Summer Dinner Series ~ Post #2
June 22, 2017
Summer is in full swing and so is our Summer Dinner Series. Now that you’ve sent out your invitations, it’s time to think about what you’ll be serving. Since this is an intimate event, we would assume that 80% of your guests will RSVP. See some tips below for creating the perfect meal to share with friends and family.
First, decide if you’re hosting a reception style “grazing” party or a full, seated dinner. With the first option, variety is key – create a menu that includes vegetarian options, a bit of fish and of course, meats and cheeses. We generally recommend 8-10 small bites per person, to ensure that the quantity is appropriate for a meal. For the latter, a seated dinner should include seasonal starters like fresh salads and vegetables from the garden, perhaps a light pasta and grilled fish or meats. Serve it family-style to keep the event informal and fun.
The Cheese Assortment
It’s best to serve between 4 to 6 different styles of cheese. Offer at least one familiar selection, such as cheddar and then follow with one firm, one soft and a blue cheese. Some of Chef Joho’s favorites are; a twist on a classic cheddar Prairie Cheese from Milton Creamery, soft April Showers cheese from Evergreen Lane Creamery and aged Mont St Francis by Capriole Farms.
Display 4-6 different types of breads to pair with the cheese. Chef Joho prefers beer bread from Alsace, German Rye from Bit of Swiss, and baguettes from La Fournette.
Plan your menu around foods that are seasonal and local to you. In the midwest, the summer bounty includes; peaches, blueberries, cherries, radishes, kale, squash, corn and much more. Lighter options are generally best during the summer, and we recommend the the majority of your dishes to be cold. Utilize your grill for a simple meat or fish dish – and keep the kitchen clean. Craft a simple menu that’s easy to prepare, so that you too, can enjoy the party. From Chef Joho’s Eiffel Tower Restaurant Cookbook, the Eiffel Tower Summer Salad is a wonderful dish for a summer party.
Even Chef Joho requests a little help and asks for assistance in the kitchen, so be sure to have someone lend a hand. And if you’re looking for an experience that you and your guests will cherish, you can always have Everest play host and we’ll take care of you!
Eiffel Tower Summer Salad
1 bunch celery
2 baby yellow beets, peeled
2 asparagus spears
1 cucumber, peeled
1 broccoli stalk peeled
2 baby red beets, peeled
½ teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 ½ tablespoons Banyuls vinegar*
½ cup grapeseed oil
1 cup arugula, watercress, or mixed baby salad greens
Remove and discard the outer stalks of the celery, leaving the tender inner stalks and reserving the leaves. Peel the stalks. Slice all of the remaining vegetables paper-thin on a mandoline or with a sharp knife. Plunge the vegetables, including the celery leaves, into a bowl of ice water, putting the red beets in a separate bowl of ice waters so they do not discolor the other vegetables. Let stand for at least 30 minutes, or until you are ready to serve.
In a small bowl, combine the sugar, salt, and vinegar. Stir to blend. Whisk in the oil until emulsified.
Just before serving, drain the vegetables and put them in a large bowl. Add the greens and vinaigrette; toss to coat and divide among 4 to 6 salad plates. Serve all at once.
*Note: Banyuls vinegar is made from a sweet French wine. Look for it in specialty foods stores or online.