What is This Menu Lacking?
I am hosting "cooking" friends for a BBQ at my home, and each is bringing two dishes to share. Below is the menu so far. Is there any area/foods missing that would complete this menu that I can recommend to inquiring guests?
Grilled Pork Ribs with Bourbon BBQ Sauce
Bacon Wrapped Shrimp with Cilantro Sauce
Greek Chicken, Red Onion & Mint Kebabs
Heirloom Tomato, Mozzarella, and Genovese Basil Salad
Ortega Chile, Home Grown Tomato, Avocado & Red Onion Salad
Ratatouille with Farmer’s Market Vegetables
Greek Salad (accompanies Greek Chicken Kabobs)
Chicken Stroganoff Pasta Salad
Persian Chicken Salad
Classic Potato Salad
Fruit Salad with Ginger Syrup
Flourless Chocolate Cake
Coconut Bread Pudding
Cayman Island Rum Cake
Fruity and refreshing cocktails! Strawberry melon dacquiris, mango lychee spritzers, mint lemon iced tea, lavender iced tea, and the list goes on.
Or else (and this may be more cumbersome to serve/transport) but gazpacho or vichyssoise.
Or something simple like bread bowl dip, crudites, lettuce wraps, charcuterie platter, hummus (and other dips)...
Bread would balance out the meal, but in my experience no one will eat bread when you have so many other delicious things around. Don't stress it if you don't want to prepare bread, because honestly at my parties they hardly ever get eaten.
What does get eaten is little homemade chips, cheesy crackers, and grisini (those long thin Italian breadsticks). If you're adding a dip/appetizer section, you could make some homemade things to serve them with. You'll get the bonus points for making your own bread, but people will actually eat it.
But other than that, what a menu!
It seems to me that you have a lot of strong-tasting dishes that may well mask the flavour of some of the others, so how about doing something novel and making a palate cleanser like a sauvignon blanc sorbet. Yes, I do realize that it this is not a formal meal, but it would add a nice touch.
You need to have a few cheeses as some people prefer this to dessert.
Don't forget some yogourt to tame down the spiceness of some of the dishes (for the guests who can't handle it).
A Sauvignon Blanc Sorbet sounds delicious. (I'm imagining the addition of fresh lemon thyme or lemon verbena from the garden.)
Because I have to work on the yard AND clean the house for this event (not to mention making my 2 dishes), I might not get to it this time.
But, I'd love to try it in the future...do you have a recipe that has worked well for you?
It's been a while since I made it, and don't remember the recipe I used, but any sorbet recipe should work. You do need an ice cream/sorbet maker, of course. Since you are busy cleaning you could of course instead make a granita, which does not require a sorbet maker and does not require that you give it much attention.
As much as I love thyme I think the taste may be a bit strong for a sorbet; the lemon verbena would mix nicely with the clean taste of Sauvignon Blanc (I'm partial to the SBs from the Marlborough Valley of New Zealand).
Since you have Greek chicken, and Greek salad, how about Greek rice pilaff? Here's my favorite recipe, from the Time-Life series "Foods of the World." It's very simple to make, and it's surprising how good it is, for such a simple dish. I reduced the second amount of butter from 4 T to 2 T - out of guilt - I think it's still just as good.
Domatorizo pilafi (tomato pilaf)
Yield: 4 servings
2 md Tomato; fresh, ripe,
4 Tb Butter
2 Tb Butter; melted
1 tsp Salt
Black pepper; freshly ground
2 c Beef stock; fresh or canned
1 tsp Tomato paste
1 c Rice, uncooked; long or med.
grain white rice
In a heavy 2 to 3 quart saucepan, combine the tomatoes, 4 tablespoons of butter, the salt and a few grindings of pepper. Stirring and mashing the tomatoes with a spoon, cook over moderate heat for 5 minutes until the mixture is thick and fairly smooth. Add the stock and the tomato paste, bring to a boil and cook briskly for 5 minutes. Puree the mixture through a fine sieve set over a bowl, pressing down hard on the tomatoes with the back of a spoon before discarding the seeds and coarse pulp. Measure the puree and return it to the saucepan. There should be 2 cups. If there is more, boil it briskly over high heat until reduced to the required amount; if there is less, add more stock. Bring to a boil over high heat, then pour in the rice. Stir once or twice, reduce the heat to low, cover tightly and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender but still slightly resistant to the bite. Add the 2 tablespoons of melted butter and toss the rice with a fork until the grains glisten. Drape a towel over the rice and let it stand at room temperature for 20 minutes or so before serving. Time Life Series: Middle Eastern Cooking "circa 69"
What is the menu missing? Holy cow, not a thing. When's dinner? :-)
For a barbecue, I always make gallons of homemade lemonade. Especially with some of the stickier sauces and heavier salads, the pleasant acidity of the lemonade cuts right through it... and is there anything better on a hot summer day? (Well, a gin and tonic...)
What is the Chicken Stroganoff salad like?
How many people will be eating?
My only thought is that the menu is a little bit chicken heavy, and the desserts are a bit all-in-the-cakey catagory (creme/yogurt or a blueberry pie?-but no, I can't part with what you already have listed), but then again, it is a BBQ. I have to admit I'd like to eat everything on that menu, but you do have a lot of heavy hitting competing dishes. But that's ok if you have a large enough crowd.
How about a lighter vegi side, or a bean salad, or grilled haloumi, or grilled scalops with tossed salad as a starter?
Oh, and don't forget the pita.
Sorry, I guess I'm being all over the place here.
re: Ida Red
I have no idea what Chicken Stroganoff Salad is like! Each person chose two dishes to make, then submitted them to me. Now that the menu has filled out, people have asked "What do you need?"
Pita bread (or those wonderful lemon-herb pita chips) would be a great addition--perhaps with a hummus dip. Grilled scallops sound great--how do you grill those? (in a basket?)
I agree about a lot of strong flavors and think the grilled veggies are a great idea. Stay away from tomatoes though, it seems all of your veggies have a tomato component. I'd also suggest some simple deviled eggs - creamy, cool, and pretty neutral. Maybe a vinegar-based coleslaw to contrast with the potato salad?