I'm getting married next year and have found a lovely venue. Score, right? Except that I'm getting married in very rural Iowa, and even if the venue didn't require that I use their in-house "chef," I would still be hard pressed to serve the kind of meal I want to serve.
The venue regularly does meals, but they range toward buffet-style, and include such things as pickle wraps (what are those, you ask? Take a few slices of dried beef, spread with cream cheese, wrap a dill pickle up in it and slice...these are delicious, but not exactly what I had in mind) and plain ol' roast beef. I expressed this hesitation to the owner and she has agreed to work with us on a menu to get to more where we want. I'm sitting down with her in a couple of weeks, and I'd like to provide some sample menus, so that she can quote them out for me.
As we'll be hosting a lot of friends and families from Boston and Los Angeles, who will be coming a plane ride or two away, plus renting a car and driving for three hours, we really want a nice meal. But I fear that their "chef" is not actually a professionally trained chef. I have no problem coming up with great suggestions for a meal, but I need to make it something that they can't screw up (visions of soggy vegetables and overcooked fish come to mind, and not just because they may not be professionally trained, because that is what I've come to expect from large catered affairs) and something that can easily be made (and well prepared) in large quantities
I'd like to go with 3-4 courses. My first thought had been to do a French menu, butter lettuce salad with radishes and shallots and an herby vinaigrette, some kind of soup, perhaps a potato-leek soup, or an asparagus bisque (it'll be a late spring wedding), entree selections of perhaps beef bourguignon (reasoning being that slow cooked beef would be harder to screw up and easier to prepare in a large batch than individual steaks), a vegetable ragout or ratoutuille, and a chicken or fish dish, but not sure what. Dessert or a cheese course, and then cake (which a pastry-chef friend in LA has agreed to make!!).
What do you think of that? Where could things go wrong? What chicken and fish dishes would you suggest?
The night before the wedding we'll be hosting a pre-wedding bash featuring a hog roast, so I'll get the regional flavor in that way, but I wanted something a bit more elegant for the actual reception.
Any suggestions for dishes or samples menus would be welcomed! What kinds of meals are easiest to make in large amounts?