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Prepping for a dinner party

Hi folks,
I'd like some opinions on a few things. Having a dinner party on Saturday & want to make some things beforehand.

* Do you think it's okay to make Gazpacho the evening before? Obviously, it will be kept chilled in the fridge overnight and all day Saturday. I'm thinking the flavors will meld and it will taste even better.

* I'm dong a stuffed pork loin. Can I stuff and tie it the day before as well? What about cooking it late in the afternoon and letting it get to room temp...and using the finishing sauce to warm it up -- I'm afraid of overcooking the meat.

*Making a mixed berry cobbler. I think that needs to be done just in time so it's warm when served. Agree?

*Really dumb question -- how long do you bake a russet potato? What temp? I never make potatoes like this so I have no idea!

thanks

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  1. Baked potatoes take about 45 minutes in a preheated oven at 450. But, if you are roasting the pork loin, at a lower temp, you can just bake the potatoes for a longer time at the lower temperature in the same oven-- at 350 degrees, about 1hr 15 min.

    It depends on the size of your potatoes too. I'm assuming that you are using potatoes sold individually as "baking potatoes," which tend to be quite large, and not just selecting potatoes out of a 5 lb bag of russets, which will be smaller.

    1. gazpacho is a definite yes - always better the next day. just take it out a bit early to bring it up to room temp. there's nothing tasty about ice-cold tomato anything!

      re: the cobbler, mix up the crumb topping in advance to save yourself some time - you can store in the fridge until ready to use. but do the filling, assemble & bake just before.

      1. As mentioned, Gazpacho can definitely be made ahead.

        Stuffed pork loin, absolutely yes to stuff the day before and absolutely yes cooking in mid afternoon. I always find meat/roasts much easier to slice when they have enough time to rest/cool. What you can do is maybe undercook it slightly and then heat up with the sauce in the oven just before serving; that way you won't have to worry too much about overcooking.

        Mixed cobbler can definitely be made ahead and then popped into the oven just before serving if you want to serve it warm.

        About the only thing that should be done fresh or when guests get there is potatoes and pasta as I find that they just taste and look so much better freshly out of oven.

        1. Yes, do the gazpacho ahead. Good idea.

          I haven't done it in the past, but I think you can go ahead & do the pork loin ahead too. As long as you're not stuffing it w/anything exotic that would spoil otherwise. I think the loin would benefit from being on a rack over a roasting pan and seasoned well, to let it dry brine, let the salt et al season the meat fully, and let the cold air circulate around it to dry it out a little. I guarantee this will make the roast juicier, I have done it lots of times.

          Good rec above to make the crumble mix ahead, but the cobbler should be fresh & warm.

          And you can do baked potatoes a number of ways. Some people like to do them in the microwave. Put four medium sized potatoes on a dish in a circle and bake on high for 8 - 12 minutes.

          My favorite way is to heat the oven to 350. Rub the washed potatoes with oil, olive or canola is what i use, and sprinkle with kosher salt. Let bake for one hour. They come out really tasty with crispy skins, which we like to eat. You can place them directly on the oven rack, but watch for oil drips. I use an old seasoned baking sheet and let them cook on that. Good luck!

          1. I've made a Batali stuffed pork loin several times, that actually calls for making it ahead of time and serving it at room temperature, with the warmed sauce. If you want that specific recipe, I'll be happy to find it for you - it's been a real hit every time I've made it, and I've used a meat thermometer to make sure I can keep it just slightly pink in the middle.

            What kind of gazpacho are you thinking of making? I've actually become quite partial to ones that don't have tomatoes.

            Cobbler - You could probably reheat it without it suffering.

            6 Replies
            1. re: MMRuth

              MMRuth,
              What temp do you cook your pork roast to to keep it pink in the middle?

              1. re: lollypop

                Cook to 130-135 internal temp, remove from te oven and let it caryover to 140-145 for a nice pink interior. Most meat charts say 150 for Pork, but that's too done for a pink interior

                1. re: KiltedCook

                  I'm having trouble searching, so I'm not finding the thread I was thinking of, but I think I also aimed for the low 130s.

                  1. re: MMRuth

                    I think she means what temp for the oven???!!!

                    1. re: Phurstluv

                      Yes - you are probably right. Now that the search function is working again, I'll try to find my old post.

                      1. re: MMRuth

                        Oven temperature is irrelevant! 300, 350, 400 will all work. But it's best not to cook by the "Oven Temp X for Time Y" method as there are too many variables - size and shape of meat, "real" oven temp not what the dial says, location in the oven, etc. etc.