Last weekend I had a great opportunity to do a dinner for around 20 people. Thanks to my friends Chuck and Becka, who were running a B&B for a few weeks while the regular caretakers were on vacation, they invited around 20 people who they knew for a dinner for me to cater. Chuck and Becka are the couple that had me do a dinner back in June for their board of directors, it sure is great getting repeat business!!!
Anyways, I did this dinner in much of the same fashion, of serving different courses. I really enjoy doing it this way, as you can use a little portion control and you can really strive to make the plate look beautiful before taking it to them. And while plate presentation can be really hard to pull off when you are really trying to get a plate out of the door to a guest while the food is still hot, I think we did OK. And another thing that we had confirmed was that taking pictures of food can be really hard to do, so I hope any pictures that we have do justice.
You always have to make due with what equipment you have and what kind of space you have to work with, and each dinner presents it's own challenges. So you might not be able to pull off every little nuance that you want to to make the plate look just like you want, but no matter what, the flavor is there, and that may be what really matters. Pleasing the guy that only wants basic meat and potatoes, and if it isn't basic will just eat potato chips because he doesn't want to offend his simple palate, means it is a success when he comes to tell you how good everything was. That is always my goal. And I think this dinner was a success.
The first course was one new appetizer, and a familiar one. I made clams casino, on a crostini instead of the actual clam shell. (We are in northern Indiana, and I think more people will eat off of bread than they will a shell). And I also made a roasted feta appetizer where I toasted Pita bread, placed on a slice of feta and then a mixture of roasted red peppers and kalamata olives, then broiled them for a few minutes to melt everything together. It was a very good little bite of food, and makes a great dip if you make a large quantity all together and just serve it with pita chips or something similar to dip it with.
The second course was Caprese salad. I have done this before, but I was a little hesitant because of being winter, and tomatoes not really being in season any more, but I think that it was still good. In this picture, you can see Chuck and I plating the salads. Unfortunately, we did not have very good bowls for the salad, and they kind of got swallowed up by the size of the bowl, but like I said you make due with what you have, and some day I will be able to buy my own dishes.
The main course consisted Pork tenderloin with a Chimichurri, roasted New Potatoes with a garlic aioli, and green beans with tomato concasse, which is a fancy french word for chopped tomatoes. (There may be more to the word, but it doesn't need explained here). A big unfortunate was that we did not get a picture of the entree plate, but there are some pictures of the pork as it was being cut up.
And finally for dessert I made Port and Ginger poached pears. After poaching the pears I reduced the poaching liquid into a syrup and that topped this dessert. I also used a different type of pear, (I wish I could remember the name right now, it started with an "S"), it was a very small pear which visually I thought was really cool, and was something that people were not used to seeing. I also really like to use seasonal fruit with desserts, as I think that it is something that people are not always expecting, and I think that it was the perfect cap to this dinner. Again, big bowls make for a small looking dessert, but it was just the right size.
I am looking forward to doing another dinner this Friday for a wedding rehearsal. I will be doing some pastas and other items for this group, and I am excited about getting to make some "basic" food in some really cool ways. My brother will be helping me with this one, and it will be cool to be able to work with him, and have him be a part of a really good meal for a lot of people that he knows. They will thank him for it.