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Dinner party menu ideas


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#1 Karen

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 07:54 PM

I am going to plan a small dinner party in the next couple of weeks.

I'd like to go with a plated menu for the dinner and appetizers will be finger foods over drinks in the living room.

Any awesome ideas out there? No dietary restrictions other than
we don't like lamb (unless Lola makes it!) and we don't eat veal.


:smile:

#2 namaste

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 08:16 PM

stuffed mushrooms, always a hit

get some crescent dough and roll it out into a sheet. fill with cheese, chopped roasted red peppers and roll it into a log. bake and when its golden brown, let cool a little. then slice for a pinwheel effect

little hot dogs rolled in dough, baked--always good

flat bread covered with bruschetta and some mozzarella, slightly baked--cut into triangles

dinner, chicken breasts pounded flat, dredge in flour, fry in butter. place in shallow pan. cover with swiss cheese and a can of mushrooms or fresh mushrooms sliced. diced onions on top. make a roue with chicken stock and a little salt and pepper, and corn starch, cover the chicken. bake until bubbly. serve with buttered broccoli and maybe some rice or risotto. yummy!:v:

#3 sure-ur-rightdancer

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 08:25 PM

I usually like to go with a braised meat as my main course bc it doesn't require any attention in the 3 hrs or so before the party but a roasted chicken could work too as can something cheesy pasta like lasagna (especially if there are veggies). I find people appreciate things like short ribs or brisket bc most people don't make food that takes 24 hrs (braise, cool, reheat) for themselves. In the same idea - homemade pasta where most of the work is done in advance people also crazy for.... another idea is to pick up a theme (ie Moroccan or Mexican) and go with that

if your looking for "professional advice" - barefoot contessa has a book of just party menus (its called parties) http://www.amazon.co...y/dp/0609606441

things to think of/consider
for your appetizers if you have a roast in the oven where will you heat them up?
who is going to serve? (ie do you have helpers that will bring plates out as you serve or do you have to plate them all at once & do you have space for that?)
whats your budget (obviously filet mignon for 10 is a bit more expensive than lentil stew)
how many people are you planning for (small can be anything between 4 and 12 for me)

I like to make sure most of my food can be prepped in advance so I am not running around sweating and screaming (and most of the big dishes are done & put away) as my company sits in my LR (which is open to my kitchen) - I also try to only do one new recipe per party to avoid this as well

some ideas:
traditional beef tenderloin w twice baked potato & asparagus - not exciting but can be delicious especially if you make a nice sauce
faux- thanksgiving - chicken/turkey w all the trimmings (maybe w a more spiced up than usual bird)
cassoulette w quinoa - down side to this is the presentation isn't as impressive but its one *** and easy to cook
standard italian - lasagna/stuffed shells w meatballs and sausage & side salad
short ribs over pasta w roasted veggies
butternut squash ravioli w sage brown butter

#4 Erinisme

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 08:27 PM

get a wheel of bri from costco (otherwise it'll cost you like $50).
cut off white stuff
roll out cresent rolls, put bri on it, top with fav jelly, wrap up, bake as per cresent's instructions...if not gooey in center nuke...serve with water crakers...always a hit :)

looking for a large pasta dish? meat?

#5 Karen

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 09:16 PM

Thanks for all the ideas!

Carla, as far as plating and serving, I am thinking 8 people, 10 at the most, so plating and serving won't be an issue. (I've done it before and with success)

I'm leaning towards meat...I love the idea of braising something. ALthough, you made a great point re: something already in the oven when trying to heat appies. It would take planning but could work depending on size of entree.. However, ye olde filet mignon with spectacular side dishes is also a really solid and elegant option that I can bring creativity to. Perhaps filet with a red wine and shallot reduction, twice baked potatoes with roasted garlic and chive? not sure about the veg (my hubs is picky with veggies!) Also, I'm looking up braised meats now and will learn more and determine if that's the way to go. I am finding your blog a great place for ideas for just about any recipe :smile:

Namaste, you have me thinking risotto now! :smile: Love it and there are so many flavors that can be incorporated. Hmmmm....

For appetizers I am looking for ideas because I want to try some new stuff. I've done latkes with salmon with creme freche + caviar (this is still an option), fresh shrimp cocktail with various dipping sauces, artichoke dip (always a hit), stuffed mushrooms (always a hit), stuffed grape tomatoes, lil smokies wrapped in crescent rolls (always a hit)... Erin I love the brie with something sweet and baked in dough idea...I'll have to think more about that.

As for salad, I am going with (if it still goes with the final menu) spring mix with pears, gorgonzola and a maple/apple cider vinaigrette....

Carla makes a great point re: picking of theme. I'm leaning towards American with subtle influences from other cuisines for this particular dinner party. I'm a fan of anyone's idea of fusion. If it strikes you and you can make it work, do it!

Keep the ideas coming if you can. Thanks all!

#6 Karen

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 09:25 PM

I just Googled 'interesting appetizers' and a Kraft site came up right away :lol:

#7 sure-ur-rightdancer

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 09:34 PM

this book kicks ass for appetizers http://www.amazon.co...6058421&sr=1-10

#8 sure-ur-rightdancer

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 09:42 PM

also I recently did a kick ass red wine & port braised short rib w a herb risotto - it was pretty awesome (though a certain photog is holding my pic hostage so i haven't been able to post it)

#9 Karen

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 09:53 PM

also I recently did a kick ass red wine & port braised short rib w a herb risotto - it was pretty awesome (though a certain photog is holding my pic hostage so i haven't been able to post it)


:drool:

This sounds deelish! This is the direction I would like to go. Elegant and flavorful :) I have never made short ribs before but am not afraid to try!

#10 Karen

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 09:58 PM

DHJ, get your butt in this thread!

C'mon now... yeesh :lol:

#11 sure-ur-rightdancer

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 10:02 PM

I think this was my inspiration for the short ribs but its all basically similar... season short ribs & brown then braise in a flavorful stock (wine, broth, aromatics + herbs) for a few hours

http://smittenkitche...eef-short-ribs/

but this sounds about right too
http://www.bonappeti...ised-short-ribs

also my recommendation would be to make 2-3x more ribs than you think you will need...the bones are large and the meat really does shrink up

#12 Feck

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 03:42 PM

beef 7 ways :wink:

#13 Mama Kel

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 11:46 PM

beef 7 ways :wink:


:lol:

I have a recipe for a very yummy clam dip. It's always a hit & very easy

#14 deadheadskier

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 06:45 AM

:drool:

This sounds deelish! This is the direction I would like to go. Elegant and flavorful :) I have never made short ribs before but am not afraid to try!


Short Ribs are real easy to make. It's really difficult to screw them up unless you go too bold on aromatics in the braising liquid. Just make sure you trim them properly and give them a very good browning. I also like leave them uncovered in the fridge overnight before cooking.

And I wouldn't worry about a braise taking up oven space. You can pull the braised item and as long as it's covered, it will hold a long time. If you're concerned about it getting cold, you can always leave the braising pan on a burner on low. Of course, you can also always use a crock *** and get similar results.

Also, not that I was going to suggest a dish, but why don't you eat veal?

#15 kramer

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 06:57 PM

I don't eat veal either. Don't like thinking abt those babies in tiny cages.

#16 deadheadskier

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 07:33 AM

Boycotting a certain kind of meat generally doesn't make a whole lot of sense. There is a lot of free range humanely raised Veal available in the market that live a far better life than the vast majority of beef cattle, pigs, ducks and especially chickens. Truthfully, I'd feel much worse about buying a whole chicken from Pricechopper than I would a Veal chop.

Boycott certain brands / farms, but not the actually kind of meat itself.

The Veal industry is actually pushing to have all states ban crate raising by 2017. The same can't be said for beef, poultry and pork industries who raise animals in equally if not more confining environments than Veal crates.

And to put age in perspective. Most beef cattle are harvested at around 20 months old, most Veal Cattle 20 weeks, which isn't much younger than pigs (6-9) months, but considerably older than chickens 30-35 days.

I spent four years working for the company that pretty much pioneered the movement in the U.S. towards natural and humanely raised livestock, which unfortunately consists of a very, very small percentage of overall production. It costs more than double for farmers to humanely raise all natural meats than commodity meats and U.S. consumers aren't willing to accept those costs.

#17 Karen

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 02:13 PM

Thanks for that Ryan. Honestly, I had it in my head that all veal was crate raised and that was that...
We were watching Iron Chef last night and veal was the ingredient and they kept saying that it was not crated (probably to remind people like me!)

#18 kramer

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 04:03 PM

Hmm... interesting...

My dad makes the world's best veal scallopini and I haven't had it since I was 13 (and my french teacher described the veal slaughter process) when I gave it up (and then eventually gave up all meat). I was a vegetarian for abt 10 years after that. Now I'm back on the dark side tho, and I guess I can rationalize anything at this point. Lol

#19 deadheadskier

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 05:29 PM

well, if you're interested in trying Veal again, you can buy it direct (for a small fortune) through who I worked for: www.dartagnan.com

the Veal they sell comes from 6 family farms outside of Rochester, NY. They were struggling dairy farmers who the owner of D'Artagnan met. She taught them how to raise the male calves for Veal instead of auctioning them off to commercial beef farms. Calves are slowly weened from their mothers (instead of right away like commodity veal) and raised in group pens of 40 animals with 24 hour access to the outdoors. They are primarily fed milk, but their diets are supplemented with the grasses they eat when outdoors. Now those farms are thriving with their Veal being served in the finest restaurants in the Northeast.

If you're conscious of where your meat comes from, every thing D'Artagnan sells comes from family farms our coops who have the highest standards of humane treatment in the country. The owner frequently visits all of the farms to audit their practices and will fire them on the spot if her standards aren't met.

It's the best of the best, but you pay a hefty premium for it. Well, a premium by American standards. Europeans are accustomed to the prices because they are used to paying those amounts as pretty much all meat in Europe is raised naturally and humanely, which is far more expensive then our steroid factory farming industry here in the states.

okay. off my stump. I no longer work for them, but always feel the need to put the information I learned out there such that people are well informed. :smile:

#20 china cat

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 06:51 PM

well, if you're interested in trying Veal again, you can buy it direct (for a small fortune) through who I worked for: www.dartagnan.com

the Veal they sell comes from 6 family farms outside of Rochester, NY. They were struggling dairy farmers who the owner of D'Artagnan met. She taught them how to raise the male calves for Veal instead of auctioning them off to commercial beef farms. Calves are slowly weened from their mothers (instead of right away like commodity veal) and raised in group pens of 40 animals with 24 hour access to the outdoors. They are primarily fed milk, but their diets are supplemented with the grasses they eat when outdoors. Now those farms are thriving with their Veal being served in the finest restaurants in the Northeast.

If you're conscious of where your meat comes from, every thing D'Artagnan sells comes from family farms our coops who have the highest standards of humane treatment in the country. The owner frequently visits all of the farms to audit their practices and will fire them on the spot if her standards aren't met.

It's the best of the best, but you pay a hefty premium for it. Well, a premium by American standards. Europeans are accustomed to the prices because they are used to paying those amounts as pretty much all meat in Europe is raised naturally and humanely, which is far more expensive then our steroid factory farming industry here in the states.

okay. off my stump. I no longer work for them, but always feel the need to put the information I learned out there such that people are well informed. :smile:


:clapping:

#21 sure-ur-rightdancer

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 02:30 AM

I just decided on this menu for an annual "holiday" party... it gets later and later every year but I can celebrate no matter the date. There is a chance this could over flow my table for 12 so there might need to be a plan B on hand

antipasto skewers
caprese skewers
cheese/crackers/dip/veggies
____

seafood trio - clam casino, crab cake, coconut shrimp
roasted vegetable and apple salad w walnuts
short ribs w homemade parpadalle

_____

coffee
cookies/brownies/blondies

#22 Karen

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 02:33 AM

Wonderful!

#23 deadheadskier

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 04:52 AM

short ribs w homemade parpadalle


let's hear the recipe. I love braised meats with pasta

#24 kramer

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 02:08 AM

Omg, we had an italian feast @ friends' house the other night... the highlight was the braciole... oh madone!

#25 Jersey Thug

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 03:24 AM

i love short rib. had it Friday night at this little Italian place in New Brunswick. nomnomnom

paired with pappardelle...my idea of heaven on a plate :)

#26 deadheadskier

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 03:43 AM

Omg, we had an italian feast @ friends' house the other night... the highlight was the braciole... oh madone!


love, love, LOVE a good Braciole.

My second favorite Italian style steak dish.

My favorite is my balsamic glazed "eye" of the ribeye topped with tomato, garlic and shallot confit.

I buy a whole ribeye, butcher out the eye of the ribeye into thick filet style steaks, make a balsamic glaze with balsamic, beef stock and worcestershire, pan sear the steaks, paint them with the glaze, finish in the oven then top with the confit blend. :drool:

#27 sure-ur-rightdancer

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 09:44 PM

ohh braciole sounds good too and I haven't had that in like a million years!

no recipe just yet...trying to decide if I want a sauce that's more tomato or less?
more tomato - http://www.foodnetwo...cipe/index.html
more wine - http://www.foodandwi...ised-short-ribs
with cream - http://thepioneerwom...wine-and-cream/

this one also sounds interesting https://sites.google...emade-cavatelli

my 'inspiration' is actually the short rib cavatelli at david burke's kitchen which is more of the creamy type sauce w a normal braise (video of the ex-chef making it here ) but I keep having dreams that dinner is so heavy everyone passes out so not sure what to do!

#28 Jersey Thug

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 09:49 PM

mmmm...wine-heavy, with wild mushrooms and pappardelle would be my pick. short ribs are so rich that i like the wine sauce for balance.

#29 sure-ur-rightdancer

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 10:00 PM

I think mushrooms, wine and lots of herbs are my pick too..... but perhaps a tiny splash of cream wouldn't hurt either.... I doubt I will be truffle butter-ing bc while I love truffles & butter I feel like it can overpower the rest of the dish - which can be great when its something like mac and cheese but on short ribs I want beefy-goodness

#30 sure-ur-rightdancer

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 04:21 PM

have to start working on the menu this weekend so I don't have to kill myself friday night/ saturday AM (aka when I freak out and start scrubbing every surface in the house bc all of a sudden company is coming and everything is DIRTY!)

this weekend I HAVE to get the pasta made and I would really like to get at least 1-2 batches of cookies/blondies made

#31 sure-ur-rightdancer

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 04:22 PM

so I ended up basically using the food & wine recipe --

salt & pepper on short ribs, seared till crusted, then stuck in oven covered @ 350F for 4 hrs w 3/4 of a bottle of red, 2 sprigs each of thyme, sage and rosemary, 2 cans of low sod beef broth, 2 carrots, 2 celery and 1/2 onion diced up and finally a few cloves of garlic and about 3-4 bay leaves

the bones came out after about 2.5 hrs and then I cooked them a little longer till they shredded w a fork

took the meat out and let the juices and the meat rest over night

skimmed the fat from the juices and reduced over low heat till 1/4 volume then strained till smooth

heated the meat up at 350 F in baking pan for 45 min before serving

combined 1/3 stick butter w 1 container baby bella sliced mushrooms and 1 lg shallot finely diced, added back the reduced juice, sage leaves, 1 c heavy cream and about 1/2 c red wine

served about 1 c fresh pasta, 2 chunks of meat and a ladel full of sauce for each person

then yesterday I made a marinara sauce and shredded leftover ribs into it to serve over the remaining pasta

#32 Karen

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 04:23 PM

:drool: