When it comes to entertaining and feeding a lot of people at once, few people know as much as caterers do. They have to be prepared for almost anything and have to know how to meet the needs of a lot of people. …all at once! Today we asked a couple of our Featured Caterers to give us their best tips (and a couple recipes) for how to keep things simple and easy when hosting a dinner party.
Photo by Jenna Boogerd
Do Family Style
“When planning the perfect Dinner Party for friends, family, co-workers, or new acquaintances Commellini Estate highly recommends family style meal service. From the appetizer to the dessert family style meals promotes conversation and makes guests feel relaxed. Family Style meals make your table look bountiful, saves you time, and encourages conversation. As silly as it may sound, but when you have to ask the person across the table “Can you pass the lasagna again? It is fantastic!” it will not only make you proud, but it will help break the ice and foster conversation and a communal feel. In addition, your guests get to eat what they want versus pre-portioned service and without having to get up from the table for seconds.”
-From Desiree at Commellini Estate
Keep calm and mise en place
“Mise en place is a French term used in many restaurants and kitchens that translates to “putting in place”. It refers to being organized and getting your ingredients ready for cooking, before you even turn on your oven. That means having all your ingredients measured out, your produce or proteins prepped, and having everything you would need for that particular dish, in an arm’s reach. When you’re preparing to cook for guests, it helpful to make sure your kitchen is clean and organized, and that’s exactly what mise en place is suppose to do. Nothing is worse than having to measure out how much cheese you’ll need to add to your simmering pot of milk, right when it’s about to boil over!”
Photo by Crystal Madsen Photography
For a successful event for you and your guests, we find it’s best to get as much done the night before the event. Some great examples of items you can do ahead of time are creating a pretty tablescapes with detailed place settings, pre-batching a signature cocktail to serve over ice or prepping a chilled appetizers to have ready the instant your guests arrive! One of our favorite dishes to showcase, especially during the warm summer months, are our Chilled Lemongrass Infused Prawns served with Wasabi Cocktail Sauce.
-From Ali at Beacon Hill Catering & Events
Chilled Lemongrass Infused Prawns with Wasabi Cocktail Sauce
From Beacon Hill
For the Sauce: (makes 1 cup)
1 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
½ tablespoon Wasabi Powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
In a small bowl, stir together all the ingredients, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
For the Prawns: (makes 4 dozen)
5 Stalks of Lemongrass, Cut Into ½ inch Chunks
Fill a large pot with water and add lemongrass chunks. Bring pot to a boil. Add shrimp and cook for 12 minutes or until shrimp is opaque and tails are pink. Drain and chill shrimp until ready to serve. Serve with Wasabi Cocktail Sauce.
Leda’s Cooked Carrots
From Commellini Estate
¼ cup Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Garlic minced
1 Onions Chopped
1.5 lbs Carrots thinly sliced
2 cups Leda’s Meat Sauce
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, wide nonstick skillet or saucepan. Add the garlic and onion slices and stir to coat the onions with the oil. Cook for 8 min stirring occasionally. Add sliced carrots, cover, and cook until thoroughly cooked through, approximately 20 minutes. Then add Leda’s meat sauce and cook for another 5 minutes. At salt and Pepper to taste.