I am throwing a 50th anniversary lunch for my parents in early September (guests are almost all in their 70s and 80s and dont like driving at night). There will be about 40 of us and I dont have a ton of experience cooking for that many, although I am an experienced home cook who also spent a few months working for caterers. Would appreciate your comments/suggestions on my proposed menu and especially about quantities.
Guests are invited for noon and I plan to serve lunch at 1:00. My idea is a bar with red wine, white wine and sparkling water. Should I have anything else to drink? Also, plan to have small bowls of marcona almonds and rosemary cashews (Ina Garten recipe) around here and there. I think thats enough (it is lunch and these are seniors) but any other ideas? Cant involve much preparation, want to concentrate on the main meal.
Lunch will be a buffet with:
· country-style paté (have spent months perfecting this recipe and its really good now) with cornichons
· fabulous spinach, ricotta, prosciutto and pine nut tarts from a local bakery (Petsi Pies, for Boston hounds) (may get a couple without the prosciutto but I am 99% sure there are no vegetarians in this group)
· sliced garden tomatoes from a local farm (not sure whether to go the basil route or something more original ideas?)
· green bean vinaigrette or something similar made with local farm stand veggies could really use some ideas here
· good bread and butter
The paté vastly improves two days after being baked so that will be made ahead and of course I wont be making the tarts so I feel I can get the tomatoes and green beans (or whatever) done that morning sound reasonable? I can delegate table-setting.
Quantities: a normal loaf pan makes a paté that includes about 2 pounds of various meats. Do you think 4? 5? 6? Some leftover is good, lots not so good. I am thinking 7 tarts (they are 10 I think). No clue on tomato quantity but thinking about 20 good-sized ones for 40 people should be about right (?). Green beans Ill probably get about 25 large handfuls, Id guess. I am definitely not trying to be chintzy but also hate wasted food and have a feeling there will be small appetites.
Dessert will be an assortment of fabulous shortbread cookies (Lakota Bakery) and coffee (this is not a cake crowd).
Oh, and any great ideas for a delicious but simple dinner I can make for 8 that night would also be highly welcome....
All feedback greatly appreciated.