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I Need Help with a Mediterranean Menu!

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!

Here are the answers to your potential 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.

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  1. Salad of watermelon, mint, cucumbers, black olives, feta, black pepper, olive oil & lime juice. Mix the first three ingredients and keep separate from the others (which can also be mixed together and held) until just before serving.

    Make a marinade for chicken or lamb cubes with plain yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, lots of garlic, S&P, allspice.

    pitted dates stuffed with lebneh, rolled in fresh dill, with a walnut half pressed on top

    Canned fava beans heated, topped with a slurry of tahini, chopped garlic, parsley, lemon juice, S&P, with an optional shake of harissa or hot pepper flakes on top

    1. for a GF and DF option, make tabbouleh with quinoa instead of bulgur.

      1 Reply
      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

        Or millet...it approximates the texture of bulgur, although I love quinoa too.

      2. On a recent trip to Israel, we had a tomato/cucumber/onion salad EVERYWHERE we went. It was very fresh and delicious. Just dice up all the veggies, add salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon juice. It's especially delicious with felafel, hummus, and tahini on fresh baked pita bread.

        1 Reply
        1. re: bards4

          that reminds me...turkish shepherd's salad. cheese is served on the side, so it's GF & DF, but you can't really do anything to make it nightshade free [well you could, but then it would be a different dish].

          i posted my personal "recipe" [it's a guesstimate] in another recent thread...

          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/528210

          but there are certainly tons of others out there in recipeland.

        2. Here's a dish sure to please your gluten free friends. You said you don't need specifics so I'll just outline this for you:
          Brine boneless chicken breasts for about two hours
          Towel dry them and dust with corn starch
          Shake off corn starch
          Dip in beaten egg; then dip in mixture of sesame seeds, curry powder and GF bread crumbs (from the GF section of your supermarket)
          Drizzle with melted butter and bake (350 - 400) on parchment for 45 - 55 minutes or until proper interior temperature is achieved.
          Can be made up ahead of time and refrigerated (covered of course) until next day.
          I fed 160 very happy people with this entree and they stood in line to get the recipe.

          1. I forgot to mention dolmades -- easy to get a gluten, dairy and nightshade free filling made for them, and easy to do ahead. This time of year, you may be able to get fresh grape leaves as well, so even better.