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Special Meal Ideas?


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My wife turns 40 this weekend, so I want to have a special dinner for her and some family.  Unfortunately, the weekend is pretty well slammed with Father's Day events, so I'm going to have people over on Monday.  I need some ideas for something that can feed about 13 people, but can cook relatively quickly or can be made-ahead because I need to come home after work and do the cooking.  

 

One thought was to do a beef wellington.  I'm not sure what part if that I can make ahead.  (And it may be risky to do that on a week night for 13 people when I've never made it before.)

 

Does anyone have any other ideas?  Suggestions?  She likes most anything.  But I want it to be pretty unique and special for her 40th.  She likes short ribs, but her favorite to this point have been sous vide short ribs.  So that's a consideration, but I've never done that physically large of a sous vide cook!  I'm not sure what container I'd have for a 48 hour sous vide for 13 people.  

 

Thanks in advance for the input!

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Since you have a sous vide but not necessarily a couple days, when I cook for a big group and it has to be nice and fast and easy I do the following:

 

Get a nice beef tenderloin (you might need two), cut middle into nice thick filet mignons, sous vide rare/med rare (you could do this in advance if you wanted), sear each side with salt/pepper/ghee for 45 seconds on a nice hot plancha. 

 

It is super easy to cook, easy to cut and eat (meaning non-adventurous eaters are likely to be comfortable and happy), provides a manageable portion for everyone, and is an easily identified and seemingly universally adored cut of meat. It also leaves you "gone" cooking for about five minutes. Add a vegetable or two and you are off to the races. Downside is it is not cheap. 

 

Not the best picture, but this was a weeknight filet cook that was received super well. FWIW, this is what I plan to do for father's day because everyone adores it and it is super easy. 

FiletSear.JPG

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That looks perfect!!!  I'm struggling with whether I want to do beef (which I do a lot because I love it and so does she) or seafood.  I know she likes most seafood as well, and that doesn't typically take as long to cook.  I was thinking of doing crab-stuffed-something, but I haven't come up with the "something" yet.  

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Just now, mstewart39 said:

That looks perfect!!!  I'm struggling with whether I want to do beef (which I do a lot because I love it and so does she) or seafood.  I know she likes most seafood as well, and that doesn't typically take as long to cook.  I was thinking of doing crab-stuffed-something, but I haven't come up with the "something" yet.  

 

FWIW, we have served a tuna "appetizer" in thin slices at the same meal because it cooks on the exact same setup. I cook "sushi grade" tuna the exact same way (w/o the sous vide step). Salt and pepper, a little ghee (used to use olive oil), and a super quick sear on a plancha as hot as I can make it. The inside stays cold. This is even easier to do but not everyone is into "raw" fish. 

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