I need to learn to moderate my ambitions. One complex recipe is enough for a meal. Two or three just lead to stress and mistimings.
Thankfully, Antonia stepped up and offered to be my sous-chef. She did a marvelous job, other than putting the tarragon and parsley in the wrong dish. Oh well.
I didn't look at the cooking times closely enough in the beginning, so I started with the four vegetable soup. I had to make the broth first -- carrot, celery, onions, shallot, leek, garlic, thyme, pepper, parsley. Rather than the canned chicken broth that the recipe called for, I used some of Darien's homemade vegetable broth made from leftover trimmings from various meals. After the broth was made, I added the potatoes, leeks, peas, and spinach. I had to cut up some more tarragon and parsley, after my sous-chef's misappropriation.
Antonia actually did most of the preparation for the main dish, a mushroom risotto. It called for over a pound of crimini mushrooms, in addition to a dried porcini (which Darien couldn't find, so she found a nice substitute). I should have started on this dish first, since I had to keep adding liquid, stirring, and cooking until the Arborio rice was plump and tender. The Parmesan and fresh parsley at the end were nice additions.
The last dish was a fresh broccoflower salad. What really made this dish was the tart dressing -- oil mixed with a yellow hard boiled yolk, garlic, and sherry vinegar. The broccoli was tossed with watercress, scallions, celery, pimento olives, capers, parsley, and the remainder of the egg.
I didn't have everything ready to go at once, so some things had to sit while the rest of the dishes caught up. After having eaten spoonfuls of rice as it was cooking, I was no longer in the mood for bread, so I dropped that from the menu. I also realized that rice in the risotto and potatoes in the soup was probably not the wisest decision. The meal was still tasty, however, and afforded us plenty of leftovers.