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summer dinner party - suggestions?

sheiladeedee Aug 14, 2013 06:14 AM

Planning a seated dinner for twelve, tentative plan...

I like a 3-5-3 balance to a meal, so...

stuffed mushrooms w/sausage and breadcrumbs
deviled eggs
home made pimento cheese on crackers

buttermilk brined fried chicken
potato salad
corn on the cob with lime and cayenne butter (ears snapped in half for easier handling)
platter of sliced heirloom tomatoes w/salt, pepper, oil and a drizzle of vinegar
green beans sauteed with garlic and scallions, room temperature

chocolate cherry chili fudge
tiny lemon curd tartlets

Served with vinho verde, beer, iced tea and some limoncello with dessert

wondering about a peach tart or crisp instead of lemon, maybe a white sangria with summer stone fruit...

I'm trying for something that can mostly be done ahead so I can concentrate on the chicken (fried about 90 minutes ahead, finished in a low oven).

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  1. m
    momoftwo RE: sheiladeedee Aug 14, 2013 06:45 AM

    wow, what a nice menu. Lots of yummy stuff. My only comment, is that the appys seem labor intensive, Even though you can do them ahead, it might be easier on you to go with maybe an antipasto tray that you can buy all the nibbles and just arrange them. Otherwise, if you are up for all that cooking and prep, I wouldn't change a thing!!!

    1 Reply
    1. re: momoftwo
      sheiladeedee RE: momoftwo Aug 14, 2013 09:05 AM

      This is my first dinner party since I retired, and I adore having parties. I love to cook and have not had a chance, so I'm busting out with this one!

      I can do a ton of this ahead of time - the pimento cheese, the mushrooms all but broiling, lemon curd and tart shells, fudge, cookies, all can be done ahead. Prepping green beans, peeling potatoes, boiling and peeling the eggs, brining the chicken - all this can be done on Friday. The most labor intensive thing will be the chicken, actually.

    2. b
      baseballfan RE: sheiladeedee Aug 14, 2013 07:08 AM

      That sounds perfect! What time should I arrive :)

      1. j
        jpc8015 RE: sheiladeedee Aug 14, 2013 07:08 AM

        I personally would prefer the peach crisp but if I were a guest at that party I don't think I would have anything to complain about.

        1. LaLa RE: sheiladeedee Aug 14, 2013 09:58 AM

          I think it sounds perfect! Especially the starters!!!!

          1. Berheenia RE: sheiladeedee Aug 14, 2013 11:20 AM

            Where did you say you live? I'll be there in a heart beat. Don't change a thing!

            2 Replies
            1. re: Berheenia
              pinehurst RE: Berheenia Aug 14, 2013 11:35 AM

              What Berheenia said. B. and I can carpool to your place.

              1. re: pinehurst
                herby RE: pinehurst Aug 14, 2013 06:39 PM

                Pick me upon the way, will you?

                Perfect party food, Sheila, do not change a thing :)

            2. RetiredChef RE: sheiladeedee Aug 14, 2013 02:01 PM

              The starters are all on the rich/heavy side, you then follow it up with fried chicken, corn on the cob and potato salad, more gut busting heavy items. I would want appetizers that focus on fresh items from summers bounty of fruits and vegetables, maybe a light chilled seafood dish. In other words wet their appetite, don't kill it.

              If you are set on Fried chicken then lighten up the sides there to. Make a white corn salad with peaches and basil. Make a rice with summer squash and carrots. Keep your tomatoes green beans.

              But no matter what you make people will love it because they didn't have to cook.


              7 Replies
              1. re: RetiredChef
                Dirtywextraolives RE: RetiredChef Aug 14, 2013 03:20 PM

                I agree with the Chef re apps sound a bit on the heavy side.

                The corn salad he described sounds great. I do one with tomatoes and avocado, but you have a tomato dish on there already. If you did the corn salad, I would probably sub a green salad for the potato one.

                And I also like the idea of the white sangria with peaches in it. Then you wouldn't need the limoncello. A cobbler or crisp would be a lovely ending. Or you could even do something lighter like a semi freddo or sorbet, using the ripe stone fruit you find.

                Sounds like a wonderful dinner!

                1. re: Dirtywextraolives
                  hotoynoodle RE: Dirtywextraolives Aug 16, 2013 03:40 PM

                  +3 on lightening up the starters. deviled eggs are always a hit for me, so i'd keep them. maybe shooters of green gazpacho and a pallter of zucchini carpaccio instead of the shrooms and cheese spread.

                  with stonefruits and certain berries still going strong, i'd do a crisp/tart/galette with those instead of lemon curd.

                  i'd keep the limoncello as a digestif though. sangria is too sweet after all that rich food.

                  have fun!

                2. re: RetiredChef
                  c oliver RE: RetiredChef Aug 16, 2013 07:15 PM

                  Could you elaborate on that corn salad please? Sounds lovely.

                  1. re: c oliver
                    herby RE: c oliver Aug 27, 2013 04:57 PM

                    I was curious about corn/peach salad too, googled and found this one: http://carriesexperimentalkitchen.blo...

                    Really like the idea of white balsamic/basil dressing but think a bit of heat would be nice. Don't like the idea of boiled corn, so this is what I'll do since I have all ingredients on hand. I'll slice kernels off and sauté in olive oil with either fresh thai chili or pepper flakes for 3-4 min, add a peach, diced small, and sauté for another minute. Dress with balsamic, basil and a pinch of salt.

                    1. re: herby
                      Dirtywextraolives RE: herby Aug 27, 2013 05:29 PM

                      Yum, that sounds great!

                      1. re: Dirtywextraolives
                        herby RE: Dirtywextraolives Aug 27, 2013 06:12 PM

                        Post if you make it and I'll do likewise.

                        1. re: herby
                          Dirtywextraolives RE: herby Aug 27, 2013 06:31 PM

                          I will, might make it either tonight or the next.... I make a lot of salads & light stuff during the week, as I feed my kids leftovers from the weekends....

                3. g
                  gourmanda RE: sheiladeedee Aug 14, 2013 02:08 PM

                  Only one thing missing---my invitation! That sounds like a lovely menu and I can tell you really put thought into it. Very, very nice! And even though it looks labor intensive, once you break it down a lot can be done in advance. Will be coming to you for advice for our next party (or I might just steal this idea--ha!)

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: gourmanda
                    sheiladeedee RE: gourmanda Aug 14, 2013 05:22 PM

                    Steal away! I used to do a lot of entertaining, and my very favorite is a dinner for eight to twelve, with as much as possible done ahead.

                  2. s
                    sheiladeedee RE: sheiladeedee Aug 14, 2013 05:17 PM

                    Hmmm. Maybe I'll swap the stuffed mushrooms for a wilted cucumber salad with a sesame dressing. It's not as tidy to eat, though, but i can save the mushroomsbfor a fall dinner. The corn and potato salad have to stay, it is sacrilege for us to serve fried chicken in the summer without them!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: sheiladeedee
                      TorontoJo RE: sheiladeedee Aug 14, 2013 06:15 PM

                      To replace your stuffed mushrooms, how about bite sized cucumber cups stuffed with a crab salad or some chopped smoked salmon mixed with a bit of creme fraiche and sprinkled with dill?

                      But I think your menu looks beautiful as is.

                      1. re: TorontoJo
                        Dirtywextraolives RE: TorontoJo Aug 14, 2013 06:50 PM

                        Oh wow, that reminds me of a great Gourmet app I did for a few parties.... Crab stuffed cucumber cups. So refreshing and delightful.

                    2. Ttrockwood RE: sheiladeedee Aug 14, 2013 06:44 PM

                      If anything i would say the apps could be too filling before your awesome main meal- maybe a few "tweaks" like using a ligher filling in the mushrooms (i ususally just do a chopped sautee of more mushrooms and some herbs), with the pimento cheese served with radishes, jicama, cucumber.
                      For a summertime meal the desserts sound a bit heavy, maybe swap the shortbread for thick cold slices of watermelon or a berries and mint salad
                      Sounds really incredible! I hope they all know to come hungry and be appreciative of such an invite!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Ttrockwood
                        c oliver RE: Ttrockwood Aug 16, 2013 07:18 PM

                        I believe it was hotoynoodle who reminded us that apps are to whet not kill the appetite. I struggle with that.

                        1. re: c oliver
                          sandylc RE: c oliver Aug 27, 2013 07:50 PM

                          I agree. I then think that that maybe if there is a more casual buffet, some/all of the apps can be served at the same time as the entrée, and thus might not be to filling (in advance).

                      2. s
                        sheiladeedee RE: sheiladeedee Aug 15, 2013 04:09 AM

                        Interesting suggestions, thank you all. It is an unusual party where I know all the women and none of the men. I'm trying to recreate a classic picnic meal from my childhood in a seated dinner setting. I'll serve apps on the deck, then seat everyone in the dining room for the main meal, then bring out coffee and an assorted dish of sweet nibbles for people to eat wherever they like.

                        1. g
                          Gloriaa RE: sheiladeedee Aug 16, 2013 01:48 PM

                          Everything sounds delicious but have to agree that I would use more summery foods. How about crostini with ricotta, tomatoes and basil, or with mint and zucchini??? Chips with peach salsa? Can you play around with the potato salad? Maybe a German one? For dessert I would make a peach cobbler, madeleines, cake or semifredo, little chocolates...peaches pair beautifully with almonds or raspberries. It sounds like you are having a lot of fun with it.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Gloriaa
                            alkapal RE: Gloriaa Aug 17, 2013 10:22 AM

                            a german potato salad with fried chicken? sacrilege!

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