The grill is full! What else can I make for my party?
I'm hosting a barbecue/backyard party for about 40 people next weekend. We're grilling octopus, but that will take up much of the grill for most of the time. I also want my husband, the griller, to have some time to mingle and relax.
So... what else should I be making that's interesting and easy (emphasis on INTERESTING)? I'm a little fatigued on couscous salads and potato salads. Finger foods are welcome, too.
So far, all I can come up with is a wild rice salad, and a tomato and grilled corn salad. Help!
The party was a huge success, even though the weather was cool and rainy. We had about 40-50 people including kids. The menu below was not the easiest approach to a backyard party, but it was definitely achievable and the guests were very appreciative! Even though I kept telling myself not to overdo it, I worked hard in the days leading up. But once everything was out on the table, I was able to hang out and relax with everyone.
Thanks for all your ideas. Here's what I made/served -
-Roast Chicken with Olives, Garlic, and Thyme
I used boneless chicken thighs, and I always put a bit of grain mustard in the marinade. Thanks escondido123 for the idea - you're right - roasting in the oven left the grill available post-octopus for hot dogs, hamburgers, and some grilled fennel, baby bella mushrooms, and orange bell peppers.
-Hummus with chickpeas and cannelini - my husband made it from a basic recipe and tweaked to taste.
-Summer Strawberry Cake by Smitten Kitchen
-Tomato, fresh corn, and quinoa salad with lime-cilantro-mint dressing - inspired by this thread, in particular attran99 and writergeek313
-Potato Salad by La Tartine Gourmande
La Tartine Gourmande is written by my friend Bea, who also brought over the strawberry clafoutis mentioned in this post: http://www.latartinegourmande.com/201... I've asked her to post the recipe.
Other friends made -
Chickpea salad with sun dried tomatoes, and feta
Farfalle with tomatoes, corn, and scallions
Nigella Lawson chocolate cake
The only prepared food I served were a veggie and a cooked sushi platter from Whole Foods.
If I forgot anything, hopefully a friend will see the thread and add to the list.
Now, time to relax!
What a great party with lots of yummy, yummy food!
Here's the recipe for the Blueberry Rhubarb Crisp.
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 pound rhubarb ( about 3 cups )
3 cups blueberries
1/3 cup pecans
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
6 Tbsp cold unsalted butter
1. Preheat oven to 375F. Butter a shallow gratin dish.
2. In a bowl, stir together sugar and flour. Trim rhubarb and cut into 1/2in pieces. Add rhubarb and berries to flour/sugar mixture. Spread in gratin dish.
3. To make topping: Finely chop pecans. Whisk together flour and sugars. Cut butter into 1/2in cubes and, with your fingers or a pastry blender, blend into flour mixture until it resembles a coarse meal. Add nuts and toss well.
4. Squeeze handfuls of topping and coarsely crumble over fruit. Bake in oven for about 50 minutes, until filling is bubbling and topping is crisp and golden.
**This recipe is based on one that I found on epicurious but since I changed it a bit, I thought I would post my version. Here is the link for the original:
Octopus actually cooks pretty fast because it's pre-cooked I think,so you can grill some other foods.
Korean Kalbi (cooks pretty fast, no need to take orders like medium/well done etc).
grilled Halloumi (cheese),
chap chae (korean noodle salad..can be made earlier in the day)
grilled boneless thai chicken thighs (cut up the chicken into smaller pieces like 2" x 2" for quicker grilling). can jerk the chicken as well.
grilled brie in grape leaves for a dip
This might be too similar to a couscous salad for you, but I made a tasty quinoa salad last week. I cooked and cooled a cup of quinoa according to package directions, then added a can of chickpeas rinsed and drained, some cucumber sliced into matchsticks, some chopped sweet red pepper, parsley, black pepper, and the juice and zest of a lemon. It was good by itself, but I think it would also be good with some grilled shrimp or chicken mixed in (a good option if, as others have said, you have guests who are squeamish about octopus). It would also be good with some veggies that have been roasted or grilled, which you could do ahead of time
A panzanella salad would go nicely - you can either use raw tomatoes (if you can get really good ones) or I like to roast/grill them for extra flavor. Good artisan bread and whatever else you like - it is endlessly versatile. I make one with artichokes and bacon that is divine, but you can go in any direction with different herbs and vegetables. Here are a couple of classic recipes:
I rolled out a roasted corn salad this season, and it was easily a hit. Grill/roast corn. In a bowl, make the dressing with fresh cilantro, oil (vegetable or olive), fresh lime juice, salt, and pepper. Whisk to emulsify. Cut corn off the cob, and halve some cherry tomatoes. Add dressing to corn and tomatoes. If you desire some heat, add some chopped jalapenos. If you'd like to add a little filler, add some black beans to the mix. Enjoy!
These are great ideas! They're also inspiring me - for example, someone mentioned radish, someone else mentioned cucumber, and I remembered my friend Bea's potato salad recipe - not your usual potato salad with mayo. http://www.latartinegourmande.com/201...
I had scoured the Chow site and this message board before posting and didn't find quite the right thread. Hopefully this one will help others in their backyard parties, too. I'll post what I end up making. And please, keep the ideas coming.
how about a watermelon and feta salad? I also think another protein would be nice, chicken can be grilled ahead and served cold, so can lamb. You need something green; I like the cuke salad idea but also whatever greens are available local to you tossed in a lemony garlicky vinaigrette.
you could use a different grain than wild rice if you are tired of that; farro , quinoa...
Also at our parties no matter how many grilled veggies we make they are always always gone, and can be done ahead.
Slaws made without cabbage are interesting and colorful. Don't get me wrong, I love cabbage, but I like to give it a rest sometimes. A simple dressing of sweetened rice vinegar (diluted with water) S&P, to marinate shredded or julienned vegetables. A mandoline makes quick work of the prep. I have used cucumber, carrot, daikon, jicama, Bordeaux radish (huge purple Korean), red bell pepper, yellow summer squash, zucchini, winter squash. An oniony component is needed - sliced scallion, garlic greens, or chives are more colorful, but a sweet salad onion will do nicely. This can be made several days ahead. A now-closed Indian restaurant near me had a salad on their buffet that was made as above except that the vegetables were thinly sliced crosswise, and they also included grapes, apple, and watermelon or canteloupe. Loved that stuff!
You might try my version of Fauxtato Salad - soak and cook large dried lima beans (the white ones that are sold canned as butter beans) and use instead of potato. Surprisingly, the taste and texture are almost identical to regular potato salad, but healthier.
Since octopus is often a Greek dish you might want to go in that direction. What about a big pan of roasted fingerling potatoes tossed with a mint/parsley pesto--they're great at room temp. Also an orzo salad with feta, cucumber and black olives. Not being a fan of octopus--the suckers creep me out--I'd also be thrilled if there was another protein, maybe chicken legs/thighs done in a lemon/oregano marinade and served room temp--those could be roasted ahead in the oven.
Funny you say that about the octopus - I'm not a fan, either, though the baby ones that my husband marinates in a chipotle lime seafood rub first are actually really great: http://www.crateandbarrel.com/kitchen... (should note that it wouldn't have occurred to me to buy a CB seafood rub but a friend gave to us and it's yummy. He was thinking he'll grill chicken, too, but I fear he won't have room. Oven roasting is a great idea - and we have fresh oregano in the garden.
Mint-parsley pesto sounds great... what else goes in? Pine nuts? Olive oil, lemon?
For this pesto, I use the herbs, garlic, pistachios (my new go-to nut now that pine nuts are too expensive and I think, not as versatile) and olive oil....a hit of lemon or maybe a little zest would be a great addition. I'm making these potatoes tonight to go with some grilled lamb.
I always think of cucumber in the summer, so here's my thoughts:
Just saw 5 Ingredient Fix w/Claire Robinson. Try either of these 2 salad recipes that would go great with grilled food:
Here's another simple salad using cucumber:
* 1 large cucumber, peeled and diced into 1/4-inch cubes
* 1 medium onion, diced
* 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
* 3 tablespoons zesty Italian dressing
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper
I think adding a chilled, tortellini to any of the salads above would give your salads more weight.