Dinner party- vegetarin, gluten free and picky eater?
Hello! This i my first post!
My fiance and I are hosting our first grown-up dinner party for 4 other couples, but I am totally at a loss of what to make. I am someone who enjoys cooking and eating adventurously, but I am stumped based on our guests. The reason is... one guest is a vegetarian and one is gluten free; a problem that I am sure is found elsewhere on the board. However two of the other people are just picky eaters- nothing crazy, nothing adventurous, would be happy eating steak and potatoes nightly. What do I make? I was thinking I could make two main courses, one with meat gluten free and one vegetarian, but with the same style (such as chicken parm and eggplant parm.) Anyone have any suggestions for me? Thank you in advance1
How picky are the picky eaters? I would go the Asian route (if picky eaters would be OK with it), as you can use soba noodles (buckwheat = gluten free) or rice as your base and have an infinite number of protein/veg combos from there, with an equally infinite number of sauces. For instance, soba noodles topped with veg and a spicy peanut sauce. Offer two choices of proteins for the meal- crispy fried tofu or grilled chicken (or something like that).
Just a word of caution about soba noodles - although buckwheat is gluten free, most of the brands of soba noodles in our stores in Alberta do contain gluten (wheat) along with the buckwheat. In fact, I the only "safe" brand was found in our local health food store. Hopefully it is different where you live. So, make sure to read the labels! :)
How about polenta with mushroom bourguignon (or roasted vegetables, if mushrooms are considered a no-go) and a green salad or buttered steamed sugar snap peas on the side? Here is a good recipe for the mushroom dish: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2009/0... (you would probably need to substitute a gluten-free thickener, like cornstarch, arrowroot, or rice flour for the regular flour.)
You could also go the route of making risotto- stir ins could be green peas, mushrooms, roasted butternut squash cubes....
If you think that you want some meat on the table, simply sauteed herb-marinated chicken breast sounds pretty simple and non-offensive, but can be really delicious when done well (and fits with many menus).
You could also go in a very adventurous but picky-eater friendly route and make tapas. Spanish tortilla is just potatoes and eggs....sauteed greens....roasted asparagus....roasted potato wedges with romesco on the side (skip the bread in the sauce)....roasted garlic and bread.....garlic shrimp....sliced cured meats....just probably a matter of making sure things that are gluten-free are clearly designated, and that there's extra portions fo the vegetarian dishes to make sure no one goes hungry because of other guests' choices. :)
I just did this but with vegan, gluten-free, soy-free and regular foodies. I did a leg of lamb for the regular folks, grilled portobellos for the vegans, vegan tsaziki, a side of quinoa & kale (vegans need some protein) with a mediterranean flair, an arugula/basil/tomato salad, and roasted potatoes & vegetables. The key is isolating the types of ingredients so that people can pick and choose according to their preferences. The great thing about roasts/roasting is that they don't need a lot of attention so you can focus on other things.
If it's not too cold out to use the grill, you could make lamb, chicken and vegetable kebabs.
Some vegetables that we like on the grill: asparagus, green beans, eggplant, sweet potato, mushrooms, onion and peppers. We do all of those in one meal with friends sometimes. Everyone loves the array of vegetables.
Serve with a big pile of basmati rice and a salad, and some good bread or GF cornbread.