How to cook for many without losing papers
The desired one arrives and at the same time hated Christmas. If it already causes stress in and of sitting at the same table brothers-in-law, cousins, uncles and grandparents - each one with different tastes, political coatings and opinions about what life is - also adds the added pressure of having to feed them all at once, without leaving the payroll on it and with a certain formality. Before you run to put your head in the oven just think about it, and not precisely to see if a turkey fits in it, soak up the advice of catering professionals.
The first, on the forehead: "You don't have to go crazy with the amounts," says Marta Cárdenas, of Isabel Maestre Catering - National Gastronomy Award 1996 - who knows about this for a while. “People go by, and although this is a time to eat well, the important thing is the quality and not the quantity: not having 27 dishes will make Christmas food more successful. On the contrary, more possibilities we will have to screw up and get desserts despondent. A first and a second are enough. ”
Cárdenas recommends making a large dish that is the center of attention, and simplifying the rest. “Soups, in addition to traditional and comforting, have the advantage that the cooking point is quite permissive. It will be enough to prepare the pasta separately at the time, but we can have them made the day before ”. Our expert also shows supporter of fish in the second course. "If we like Madrid so much, besides being traditional, it's because it doesn't require as much cooking as meats."
In addition, a good piece does not have to be expensive, says this cook with extensive experience in organizing events. "It has been said many times already, but buying and freezing before the date will not only provide us with better prices, but will save us having to approach the market at the last minute." It is estimated that seafood and some fish, such as sea bream, double their price in the week before Christmas, so the solutions are three: “Or we freeze, or we can buy less expensive pieces that will give us an equally good result. People believe that a pulade is necessarily better than a good quality chicken, when it doesn't have to be that way. And of course, you can also buy some of the dishes already prepared to a catering to save us work, ”he laughs.
According to a study by Deloitte, Spain is the second leading European country in food spending for Christmas, after Great Britain, something that consumer and user associations warn that can be synonymous with waste if not planned well. We already offered you a guide of quantities that we invite you to check if you do not want to be eating turkey remixes and reboots until well into spring.
First: artichoke cream for 10
A simple and tasty dish that tastes like a party and from which you can prepare a perola for 30 with almost the same effort as it would cost to make a ration.
- 2 l of bird broth
- 800 g clean artichoke
- 2 onions
- 200 grams of butter
- 100 g of pine nuts or roasted almonds
- Chop the onion and put it to stew in a casserole with the butter until it is golden brown.
- Add the chopped artichokes and stir a few times. Cover with the broth and simmer about 20 minutes. Crush and strain. Spice up.
- Serve accompanied by the dried fruit chosen toasted in a pan.
“My bet is the quality product, rather than complicated elaborations,” says Mat Porcher, of the catering La Cocina Palpita in Barcelona (dedicated to weddings, advertising and events for large brands). “I make some very simple entrees, that simply present well ingredients such as a good ham, cod or tomatoes and then, an oven or casserole dish, which only requires me to use a tray or a container. The idea is to stretch the time around the table, not what happened in the kitchen. ”
Porcher, of French origin, is married to a Colombian woman, "which has brought together up to 87 people in a celebration." In this situation, the restorer puts everyone to work. "I make some of them peel potatoes, others make the starters." But what about planning? “The bulk of things I do in stages in the previous days. One day the sauce, another the garnish. The key is that, as much as possible, on the same day you just have to light the fire and relax. ”
Let's talk about cutlery, tablecloths and crockery. “I believe in using good dishes, with heavy cutlery, and instead simplifying the rest of the service. At Christmas I follow a different strategy than the New Year. Christmas is more familiar, more traditional, so I set the table. ” Although we have to wash more dishes and more cutlery, we win because we save time when cooking. "Instead, for the New Year, what I want is to have space to dance in the lounge," says the chef. “I set up a buffet with disposable tableware and the effort goes into the food. You have to choose, one or the other. ”
SECOND: RAPE 'NANOTE' FOR 10
"Nanote" was the nickname of Porcher's grandmother, and we owe her this monkfish recipe.
- A monkfish tail of about 3.5k with the spine
- 3 kg diced tomato
- A bay leaf
- 1.5k rolled mushrooms from Paris
- 800 grams of Ratte potatoes
- 250 grams of believe me fraiche or sour cream
- A head of garlic
- Olive oil
- Put a tablespoon of oil in a pot, with the chopped tomato and a bay leaf. Cook over medium heat until the water evaporates.
- Preheat the oven to 200º. Meanwhile, boil the potatoes with skin and everything. Let them cool and cut them into slices.
- Prepare the monkfish, cutting along the bone and leaving the loins open in butterfly (you can ask the fishmonger). Paint the monkfish meat with oil. Cut garlic into thin slices and arrange them on top of the fish.
- Bake the monkfish fifteen minutes. Remove from the oven, dip with your own juice and bake fifteen more minutes.
- Saute the mushrooms in a tablespoon of oil.
- Put the potatoes in the bottom of a tray and the tomato on top. Arrange the monkfish on potatoes and tomatoes, and on top of this, sauteed mushrooms and four or five tablespoons of creme fraiche or cream.
- Bake another five to ten minutes, until the believe me fraiche curdle a little.
Black Bee / Food Truck is the name of Rodrigo Vecco's catering, which regularly feeds video clips, films, television and advertising. Vecco has come to feed up to 650 people at once, but admits that for that "you need a specifically equipped kitchen, and work in a very technical way."
So, is there anything you do in your activity that can be taken to home kitchens? "Yes. The attitude. To cope with a group meal in conditions, first of all it is important to remain calm. Amateur chefs often fail to not have the mise-en-place ready, and this leads to drama. They end up changing the cooking orders, marking the chicken when they still don't have the garnish. It is especially important not to lose your temper. ”
We wonder if he would have any other gastro-help advice. “Yes: don't confuse the complex with the attractive. This is the other big mistake that people usually make in celebrations, and they complicate life unnecessarily, thinking that they will impress more with a complicated dish than with a simple one. ”
As in the case of Porcher and Cárdenas, Vecco is committed to making a single complicated dish and supporting it in simpler ones. In addition, this simplicity should also be in the flavors. “My maxim is 'don't propose a menu that can't meet everyone's expectations.' If you have a lot of people to eat, you can't serve things that they won't understand. The menu is for them, not for you. ” As for desserts, this chef likes to remember that Christmas meals "is not an obligation to end them with something heavy."
DESSERT: Almond, coconut and avocado glasses for 10
Vecco says that “this raw vegan dessert is simple, light and everyone likes it. And if we want something heavier, we can take it as a prepostre. ”
For the bases:
- 210 g almonds
- 180 g grated coconut
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 vanilla pod (from Tahiti)
- 125 ml honey / agave
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
For the filling:
- 5 avocados
- 180 ml lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- 180 ml honey
- 250 ml coconut oil
- 1 vanilla pod
- 1/2 teaspoon maldon salt
- Laminated strawberries or fresh blueberries to decorate
- Crush the almonds until you get a flour or fine crumbs. Add the grated coconut, mix and add the rest of the base ingredients until a well-bound dough is obtained.
- Place in molds or in a container, pressing well. Take to refrigerator.
- Mix all the ingredients in the filling until a puree is obtained. Place it on the base and put the glasses in the freezer three hours. Transfer them to the refrigerator two hours before serving. Accompany with strawberries or blueberries.
Alcohol consumption also increases on these dates, which in addition to triggering the expenditure of money (and triglycerides) can also multiply the work with the proliferation of cups that are then washed. “A good champagne or champagne can take us from the first to the dessert without changing the glass,” says Cárdenas. One of the simple formulas to offer a welcome cocktail is, according to Mauri Jiménez, the Cocktailsperquesí catering, pre-elaborations.
“Many bars in London work like this, with cocktails prepared in advance and bottled, which may only end up cooling at the time of service,” says Jiménez, who sets the example of multi-award-winning bars in London, such as White Lyan or Happiness Forgets, who have no qualms about using it as the basis of their business.
“And rightly so: there doesn't have to be a loss of quality if we choose well. We can have the bottled and somewhat diluted formula, and store it in the fridge so that it is only time to serve it and decorate it ”. Jiménez recommends starting with a 10% dilution, and then adjusting it upwards, and then adjusting it upwards, if necessary, or having the bottled cocktail and cooling it in a mixing glass as if it were a normal cocktail.
DRINK: Chasing Megan Dixon for 10
A cocktail of very Christmas flavors that is dedicated to the voice of Megan Dixon.
- 600 ml of Chase Marmalade Vodka (or 600 ml of vodka and 6 tablespoons of orange marmalade)
- 150 ml of ginger liquor
- 225 ml of fragrant
- 20 ml chocolate bitter
- 100 ml of cold water
- Ten orange skin twists
- If flavored vodka is not available, let marmalade marinate in normal vodka for 24 hours and filter through a Chinese strainer.
- Mix the vodka, ginger liquor, the fragrant and the bitters in a bottle. If it is not going to be prepared in a mixing glass by cooling it with ice, add the water and put in the refrigerator for a minimum of three hours before serving.
- Serve in cocktail glass, decorated with orange peel.