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Large party world bite ideas

I'm having a late Valentines party with approximately 30-40 people centered around cocktails, but I wanted to provide delicious homemade treats for everyone. I originally planned on having 10-15 people where I could provide a full meal, but now that the guest list is exploding I need to completely rethink my menu strategy. I want things that can sit out for hours and be picked at throughout the night while still tasting relatively fresh (not fried foods or anything that only tastes good hot)

One idea I had was to do a global street food idea.

Golgappas from India (make all the parts and have them in separate bowls for people to create a plate of their own)
hummus/labne/and other Middle Eastern dips (not street food per se, but can sit out a while)
Vietnamese spring rolls with peanut dipping sauce.
Baked empanadas or alcapurrias.
Little cups filled with some sort of Asian noodle salad like soba or?

What other street food/party food ideas do you have that people may love and could sit out (or I could put in a bowl of ice)? American ideas would be great also! Everything I seem to think of is better right from the stove.

Also, I would like to have a dessert table.
alfajores, maamouls, and other various world cookies.
something with lemon since my tree is exploding with lemons- maybe lemon meringue tart.
something with bananas....ideas?
and I would need something chocolate since everyone loves chocolate. :)

Lastly, about 40 people have RSVP'd to my event, but I notice at various parties I attend here many do not show up or if they do, some don't eat. How is the best way to plan so I don't have an excessive amount of food left over? Thanks in advance.

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  1. You could easily represent Europe with a variety of cheeses (which taste better at room temperature anyway). It wouldn't require much work on your part, since it sounds like you'll be quite busy! And leftovers can be incorporated into various dishes well after the party is over.

    BTW, your party idea sounds lovely!

    1. That sounds like a fun concept. Why not something Scandinavian smoked salmon, a tartar of some sort. Pairings of wine and beer would be fun with your entrees.

      1. How about Vegetable Samosas to represent India? Here is a link to a very good recipe.

        http://www.videojug.com/film/how-to-m...

        1 Reply
        1. re: PotatoHouse

          On that vein, you could do Ethiopian sambussas as well. It might be fun to do a hand pies across the world - empanadas, samoas, sambussas, Cornish pasties. It's a lot of work but if you had enough lead time, you could make them ahead and reheat.

        2. I'm not thinking anywhere near as fancy as you are.

          a client had a party every time she and her love went on vacation. one year they went to Alaska so that was the theme. food, atmosphere, drink and games all centered around Alaska. that was a blast.

          how many crock pots do you own? how big is your facility where party is being held?
          a 1 1/2 QT size crock pot is perfect for little smokies in sauce. a reg 3 QT crock would be perfect for sweet&sour meat balls and skewers aid in retrieving them. spinach artichoke dip using variety of pita chips/pretzels on a large platter then the dip in lasagna baking dish feeds many. big bowl of home made Chex mix with ice cream scoop or ladle and mini cupcake papers to fill means no hands go in and grab.

          at the end of the day all anyone wants is a good time and great memories made. hope you have a great party, sounds like it'll be fun.

          1. what a fun theme!
            Hand pies from various locales, and global cheeses, cookies, and mini-lemon tarts... sounds as though it could be a nice low-input menu plan. Not all the pies would need to be homemade. And maybe some of your guests would even appreciate knowing where to purchase yummy treats, anyways.
            As for planning quantity/variety in a way that doesn't leave a lot left over, I would start by choosing foods that you personally like. At least, then, if there is left over food, then it's something you'd actually eat :)
            For post-dinner, evening event, you'll probably want 3-4 pieces of "something, 2 bite sized" per guest. Plus 2-3 sweets each. If this party could be construed as "dinner", then you'll want 5-7 pieces per person. plus the desserts.
            Have fun!