Too Hot for the Hot Tub
September 5, 2007 8:44 PM   Subscribe

Lunch buffet menu for the summer. Need some ideas and help with menu.

It is hot and humid where I am at. I agreed to cater a buffet for 15 people at the end of next week. I do not want to use the oven in a place with no air conditioning. What items would you suggest when you want to enjoy the party, have a 6 top burner, Cuisinart toaster oven and a broiler? Thanks to the Green I got some good ideas on summer drinks. Here is what I have so far as ideas --nothing written in stone:
    Drinks: rum punch ginger punch pimms cup Mefi Lemonade Meats: chicken drumettes with 2 pepper seasoning pork riblets with hoisin and honey Beef tri-tip salmon cooked on sliced apples, thyme and sweet rub sides: corn bread pudding mushroom relish salads: tomato with balsamic vinegar and basil Cantaloupe with Grand Marnier, honey and chiffonade of mint; Honeydew with gin and ribbons of basil; dessert: panna cotta with berry compote? Sangria molded jello salad with grapes, strawberries and mandarin oranges (hey, its a homage to the midwest)
posted by jadepearl to Food & Drink (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
How about a heavier cold salad like potato salad or pasta salad. As a bonus they can be prepared ahead of time.
posted by metahawk at 8:50 PM on September 5, 2007

I would do either a Cobb salad or one that's made from a mesclun mix with goat cheese, dried cherries/cranberries, walnuts/pecans and a mustard vinaigrette dressing. If you do the mesclun one, you will have something available to people that are vegetarians (not everybody eats fish).

You might also want to consider some grilled veggies with or without balsamic. Super easy to do ahead of time, and just serve at room temp. Have some sliced baguette bread on hand, as well.

I'd be a little concerned about being able to keep the panna cotta properly chilled if the weather is going to be particularly hot and gross. If you *do* have access to a freezer, what about some sort of granita? All it really consists of is a partially frozen flavoured simple syrup. You could always do a traditional strawberry shortcake sort of dessert and get a little spiffy by soaking the cake in a liqueur.

Sounds YUM!
posted by dancinglamb at 9:38 PM on September 5, 2007

Sorry. Not soaking - I meant *sprinkling* the cake with a liqueur. Got a little ahead of myself there. ;)
posted by dancinglamb at 9:40 PM on September 5, 2007

I make chunky gazpacho a lot in the summer for all the various parties and barbecues we host. I suspect that would translate really well into a fruit-oriented dessert type thing.
posted by padraigin at 10:26 PM on September 5, 2007

Response by poster: From the taste point, do you all think that the balsamic vinegar in the tomato salad, mushroom relish and berry compote is too repetive a taste? I have basil in the tomato salad and the honey dew as well. I am hoping to create a consistent echo and pairing of taste but hey, I maybe deluding myself. I have calculated that if I go the appetizer route that I will need about 225 pieces for a three hour party so if people want to pitch some appetizers at me that would be good too.
posted by jadepearl at 11:05 PM on September 5, 2007

posted by thebrokenmuse at 11:39 PM on September 5, 2007

A lemonade update: the tips I gave in that answer aren't a proper recipe. I posted a follow-up with complete recipe here. [self-link, obviously.]
posted by Elsa at 11:15 AM on September 6, 2007

There is a fancy pants chef here in town that makes a lovely gazpacho with a big lump of crab salad in it with some citrus mayonnaise.

You could also make chicken salad from a good quality rotisserie (I know it's kinda Family Circle, but fresh herbs make it).

I had a nice set of melon and proccutio wraps at a party recently as apps.

I'm also a fan of cheese plates with pickles - I had pickled baby peaches with truffle oil that knocked my socks off. Small pieces of cheese with herbed pecans stuffed in them are great apps, too.
posted by beezy at 12:21 PM on September 6, 2007

You know your crowd better than me, but I'd like to suggest you make the menu a little less booze-soaked for the alcoholics and/or pregnant ladies in your group, should there be any...

Otherwise, some starches: maybe cold sesame noodles? A nice chilled couscous with raisins and pine nuts? Rice pudding?

And another vegetable dish or two. I'm down with the roasted or grilled veggies, maybe on fun little bamboo skewers. There's nothing wrong with good old crudite, either, if you make with some fancy dips (I fancy a nectarine and caramelized onion salsa, or maybe a nice sour cream-dill concoction.) Or a salad with roasted beets, salad onions, and lovely chunks of feta...

And hey, everybody loves a chocolate dessert. Except me. But everywhere I go there's always a chocolate dessert. So maybe chocolate-dipped strawberry, banana, angel food cake?

Have a wonderful (and delicious!) party. :)
posted by Andrhia at 4:03 PM on September 6, 2007

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