Party Food Ideas For Exciting Get-Togethers

Party Food Ideas For Exciting Get-Togethers

A relaxed party using these party food ideas can be arranged in a short time by planning a menu based on repeatable dishes from some of your favorite restaurants. Dishes that are supposed to be served cold are also obvious choices. The host personalizes these items with fresh additions of her own. This approach allows everyone the luxury of spontaneous entertaining. One idea is to prepare simple quadrilles and a salad, chop up some garnishes, and get out all the colorful plates and linens. Use a rustic enamelware Dutch oven to serve any soup and multicolored bowls for everything else. This meal can be on the table in 20 minutes.

Here are some examples of how to order, prepare, and garnish menus based on popular cuisines. No matter what restaurant you order from, give some consideration to the serving dishes you will need ahead of time. Generally to-go food packaging is strictly functional so you will need to transfer the food. Serving a purchased pizza on a rustic maple cutting board surrounded by fresh basil will turn a good delivered pizza into a colorful and exciting dinner.

Here are some examples of how to make a purchased dish feel homemade:

-Arrange an antipasto on a slab of marble.

-Try filling a soup tureen with Thai curried coconut shrimp soup.

-Packing a pâté into a terra-cotta pot lined with fresh green leaves.

-Stacked pizza and calzone onto a turn-of-the-century Iraq.

-Serve tamales from your Chinese bamboo steamer.

Italian Cuisine

Order your favorite sauce for pasta(cook the pasta at home), any casserole-type dish such as lasagna or manicotti, calzone, soups, an antipasto platter, tiramisu, and cannoli

Garnish using bunches of fresh green herbs like basil, oregano, or chives, rosemary branches, and bay laurel.

Make whole roast garlic with herbs or fresh mozzarella with pesto salad.

Buy Italian wines, Italian beer, or Proseco.

Mexican

Order saucy, moist specialties like enchiladas or chicken in mole sauce, grilled dishes like soft chicken tacos and carne asada. Tamales of every kind are endlessly forgiving, as is any soup. The refried beans, salsas, and seasoned rice that generally accompany entrées are very manageable side dishes. Avoid fried items like hard-shell tacos, taquitos, chile rellenos, and chimichangas; fried foods just never reheat well.

Garnish with fresh cilantro sprigs, whole jalapeno chiles, red pepper rings, dried chili pods, avocado or citrus leaves, and hibiscus blossoms.

Make hearts of Romain with toasted pumpkin seeds, fruit bowl with a splash of triple sec, traditional margaritas, and guacamole.

Buy Mexican beer, tortilla chips, tortillas, salsa, and tropical sorbets.

Chinese

There is a reason why Chinese restaurants have such strong association in our minds with take-out food. Many of their traditional dishes travel well. If there is a restaurant with a good dim sum selection near you, an assortment of 6 to 7 can make an elegant supper, with a soup for starters. They will no doubt provide sauces, but freshen everything up with the addition of a spicy vinegar dipping sauce.

Order Mu shu dishes, dim sum, dumplings, Peking duck with all the accompaniment’s, any soup, any non-fried noodles dish, and/or steamed rice.

Garnish with cilantro, parsley, snow peas, shredded bok choy cabbage, flower blossoms, ginger branches, anything gold, or orchids.

Make melon, orange, and lychee skewers with mint.

Buy Chinese beer, Chinese rice wine, oolong key, green tea ginger ice cream, lychee nuts, and chopsticks.

To really pull off a great relaxed party, you will need to make some lists. For dressed up take-out it is a short list. But if you want to make your party more elegant, there are several lists involved. Once you have decided on a menu, right out all of the elements for each dish, including all the sauces, garnishes, and accompaniments involved. From this master list you will then compile sub-lists such as these:

Master shopping list:

This list must include every item you need to purchase to prepare your menu. This includes both food and nonfood items, such as parchment paper, ramekins, paper towels, trashbags, skewers, or sterno.

Order list:

A master list of every food item that must be ordered in advance, such as a birthday cake, a boned leg of lamb, shucked oysters, and any item you’re buying from a restaurant or gourmet shop.

Preparation list:

A master list addressing all the kitchen operations, such as grate carrots, shred cabbage, or make coleslaw dressing. This list should be organized by days. Group the tasks that can be done a week ahead, two days ahead, or the day before. Every caterer organizes kitchen time with preparation lists. It helps you to plan your time and also insures that you do not forget a minor but key ingredient like the sauce for the lamb or the dressing for the salad.…

Catering Recipes – Tying the Whole Menu Together

Catering Recipes – Tying the Whole Menu Together

The creation of a menu, which will balance fantasy with reality, is an art and a science. It is also a skill that can be learned. The easiest way to explain this process is to provide you with a few examples of problem-solving menus. And this is the term used to describe the process of translating the reason for each party, plus the answers to all other essential questions when it comes to catering recipes and tying them all together into great menus.

Let’s take a look at some party examples and formulate the type of catering menu that is appropriate for each situation. Instead of looking at it from the business end, we will go by real-life situations that are catered at home by family members. This will allow you to put yourself in the position of the client.

Sample Party #1:

-The Occasion: you are introducing your daughter’s fiancé and his family to your family
-The Date and Time: summer, from 6 to 9 PM
-The Number of Guests: 25
-The Budget: moderate to high
-Where is detailed: in the host’s garden
-Test Profile: 50% strangers

Here is How We Address the Essentials:

-Summer fruits should be highlighted.
-Your food should be elegant and easy to eat, and befitting this somewhat of a formal occasion.
-The food should be light and mostly cold, because you are acknowledging the weather.
-There should be enough food to be able to provide a light supper, which will be necessary given the time frame of the party.
-A full bar can be included, because it is more cost effective than just wine when your party has a group of 25 or more. On top of that, it feels indulgent.
-Only one dish that requires last-minute attention should ever be included, and it can be handled by the hired help, freeing you up to take care of other matters.

Recommendations for Sample Party #2:

The Occasion: Your Spouse’s Birthday
The Date and Time: In the Fall, around 7:30 PM
The Type of Party: Dinner Party
Number of Guests: 10 Guests
The Budget: Moderate
Where At: Your House
The guest profile: All close friends, and you know they are adventurous eaters. They have been over your house so many times they know all your special recipes by heart, so this time you will take a whole new direction.

Addressing the Essentials

-Your guests enjoy creative, ethnic foods.
-Your husband loves chicken.
-You would prefer a simple menu that you can prepare over a couple of evenings after work.
-The flavors should be spectacular, but the cost should be moderate.
-The cake should be big enough for 50 candles.
-The menu should be suitable enough to be served at a casual buffet, leaving you free, once any of the last-minute dishes are cooked, so you can enjoy the party also.
-Everything on the menu should be readily available in September.

Here is sample party #3:

The Occasion: A Baby shower for Your Daughter
The Date and Time: Springtime, about 11:30 AM
The Type of Party: Brunch Buffet
Number of Guests: 20
Where at: Your Home
Budget: low
The Guest Profile: Women of Various Ages

Addressing the Essentials

-Although this should be an elegant menu, the cost can easily be controlled by maybe serving an interesting casserole, as well as other creative entrées.
-Combining champagne and orange juice reduces the liquor costs.
-Normally guests like to indulge at a party, but women are always watching their weight, so some dishes that address both needs should be included in the menu.
-The party will begin at 11:30 AM, which requires a relatively light menu.
-Your daughter loves fruit, white chocolate, and smoked salmon.
-Everything possible should always be made ahead of time, so that you are free to be the host for the games and activities.

Here is our final scenario, sample party #4:

The occasion: Super Bowl Sunday
The date and time: late January, about noon
The type of party: brunch buffet
The number of guests: 20
Where at: your home
The budget: low
The guest profile: family and neighbors

Addressing the Essentials

-All food should be prepared the day before so there is no rush to be ready by noon.
-The menu should be based on fairly sturdy food that can safely send out during several hours of the game.
-The total cost for the menu should not exceed $5-$6 per person, excluding alcohol.
-The style of the menu should suggest a tailgate party, which is casual, party, comfort food.
-There should be plenty of food so everyone can graze throughout the 3 to 4 hours the game lasts.

You are hereby warned that angst is guaranteed when you ignore the preceding entertainment menu guidelines do not forget the rules of simplicity and do ahead. Play it safe, and learned from the mistakes of others, and you’re entertaining will be a breeze.…

3 Kinds of Catering Clients

3 Kinds of Catering Clients

Who are your potential catering clients? There are 3 broad categories of potential catering clients that you should look at in your catering business: social, corporate, and cultural.

Social Catering

Social catering is the kind that people are apt to think of when talk turns to “hiring the caterer.” Until recently this kind of catering was almost exclusively for very special events such as weddings, bar mitzvahs, and anniversaries. But increasingly people are using caterers for smaller and more informal parties. Caterers these days are called upon to prepare breakfast, lunch, or supper, as well as cocktail parties and buffet dinners for just about any occasion.

Social catering calls heavily on a person’s interpersonal skills, since it is the most intimate form. Clients are entertaining their friends, often in their homes. Frequently the events are important family events, and the client is interested in planning the party with the caterer. Many people find this aspect very rewarding because when the party is successful it means a great deal to the client. Keep in mind, however, that it can be a lot of work dealing with the concerns of the demanding customer.

Social catering is also the area that most often calls upon a caterer to exercise his or her creativity. I caterer must be aware that his clients are aware of current trends, and want to be at their crest.

Many caterers find the challenge of preparing their best and most innovative dishes for clients exciting. Others, however, prefer the relative safety that is expected in the second area of catering, the corporate.

Corporate Catering

Today, corporate catering is booming. Businesses large and small are increasingly hiring caterers to provide the food for advance ranging from board meetings to corporate conventions. Traditionally corporate catering was largely limited to office Christmas parties, but in recent years attitudes have changed and the market is growing rapidly. Caterers are also able to provide services that businesses cannot, such as valet parking, decorations, flowers, bar service, cleanup, and equipment rental.

Corporate catering and social catering alike can be done to fit most budgets, including inexpensive, moderate, and lavish. Common corporate events for caterers include breakfast, mid-morning breaks of coffee and fresh pastries, in-house working lunches, and more elaborate gala banquets and company picnics. They can also include ground-breaking and a ribbon-cutting ceremonies, product introductions, grand openings, VIP receptions, open houses, and potential events.

Corporate catering tends to be less personal than social catering. Since corporate parties rarely involve serving a clients emotional needs (as at a wedding or family celebration), corporate dates usually offer the caterer more latitude and require less creativity. Often the contact is made with a public-relations director, or administrator, or in small businesses with the office manager, boss’s assistant, or owner. The tendency is to leave more of the details of the party to the caterer, as planning of special advance is often in addition to other duties.

There is generally less interest in innovative dishes than with well-prepared, basic popular foods. One primary difference between social and corporate catering is that corporate parties are usually larger and the logistics are more difficult. That difficulty is often counterbalanced by the fact that corporate clients are generally less concerned with price and private clients, and more concerned with having the party done nicely.

Cultural Catering

The third distinctive area is cultural catering, and it is a mix of social and corporate. Cultural catering involves museums, orchestras, ballet companies, artistic and cultural foundations, and charities.

We all read about the fund-raising dinner dances for their local orchestra and cocktail parties and art show openings, but cultural catering also includes catering the lunch room for volunteers working at a charity book sale, or providing refreshments for working meetings. This is a natural area for caterers, especially since it provides high visibility. Many of the events are written up in newspapers which can offer valuable publicity.

Cultural parties are not personal like social parties, yet they aren’t strictly business either. The organizers of the events are often volunteers who themselves entertain, so there is about a 50-50 chance you will meet up with a client who will understand your job and leave you to do it or a semi pro who elects to interfere at every opportunity. Cultural groups often have limited budgets, like many social clients, yet like corporate clients, they are often less concerned with the truly imaginative meal than that the overall look be correct and appealing.

Each of these three main categories has its desirable aspects and its irritations. But most important, each has a need for good caterers. You may want to develop your business focusing on one group more than another, or you may find in your area the need among one is greater than the others; a mix of clients is probably best, at least starting out. But in the beginning, you will probably be happy to have any client, no matter what kind.…

Home Catering Business

Home Catering Business

Do You Have What It Takes to Open A Home Catering Business?

What exactly makes a good caterer? Talk to 10 different caterers, and you will get 10 different opinions and profiles. Catering is made up of so many different elements, such as dealing with customers, pricing the party, planning and preparing the food, and serving and delivering, that it is hard to say what the most important qualities you need to possess if you are interested in becoming a caterer. One thing that is absolutely mandatory is that you are able to provide a good product and be able to sell it well.

In able to do that, there are several qualities that are useful, no matter what kind of food you prepare and serve. The fact is that catering is a business that is dependent on thorough planning and sound organization. You have to have those qualities or be willing to learn how to become one.

If you are concerned about your organizational skills, you could consider starting out catering with a specific food, such as cakes, bread, or sandwiches, that will require a little less organization ability. You could also offer only a limited selection of food and no, or little services. You could also establish a standard price list that would free you up from having to keeping making quotes and adjusting to budgets. You will still need to meet schedules, but the logistics will be much less complex.

Another helpful quality for a caterer is being pretty good with numbers. A caterer has to make quotations and create menus to match budgets.

Since catering is a service industry, another helpful attribute is an interest in dealing with the public. You have to like to talk to people, and feel comfortable around them. You need to be able to listen to their needs and desires, and to be relaxed enough around people to offer suggestions of how to best serve them.

You need to be able to spend long periods of time on your feet. Catering is cooking, setting up, serving, and cleaning up, so there is very little sitting time. Stamina is an important attribute, and you might want to first buy a good pair of comfortable, sturdy shoes.

You have to have a calm demeaner, and not panic or have a melt-down, because things do and will go wrong. In the catering business, there are always emergencies.

Of course, no one is the perfect combination of desirable catering qualities, and many of these things are really just a matter of learning and practice. And the desire to succeed in your home catering business will overcome many deficiencies.…

Food Catering Business Plans and Actions

Food Catering Business Plans and Actions

Starting and Operating Your Own Food Catering Business

You are a great cook, and all your friends look forward to coming to your house for memorable parties. They have been telling you for years that you should sell your lemon chicken or your strawberry cheesecake. Maybe you have spent time working for a caterer and that helped you develop the right organizational skills. Every time you go to a party, you find yourself critiquing their food and their service. You often feel frustrated, knowing you would do things differently if you were in charge of running a food catering business.

Nothing at your regular job ever seems as satisfying as your work in the kitchen. Maybe your kids are a little older, and you have some time to put your kitchen practice to work. Perhaps those cooking classes you took a short while ago have given you the confidence you need to show your skills in the kitchen.

You know of people who have started catering who have made money and thoroughly enjoyed themselves doing it. You have seen that it has given them the freedom to create their own schedules, and you are sure you could do it too.

If any of this sounds like you, then you have probably considered catering yourself. And why would you not consider it? People enter the catering profession from many different backgrounds, and with varying levels of experience. There is noting in the catering business that restricts you because of age, sex, or level of training. Some people come to the food catering business through a hobby of food and cooking, and others train professionally at cooking schools or by apprenticing. Still other people arrive from other careers, and are spurred by an interest in food, and an entrepreneurial spirit.

Now, before you go out and buy supplies, hire staff, and take out advertisements, consider carefully what you want and need from starting a catering business and a career in food. Ask yourself the following questions:

Why do you want to cater?

If your answer is because you want an easy way to make a lot of money, then catering is not the right field for you. If you believe it would be a glamorous way to make famous friends, then look elsewhere. If it is because you love good food, either through cooking or eating it, and you want to make others happy with it, then you could be on the road to a rewarding catering career. If you happen to get rich and famous along the way, consider that a bonus.

What do you want out of a catering business?

Do you want full or part-time employment? Your answer will determine the scope of the catering you do. In the beginning, your catering business will almost certainly be slow (part-time) until you grow a client base. Be prepared for tough times at first, and busy times once you are established.

Do you want to build a large business empire, or are you going to cook and cater primarily for your own satisfaction?

Since you will be your own boss, it will be your own choice. Before you settle on an answer, you should know that unless you can afford to accept only the rare good jobs available to a new caterer, you will need to devote a lot of time and effort to building your business. It will be hard work.

What kind of food do you enjoy preparing?

Do you enjoy dinner parties the most? Do you love baking the most? Do you prefer to make hors d’oeuvre platters rather than full meals? Or do you only enjoy making desserts? There is room for almost any food in the catering world, but you need to be able to find your way to the people that want what you are selling.

How do you prefer to work?

Are you organized and methodical, or instinctive and free-form when cooking? Do you like to talk to people on the phone and in person, or do you prefer for someone else to handle the public? Do you enjoy creating menus and organizing tasks, or do you prefer following a preset schedule?

Starting a food catering business requires answering all of these questions, and none have right answers. But you must understand yourself and how you work in order to plan your catering business. By doing that, you will never find yourself with a setup that does not fit the way you work.…