My wife and I really like cooking elaborate multi-course meals for guests. We are advanced home cooks, and greatly enjoy being in the kitchen. However, our kitchen is not lavish, and of course time is limited. What are your go-to recipes that can be prepared in advance (ideally, the weekend before and frozen) and then finished or reheated for a really excellent dinner party? Examples inside.
We tend to cook Italian dishes, with some French and some American menus. At a recent get together, we had an Italian mushroom soup, home-made pasta with a zucchini-based sauce, a vegetable course of artichokes, a simple chicken piccata, a salad course, and a cheese course. Dessert was a mint meringue for no particular reason.
The mushroom soup was prepared halfway the prior weekend, frozen, and finished on the night of the event. The pasta was made the weekend before and frozen, as was the sauce. The artichokes, chicken, salad, and meringue were prepared the day of. (Since meringue has to set, we made it early in the day, which was a plus.) We also baked some bread that night, and the dough had been prepared a day or two before. We take no credit for the cheese.
If you're like us, and like to spend vast amounts of time in the kitchen, what do you prepare in advance to maximize time with guests when hosting an elaborate dinner party? This would include items that freeze well, items that keep well in the fridge, and dry ingredients that can be pre-prepared. I'd also be interested in hearing about beverages (like this great Chef Steps bitter orange juice
) and sauces that you prepare in advance.
To be clear, I'm not looking for sort of everyday dishes (chili, stew, etc.) that can be premade and thawed for dinner (though we do that all the time at our place). I'm looking in particular for "showpiece" cooking by advanced home cooks for nice dinner parties.
For what it's worth, we have a vacuum sealer, sous vide, dehydrator, and all standard cooking gear.
Bonus question: Douglas Baldwin
suggests that meats that have been cooked sous vide to the point of pasteurization and kept vacuum sealed could be kept for weeks at 38F (search for "weeks" on linked page). Does anyone have any experience with pasteurized sous vide meats kept that long in the fridge?