Need ideas for a theme

loves2cook4sixJuly 9, 2007

We have a group of friends 12 of us, who get together every other month for a "Gourmet Club" where the hosting couple chooses a theme and makes the main course, while the others all bring complimentary dishes based on the theme.

We are hosting the July get together at Ravinia, an outdoor concert in the park. It's picnic style and the gamut of meals on display from other attendees runs from the simple sandwich in wax paper to elaborate tablescapes, with candles and china.

My problem is that I have no kitchen! We begin demo tomorrow and there is no way my kitchen will be complete in two weeks hahaha.

So I need ideas for a theme where the main course can be prepared with a minimum of fuss. I do have a "complete" kitchenette in the basement with a convection microwave and a hot plate but I have literally 2' of counterspace and no dishwasher. So I can make just about anything if I have to.

Dietery restrictions are no shellfish and no mushrooms. Tree nuts are also out.

Themes in the past have included New Orleans Cajun where we served Maffalettos; Spicy Indian where we served samosas, meatballs etc; and american bbq. LOL - we were told to stop bbq'ng at that one. We had no idea grilling wasn't allowed.

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I would call my theme "classy take out".
I know whre you live if you are going to son lives in Buffalo Grove and his wife grew up in Deerfield. Everything is available to you.
I would buy something lovely, precooked...perhaps Dorfflers would do you something like pre cooked beef tenderloin that you could slice and serve with an assortment or bottled sauces and breads....or several chickens on a spit.
How about Chinese take out? You can keep hot stuff hot in a coleman cooler. And everyone could add to that.
Do you have one of those tables in a bag that are so much used at Ravinia? and chop sticks...I know they make square black plastic plates ( normally I eschew disposable...but I'll give permission this time! LOL!)
You can also buy those white boxes and use them for leftovers or anything that yo think of.
Head to the dollar store and see what you can find for table decorations.
You could tell the others that the theme is "Chinese"....and since you have no can do take out.....and they can do soup....veggies etc.
Linda C

    Bookmark   July 10, 2007 at 8:37PM
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Do you have a grill at home? I'd be tempted to go with take-out as well, but if you are looking to make something yourself, this could be a good option for prep without a kitchen.

I have a Pampered Chef recipe for grilled vegetable ratatouille with a simple balsamic vinegarette that gets good reviews and is pretty simple to throw together. (You could probably work it out without a recipe, but you can email me through my blog if you'd like it)

You could go with a vegetarian theme, or try to stump everyone and go with a Disney/movie theme :)

You could also go with a "construction site" theme and have some sort of "build your own entree." You could bring items to assemble dinner salads or wrap sandwiches. Fajitas would be good - it sounds like you guys have had to solve the keeping food hot problem before.

That might be a good way to take some of the pressure off yourself by reminding folks that you are mid-remodel and it might not be as gourmet as usual.

Here is a link that might be useful: craftfetish blog

    Bookmark   July 11, 2007 at 3:38PM
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How about a fondue party? You should be able to rent the equipment. You could bring the meat and sauce for it, while the others brought sides with dipping and cheese sauces and chocolate fondue with cake and fruit to dip.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2007 at 3:44PM
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