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frugal gourmet

I'm invited to a wine an Gourmet party with the Theme Frugal Gourmet. We are suppose to bring our favorite bottle of wine under $12.00 and then prepare a gourmet dish to serve 30 guest for around $25.00. It can be anything from soup, salad , entree, dessert etc. Any idea's would be great. Remember it needs to be sort of gourmet not just budget.

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    1. I think we need more information. What is your favorite wine? Are you supposed to make a dish to go with the wine? How many people will you be cooking for? Is there a theme other than "Frugal Gourmet"? What are other people making? (I can't believe the host didn't assign dishes -- so it's possible you will end up with 10 desserts and no mains?) What is the palate of the people you are cooking for like? Adventurous? Are you comfortable cooking all kinds of food?

      With the limited info, and at this time of year, I would probably bring a bottle of Italian Red, and make a pasta dish with roasted peppers and sausage (there's a good recipe in Marcella Hazan's Classic Italian Cooking).

      If you provide more info, you will get better responses :-)

      1. Coq au vin another easy but gourmet dish....are you asking for ideas for the food or for the wine? There's a very nice thread on the Wine board about Wines under $15 in case you are interested.

        1. Wine is not my area of specialty but hit if Trader Joes Wine Shop if you have one nearby.

          For the main dish, I would suggest an Indian curry (maybe butter chicken?) or biriyani as they can easily be cooked for a large crowd and for under $25.

          7 Replies
          1. re: Shazza

            blah-- not everybody likes curry. i hate it. it's also a trickier dish to pair with wine -- it needs riesling or gewurztraminer, which not everybody likes. i think we need more info from the op, as suggested above.

            1. re: hotoynoodle

              30 guests implies a minimum of 15 dishes and 15 bottles of wine. It's highly unlikely that everyone is going to sample every dish and bottle. (They'll suffer unpleasant consequences if they do!) You needn't have been so bluntly dismissive of curry or the wines. Nonethless, details are needed - if the hosts didn't apportion the course responsibilities, the OP should strongly suggest that they do so.

              In the fun spirit of the gathering, I suggest you look at some of The Frugal Gourmet (Jeff Smith) cookbooks. He has several, including many homegrown and international flavors, and breads. Breadmaking is not something that happens in the majority of modern, two-career,households, but everyone loves a freshly-made loaf. It would be very inexpensive to make a rolls or a couple of loaves, and maybe some compound butter as an extra fillip.

              1. re: greygarious

                sorry, but i really HATE curry. the smell of it would put me off eating anything else in the room. i happen to love the wines i suggested however, so please don't be defensive.

                why does 30 people imply 15 dishes to you? that's not how i read the op at all. it says: "prepare a gourmet dish to serve 30 guest for around $25.00. " choice of making soup, salad, entree, dessert. that's it. so make one course, enough to feed 30.

                i think your bread suggestion is terrific! :)

                1. re: hotoynoodle

                  I think grey might have seen it as 30 people = at least 15 couples, where each couple brings a bottle and a dish.

                  Or at least, that's how I saw it.

                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                    I mentioned a MINIMUM of 15 because the 30 guests might mean 15 couples.

                    Everyone loathes certain flavors or aromas which other people enjoy. In the interest of full disclosure, my ancestry is Germanic/Nordic. I never tasted Indian cuisine until I was over 40 and now it's one of my favorites. I worked as a mail carrier - when I told co-workers how wonderful I think Indian food is, the typical response was one of disgust. Most of these people delivered mail to apartment buildings where, unfortunately, old cooking smells permeate the hallways. Because the herbs and spices in Indian cuisine are bloomed in hot oil, they aerosolize. In time, the oily component becomes rancid, resulting in a stale odor. I suspect that the variety and complexity of Indian spices makes this more noticeable than in other cooking styles. The maintenance manager of one complex I delivered to complained that they had to replace carpeting in a unit whenever Indian tenants moved out. My explanation that freshly-prepared Indian food has wonderful aromas fell on deaf ears. Many of these folks also harbored anti-immigrant prejudices, so they probably wouldn't have wanted to try the cuisine anyway. Some generations back, these same folks would have disdained lasagna and scampi as the stinky food of the "garlic eaters". Since dislike of a certain dish can easily be assumed to imply dislike of the people originating it, best to express onesself more diplomatically.

                    Apparently, Annalisa is keeping her mom too busy to fill in the blanks about the party!

                    1. re: greygarious

                      "Some generations back, these same folks would have disdained lasagna and scampi as the stinky food of the "garlic eaters". Since dislike of a certain dish can easily be assumed to imply dislike of the people originating it, best to express onesself more diplomatically."

                      i work as a sommelier, graduated culinary school and have worked in hospitality nearly 20 years. i will try nearly anything presented to me and eat most things. last i knew, expressing a dislike for something is permitted on chowhound and not considered a non-pc slur. it's no different than saying somebody hates cauliflower, for heaven's sake.

                      may i politely suggest not seeking offense when none was offered?

                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                        You're right that expressing a dislike for a particular food is not a slur. But "curry" is not a particular food, and expressing a dislike for it is not like saying you don't like cauliflower. It's more like saying that Italian food is disgusting. It indicates ignorance and closed-mindedness.

                        First off, there really isn't such a thing as a "curry" in traditional Indian cuisine. It's a word that the British attached to a variety of sauced dishes because they couldn't be bothered to learn about them.

                        Second, a huge number of dishes are called "curries." And although most or all of them are going to use several traditional Indian spices, they vary so widely that there's really no unifying flavor. And as far as those traditional Indian spices go, they're the same spices that are used all over the world - the most common being pepper, cumin, coriander, cloves, and cinnamon.

                        Third, India has many distinct culinary traditions. Bengali food is completely different from Gujerati food which is completely different from Punjabi food. And on and on. The spices used, the way they're combined, and their quantities are all different depending on what part of the country you're talking about.

                        My mother hates curry. So every time I make Indian food when she's around, we all have to be careful to use the proper names for things. She's discovered that she really likes rogan josh, makkhani murghi, saag aloo, and masoor dal. But even though every one of those dishes could be called a "curry," she still insists that she doesn't like curry. So we just don't call it that.

            2. Rissoto is both budget friendly and as gourmet as you want to be. It can be hard to prepare in large quantities, but it is a dish that can be partly prepared ahead of time. I'd steer clear of the more traditional cheese-laden recipes and find a lighter, brothier one that won't congeal between the kitchen and the table. Oddly, even though restaurant rissoto is always done in that lighter style, almost all the recipies I find are cheese bombs! A similar option would be Jambalaya, which has the advantage of usually being finished in the oven instead of on the cooktop.

              For a large audience I guess I would prepare two batches and have everything ready for the final steps -- veggies and (optional) meats prepped and sauted, uncooked rice sauteed lightly, ready for the broth. At the party you just heat the broth, warm the rice in a pan, encorporate the broth and either bake it to finish or finish on the stove, depending on the recipe. With the right kitchen equipment you could do a single batch, but in my kitchen I'd want to double down for large amounts since it has to cook pretty quickly at the end or else it can turn into a gummy starch soup. Garnish with some fresh herbs. Simple, cheap, delicious.

              1 Reply
              1. re: BernalKC

                We don't know what cooking facilities there will be. If even half of the guests needed to make last minute touches like this to their dishes, they could tie up the stove, oven, etc.