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Jun 23, 2008 07:02 PM

Need Menu Help for Mediterranean Dinner!

Hi! I'm cooking up a dinner for a whole lot of people. It has been named, "30 Tastes of the Mediterranean". Stipulations include:

1. Recipes must not be overly complicated as there needs to be time to make everything.
2. Some recipes need to accommodate special diets, like gluten-free, nightshade-free, and dairy-free.
3. Everything has to be awesome.

If any of you peeps have good recipes on hand that would be a great fit for my menu, I'd appreciate your comments and help!


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  1. 1. How many people are you cooking for? Do you have time to make things ahead?
    2. Are these restrictions for the same person or is one GF & dairy-free and another nightshade-free?
    3. Are you planning 30 separate dishes? Help your fellow CHrs by providing more info and you won't believe the amazing dishes they'll come up with.

    I'd suggest posting this thread on the Home Cooking Board: :)

    1 Reply
    1. re: maplesugar

      Mediterranean is a really big category. I'd suggest looking up Claudia Roden's recipes, many of which are available online and fit your criteria. She wrote The New Book of Middle Eastern Food, which I think is awesome. You can use these perhaps less well-known items to round out the usual Italian and Greek suspects. Off the top of my head, I'd suggest platters of grilled vegetables antipasti style--these can be made ahead and served at room temperature--put the nightshade family ones on a separate platter. Grilled kebabs of different types, rice dishes, hummus, tapas style Spanish tortillas (made with eggs and potatoes), dolmas--the last three can be made ahead of time.

      Here's a link to some Roden recipes; I'm sure you can find more:

    2. Questions:
      Are you the only cook? How much time do you have to prepare?

      Spanish tapas can easily fit the some of the bill for yer menu without bogging you down, as most are easy to assemble/prepare:

      -Shrimp and Asparagus with Romesco Sauce
      -Serrano ham wrapped figs
      -Pimienta (spanish peppers) stuffed with a soft bucherone or the like and baked
      -tortilla de espana
      -pan con tomat (tomato smeared toasted bread)
      -Marinated olives
      -Fried chickpeas

      1. Here's a few items to help pluck what you might be looking for: pastitsio, paella, lettuce wrap gyros for gluten free, lentil patties, dolmades, vegetable couscous, shish kebab, lamb, a big greek salad, lentil salad, chicken and olives, and fish is very Mediterranean.

        1. Right. Here are the answers to your questions:

          -I have one other cook and one volunteer (for a few hours).

          -I plan to make many things ahead, such as tapenade, Skordalia, sauces, as well as
          prepping single ingredients. I will be starting at least 1 if not 2 days before.

          -The restrictions for GF, nightshade free and dairy-free are not for the same person, so we need some dishes to be under each category but not all three at once.

          -As we are still waiting to hear about the number of people to show, I am guessing I'll be making food from upwards of 30 people. But I am very familiar with scaling recipes and I do well with conceptual cooking. I don't need specifics unless it is imperative for the dish.

          -I don't think I need to tie myself down to 30 dishes, rather, I would like to offer 30 main flavors. In other words, olive oil, balsamic, cumin, basil, grapes, olives, cheeses, etc... Many of which will find themselves sharing dishes.

          -Thank you! Thank you!

          p.s. I have a local farm who will be providing greens, herbs, and other fresh seasonal produce. I would like the dinner to accentuate fresh flavors as well as accommodating to a warm summer night.

          1. Some already mentioned the basics like hummus but also tzatziki with cucumber and tomato, grape leaves, lamb!!

            When I was in greece one of the items that often came as a side were large white beans with a tomato-based sauce.

            1 Reply
            1. re: lhb78

              The white beans are called fasolia gigantes and are yummy (and GF and dairy free).

              Here's a great recipe that I've made before.


              I'd also make a puy lentil salad and maybe something like panzanella. Tabbouleh is also good, and ticks most of the boxes.