J: I had one of those Sundays where the number of people kept changing. I decided to make a vegetable pot pie and then I kept changing the number of side dishes depending on how many people I was going to have. I ended up even adding a "side dish" of BBQed rump roast, although only a few people ate that. The final menu wound up being Vegetable Pot Pie with Wine Sauce and Polenta Crust, recipe from Bon Apetit magazine. I've made this before and it's really good. Vegetable Chowder from the Moosewood Cookbook. Ditto. Cranberry Sauce. I have some frozen cranberries in the freezer because I always stock up at the holidays. Well, *I* like it. Broccoli Salad. This is a recipe from Lotsa Pasta, a local pasta restaurant that's really good. Rump Roast. An easy thing to add to the menu at the last minute. No recipe except this: rub with garlic, rosemary, and black pepper. BBQ over indirect heat until done. Mashed Potatoes with Garlic and Bleu Cheese. I had a little bleu cheese left from something so I added it to the mashed potatoes. I told everyone not to feel like they had to take some of everything, but I think most of them did anyway. Although there's a lot of things, it didn't really take that much effort. I made the broccoli salad and cranberry sauce in the morning. The rest of the stuff is mostly just cutting and assembly and not a lot of intensive stove time. It would have made a better buffet than sit-down dinner. Everyone was passing a lot. Actually, the most tedious part is writing all these. Maybe I'll stick to fewer dishes just so I won't have to spend all this time typing. Well, here goes... Broccoli Salad 2 lbs broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces 1/3 cup rasins 1/4 cup pine nuts 3 green onions Dressing 1/2 cup brown sugar 1 cup mayo 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar Blend dressing until smooth. Toss. The recipe calls for 1/2 cup fried and diced bacon, but I skipped that. Also, I used non-fat mayo. Cranberry Sauce 1 cup frozen cranberry juice cocktail concentrate, thawed 1/3 cup sugar 1 12 oz package cranberries 1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice pinch allspice Bring all to boil, simmer about 7 minutes, stirring often, until berries burst. Chill Whew. The two easy ones out of the way. Here's the main course. It's also the most typing, because there's three parts to this: the filling, the sauce, and the crust. Vegetable Pot Pie. For the pot pie, you have to roast the vegetables first, and you can do that hours in advance. 1 large onion 2 large carrots 2 russet potatoes, about 8 oz each, peeled 2 rutabagas, about 6 oz each (Rutabagas are like sweet turnips. I love these but I couldn't find them this time. You can use turnips, I used cauliflower.) 1 red bell pepper 1 leek chopped 10 oz mushrooms, coarsley chopped 1 cup frozen peas, thawed 2 Tbsp olive oil 1/2 tsp each dried thyme, basil, savory and fennel Cut everything into 1/2 inch pieces. Put it all except peas in a heavy large baking pan. Toss with olive oil and herbs. Roast at 425 for about an hour or until veggies are tender, about an hour, stirring occasionally. Stir in peas, and salt and pepper to taste. Sauce 1 cup vegetable broth 1 cup dry red wine 1 Tbsp cornstarch Mix a little wine with the cornstarch. Mix the rest of the wine with the broth and bring to simmer. Add cornstarch mixture and simmer until it thickens. Pour sauce over roasted vegetables. Polenta 2 cups vegetable broth 1 cup water 3/4 cup corn meal 1/2 tsp salt 1 Tbsp Romano cheese Boil broth and water. Slowly stir in corn meal and salt. Stir constantly over medium heat until polenta thickens and pulls away from sides of pan, about 10 minutes. Pour warm polenta over vegetable mixture, covering completely. Sprinkle with Romano. Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes, or until vegetables are heated through. Put in broiler for about 4 minutes, or until top is golden brown. Mashed Potatoes No rocket science here. I sauteed about a dozen minced garlic cloves and added them and some milk and some margerine and some salt and pepper and about 6 oz of bleu cheese to 3 lbs of steamed, peeled potatoes. I mash by hand but use your favorite implement. Vegetable Chowder I used the recipe from the 2nd edition Moosewood Cookbook. The brown one, with all the recipes handwritten. Saute For 2 cups chopped onion 3 cloves garlic, minced 2 tsp salt 1/2 tsp thyme 2 tsp basil 5 minutes Add and sautee For 1 medium potato, diced 2 medium stalks celery, diced 2 medium carrots, diced 2 cups chopped broccoli 2 cups chopped cauliflower 5-8 minutes Add and sautee For 1/2 lb mushrooms, chopped 2 cups corn, frozen, defrosted lots of fresh ground pepper 8-10 minutes Add 1 1/2 cups water and simmer about 15 minutes, or until everything is tender. Stir in 1 quart heated milk (lowfat ok) and 3 more minced garlic cloves and heat gently. Serve. So, that's all there is to it. As much work as this sounds like as I read it, I think the whole thing only took about 2 1/2 hours from start to finish. But for a really quick Sunday Dinner, stay tuned for the next installment -- chicken fajita/taco/burritos in 50 minutes. Later, Bruce