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 Post subject: DIY wedding catering
PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2014 11:04 am 
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Inflexitarian
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Hi folks,

So...I am getting married this summer! And of course, being a cheapskate and also being used to cooking for 100+ people on a regular basis, I am going to do a bunch of the cooking myself (with the help of friends and family, of course, and supplemented by buying some things from local restaurants/bakeries, too). I figured I would ask the wise PPK for feedback/suggestions because you always have such creative and tasty ideas.

My thought is to have a big mediterranean spread, since that can easily be all vegan without being scary or too "exotic" or too spicy for any of our more conservative family members. I'm not sure how many people exactly will come, since we are probably going to be pretty casual about inviting friends/colleagues/etc. as we see them, but definitely over 100 people, so I'm not going to be making anything too fussy. (Plus it's going to be at our friends' farm, so a pretty casual event anyway.) Ideally I would only be making things that can be made 2-3 (or more!) days ahead of time and then refridgerated or frozen, so that I have time to hang out with my out-of-town family and friends when they are actually here. Also, things that won't get too gross when out for a few hours in late June.

So far, things on my mind are:
-Huge batch of hummus (obviously)
-Skordalia
-tabbouleh (maybe with quinoa?)
-fattoush salad with greens from our garden (we have a huge garden, but not sure how many greens will still be going strong so late in the summer...)
-eggplant caponata
-some kind of vegan yogurty sauce
-jerusalem salad
-maybe some gyro-style seitan? (my hunter/fisher/butchers-his-own-lamb-every-year father actually loves making seitan!)
-or maybe we can find someone to operate the grill and have veggie and seitan shish kabobs cooking

-hopefully getting my good friend who is a wonderful baker to be in charge of making some kind of decadent cake, and my dad to make a few fresh berry pies

And buying:
-Yummy pitas made fresh at a middle eastern bakery (btw- it seems outrageous to me that, in a city where you can buy fresh pitas 5 for $1, anyone would buy dry shitty grocery store pitas from a supermarket?)
-Spinach pies
-fresh falafels
-a yummy olive oil + zataar
-a variety of olives and middle eastern pickled things



As far as drinks, I think we'll invite people to bring drinks to share, but also provide some booze. Some of our family members are big wine enthusiasts, so I'm pretty sure they would be happy to bring some nice wine as a wedding gift, and maybe we'll ask a big brewer friend of ours to make us a keg or two. Are there any particularly good middle eastern/mediterranean drinks that would be good accompaniments? (Non-alcoholic suggestions would be good, too!)


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 Post subject: Re: DIY wedding catering
PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2014 11:51 am 
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I am in the same boat, so I'll be watching this thread with anticipation. My thought was Indian food because it's easy to make in large amounts?


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 Post subject: Re: DIY wedding catering
PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2014 7:51 pm 
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A ratatouille might be a nice addition to the spread. It should keep well, too.

Italian reds and not too cold beer would be my drinks of choice for that spread. There is quite a lot of beer drunk in middle eastern countries (the ones that drink alcohol, anyway). I would also make a mint iced tea. Or a minty mixed drink.


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 Post subject: Re: DIY wedding catering
PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2014 8:42 pm 
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You should pm couroupita! I believe she had a middle eastern spread for her wedding!

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 Post subject: Re: DIY wedding catering
PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2014 11:45 pm 
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Woo! Yup, we did a big diy Mediterranean spread, very similar to what you're envisioning!

It was at a park with BBQ grills so we did fresh veggie kabobs. They were assembled and marinaded in advance and we got some guests and wedding party peeps to cook them. My SIL had a portable deep fryer and cooked the falafel on site (not really necessary but yummy! We were worried about them drying out if we cooked them in advance). We had lettuce, onion, tomatoes, and flatbread (which dry out super fast outside) to made wraps out of the kabobs and falafels. I made a lemon-tahini dressing to drizzle on top and we also had bottles of sriracha.

In advance we made tabbouleh, pasta puttanesca, fruit skewers (that flies and birds immediately attacked...ew), cut up veggies.

Hummus--keep that shiz cold. It goes bad fast in the summer heat!

Dessert--we made baklava and assembled them on a cupcake tower.

Drinks--sodas, root beers, water, wine and beer from Costco. I think an iced mint tea would work really well with a Mediterranean theme, but I was too overwhelmed to think about that.

Get lots of people to help you! I started cooking 3 days before the wedding and had about 5 people + my husband to help me cook and chop and we were all exhausted by the end!

There's a post somewhere on my blog about the food, I think. Or at least there are pics!

We cooked for 40 people and it was pretty tough to make so many different dishes from scratch. I think you should consider shortening your list of stuff to make, esp if you have over 100 people!

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 Post subject: Re: DIY wedding catering
PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2014 10:21 am 
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Whoa, that all sounds so amazing!

My only suggestion for drinks is a non-alcoholic option. There's a local Mediterranean place here that serves lightly sweetened iced tea brewed with sage and ginger. It is seriously THE BEST.

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 Post subject: Re: DIY wedding catering
PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 8:33 am 
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Your menu sounds delightful. I don't really have anything to add except to ask what you are doing for dessert/sweets? Will you have a traditional wedding cake? Mediterranean sweets such as baklava, Turkish delight, semolina cake?
Iced mint tea is a great non-alcoholic beverage idea.

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 Post subject: Re: DIY wedding catering
PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 10:18 pm 
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Sage and mint tea is also a traditional middle eastern tea, which is good iced also. I think the sage may not be something everyone loves, though.


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 Post subject: Re: DIY wedding catering
PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2014 7:50 pm 
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Location: chicago
Thanks, folks!

Now that I have a menu in mind, and thanks to the reminder about keeping things cool all day, instead of asking my mom to bring all her crockpots, I'm asking her to bring all her coolers and ice packs.

I can't believe I forgot to add to my list baklava from Middle Eastern Bakery! That was definitely on my mind earlier in my brainstorming. (I'm pretty sure I can find a place that use simple syrup instead of honey.) I think I will abdicate all responsibilities for other desserts too. My good friend who will be coming to town made me an amazing birthday cake two birthdays ago, based on her favorite tres leches cake recipe, with a coconutty frosting and slices of fresh mango on top. It was so decadent and awesome, I might ask her to make that for me! And my dad agreed to make fresh berry pies. I also

I also scored on the serving front, because my dad just recently inherited a bunch of industrial kitcheny stuff, including dozens of large serving trays and a bunch of serving utensils!

I like these interesting tea suggestions. I know we have several iced tea addicts coming, so I think maybe we'll do a regular black tea type tea (maybe steeped also with mint from our garden) and maybe one more interesting/weird tea with other herbs from our garden. I like making lavender/sage/lemon balm/whateverotherherbsifeellike tea sometimes with all of our herbs that I have no idea what else to do with!


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