Advice Appreciated...Corn Chowder and Lobster for 35-50

Joined Nov 2, 2009
Let me begin by noting that I am not a professional chef.  I have developed a keen interest in food and cooking over the last few years.  I love to try new recipes and experiment in the kitchen.  I live in Ohio.

Next month my nephew gets married in Maine.  My brother has a small house a short walk from the ocean.  The kitchen is small and the oven is not terribly reliable.

In addition to giving grace at the reception, I have been asked to take the lead in preparing dinner the following day for 35-50 guests.  I know it will be a lot of work, but I am looking forward to the challenge.  I am hoping for a headcount sooner than later.

At this point we are planning on serving corn chowder with lobster fritters at the ocean, then returning to the house for a lobsterbake.

I would like to prepare as much as I can at home.  I have already made and froze the chicken stock (I used chicken feet.  A lot of work to skin them and very ugly in the pot, but the stock is nice!).  I have frozen about 5 dozen ears of Ohio sweetcorn and plan to put some red peppers in the freezer this week.  Will these remain frozen during the 16 hour drive with enough coolers and ice?

The fritters will have lobster or crab meat, scallions, corn and red peppers.  I plan to make a simple red pepper dipping sauce.  Should I also make a grainy mustard and lime sauce for another option?  I could serve them in squeeze bottles.

We will have a small open fire and assemble the corn chowder at the oceanside.  The guests can serve themselves from the large cast iron Dutch oven as I fry the fritters.  Should I consider frying the fritters beforehand and reheating them on heated rocks next to the fire (in disposable aluminum foil pans) as the chowder simmers to life?

The lobsterbake will include steamed clams, grilled or roasted local root vegetables, and maybe gnocchi with garlic oil or horseradish sauce, and, of course, lobsters.  Is this enough?  A small portion of lobster a l’amoricaine would be nice and I could serve it with bread and eliminate the gnocchi.  Although the lobster a l’amoricaine is more work than the gnocchi, couldn’t I make it at home and freeze it?  Could I add the lobster when I get to Maine?  Would there be a problem adding a bit of sweetcorn to it?

I plan to steam the clams and lobsters in a few “turkey fryer” pots.  This seems the most fool proof cooking method.  Rockweed should be plentiful.

I am not in charge of tableware, seating or dessert.

I have ordered a case of wine.  Some will be served to the guests!

Please comment, criticize or make helpful suggestions.
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Joined Nov 2, 2009
The lack of any response to my post suggests a number of things to me:

1.  My menu screams "NOOBIE", or better yet, "WHOBE" and has bored everyone.  I mean, for God's sake, corn chowder and lobster fritters!  Snore....1950's...Sauce in squeeze bottles...Good Lord!!...Root vegetables....Snore...Get me out of HERE! ....horseradish sauce on gnocchi?  What an idiot!  Horseradish sauce is for red meat!  If the OP wasn't such an oaf I would suggest a lemon sauce....

2.  My idea about prepping and freezing some of the ingredients in Ohio and transporting them to Maine is ridiculous, and:

     a.  No one is interested, or

     b.  No one is rude enough to tell me that I am an idiot, or

     c.  Both a and b.

3.  I have violated some kind of unwritten (written?) rule by asking a question about cooking for others when I am not a caterer? 

4.  You live in Maine and want to volunteer your help but don't know just how to say it!

5.  No one likes me.

If I have missed anything, please feel free to let me know!  PM's are OK, too.


Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002
I would not pre-fry the fritters.

I would look into getting the corn and peppers local to the party area if possible.

Coolers and ice are hard to predict. Too many variables in sun, heat and so on. I don't think the quality will be appreciably better than what you could get locally at the time of the wedding.  Frozen bell peppers are pretty gross in my book and I'd just get some fresh locally in Maine at the time even if that means a hothouse pepper.

The corn chowders I've had are based in milk, not stock so I have no comment for you there.
Joined Nov 2, 2009
You are right about frozen bell peppers for the fritters.  I should buy those in Maine.  I have a couple jars of roasted peppers that I canned last year that I can take along to make a simple sauce.  I might as well make a lemon-mustard sauce as well since I can do it before leaving.

I am now wondering whether my frozen sweet corn, which is incredibly sweet when fresh, will be appreciably better than a good brandname frozen corn.

Taking frozen corn with me does not save any prep work.

The corn chowder recipe includes both stock and milk, which is one reason I chose it.   It would seem that stock is much more forgiving of high heat than milk or cream, especially on an open fire, which is difficult to regulate.  I intend to simmer the chowder in stock and add the dairy toward the end.  Most importantly, I want to creep out my sister-in-law who was disgusted by the fact that I used chicken feet to make the stock.

I will experiment with the fritters between now and then.  If I could avoid frying fritters, I could free myself to work on the lobsterbake.  Or, maybe I can grill root vegetables as I fry fritters.  "Multi-task or Die!" I always say!  (Actually, I have never said that.)

You have me thinking...

Thanks for the reply!
Joined Nov 2, 2009
Last night I tried a recipe for zucchini pancakes with a very simple horseradish sauce that I stumbled upon.  They were simple to make and tasted great.  They seem to fit the rustic type of food that would go well with roasted root vegetables and lobster at the main coarse.  The horseradish sauce fits with the meal.  It will also allow me to fry pancakes as I steam the lobsters.

I obviously cannot serve lobster fritters with the corn chowder and also serve the zucchinin pancakes with the meal.

Does anyone have an idea what to serve with the corn chowder that could be prepared in advance?
Joined Nov 2, 2009
If you sufficiently sharpen your question, you may reach the point...Since no one else has replied, I suggest that I skewer individual shrimp on 18" long bamboo sticks and have a small wood fire lit (or maybe a grill) and allow people to take a skewer from an ice bath, dip in BBQ sauce (or not),  and cook to their own liking.  I could have a spicy garlic sauce and lemon wedges available, and maybe some leafs of lettuce.  I could offer chicken for those who don't do well with shrimp.

Keep in mind that this dinner is free for the guests, so it's not like people should complain about getting a "hands on" approach.

Please help with your comments, refinements, or critiques.  Or don't, and I will continue to sharpen...

How  about starting out with chicken satays.  I love spicey peanut sauce, but not sure how well it goes with corn chowder.
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Joined Sep 14, 2010
I joined that I may tell you the zuc 'cakes are brilliant! I did most of my own food prep at my wedding last year( i know, sad but true) for about the same amount of guests-with great success. I pre-made skewers (marinated filets/shrooms/pineapple/onion shards etc), with an army of 'assemblers', ie;friends, roped a few people into doing oyster barbecue shifts, and the rest was easy! Frankly, people love hands-on, informal food at events like ours. But believe me, I understand how special you want it to wouldn't even have been asked if you didn't already have some familial culinary reputation to uphold!What a joy! And it will be, I'm sure. Go with the cakes, I think. And the skewers-do it-and don't be shy about it, try adding shrooms(some vegetarians won't even eat shrimp!aaagh) or large chunks of whatever may go well over your little grill-(I love grilled pineapple)and I would use a grill, you need all the predictability you can get. which won't be much.And for the drive, break out the dry ice, and definately use Your good corn...if you know for sure that it is sweet and wonderful, that is much more predictable than some unknown source that is pretty much only a long day away. Me, I believe in good corn.And I know that it is hard to come by...most of all, just make sure your people are Comfortable, and the rest should fall into place. Hey can I get the zuc-cake recipe?yeah, h-sauce too!
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