Taking the surprise party to him...need ideas for dishes
We are surprising my brother for his 30th birthday by crashing a poker game at his house. There will be a first wave (mainly family) with food, decorations, and beverages. The second wave will be the rest of the guests, arriving about 30 minutes later. We'll have about 50 folks in total.
During a moment of weakness, I voluteered to "cater" this gig. I need ideas for finger foods that can be prepared, plated, and transported. I won't have much time at all to assemble once we're there and I certainly won't be able to cook. Dishes that are served cold or at room temperature would be best.
Of course there will be cheese and vegetable trays, but I'm trying to think of other ideas as well. I thought maybe an assemble-your-own crostini tray with sliced beef, horseradish sauce, and parsley.
Any ideas would be *greatly* appreciated!
You will need a lot of food for 50 people and transporting it already plated and ready to serve is quite a challenge. And, frankly, doing this as all "finger food" seems like more work than it needs to be.
After organizing things like this for years, I'd like to suggest that you consider serving fewer rather than more dishes, keeping the appeal broad, and build on your idea of a "make it yourself" choices. Unless you need this to be an upscale event (since you are crashing a poker game, I am going to assume this will work), get some of those light-weight plastic plates and utensils from the supermarket and make food that works in quantity and can be dished from a buffet onto a plate.
I would probably choose 3-4 appetizers that you could put out, ready to go. The veggie basket and cheese platter work here, as would a seafood dip/spread (shrimp, cream cheese, cocktail sauce kind of dip) or a bowl of shrimp cocktail if you have the budget, a bowl of spiced nuts, and one "show off" addition.
Your crostini idea is great, but expand it a bit. Put out the roast beef, but add other choices like a tuna tapenade mixture or a salmon rillette or roasted mushrooms or gorgonzola spread or a white bean/roasted red pepper spread. Grill (or cook in a grill pan or broil) some well flavored chicken breasts and slice ahead of time, make homemade croutons and homemade Caeser salad dressing and take along a huge bowl of ready to eat romaine lettuce and allow the guests to make their own salad. Make a big fruit salad and a pasta or rice salad. Add some easily transported desserts.
It isn't haute cuisine, but it will probably work for your situation. If your destination has a microwave and you have a crockpot, you probably have more options. I will be happy to share recipes for anything I've mentioned if you request.
Good luck and it's a very nice thing you are doing -- I hope he is surprised!
skewers with cherry tomatoes, baby boccacini (or regular mozzarella cut into cubes), and fresh basil, drizzled with balsamic vinegar at the last moment
spiral party sandwiches - with tuna, salmon, egg combos (gherkin, olive, pimento in the middle) or cream cheese and lox or pb and j
filo wrapped brie that you can pop in the oven for 15 min on 400
chips/salsa/guac tray with assorted chips (blue, red, yellow) and assorted salsas (regular, pineapple, etc.)
hummus, pita, olives, feta tray
spicy chex-type mix (believe it or not there are some good recipes that people actually like!)
spinach dip in bread bowl
Love the crostini tray idea!