Baby Shower Food
I'm hosting a baby shower and I want to get away from the typical chicken salad/ceasar salad menu that I always run into. Can you suggest a fun menu for this type of occassion that would appeal to people with "basic" tastes (no super fancy ingredients, etc)?
3 of us girls threw one for our friend and we made 3 different types of salads and 3 diffrent dips along with bread for the dips and just plain eating. We made a pasta salad with orzo, peas and mint. Another leafy salad with mandarin oranges, avacados, olives, onions and a citrusy dressing, and another salad I can't recall. For the dips we made a parmesean dip, a artichoke dip and a hummus type dip. We also made mini cupcakes and set them out with the salads and dips so we could get the show on the road.
Since it's going to be buffet style, there's no concern over people feeling awkward leaving unwanted items on their plates, so I'd throw in a few more complex dishes along with a few certain crowd pleasers to appease th unadventurous.
You could do mini-quiches and do a variety of flavors, some more exotic, some safer.
An assemble-your-own crepe bar with various fillings, sweet and savory.
Or, instead of a crepes, a parfait building option with yogurts, fruits, and various granolas, cereals, yogurt chips, etc.
Tostadas with various fillings and salsa levels.
A couple of different salads with a variety of dressings... maybe a caesar element for the timid and a spinach, figs, blue cheese, candied walnuts, roasted peppers, and tomatoes for the other
Second the recs for cheeses as well
when's the shower? I have a "dump luncheon" recipe/menu that I adore. It's easy, basic ingreds and all you need is a place to set up all the bowls and in succession of their "dumping".
I should find and post it anyway, as it's that good and one for the back of your mind type easy dinner party or fun bash.
I recently catered a baby shower party, and the biggest hit was chicken satays (marinated with coconut milk, red curry paste, fish sauce), broiled, and served with a peanut dipping sauce. Also, stuffed grape leaves (buy these) with cucumber-dill-Greek yogurt sauce (you can buy this as well at Wegmann's though I make my own). I've never had a cupcake that I truly like, but carrot cake (from The Commissary Cookbook) is an all-time winner -- not fancy, but people love it. And don't dismiss the idea o fwhat I call "snobby" pigs-in-the-blanket: hotdogs rolled in puff pastry with a smear of mustard on the pastry before assembling. Buy it from Dufour, or use Pepperridge Farm if you have to. One person ate, like, 20 of these. The NY Times did an article a while back and explained that THIS is what most people want at a party. Go figure.
We did a baby shower "in absentia" for my SIL who lived in Georgia while the rest of our family lived in NJ. We did a sort-of Georgia themed brunch (or my mom's NJ idea of Georgia anyway). But mimosas -- with options for peach nectar in place of the OJ (lots of juices or nectars could be used), baked egg strata, ham, biscuits, baked peaches, fresh fruit -- etc. Everyone enjoyed it. I do think brunch works well because you can add a range of finger foods and some made-ahead dishes. Some guests will nibble, others will eat a full brunch and it all works.
For the mom-to-be, the juice/nectar can be mixed with sparking juice or seltzer and still have a festive drink in a pretty glass! Enjoy it and have fun!
Something I like to serve at a girls' party, no matter what the occasion as it is always a hit, is a real homemade mac and cheese. Use a fancy cheese or two and maybe some secret ingredients (mine are 1 chopped onion, 2 t sherry and some nutmeg) and you have a simple dish that everyone loves.
Oh yeah, and here's something when I hosted a friend's baby shower in ND - they all told me these are essential - pickle roll ups - where you take buddig ham slices, spread it with whipped cream cheese/sour cream and wrap it around a baby dill pickle. Then cut it in half and put a toothpick in it. I know it sounds odd- but I'm telling you - they were right -THEY WERE ALL GONE. I suppose that gives those from ND an even worse reputation about cuisine! HA HA
I had a baby shower a few months ago. I served the following two recipes with a nice green salad and had a round coconut cake made from a local bakery for dessert and a platter of See's candy as the gifts were being opened. Everyone loved everything.
3 cups apple cider vinegar
2 cups water
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp seasoned salt
4 Tbsp tobasco sauce
1 small can hot peppers
1 medium yellow onion, sliced thin
1 can sliced beets
1/4 cup dry sherry
2 or 3 bay leaves
2 dozen hard boiled eggs, shelled
Combine all ingredients in a large glass jar and let sit for 3-4 days refrigerated before serving.
HAM SALAD SANDWICHES
1 lb Black Forest Ham
1/2 cup+ mayonnaise
1 Tbsp French’s mustard
1 leek finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 Tbsp sweet pickle relish
Have your butcher grind the ham once. Mix all remaining ingredients together and add more mayonnaise if necesssary. This is good served on mini cheese rolls. Depending on the size of the rolls, one pound ham should serve 6-7. You can make the spread the day before serving.
My MIL, SIL and I hosted one for the other SIL. I provided the main course finger foods (buffet) and SIL provided the dessert. I made a whole series of dips, mini sandwiches, and well, finger-foods.
dips: tapenade, humus, white bean/roasted red pepper twirl dip (sweeter and milder than the hummus), and baba ghanoush
sandwiches: basil, tomato, olive, slivers of parmesean on crusty baguette; egg salad on wheat; black bean salad slightly mashed and rolled in tortillas
assorted cheeses, fruits and crackers
I've hosted several baby showers and though this is still a bit "typical" - it's not chicken salad.
We have done tortilla wraps - spinach/tomato-basil/wheat (for color), and wrapped up turkey/bacon/havarti with red peppers and mayo; or ham/guyere, granny smith apple slices and cut them up in thirds - we've also done a veggie version. We have added in ganache dipped fruit over fruit pizza or fruit salad- we have done proscuitto wrapped melon, or tea sandwiches like cucumber/cream cheese, savory onion/fontina, salmon/caper, etc.
Also, here is something we have been doing lately too: Brunch baby showers- where you can do the mimosa, or sparkling wine punch (NA for the mother to be of course); simply but delicious egg bakes or frittatas, with fresh fruit and yogurt parfaits, petit fours, herbed hash browns and mini-muffins, caramel rolls, etc. Most people enjoy breakfast/brunch foods - and we have discovered that this is light enough where people can feel satisfied and it can be made ahead of time, saves time & money and seems to be a hit!
Is this event happening this season, or will it take place in the spring? And can you give just one example of a food that would be 'too exotic'? That, along with the sit-down versus buffet question, should help people give useful suggestions.
Also, is this shower for women only or is it co-ed?
At that time of year I think everyone enjoys asparagus. If guests will not be carrying their buffet plate to tables, a great way to serve asparagus (technical a finger food whether seated or standing!) is to trim it, blanch it, shock it, wrap with prosciutto and sprinkle with orange zest. You can also do a lot with endive leaves. I usually make a saffron chicken salad in the food processor, so that it has a mousse-like texture (cooked chicken, lemon juice, saffron, mayo, salt, chives) and place a teaspoon on each leaf. This is a very easy lite bite, but when you arrange it in a concentric pattern and sprinkle the whole plate with pommegranate seeds it is very impressive. And it also tastes terrific!
This just came to me, but what about miniature foods with a baby theme?
Tea sandwiches with egg salad, lamb with minted yogurt and cucumbers or veal with mozarella, prosciutto and tomato chutney
Baby spinach salad with coddled eggs, lardons and poppy seed dressing
Glazed baby carrots with cinnamon or pan-roasted baby winter vegetables
Miniature pastry assortment
buffet or sit-down? how many people?
mini sandwiches with turkey, swiss and cranberry chutney
chicken teriyaki on skewers
poached salmon with dill sauce
"baby" vegetables with dip
This is a buffet brunch for this Sunday, May 4th. I just found this website or obviously I would have asked much sooner. I am not just planning the shower I already have most of the dishes I am making I am just looking for something else to incorporate into the day. I love some of your ideas. The salmon is perfect as are the mini turkey sandwiches. It sure beats the cold cut platter my mother wants to bring. I however can't think of too many baby vegetables other than the obvious carrots. I've already got the shrimp and quiche covered and the cupcakes. Do you make the potato and cheese croquettes yourself? I've never made those. Or poached my own salmon. Any hints would be greatly appreciated as this is my first granchild and having 43 people coming is a bit nervewracking. Thanks Again! Tammy
Tammy, it is ridiculously simple to poach salmon. The whole fish is fabulously elegant but will require a fish poacher or other long device that will fit over 2 burners. You can also poach individual fillets or steaks. Make a court bouillon with several lbs (2-3) of fish trimmings (heads, bones, skin - your fish monger should be able to give you this, possibly for free!), 2 cups white wine, a handful of fresh dill weed, 2 cups water, s&p, 1 T thyme. Boil for 10 minutes or so to make broth. Lower heat to simmer. Add salmon in 1 layer, liquid should come halfway up sides. Cover and simmer on lower for 10-15 min till fish just barely flakes. Remove from heat and allow to cool at room temp. Remove fish, plate and boil remaining stock for several minutes to concentrate. Strain through several layers of cheesecloth and refrigerate. If you used enough bones, your stock will gel and can be considered aspic. Decorate platter with fish, cucumber slices, olives, pimentoes and chopped aspic.
Make sauce usuing equal propotions mayo (I like Hellmann's), yogurt or sour cream, thyme and dillweed.
All of this can be done (and should be) the day before.