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Jul 25, 2007 08:25 PM


I need lots of suggestions. My sister...a hopeless cook and party planner...is having an engagement party for my younger nephew on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend. There will be over 100 people. She has someone grilling for kids and adults but we do need hors d'ouevres preferably things that are easy to make, people love, and don't need a lot of oven space for reheating or anything. Added plus for things that are easy to make in large quantity. I'm having some trouble envisioning making 200 deviled eggs not to mention keeping them refrigerated until ready to serve!

Any ideas? Non-dariy and non-pork products preferred please.

The challenge is on.

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  1. I'd get out the steamer and do various dim sum... shrimpy/chickeny won tons... have someone on steamer duty, just filling up the serving plates. Serve with a variety of dipping sauces.

    You could pre-make and bake some meatballs and marinated chicken wingettes and the nuke 'em before they go out..

    mini vol au vents (so 80's I know!, but easy to pre-make and just whack in the oven to heat)

    a seafood platter of fresh prawns, etc... in a nice ice bowl

    Individual shot glasses of gazpacho?? an antipasto platter?? big platters of home made bread with lots of yummy home made dips??

    Fruit platters with sweet dips??

    1. -Mini fritatas can be made in mini muffin pans and served at room temperature.

      -Get fancy toothpicks and skewer a cherry or pear shaped tomato, a basil leaf, and a melon ball of watermelon (sounds odd, tastes great. Don't believe me? Sub fresh mozzerella or another tomato for watermelon). Slice off the top of a large round loaf of sourdough bread. Place the cut side down on a platter and stick all the skewered toothpicks into the bread so they stick up and are easy to access. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Garnish with more fresh basil. Be sure to have a place for the guests to put used toothpicks.

      -Buy some frozen puff pastry. Follow directions on the box to thaw and roll out. Use a pizza cutter to cut 1" squares. Bake according to package directions. Cool completely. Top with a favorite store bought tapenade, chicken salad, goat cheese or anything that strikes your fancy. Voila.

      1. I can't believe i am writing this but...
        finger sandwiches!
        my mum did some gorgeous ones for my sister's 30th b'day party recently and it blew me away at how popular they were. gobbled up!!! there were lovely fillings in them, but even the plain egg ones went quickly. think also cream cheese and cucumber, etc. ...AND handy hint: an electric knife to get through the bread.

        or open sandwiches - have a look at the discussion on ida davidsen in copenhagen on the international board.

        melba toast with brie and caramelised red bell peppers (oh gosh i'm not doing well with dairy here am i?

        are you able to make / pick up a sushi platter? that always works well.

        i'm also a fan of the chicken wing & meat ball idea.

        and i also think that it's a great idea to have some diy things around like an antipasto platter that people serve themselves - it get's them mingling and frees up your hands.

        i have a friend who describes herself as a great assembler, hosts fantastic parties and barely cooks a thing at it. yet there is always a smorgasboard of smoked salmon, antipasto, cheese and lovely bits and pieces from the deli, combined with sending the boys outside to cook kebabs and sausages. it's a proven formula.

        i'm rambling

        lastly, lots of stuff that fills people up and stops them getting too drunk. they'll thank you for it in the morning!

        1 Reply
        1. re: kmh

          Finger sandwiches are a great idea and you can do a variety to accommodate various food preferences. Egg salad, roast beef with spinach leaves and horseradish mustard, turkey with a little cranberry sauce, chicken salad... all meet your non-dairy non-pork criteria, but you could also do ham salad, pimento cheese, any number of things.

          You can prepare them in the morning, cut off the crusts and cut in fingers or small triangles, and use a damp linen towel to keep them fresh. Make some triple decker and secure with toothpics speared with an olive or grape tomato; little kids love these.

          I also make little garlic toasts - my supermarket bakery slices the baguettes for me, and I brush them with olive oil/garlic, and bake them on cookie sheets until golden. You can serve these with hummus, tapenade, cheese spread, or chopped liver. I like to serve alongside a platter of sliced small tomatoes, sliced small fresh mozzarella, drizzled with a little oil and vinegar and sprinked with chopped basil.

          And don't underestimate a really good vegetable/dip platter - add some olives and marinated green beans.

        2. This an occcsion to hire a caterer. You won't have any fun if you do not do so. If you do not do so you will not enjoy the party and be wondering why. Disclosure: I am not a caterer and I would not do this on my own. I have in the past. Most will even prepare speicial family favorites.

          8 Replies
          1. re: Candy

            if you enjoy preparing food, handing it around, being a lovely host and making people feel welcome, you will enjoy it. it just depends on you and your personality, likes, preferences, and how you want to ineract with people on the night.
            if you are a little shy it is a great way to be involved.

            1. re: Candy

              I'm going to second the caterer option, but first you might want to ask yourself the following:

              1. How much space is there for storage (after purchase and for prepared foods, drinks. ice, etc?) And what is the griller planning? Is this a caterer who will store the meats here?

              2. How many hands will there be-- and how large is the kitchen for prep? Will you have someone around to go out and buy things as they come to be needed?

              I'm only thinking of a few things-- not to mention the tax on anyone who has to host and cook/prepare/ready at the same time. 200 deviled eggs can't be the sole hor d'oeurvres at an engagement party.

              Do consider a caterer for this event. My family holds an enormous party yearly and it keeps us quite busy and taxes all our resources (space, time, knives etc.)-- and it is not 100+ attendance.

              Don't be shamed into thinking that if you truly enjoyed preparing food, and if you truly loved your family, you would do this. There are many considerations and these could overwhelm. Why do that when there are other opportunities to show your love and cooking prowess?

              Of course, if you really want to do this, you should. Just think about what might be required: gazpacho in shot glasses is nice, but where do you keep it chilled, and who will buy/rent 200 shot glasses (and who's to wash them if there's a reuse?).

              (Edited so as to indicate that I'm not a naysayer, but that these things can be even bigger than they seem.)

              1. re: Lizard

                "Don't be shamed into thinking that if you truly enjoyed preparing food, and if you truly loved your family, you would do this."

                who said anything about shame?

                i think it's up to the indiviudual and what they get off on. consider a caterer by all means but a big party doesn't have to be dreaded either.

                1. re: kmh

                  Ahh, now who said anything about 'dread' :)

                  I'm not accusing hounds here of shaming Kingsketz, but I did want to put that possibility away, particularly when issues of enjoying preparing food came up.

                  I speak from experience of helping my family with their large party, and not as big as this event, it still takes time, effort, and numerous resources. (And fortunately, because it is in wintertime and because they have a garage, storage is managed more readily that it could be at the end of summer.)

                  KK asked about recipes, and really, I think there's more than recipes that come to mind here: storage space is a huge one. (One may also wish to consider the rubbish facilities since preparing food for 100+ involves a lot of waste-- not the party, just the prep-- and will this be an issue?). Cooking for loved ones and hosting huge parties need not be dreaded, but nor should anyone go into this without a realistic assessment of resources and abilities (and a recognition that even the best cook may be tested by the demands of cooking for 100+ and arranging all the resources to make prep, storage, and service possible, especially given the 'hopelessness' of the co-host). It's not 'dreading' an event to go in prepared for what is involved.

                  That said, if caterers are to be avoided at all costs, I'm with the crudite and chip platters (especially since the platters-- the plateware-- can be purchased for relatively little), Also bread purchased in spades can be sliced up and placed in ziploc bags in advance.

              2. re: Candy

                I third the caterer idea. 100 people is a LOT of people. And you specifically state that your sister is "a hopeless cook and party planner". Not to say that she can't learn to cook/entertain, but hosting over 100 people is not the time to start.

                1. re: Candy

                  Or at least hire some help. I had a catered party recently that I also prepared a good bit of the food for. It was nice having the caterer to make the things that weren't so "fancy" and to make things in large quantity. Also to have a fall back position in case work blew-up (it kind of did).

                  However the BEST part were the SERVERS!!! WOW!!! I had never thought about hiring kitchen help for a party before, it was so marvelous to spend time with the guests rather than running to the kitchen every 8 seconds to get a forgotten serving utensil, more napkins, refresh the trays, get someone plain water, etc.

                  While you might love to cook, and you might be able to take a couple of days off work to make stuff to your heart's content, no amount of pre-planning and kitchen skills can keep you from having to "work" the party for these small things. Also, a server keeps guests from driving you crazy offering clean up.

                  I'm afraid my friends would tease me mercilessly if they saw me with a servant for my next big pool party, but I sure would like to get one. (or 4)

                  1. re: danna

                    Great point - I actually had a couple help serve and clean up at a dinner party for just six of us (my husband insisted) and it made a world of difference even though (maybe because) I'd done all the cooking.

                    1. re: danna

                      Yes, that is a good point. If so inclined not to have a caterer, get some help. Not only for the organization and serving part, but to help with the cleanup. Every year for my seder I have my cleaning lady (or her niece) come to help. I don't have them to serve the food, per se, but to keep up with the dirty dishes and the other things in the kitchen.

                      And like you said, it keeps other people from trying to help.

                  2. Maybe it's not the daintiest or prettiest way to go, but this snack mix recipe from David Leibowitz's site (http://www.davidlebovitz.com/archives...) is always a huge hit, plus you can make huge quantities in advance, store it anywhere, and they just get better.
                    I also agree with the chowish vegetable/seafood/fruit platters ideas. Pairing them with great sauces/hummus/tapenades for 100+ is a lot easier (and makes more sense and is more fun for your guests, AND is easier to refrigerate) than assembling individual bites for 100+.
                    I guess it's about your priorities and the party's degree of formality.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Agrayf

                      I second the party platters - interesting veggies, antipasta type things with dips, hummus, guac, salsa and i loved the kabob ideas at the top. you could do a whole bunch of different interesting ones. fruit ones are great too.
                      all these things - veggies, pita chips, kabobs can stand alone or be mix and match with dips.
                      they're easy and since it sounds like there might be kids there will be things they like.
                      kids love food on sticks - careful of really little ones - and kids love dips. all good.
                      don't work too hard so you can have fun!