As those of you who followed me from my old blogging perch at The American Scene already know, for the past several years I’ve hosted an intimate eight-course dinner party in celebration of the “festival of lights” showcasing the signature ingredient of the holiday: olive oil.

It started as a lark, but has become a tradition. It’s an opportunity for me to show off (I love to cook, and to entertain), an opportunity to do something “grown-up” in the middle of a kid-oriented holiday (don’t worry, we do kid-centered celebrations during the holiday as well), and an opportunity to mix-and-match guests from different parts of our lives (which is part of the fun of any well-organized dinner party).

Herewith the menu for this year’s dinner:

Prelude: Latkes three ways, topped with:

  • Avocado and grapefruit salsa
  • Sautéed spinach, a poached egg, and roasted red pepper coulis
  • Chicken liver pate and cranberry-fig compote

Soup: Roast turkey carcass broth with rapini and pine nut dumplings, floated with an olive oil and parsley ice cube

Verdure: Deep-fried cardoons with a tomato, caper and anchovy dipping sauce

Fish: Oil-cured salmon over a fennel and radish slaw

Poultry: Asian fried chicken over rice noodles with scallions and napa cabbage

Meat: Broiled rib lamb chops with an orange and oil-cured olive sauce, served over a puree of kabocha squash

Dessert I: Almond, orange and olive oil cake topped with toasted almonds and an orange glaze

Dessert II: Chocolate chantilly drizzled with blood orange olive oil and sea salt

Previous years’ menus:

Recipes, as always, available upon request.