Inspiration for cooking club meal
I just joined a new cooking club where all participants assist in the prep and cooking of a meal selected by the host. I am the host this month as the other had to pull out last minute. I am looking for some good seasonal recipes that can be completed in 1 1/2- 2 hr . I will need to plan the entire meal from an app / soup/salad main dish side dish and dessert. I only have one week to plan this and am looking for some inspiration. Thanks for any guidance!!
I would look at the websites that include recipes from Jacques Pepin's Fast Food My Way and More Fast Food My Way PBS shows. There's a wide variety of seasonal menus that can easily be mix-and-match. His desserts, appetizers, and first courses are notably quick but still elegant. Most of the menus are completed in 30 minutes real time (with some but not all prep done ahead of time) so even without pre-prep, and the inevitable delays when people don't know where the utensils and ingredients are kept, there should be ample time.
Antipasto: a selection of sliced cured salumi (in case that word is new to you, cured sausages), diced soft cheeses, and olives.
Prima piatto (1st course): Some form of tubular or twisted pasta so that twirling is not necessary. The condiment a combination of halved cherry tomatoes, steamed broccoli florets, chopped walnuts (optional if anyone is allergic, and also pine nuts are too expensive), and extra virgin olive oil.
Secondo piatto (2nd course): Seared boneless short ribs of beef, baked or mashed potatoes, and petite peas with cocktail onions.
Insalata (salad, served last before dessert): Romaine lettuce with feta cheese broken into bits. Dressing of red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
Dolce (dessert) Coffee cake made with pistachio flavored pudding mix and chopped pistachio nuts baked in Bundt pan.
Vino (wine) A selection of reds and whites (my wife likes Santa Margherita pinot grigio)
Coffee and tea according to guest preference.
BTW, my wife has the Italian genes, i miei antenati non erano italiani (my ancestors were not Italian).
What about a nice risotto for your main? or as a side? definitely a good one for people to help with, let one person sit there stirring.
My favourite soup right now is Jamie Oliver's Celeriac and Apple, creamy, earthy goodness.
I also ate a wonderful parsnip apple soup at work the other day. I don't have a recipe, but suspect it would be easy to find.
As much as I like risotto, and I am the risotto cook in our house, I would not want someone else at the cooktop (ours is electic ceramic and I hate it) unless there is lots of space for guests to move around without being in the way. Pasta cooks much faster.
When I make risotto, the ingredient lists includes olive oil and butter, arborio rice, bell pepper, onion, shredded carrot, garlic, either Marsala or Madeira, chicken stock (just after Thanksgiving it's homemade turkey stock), leftover roasted chicken or turkey, the mixture of herbs known as Italian seasoning and the real thing, freshly grated Parmigiana Reggiano, sent to me by Genovese friend who has the same crazy obsession as do I...growing extremely incendiary peperoncini (hot peppers).
Do you have a winter farmers market in your area? I think it would be interesting to see what's local this time of year esp if you are in a northern climate. Find some local cheese for an appetizer. Apple and winter squash soup? I like the idea of pot pie topped with biscuits. I don't put vegetables in my chicken pot pie, preferring to serve on the side. If you saved any herbs from summer, incorporate into a pilaf. For salad I would serve a baby spinach salad or my favorite winter salad using romaine, swiss cheese, apples, pears, cashews, dried cranberries with lemon poppyseed dressing. If you have local pork products/smokehouse, perhaps a wilted spinach salad with bacon dressing. Cranberries are on sale in my local market so this is probably the last of them until next year. I made a decent cranberry almond cake but you could also do apples and cranberry pie or crisp.
A kale and winter vegetable soup would also be an idea. Roasted root vegetables as a side dish.
Eat local would be theme so see what's available in your area.
I agree. Pot pie would be ideal for this type of group as well because you could have folks make different parts of the pot pie. One person can focus on the crust (biscuit or pie). Another on prepping vegetables. Another on making the gravy for the pot pie. In a way you could even make a pot pie "bar" with different ingredients laid out - gravy with onions, blanched carrots, peas, blanched butternut squash, crumbled bacon, cut up chicken etc and have people assemble their own in large gratin dishes with precut pie crust or puff pastry to top. YOu can also do a "choose your own" with chocolate pots - make the base of the chocolate pot and have out a variety of flavorings - spices like cinnamon, cayenne, allspice, etc; liquers, even nuts.