Simone's Kitchen

Need some serious help!!

20091216-5507I know it feels like it is still months away from Christmas but it really is not and friends of ours came up with the idea to throw a pre-christmas party where the guests each cook something for dinner. Sounds like a fabulous plan right? And ofcourse we said yes immediately. Now the numbers are drawn and each of the friends or couples have their own assignment to make for dinner. Guess what we have to make for 23 people?? You guessed it; the main course..

Now the problem is that first of all the kitchen where the dinner is held is small and yes we can heat up things but we cannot really make anything there. So we will have to bring the food in it’s more or less prepared state to the table. I have been thinking of making something like a honey glazed ham which we did last year and which was perfect. It can be served warm or cold and would make a perfect meal for 23 people. But… and here come the problem; other than salads I cannot think of how to make something as a sidedish that can go together with the meat and also will be edible by the time some hours have passed. A quiche of sorts would work but I am hoping you guys have some alternative solutions to this….

Our pre-christmas test cooking for christmas itself is gonna be starting this weekend, so you will see some try outs pass by!!

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  1. something like a cous cous or quinoa salad or a wild rice pilaf would be good and could be served at room temperature!

  2. uh…stir fried veggies?

  3. First of all, that’s a great photo.

    I agree with the couscous or a rice/orzo salad. When I think of ham, I think of a fruit so what about a fruit compote as one of the sides? Roasted vegetables can be served at room temperature and makes a nice side.

    Do post the meal when it’s done.

  4. You could do mini quiches. It is really good if you serve it room temp.

    • I thought about doing little quiches too, but making roughly 23 also sounded like a lot of work…lol… It won’t be so bad but I think I might add a larger quiche into the mix of dishes. Always easy to have on hand and since I have no idea if we have vegetarians; I will make it a veggie one!

  5. I think a luke warm of at least room temperature potato salad will be perfect. Not one with mayo, but with creme fraise and horse radish.
    A platter of grilled eggplant, artichokes, peppers and exotic mushrooms will also work well!!

  6. A corn salad would be nice and can be made the day before and brought to room temp. It’s simple frozen corn thawed,green onion and red or white wine vinegar dressing.

  7. We always have ham with mashed potatoes but that could be a problem in your case. That’s a lot of people for Dinner. I would keep things simple and go with green salad or a coleslaw.

  8. I love the photograph and the way you edged it. Did you write that into the code, or is there a plug in for it? GORGEOUS.
    First of all, I would make a turkey… though your ham looks incredible, turkey is easier, to me – as it stays warm an hour after taking it out of the oven and there is the stuffing inside of it as an immediate side.
    But, as you are thinking ham, in our area, we traditionally serve it with scalloped potatoes and that is a casserole that can travel wrapped in towels and stay hot for quite some time. Also, a sweet potato dish. This need not be fancy, as they are so delicious on their own. I microwave mine, then peel and slice them, place them in a casserole and reheat with salt pepper and a skiff of butter or olive oil. After that, a Waldorf salad with apples and walnuts is nice for a ham. So is a great coleslaw with apples (Like Jamie Oliver’s favourite recipe)… but, with 23 people, there should almost be two mains. another “side” that would go beautifully with ham is cabbage rolls… the ones with beef and rice in them. It is hearty and delicious. I don’t know if I have blow you out of the water with my ideas, but these are very traditional combinations here, on the Alberta prairies.
    Happy December!

    • Thanks a lot Valerie but… I am thinking of doing a Turkey for christmas dinner maybe as that is something we have never done before and since this is a prechristmas dinner… I don’t want two turkeys in a row.. 🙂 Love your ideas!! Thanks!

  9. DId you get my comment…? I just wrote a very lengthy comment and it didn’t appear after I posted it?

  10. about a great big pasta salad with pomegranate, toasted walnuts, turkey juliennes of veggies etc? You can never go wrong with those. OR, you can make the stuffed pumpkin below again (I really want to taste one!), if it won’t be a repeat for some? ;D

    • No it won’t be a repeat for anyone other then myself. Not even Tom has tasted the pumpkin yet, but since he’s not a big pumpkin fan and part of the cooking duo; I am thinking he will veto this to a no.. 🙂 Love the idea of the pasta salad! Adding the pomegranates would give it a real christmassy feeling too… Hmm, o and I could add some pomegranate juice into the dressing. Which would be totally perfect with the meat too!

  11. I think I would like a mash made with youkon gold and sweet potato. Simple, and you can just pop it into the microwave to re-heat.

  12. I almost always serve a potato gratin with ham. You can bake it an hour or two in advance and just reheat.
    You can find the recipe I use here:

    I’m new to your blog and I have really enjoyed looking at your photos.

    I made your Vietnamese Chicken Pho yesterday. Delicious.


  13. I’m a blank, but I’m looking forward to seeing what you decide on.

  14. One thing I absolutely love is mixed roasted vegetables: wedges of sweet potato, slices of fresh fennel, small fingerling potatoes all tossed in a bit of olive oil then salt and pepper then roasted about 40 – 45 mins on 200°C. If you want you can drizzle a bit of maple syrup on or balsamic vinegar. Either way, these are fabulous prepared ahead of time and just reheated (if you can reheat in an oven, if not, toss in a large skillet on the stove).

  15. A great & well presented ham!! I would love to eat glazed carrots or Brussels sprouts with red onion & smoked bacon pieces in it or braised cabbage prepared in the oven?…duck fat roasted potatoes into the oven!

  16. Fruity nutty pasta served at room temperature. Bring along a bit of olive oil to perk up. No vinegar. Never refrigerate. Make before you go. And then allow it to stay at room temperature.

    Ham of course is the best alternative and why we all love Christmas ham.

  17. Here are two side dish ideas for inspiration…

    – a vegetable pilaf for the slow cooker – its easy and it will keep the food warm during transport. Bake at home, take it and set on warm!

    – Avocado relish with veggie slices to dip – for the holiday season I add 2 tablespoons of pomegranates to a basic guacamole recipe and serve with veggies or baked pitas. The surprise crunch as the pomegranates burst is a welcome treat to guests!

    Enjoy your party…

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