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Your help would be greatly appreciated .. dinner for 12

 
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Snowy Owl



Joined: 04 Jan 2010
Posts: 21
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 11:18 pm    Post subject: Your help would be greatly appreciated .. dinner for 12 Reply with quote

We will be hosting a dinner party for 12 adults in mid February and due to space limitations – it will probably be buffet style.

I have had these people over many times before and I would love to get some ideas of tried and true dishes that you have prepared and enjoyed that have not “broken the bank” and that can be easily eaten from one's lap.


Can you help?

Thanks so much
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KYHeirloomer



Joined: 21 Aug 2007
Posts: 552
Location: Central Kentucky

PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 11:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Would be nice to know some of the things you have served these folks, Snowy, so as to not be repititious.

In my cooking classes for beginners we finish with a buffet-type party. You're welcome to mine the menu for anything that might fit your needs. Keep in mind that there are criteria involved that might not apply to you: The people preparing this party are doing it in one day, and had never cooked much six weeks previous; the dishes had to lend themselves to either bulk service or plating; they had to use techniques the students had learned during the classes; and costs had to be reasonable.

Anyway, here's the list of menu items:

-Caramelized Red Onion & Goat Cheese Crostini
-Reuben Party Puffs
-Shrimp & Sausage Skewers
-Coffee Barbecue Wings
-Sausage Balls
-Mini-Hot Browns
-Filled Won Ton Cups
-Hummus with Pita Crisps
-Tunisian Sunset Dip with Crudities
-Prosciutto-Mascarpone Pinwheels
-Tortilla Espanola
-Cajun Eggrolls with Vietnamese Peanut Sauce
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kyle



Joined: 01 Dec 2008
Posts: 13
Location: Wisconsin

PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2010 8:07 pm    Post subject: Dinner for 12 Reply with quote

As you're won't be seated at a table, I suggest some type of mini-sandwiches. Slice a roasted loin of beef or pork or a turkey breast, and offer a selection of toppings; thinly sliced onions, fresh cucumbers, tomato etc. Include a selection of mustards, horseradishes, or chutney. Get good quality hard rolls or small sections of a crusty bagette.

You could also try some mini-burgers of beef, turkey, lamb, or salmon. They would be a bit more casual but would work with the proper presentation.

I'd make up for the informality by finishing with an elegant dessert such as a cheese cake or layered cake like a black forest or lemon poppyseed.
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georgia



Joined: 16 May 2006
Posts: 456
Location: california

PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 12:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since the guys have already suggested the finger-food route, I'll go another direction: the tried and true one-dish meal. Since your buffet and entertaining that evening will be informal, stick with homey, satisfying dishes that require no knife and are not too soupy.

Some possibilities:

A stew of some sort, beef bourguinon, lamb navarin, a spicy Moroccan pork...

Cassoulet

Paella or jambalaya

A pasta: a couple varieties of lasagne (meat/veg, for example), canneloni, or Greek pasticchio (I know that's not spelled right...sorry)

Several kinds of quiche--smoked salmon, vegetable, lorraine, etc.

Add an easy to handle salad that can be served right on the dinner plate, and your guests have only to carry the essentials--a plate and a glass of wine Laughing

Added incentive: most of these benefit from earlier preparation, leaving you to enjoy the evening as well. Have a lovely time!
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dory



Joined: 11 Nov 2007
Posts: 236
Location: Madison, WI

PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is what I put out for my party of about 10 adults last Saturday. Some of them were vegetarians and some not. I was somewhat satisfied, but I felt people wanted something a bit more substantial than the array of dips, chips crackers and bread that were mostly what I put out.

Dips and spreads: Clotilde's muhammara, hummus, veggie cream cheese from our local grocery coop, brie baked with agave and walnuts

Breads: slices of one baguette, and one challah for crusty bread lovers and soft bread lovers, chips and water crackers

Finger foods: mini quiches from a deli and cheese puffs/gougères made by me, olives with herbes de Provence

Fruit salad: Pink cara cara oranges (pink navels which I like because of the color, and they seem a bit cheaper than the orange ones and pears arranged on a plate, strewn with slices of star fruit for decoration (most people agreed that the star fruit I bought was a bit tasteless, but the star shapes strewn across the top of the salad looked striking), with a lemon and agave syrup because the fruit was a bit under-ripe

Dinner-like: Vegetarian meatballs and pre-made shrimp cocktail ring (Whole Foods)

Olive oil citrus cake from Moosewood book of desserts.

Believe it or not, most food was gone by the end of the evening. Next time I might do less dips and more finger foods. I think people seemed to want this. People went crazy over the muhammara.
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harpospeaking



Joined: 13 Sep 2005
Posts: 194
Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 7:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How about setting out the basic four items --- meat, 2 veg and starch/bread in larger quantities? I personally am not a fan of buffets because I sometimes find too much variety overwhelming.

For the meat, I like to do a pot roast. Usually a 4 pound pot roast will feed 10-12 and it sits on the stove, cooking itself for hours.

For the veg, mashed potatoes and sauteed spinach or boiled broccoli are my winners.

For the bread --- I would try Jim Lahey's no-knead bread recipe --- 2 loaves or buy a few baguettes from your favorite bakery.

For dessert, I would prepare individual chocolate mousses (if you have enough dessert cups or you could use coffee cups) or bake a cake or pick something up from a bakery.

I would spread out a veggie platter with olives and hummus when guests arrive since it will take a while for all 12 to show up.
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Donna



Joined: 14 Oct 2005
Posts: 827
Location: Oakland, CA

PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 8:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm with Georgia on this one. I finds stews and braises the EASIEST things for entertaining. They can be made ahead - and actually taste better when you do that and allow the flavors to develop over one or two days in the fridge. Plus there is such a variety of recipes - stew/braise (poultry, seafood, meat), cassoulet, paella, even cioppino. And these are such lovely comfort foods, especially in the winter.

For a starch, roasted (Clotilde's new recipe!) or mashed potatoes - add some celery root for flavor. Rice or risotto can both be made a ahead and reheated.

For a vegetable - I wouldn't consider this an absolute requirement if you are serving a stew or braise with lots of veggies in it. But for sure I wouldn't serve peas! Laughing Baby broccoli or sugar snap peas that you can spear easily with your fork. Or asparagus that can be picked up with one's fingers.

For dessert - a lovely variety of cookies is a great option - and can be made ahead. I put out three or four types- plain and fancy - and they are easy to enjoy while balancing a cup of tea or coffee!

While I LOVE finger food and hors d'oeuvres spreads, I am usually so worn out from spending the entire day preparing them that I don't have much fun. Some things can be made ahead, but for the most part, you are assembling and plating right before the party starts. That's too fussy for me!
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KYHeirloomer



Joined: 21 Aug 2007
Posts: 552
Location: Central Kentucky

PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All that may be true, Donna (but not for me. I actually find assembling finger foods to be fun and relaxing). And I take second place to nobody in my appreciatation of braises and stews.

But, I wouldn't want to eat one out my lap, either. Too much potential for rug staining there, IMO.

Everybody has their own opinions, of course. But if I've got a dozen people coming over, and there are no tables (implied by original poster)and limited seating (presumptive conclusion), then I don't want to serve anything requiring flatware. Given those conditions, if my guests can't pick it up and eat it, then neither they nor I will be happy.

Now if we're talking a sit-down dinner instead.......
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Donna



Joined: 14 Oct 2005
Posts: 827
Location: Oakland, CA

PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 10:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Different strokes, KYH!

I have had (and attended) several dinner parties like the one Snowy Owl is planning and served stew. It worked out fine. No spills, no mess...

I wouldn't serve soup, that's for sure, but something with bite-sized pieces that needn't be cut would work well.
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Snowy Owl



Joined: 04 Jan 2010
Posts: 21
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow ...

Thank you all so much for all of your suggestions What great ideas ... I always tend to make too much but most of my guests never seem to complain .... and there are hardly ever any leftovers and if there are - my kids usually come over the next day and voila - gone!

I am leaning towards a stew of some sort along with some of those interesting appetizers that you have suggested .... they sound so good ....

I will keep you posted .... thanks again
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melinda



Joined: 01 Oct 2004
Posts: 256
Location: Richmond, VA, usa

PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 9:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jambalaya, salad, garlic bread & dessert or crawfish etouffee are my standbys for groups....in honor of the saints in the super bowl too!!! YAY
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gingerpale



Joined: 23 Jan 2006
Posts: 1324

PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 11:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It wouldn't occur to me to have mashed potatoes at a party (too everyday?), but a couple of mentions in this thread made me realize what a natural crowd-pleaser that would be. There are unholy wholly delicious recipes with sour cream and cream cheese that are kept warm in a slow cooker, I have a an old Sunset magazine idea which involves a butter-flour-milk-parsley roux mixed with a mini mountain of little potato cubes and baked until a golden a"skin" develops over the whole luscious casserole, many other ways to go.
But also, Clotilde's recent roasted potatoes were mentioned--yes! Never shook my spuds before, but what an easy obvious improvement it made. They did need a little more color, like she said, but oops they were gone before I turned broiler on.
And also --and this seems particularly partyish--I like the idea of baking *small* potatoes underneath a blanket of (coarse?) salt.
Provide a little shovel to excavate for them. I'm almost sure I saw this here @ C&Z, but cannot find the post/thread. Anybody remember this?
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Donna



Joined: 14 Oct 2005
Posts: 827
Location: Oakland, CA

PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 11:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great Idea, Melinda! I am always up for some Cajun food!

As it turns out, I will having a party chez moi on the 13th - there will be 12-14 folks. It will probably be sit-down. I am planning on braised lamb shanks over polenta with wilted spinach. Also a salad of watercress and citrus is sounding appealing right now. I will ask the DH to make one of his fabulous loaves of crispy, crusty whole grain bread. I haven't gotten to hor d'oeuvres yet, but I do know I will put out some rilletes of goose that I made after Christmas that is waiting patiently in the freezer!

For dessert, two of Clotilde's recipes - the ever popular Gateau de Tante Amelie ( a very rich chocolate cake cooked in a bain marie-see the recipe archivess) and the gateau d'orange et gingembre - a flourless cake made with boiled oranges - yum.

Snowy Owl - keep us posted on your party plans and for sure let us know how it turns out!

GP - I know I've heard of potatoes cooked under a salt crust, but don't recall it here on C&Z. Have you googled it?
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kyle



Joined: 01 Dec 2008
Posts: 13
Location: Wisconsin

PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've served one dish meals with great success and warm filling comfort food to be a great choice this time of year. I'm sure you will have a great time. Make sure we get a report.

Being from Wisconsin, I would be remiss if I didn't second Dory's suggestions of baked brie and cheese puff/gougeres.
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cathyeats



Joined: 19 Apr 2010
Posts: 17
Location: Brooklyn, NY

PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What about a vegetable lasagna with eggplant and swiss chard? It's a great combination, and always a hit with my guests. I would bake the eggplant slices rather than frying them to keep it a little more heart healthy.
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