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Holidays

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
What are you guys cooking up for the holidays?

I'm working on grilled cheese stations....especially for kids invited parties, add fun adult ones too, such as chevre with tapenade or brie with apples.......

Wild shroom stations are still really popular and Cosco has a small 3-5# choc fountain I wanna check out for $40. Think BBQ sauce or something other than choc.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #2 of 16
Just recently heard about someone using their choc. fountain for BBQ. Don't remember where I heard it, but I guess it went over really well. I also love the Grilled Cheese Station idea. Wish I had thought of it. You could really make it upscale for adults also.
post #3 of 16
Shroom,
The choco fountains are used here regularly for queso stations. No big ingredients but flavored with jalapeno brine and pepper reductions.
Thank godness! The contraptions were cutting into to my grooms cake business. If unmanned they're a mess. So that fad has passed here.
Lately we have been booking for 2006, upscale fondue stations, we basically have replaced fresh fruit with beautiful dried,candied,poached fruits and lots of baking items(assorted pound cakes, short doughs,cookies, crackle, flourentines etc). We decided to dive into this for the holidays also.
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
I've made dark and milk choc stations in chafers for smaller groups with the great marshmellows from Whole Foods....vanilla ones have been really big hits.
Depending on how foodie my customers the choc varies from Valharona to Nestles.

Wild mushroom duxelle is a winner too. REALLY good return. it only takes a handful of wild dry to infuse flavor into button shrooms and cream....the soaking liquid is key.

Asian stations are generally a bear, but that's a direction alot of clients are heading. Guess I could quit making fresh Vietnamese springrolls.....the time it takes to make them for parties of several hundred is hard to justify. I've had a covered fryer for a few years just never felt comfortable frying for parties...just leaves a mist of oil in the air/room.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #5 of 16

asian stations

Shroom - here's a way to do the asian station that is much easier and has a better visual impact. Use the same filling from your spring rolls - eg vermicelli noodles or we use fresh asian spinach noodles and make a crab/shrimp "slaw" using the noodles, napa cabbage, julienned carrots & diakon (marinated like for bahn mai). Place portions in pint sized asian take out containers. I like to get the red ones as they are more festive, but they are getting harder to find as the asian restaurants only use them for the holidays (red = good luck) and also many have moved over to the circular microwavable plastic containers with lids.

In anycase the take out boxes make a eye catching display. For Larger events I've used a circular table with two glass tops tiered up using green apples inbetween for color and effect/black table cloth and the red boxes with wooden chopsticks with red paper wrappers sticking up out of every third box or so. You can also stick something like skewers of satay in the boxes. This presentation works well even if you are using china (and cuts down on the rentals and cleanup of course)

also the dumplings you can buy in the asian stores work well in a round chafer, not too many at a time, keep replenishing and put them on top of julienned carrots with black sesame seeds. Coat the dumplings with a mixture of sesame oil and veg oil to prevent sticking.

what do you do with the duxelle - how do you display it and what do you serve it on? Crostinis?

Personally I hate the chocolate fountains - we have been doing the chocolate dipping pond or chocolate fondue instead and before the fountain trend. And we always have an attendant! It can be quite disgusting to see what people do on there own!

cream puffs are a good dipper too.

another good source for chocolate is trader joes -
Chef Tigerwoman

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Chef Tigerwoman

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post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
Wolfgang Puck makes an Asian salad and puts it in red go containers....

The Asian stations I make may include....sate poked in pineapple (trite but very visual) I started having habanero sauce as well as jalepino....both work well and the heatheads love the hab sauce.

bought steamed dumplings....they work....usually have them on a bed of napa but the carrots are a good idea. Black sesame seeds are a great addition for garnish as is fried rice noodles....the fruffy puffy white just is FUN

I've made rice stick salad and had it on a large platter.....the individal containers work better.

The small size fresh spring rolls have hoisin based sauce on the inside with a Thai basil leaf showing through a layer of rice paper....really stunning, really labor intensive.

lettuce cups with spice tuna or cooked chicken with cashews

I've not done sushi stations, though I have done searred sashimi grade tuna on Asian salad for dinner parties.

I don't like eating messy food at parties and so don't make pickup food that's sloppy.

Good to read you again Tigerwoman.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #7 of 16

sauces

we had a great sauce in Playa Del Carmen Mexico this summer

Chipotle Tamarind BBQ - not sure how it was made but heavy tamarind and smoky chipotle pepper taste. Begged the owner and purchased a bottle (filled up a water bottle) to bring home - still hoarding it and enjoying from time to time.
Chef Tigerwoman

Stop Tofu Abuse...Eat Foie Gras...
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Chef Tigerwoman

Stop Tofu Abuse...Eat Foie Gras...
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post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
I really like tamarand alot! pomagranite also....
may be worth playing around for an afternoon while you have some of the original sauce to compare.

I've got a friend that is making alot of baby burgers.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #9 of 16

trends

the mini burgers aka sliders were very hot in NY for the last 2 years but seem to be dying down now - although other burgers - eg lamb veal etc are becoming more popular too

also things in cones, shot glasses, demitasse cups and SHORT PLATES or so called mini entree either passed to a stationary display.

here are some tried and true ideas

eg cajun catfish with remoulade in a banana leaf cone

full turkey dinner (turkey, sweet potato, stuffing and cranberry relish in a martini glass - make stuffing interesting - everything is bite sized and fork friendly

seared scallops with tapiko fish roe on a coconut spoon

sesame crusted tuna on a bed of julienned vegetables

a small 3 sectioned rectangular plate with a study of lobster 3 ways, shrimp 3 ways, chocolate 3 ways, etc.

caribbean shrimp and coconut shooter
Chef Tigerwoman

Stop Tofu Abuse...Eat Foie Gras...
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Chef Tigerwoman

Stop Tofu Abuse...Eat Foie Gras...
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post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
wow, I love the coconut spoon.....
Last year I made apple pie shooters using communion glasses and they were a hit but a total mess to make. albeit 4 part assembly in a tiny glass...tippage was a major issue.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #11 of 16

mini burger station ?

I recently did my first mini-burger station for a corporate client..used 2 butane burners with a large cast iron ridged grill covering both burners. Even with the flame turned low, we had some smoke from the station. Had to get the fire system shut down so sprinkler's didn't go off! :blush: Ended up precooking the burgers in the kitchen area (I was fortunate the venue had an on-site kitchen) which cut down on the amount of time they had to be on the grill. The guests loved it....you would have thought they had never had a hamburger in their life!


I am catering another event with a requested burger station (referral from the last event) and needless to say, I don't want that to happen again and I may not be so fortunate to always have an on-site kitchen.........how do you handle the smoke issue? I use a lean cut of beef and grind my own because I add my own spices etc...would be totally nervous to do it with lamb or a fattier product! Can you just see the sprinklers and foam covering everything...unreal!

Soooooooo...how do you keep the smoke down?

Thanks for the much awaited advice.
post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
not sure where you are located, there is always the outdoor option.
I'd play around with par cooked. I've not worked with baby burgers though a good friend/caterer has I'll ask her when she comes up for air.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #13 of 16

Thanks Shroomie

I'm in NE Ohio and outdoors is not an option for this event.
I did try the par cooked and I can certainly do that; cuts down on the amount of time on the grill.

I would like to try and figure this out before I go to client and ask if the fire/security can be shut down, but I would rather not do that as I am sure the answer would be no.

I would appreciate any help you can give since this is next weekend!!!!
post #14 of 16

Mini burgers indoors

You might try something like a "George Foreman" style grill. Cheap, easy, cooks really fast, easy to clean. Cuisinart has one out for about $125
I've grilled paninis, pastrami on rye, chicken breasts (for 200) 8-12 ct butterflied shrimp (flattens them nicely).

Very little fume, no spatter, heat is sort of "confined".
post #15 of 16

Station ideas

Thanks Tigerwoman and Shroomgirl for some cool ideas.
Shroom, please expand in detail on what's been working for you with the grilled cheese stations.
post #16 of 16

Mini burgers

If you are not in front of the guests for the mini burgers......we use hanger steak, browned nicely on the outside and just warm through. We make our own mini English muffins. Dead easy to roll and punch on site. Both items can be cooked on a portable electric grill with almost no smoke or grease. We just slice the hanger...it is the right diameter. Presto. And hanger is maybe two bucks a pound for natural beef.

And, yup...we are hooked on tamarind, too. That goes over the hanger for ''catsup.''

At Arzak in San Sebastian last winter, the chef knew I was an American chef. At dessert he sent out a mini burger for a laugh: a sweet, tiny brioche like a bun, chopped chocolate formed for the burger, raspberry coulis for the catsup, and dried apple for the onion. Wow.
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