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Jun 18, 2008 06:23 PM

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.

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  1. I am willing to play. What is your budget per person?

    1 Reply
    1. re: smtucker

      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.

    2. B,
      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.)

      1. hors doovers:
        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.

        1. 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.

          1. 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

            2 Replies
            1. re: carswell

              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. ; )

              1. re: mcel215

                Would love the corn, bean, avocado salsa recipe. Thanks!