Please help me plan for a grill dinner party!
Hounds, I turn to you as I know y'all are much more capable than I coming up with menu ideas. The sitch: I need to "cater" a dinner for my parents and a "VIP" guest. They'd like it to be a grilled sort of meal as it will be eaten outdoors. They want the food to be impressive but also able to be enjoyed in a casual setting. I don't believe there is a preference towards seafood or red meat, but my mother does not eat poultry so I think that should be out(don't want to be cooking different things for everyone). So I am looking for a complete menu: Hors d'oeuvre, appetizers, main, side dishes, dessert(fruit based would be best as we've got some great fruit around right now). I might not do everything, but the more ideas I have the better so as to choose from. TIA CH'ers!!
Edited to add: BTW the dinner will be this Saturday. Not much time to plan and organize! I might be in trouble here.
grilled pizzas, guests can make their own, or you can choose two or three combinations that are pre-selected. If you have a pizza place that will sell you the dough, this is easy.
bowl of olives
maybe a little hummus with raw veggies
grilled boneless leg of lamb, or Alton Brown's gyro recipe
serve with grilled eggplant salad [eggplant, tomato, herbs, olive oil, lemon juice]
orzo salad with grilled veggies or grilled corn succotash
greek salad with some feta cheese
grilled fruit tarts with home made [or other high quality] ice cream
lemon/ice tea with or without some alchohol
I recently made this warm potato, shrimp salad, which is incredibly simple & tasty:
Red potatoes, small
Jumbo uncooked shrimp
1. Microwave red potatoes, about 5 minutes, so par-cooked.
2. Cut potatoes in half & place on skewers. (Or leave unskewered but easier to turn if skewered).
3. Thread peeled jumbo shrimp on skewers.
4. Coat potatoes, shrimp & asparagus with olive oil.
5. Cook potatoes, shrimp, and asparagus spears on medium, high grill for about 6 minutes, turning 1/2-way through.
6. Remove from grill. Slice potatoes in 1/2 (ie. so they are now quartered). Slice asparagus into bite size pieces.
7. Place potatoes, asparagus & shrimp in serving bowl. Season with rice vinegar, more olive oil, salt & pepper to taste.
Here are some suggestions using seasonal produce, you may not want to do all of them:
Apps - Pimento cheese dip on grilled ciabatta toasts, chilled jumbo shrimp with ravigote dipping sauce, Italian antipasto tray with assorted salamis, prosciutto, cheeses, nuts (almonds, pecans), mussels marinara (sit down appetizer)
Salads - spinach, strawberry & red onion with sherry vinaigrette, tossed greed salad with homemade green goddess dressing, chilled orzo saladwith grilled salmon and grilled veggies (more of main course salad)
Nains - love the grilled butterflied leg of lamb, grilled tri tip/flank stea/skirt steak with chimichurri sauce, marinated grilled veal chops (you said budget was not issue!), skewers of marinated shrimp and sea scallops with red, yellow & green peppers
Side dishes - roasted corn, black bean, bell pepper & onion salad with vinaigrette, room temp grilled ratatouille, grilled zucchini stuffed with cheese, room temp white & wild rice with veggies,
Desserts - s'mores made with quality cookies, 70% semi-sweet choc, better quality marshmallows (ever made your own? yum!), Ina's lemon curd bars, peach & blueberry cobbler/crisp/galette
I recently had a grill party for 6 I went with almost all kabob theme and the main was served on baby greens with delicious dressing.
Fresh fruit tray- strawberries,blackberries, green and red seedless grapes, watermelon and cantelope. Was a perfect way to start on a hot day
Appetizer - Tiger Shrimp with an Asian/ginger hoisin sauce, and grilled pineapple-(grilled pineapple was loved by everyone)
Grill rib eye steak kabobs and chicken
Main was the a salmon wrapped with cilantro, mint and a brushed with a ginger/rice vinegar, garlic, and ginger glaze, Was easy to portion and then placed warm on baby greens with grilled asparagus and served with the warm dressing.
Dessert was homemade starwberry ice cream and cookies.
Lump crab with avocado-wasabi creme in sesame wonton cups
Endive leaves stuffed with blue cheese and walnuts
Smoked salmon on rye toast points with dill and caviar
Bread bowl of ajvar and cheese
Roasted red pepper soup with goat cheese swirl
Morrocan-spiced butterflied leg of lamb
Hickory smoked pork butt with a rum-chili rub
Red curry-rubbed steak
Argentinan parillada (flank steak, chorizos, morcillas, sweetbreads) with chimichurri
Roasted corn with tequila lime butter
Couscous with roasted vegetables
Roast vegetable panzanella
Napa cabbage slaw with sesame-rice vinegar dressing
Watermelon and feta salad
Grilled pineapple with ginger-rum glaze atop Haagen-Dazs honey ice cream
Homemade avocado and corn ice creams (try it! they're suprisingly good!)
I posted this recently: I made a recent fantastic salad that was on a grilled portobello mush. - mix fresh tomatoes, red onion, celery, 1 or 2 portobello chopped, chopped stale bread, handful of fresh parsley, fresh grated parm - lemon juice and evoo for dressing. just pile onto grilled port mushroom that was grilled with evoo and some rosemary. Delish and nice company to tenderloins or a grilled pork tenderloin with a berry balsamic reduction sauce.
Cold crab with lime, fish sauce and chopped bird's tongue chile on endive leaves
Grilled eggplant soup with red pepper cream, or
Chilled corn soup garnished with olive oil and shredded basil
Grilled asparagus dressed with lemon and olive oil (and garnished with chives and crushed hard-cooked eggs if you like), or
Shrimp marinated in berbere spices, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil, grilled, served on grilled radicchio and topped with baby greens
Grilled butterflied leg of lamb, served on arugula or baby spinach
Baby new potatoes, bacon chunks, chopped garlic, fresh thyme and bay leaf (add a truffle if you want to take it over the top) drizzled with melted butter, wrapped in foil and grilled
Grilled eggplant if not used for soup
Grilled apricots, peaches or nectarines with ice cream (almond, vanilla or pistachio), or
Cherry clafoutis, or
Strawberry shortcakes, or
Bitter almond semi-freddo with sautéed strawberries deglazed with balsamic vinegar
Ina Garten's Roasted Vegetables with Orzo Salad
Nigella's Watermelon, Feta Salad
Ina's Grilled Butterflied Lamb
Also, I have a roasted corn, black bean, avacado salsa recipe. It's a great app. Let me know if you want me to post it.
BTW, I have been hosting parties for 40 years. I wore myself out in the beginning years, learned to have fun these past ten! Don't wait that long. ; )
I don't have an entire menu for you - but something i have recently done that met with great reviews is grilled avocado. Halve a few avocados and place cut side down in some olive oil and lime juice and salt. Grill avocados for just a few minutes moving the position just once to get some nice grill marks - also have prepared a cherry tomato and herb salad to spoon onto the avocado half and serve.
Sliced toasted baguette with bruschetta topping
Same sliced toasted baguette with cheeses
melon wrapped with prosciutto (cantaloupe is getting good)
Appetizers: no. Or think of your own
Grilled ribeye slices (with a sauce if you must)
Grilled fish (I'd vote for lake trout if you can find it) with a simple mango salsa.
Grilled zucchini, grilled mushrooms, grilled asparagus grilled potatoes.
Berry cobbler, and good vanilla ice cream. If you have an interesting gelato haunt, maybe some good gelato. Wanna get a tiny bit funky witth it? Reduce some decent balsamic vinegar, and drizzle on top.
Keep it simple with EXCELLENT ingredients. Makes life so much easier when the food can speak for itself. Easier for you as well.
You're right, time is a tickin' The thread regarding grilled pork loin would come in handy, should you choose to go that route. Makes a great presentation, takes very little prep and grilling is virtually done by itself. Try the pineapple salsa, it would be wonderful. Sides are easy, maybe grilled veggies, and a nice orzo salad. End it all with a nice fruit cobbler. (Nectarines, peaches and blueberries make a great combo.)
No budget, smtucker. Thanks everyone, I'm seeing lots of good ideas that I'm liking. We've got some good corn, so I'll definitely work in a salad using that(though that corn soup sounds great too...). Still ruminating on a main. And I think I'm leaning towards a cobbler of sorts with some good vanilla ice cream as it is freakin' hot here in So. CA! Would love even more suggestions.