crazed that we don’t have the large dinners and we inevitably receive several calls from friends wondering what recent catastrophe has occurred so that they would no longer be invited to a Holiday meal… While we are normally a very informal couple, our Western-fare Holiday dinners pull out most of the stops and here are a few of our menus from the last four years in case you were wondering or needed ideas for your own upcoming dinners…

Menu 1:

Tuna Tartare with Endive served with Warm Toast
Foie Gras on Pickled Asparagus

Rack of Veal with light gravy
Rack of Pork with Fruit Compote

Potato Gratin
Roasted Carrots

Selection of Cheeses

Souffle Gran Marnier
Butter Cake with Sugared Berries and Whipped Cream

Chocolates

Menu 2:

Roasted Fresh Figs with Pancetta

Lobster Salad with Foie Gras, Mango and Pomegranate Seed Vinaigrette

Rib Eye Roast au Jus
Roasted Potatoes
Buttered Broccoli

Selection of Cheeses

Crème Brulee, three ways
Chocolate Desserts, three ways

Strawberries Dipped in Chocolate

Menu #3:

Crab Meat with Dill Mayonnaise on Toast Points
Saltwater Prawn Cocktail with Several Sauces
Smoked Salmon
Asparagus and Quail’s Eggs

Roast Prime Rib with Five Peppercorn Crust
Potato, Shiitake, Porcini and Morel Gratin
Pan Glazed Carrots with Tarragon

Selection of Cheeses

Warm Chocolate Tart
Frozen Apricot Souffle
Port Glazed Grape Tart

Chocolates

Menu # 4:

Pate de Foie Gras
Garlic Mushrooms

Saffron Risotto with Grilled Prawns
Pan Roasted Veal Chops
Asparagus

Cheese, Fruit and Nut Platter

Fresh Fruit Tart
Hazelnut Ice Cream
Christmas Cookies

Menu # 5:

Lobster Bisque
Ash-Baked Potatoes with Salmon and Caviar

Beef Tenderloin with Bacon & Port Sauce
Vegetables

Poached Pears with Whipped Cream

Chocolate Souffle
Fresh Berries with Cream

In addition to the menus, these Holiday meals are the only ones name2at which the guest lists are very carefully chosen. We like to make sure that not only are there a sufficient mix of guests with interesting backgrounds, who do not shirk from conversation, that they are mixed up around the table(s) to keep the conversation levels balanced and interesting. The strongest personalities are sprinkled throughout the table and spouses are seated apart. All are considered good friends. In a rush we would resort to basic place cards in silver holders, but when we have enough time, we try to look for unusual ways to indicate where a guest is seated. Up top, this year’s place card of choice, the use of transfer lettering onto the guests champagne or wine glass or a glass ball placed on their plate. Cool, huh? A lot of work? Not really unless you have guests with lengthy and complicated names. And it washes off after the meal. I wouldn’t put it on the Baccarat crystal but on the glasses they are fine. And of course, what would our holiday meals be like this year without James and Vesper as guests….Heeheehee. Happy Holidays!!!

name4

 

COMMENTS:

  1. wysgal says:

    Place cards and printed menus? What an admirable production! =) When I have as many as 20 to 30 guests over I sometimes worry that mixing up folks from different avenues of my life will make them self-destruct. But in reality, true friends of mine should be comfy enough with each other (otherwise I’ve made a bad choice of them). Huzzah to dining beside strange people you’ve never met before.

    Dec 4, 2006 | 1:52 pm

     
  2. Lei says:

    Hahahaha!!! i had a blast imagining that james bond aka daniel craig will be present at your dinner, and him replying ‘do i look like i give a damn?’ when asked about yemas and fish pan. =)

    Dec 4, 2006 | 1:54 pm

     
  3. Nikita says:

    i love hosting dinners, usually on my birthday and Christmas ü i’m already excited for my indian dinner. lovely lovely lovely!

    Dec 4, 2006 | 2:01 pm

     
  4. Chris says:

    Menu #4 sounds really good. Drop James so there is no distraction for Vesper. hehehe

    Dec 4, 2006 | 2:25 pm

     
  5. Sandra says:

    Ka namit! When are you inviting me to taste all this? I had a wonderful brunch at Porcao (a churrascheria) yesterday but with all that meat, I think I’ll be a vegetarian for the next few months. But their meat was very, very good and tasty. No condiments. Let me lose the weight first. MM, you are really a class act!

    Dec 4, 2006 | 2:50 pm

     
  6. fabian says:

    you really like your foie gras. ;)

    most comforting sounding food: Potato, Shiitake, Porcini and Morel Gratin

    what I most want to eat:Lobster Salad with Foie Gras, Mango and Pomegranate Seed Vinaigrette

    best sounding dessert: everything

    Dec 4, 2006 | 5:42 pm

     
  7. asunta says:

    MM, im thinking of decorating our home with your dalandan topiary but will put a twist to it by using oranges with cloves. where did you purchase your floral foam? is it available at Market Market too? yes the foie gras on the menu is to die for!!!

    Dec 4, 2006 | 6:31 pm

     
  8. Marketman says:

    Asunta, yes you can get floral foam at Market!Market! If you want a whole box, go to Dimasalang or go to Puentespina florists (wholesale in QC or Pasay Road behind Love Garden Flower shop)… they sell them for a more reasonable price.

    Dec 4, 2006 | 6:54 pm

     
  9. asunta says:

    thanks for the tip.

    Dec 4, 2006 | 7:38 pm

     
  10. asunta says:

    by any chance would they have floral foam shaped like balls or in the shape of a wreath?

    Dec 4, 2006 | 8:23 pm

     
  11. Candygirl says:

    Rib Eye Roast au Jus – MM, can you teach me how to cook this? Had some from Gulliver’s last night and I want to recreate it at home. Please?

    Dec 4, 2006 | 8:24 pm

     
  12. millet says:

    I’d love Menu 2…no, make that Menu 4…and 5…?…MM, how many times in a year do your friends get invited to your state dinners, so they get to sample all the goodies within the year? I’m sure they all look forward to your “event of events” every year!

    Dec 4, 2006 | 8:31 pm

     
  13. Marketman says:

    Millet, most only get invited to one major dinner, unless they are on our regular list of Anti-Valentine’s Valentine’s Dinner in February… Candygirl, stay tuned…Asunta, the places I mentioned only seem to have bricks…but they have sperical shapes in Dimasalang, though more for bouquets of bridesmaids that general sphericals. I haven’t seen a wreath like shape here but they do have them in the States…

    Dec 4, 2006 | 9:04 pm

     
  14. Marketman says:

    aridelros, I really haven’t had too many boorish/drunken guests at all…I suppose they simply never get invited back. As for the dinners, I find they are more interesting, quieter, cheaper, better food than eating out at a restaurant. I suspect I spend less money on restaurants and more on in-house meals…it all balances out in the end.

    Dec 4, 2006 | 10:22 pm

     
  15. Tony says:

    Marketman

    I envy you being able to have parties like that, specifically having enough friends. We usually manage 6 plus ourselves for dinner about twice a year for which I work my butt off, being still the best cook in the house of whatever type of food. Yet when we are all seated ,food served, wine in the glass and the conversation gets going I always know it was worth it.

    Share with me though, dear marketman, where I can find rack of veal. I have only been able to get osso bucco and escalopes so far. Have you ever found lamb’s kidney’s?

    A very merry Christmas to you, Mrs Marketman, The kid and the crew. Long may your blogging light our days.

    Dec 5, 2006 | 10:05 am

     
  16. Christine says:

    Wow I wonder how I can manage to get invited to a Marketman dinner? ;) It’s really nice to see the extra effort put in by the hosts of the party , and not just those of the crew. It adds a more personal touch. Whenever I’m fortunate enough to be invited to dinner at a Tita’s house in Alabang, I am in awe of the details: the note cards, the menu, everything! She actually does this for a living (catering at her home) so it’s not surprising but still always such a treat.

    Dec 5, 2006 | 11:03 am

     
  17. Maria Clara says:

    Well-prepared annual dinner with all the trimmings. Your dinner guests know for sure what they will have no surprises. I love your cheese selections – you give your guests all the wonderful options and I am sure you pair your cheeses with good wines and fruits too! You are a man of impeccable taste.

    Dec 5, 2006 | 1:30 pm

     
  18. HD says:

    It’s getting harder to connect to this site. It looks like MM is becoming more and more popular. :) Say hi to James for me heehee.

    Dec 5, 2006 | 1:59 pm

     
  19. Marketman says:

    HD, sorry, for some reason, my host PLOGHOST seems to be increasingly more and more unreliable. My site was down for nearly 10 hours last night and they have NOT offered an explanation at all… So irritating. Such poor service. I had to fax them several times this morning just so they would realize there was something wrong!

    Dec 5, 2006 | 2:13 pm

     
  20. Pecorino says:

    Did someone actually mention Idi Amin as a hypothetical dinner guest? LOL! Might as well invite Hannibal Lecter along so they can swap gastronomic tips! What a killer of a challenge for the host! LOL!

    Dec 5, 2006 | 2:43 pm

     
  21. peanut says:

    My goodness!I was so afraid that you have gone and pulled the plug!

    I kept going to the site but it kept coming back”Server cannot be found”!

    Now I can sleep better tonight knowing it was your server and not you.

    Bloody hell mate you gave me a scare!On ya!

    Dec 5, 2006 | 2:45 pm

     
  22. MES says:

    The roasted fresh figs caught my eye. Fresh figs are rare in these parts! Where would a determined/desperate person (like myself) get a hold of some?

    Dec 5, 2006 | 5:42 pm

     
  23. Marketman says:

    MES, VERY observant of you. :) For that particular dinner, we had guests who flew in from Hong Kong and they offered to hit the grocery for me so they got some fresh figs and some nice red pomegranates and handcarried them to Manila… I haven’t seen fresh figs for sale here yet. but a portion of a nice moist dried fig, with some cheese and a nice piece of prosciutto would have the same impact…

    Dec 5, 2006 | 6:57 pm

     
  24. MES says:

    Ah…so! City Super is a must stop when in HK and I do help myself to figs when I’m there. Unfortunately Santi’s brought them in once and they spoiled before they were all sold, so they said they wouldn’t be doing it again anytime soon.

    I’ve recently taken to making a fig compote with the dried figs available here, some balsamic vinegar, sugar, lemon juice, water, and a pinch of nutmeg. Good in salads, esp. with arugula as the bitterness of the greens make a nice contrast to the figs. We have it with crispy tyrolean bacon and crumbled goat cheese. Good enough to make you forget about fresh figs for a while. :-)

    Dec 5, 2006 | 9:16 pm

     
  25. Marketman says:

    MES, sounds like a classic combination of bitter, sweet, salty and fat-laden…yum.

    Dec 5, 2006 | 9:44 pm

     
  26. Mandy says:

    waah, i’m so loving menu #3 and #5. invite me. i’ll wash all your dishes. just invite me–i can just eat in the kitchen; with the dishes that need washing. hehehe. now i’m curious what you will be serving this year…

    thanks for the tip about puentespina–my event stylist said that that was where i should get our flowers. :)

    i’ve been eyeing the foie gras in the grocery for weeks, there have been several deliveries. they look like they’re cleaned–what do i do? slice then pan fry, then?

    Dec 6, 2006 | 1:38 am

     
  27. trishlovesbread says:

    Several questions for MM: for menu #1, did you pickle your own asparagus? If so, how? For menu #2, what were the chocolate dessert’s “three ways”? For menu #3, what grape did you use for the grape tart? For menu #4 did you make the hazelnut ice cream? For menu #5 what are ash-baked potatoes? And finally, did you have wine pairings per course? :-)

    Dec 6, 2006 | 6:48 am

     
  28. trishlovesbread says:

    P.S. If your current menu can accomodate one more thing, please make it brioche dinner rolls! I just used your ensaimada recipe (minus corn oil and half the sugar) to make dinner rolls–excellent with turkey!

    Dec 6, 2006 | 7:12 am

     
  29. Marketman says:

    trish, yes I pickled my own asparagus. They were lightly blanched then soaked in a vinegar and spice solution. I wasn’t terribly happy with the outcome, they turned a little olivey green dead looking thought they were tart and a good counterpoint to the foie. I cannot recall the exact chocolate desserts, but most likely they included a mousse, chocolate creme brulee, chocolate tart or chocolate cookies. I just used seeless red grapes for the tart…it also had a concord grape jelly and lots of port glaze that was brilliant. Excellent served with a triple cream cheese, or with whipped cream. Shhhh, no I didn’t make the hazelnut ice cream, I bought it from a restaurant source. Ash baked potatoes are literally meant to be baked int he hot embers/ashes of a fireplace but a barbecue works. Frankly these can burn unevenly so doing potatoes in the oven naked (no foil) works just as good, then you half them, scoop out the potatoes and mix them with the smoked salmon, sour cream and chives and return them to the half-shell. Yes we had wine for most major courses but friends are the ones who usually do the wine, I am not a big wine afficionado. Suffice it to say the wines were superb, we have a serious wine enthusiast as a frequent guest and another couple whose family own a vineyard in Bordeaux…

    Dec 6, 2006 | 7:25 am

     
  30. janet says:

    hi MM,

    i liked the idea of glass balls as place cards. where can i buy the materials for that? i’m part of the organizing committee of our xmas party and i’ll like to do the same. thanks in advance! :)

    Dec 7, 2006 | 4:46 pm

     
  31. Marketman says:

    I bought these glass balls at a bazaar several years back. I also sourc glass ornaments from a company called Liman enterprises, in Cubao, literally in a hole in the wall… They have a stall at Mega Mall near the ice skating rink…but those balls are usually to order. Alternatively, you might want to get cheap but deent looking glasses at Landmark or Quiapo and do the same. The transfer letters are only PHP10 per sheet and can do at least 10-12 normal names. So it’s the glass or ball that will cost you…

    Dec 7, 2006 | 5:12 pm

     
  32. sha says:

    oh my I am staying here in Italy cooking for a multi ethic crew at this stage am still racking my brains
    thing is we are at a ship yard not particularly a good place look for fresh products but will go in vain to France to get duck and turkey.

    I once used mistletoe to decorate the table and use as place cards.

    Fresh figs not in season anymore MM but I can gladly send you tons of dried ones!!!!

    Dec 11, 2006 | 5:24 am

     
 

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